School Hymn Book

As a bespoke publisher for schools, we are pretty adept at turning our hands to most types of project, but it is probably fair to say that we are best-known for our hymn book publishing. In this increasingly secular age, the benefits of communal singing cannot be overstated, and stand as testament to the value that schools still put on this area of school life.

Choosing a hymn book that will work for a school is not easy, and explains why so many schools end up coming to us to create a bespoke one for them. Getting the right mix of ancient hymns and modern songs, selecting the versions of the tunes to suit the voices that will sing them, deciding on the best presentation of the music – for the choir and congregation – all of this takes a great deal of care and attention to detail to get right. And of course, it means that when commissioning a new hymn book, an important first step is to establish which type, or types, to go for.



Words only hymnbook

The basic hymn book, used in churches and schools across the land, is the words only book. We have published hundreds and hundreds of these over the last 25 years or so, each one slightly different, each one reflecting the particular character of the school, college or church for whom it was produced. The most compelling reason for producing your own book is, of course, that the choice of hymns is entirely down to you. But you can also decide how to present the hymns, in terms of font, alignment, use of Divine capitals, repetition or otherwise of choruses – the bespoke nature of each book is almost endless. And once your selection is complete, and the proofs signed off, there is an almost endless choice of covering materials, and decisions to be made on embossing for the front cover and spine.

Melody hymnbook

The majority of our customers, even those who have commissioned a words only hymnbook, will also be interested in a book that includes the music, and a melody hymnbook can be the solution. Whether this is for the benefit of the choir, or it is assumed that everyone singing the hymns will be able, will wish, or should be encouraged to read the music as they sing, adding the music into the hymnbook adds a whole new dimension. First, one has to determine which tune to sing each hymn to – which can sometimes prove a contentious decision! Then one has to agree on the key, and in some cases the version, for the tune. Finally one has to decide whether to set the music entirely above the hymn, or whether to embed one or more verses within the music. All of these decisions have an effect on the finished product, and on how the book will be used, but happily we have years and years of experience in helping our customers through this stage of a project.

Full music hymnbook

Many schools opt for a full music hymnbook, which marries up the preferred four-part harmonisation of the tunes with each hymn. This is ideal for schools and churches where the choir is going to sing the harmony, and of course it provides the accompanist with a version to play from.

Mix and match

A very common outcome for a school is to commission a full music book for the choir and either a melody or a words only book for the rest of the congregation. Marrying up the two editions is, of course, reasonably fiddly, as we have to ensure that the pagination of both books works properly while keeping the hymn numbers in line with one another.

Copyright considerations

Ensuring that everything is legal is down to us. Clearing copyright is a time-consuming and sometimes complicated process, but we take this off your shoulders and bravely put it on our own – and the costs for this are almost always in the price that we quote for the job, so there are no surprises at the end.


Kitebrook School Hymn Book
We love them! They are so nice, thank you so much for all your work. I am sure I will be in touch in the next academic year to order some more.
Karen England, PA to Headmistress, Kitebrook Preparatory School

Cargilfield School Hymn Book
The books have now arrived safely and I have just spent a happy hour unpacking them and arranging them on the shelves. They look splendid – thank you very much! I can’t wait to use them now. Thanks for all your help and advice.
Joanna Allsop, Director of Music, Cargilfield School

Westminster School Hymn Books
The school took delivery of 1500 very smart new hymn books at lunchtime today. A huge thank you from all of us for all your help managing this process.
Gavin Williams, Chaplain, Westminster School

Haileybury Hymnal and Service Book
We are delighted with our new Hymnal and Service Book. Thank you for your professional advice
and caring service that made the changes to the First Edition so easy. They are now in use and greatly enhance
our Chapel worship. Thank you.
Chris Briggs, Chaplain, Haileybury

Tower College Hymn Book
Tower College took delivery of its first print run of personalised Hymn Books in 1999 and they have been used daily throughout the school.  To have the teachers’, children’s and parents’ choices of hymns in one book has been not only convenient, but helpful in building community sprit within the school.  The older children sometimes ask if we can sing the younger children’s style of hymn to reminisce and we can all access our special hymns; the school hymn and the Peace Day Anthem.  We also included copies of our Founder’s Day prayer and meaningful texts and blessings form the Bible. We have had former pupils ask to buy a Hymn Book to keep, long after they have left, as they muss the Assemblies and the singing.  

In 2016, we need a rerun of the book as stock was running low, and added more hymns to our collection. The update was completed in a very timely fashion and the finished product is even better then the excellent first version – the Crest details on the front are clearer ( as modern technology has improved!) and we are delighted with the finished product.

A huge benefit is the dealing with the copyright issues – we do not have to worry about reporting what we sing or perform, which saves time and worry!

I would recommend Gresham Books to any school, church group etc who wants to enrich their praise and worship with a community project such as a new hymn book.
Rachel Oxley, Headmistress, Tower College

Marlborough College Hymn Book
Just to say we took delivery of our hymn books this morning, and I could not be more pleased. They look absolutely beautiful, and I know they will serve and enhance the life of Chapel for many years to come.

Thank you so very much for all of your hard work, patience, adaptability, care and attention. We are hugely grateful to you for the success of this project, and could not be happier with the outcome. Thank you.
Mr P A J Hodgkinson, Choirmaster & Academic Music Teacher, Marlborough College


2 reviews for School Hymn Book

  1. Chris Briggs, Chaplain, Haileybury.

    We are delighted with our new Hymnal and Service Book. Thank you for your professional advice
    and caring service that made the changes to the First Edition so easy. They are now in use and greatly enhance
    our Chapel worship. Thank you.

  2. Alice Phillips, Headmistress, St Catherine’s, Bramley

    The St Catherine’s hymnbook is very bespoke – down to nuances of harmonies in hymns! – and we could not fault Gresham’s patience as we created it. Their support was painstakingly professional and ensured we emerged with a working hymn book that is also a souvenir treasured by many alumnae. Nothing was too much trouble and we are delighted with our hymn book.

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