Nostalgia Sunday: Hymns


red hymn books

If you went to a Church of England primary school, you will know that when you went into assembly, the only thing you really cared about was the hymn(s) you were going to be singing. Some you couldn't care less about, but others were absolute bangers that still stick in your head today. I'm guessing this post doesn't just apply to those of us who attended primary school during the noughties, but will more than likely apply to anyone who ever went to a Church of England primary school (I have no idea whether Church of England secondary schools got you to sing hymns in assembly). Here are just a few of my favourites...


He's got the Whole World in his Hands

hands holding the world

This has to be one of my favourites, hands down (not a pun, I promise!). Did anyone else's teachers get them to do the hand gestures with this song, or was this just something my school did? A bit of a choreographed song and dance in the middle of the school day if you will. If you have absolutely no idea what I'm on about, you can listen to the hymn here.


Lord of the Dance

the Christian cross with people surrounded by it

I have no idea why I loved this hymn so much. It was so high-pitched that even for someone like me it was incredibly difficult to sing. Little ironic how the track was relatively upbeat but if you look at the actual lyrics of this hymn, they're actually quite depressing. If you want to listen to this hymn, you can do so here.


When I Needed a Neighbour

two semi-attached houses, one with a yellow door and one with a blue door

When I first saw the title of this hymn, I didn't recognise it. But then I looked at the lyrics and instantly remembered it. Now, we all know that when you're in year five/year six, you start to become a bit more aware of things and the meaning of words and there are certain words and things you are aware of that you act a bit (I mean, a LOT ) immaturely over. One of the lyrics in this particular hymn goes 'I was cold, I was naked' and I always used to laugh at this particular lyric. In fact, if it wasn't for this particular lyric, I wouldn't remember this hymn at all. If you want to know exactly what I'm on about and listen to this hymn, you can do so here.


Kumbaya My Lord

an image of earth with people stood around it holding hands

I think we all remember this hymn because all it really involved was singing 'kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya' over and over again. If for some reason, you have never heard of this song or don't remember it, you can have a listen to it here.


All Things Bright and Beautiful

a load of birds flying over the sea

I think this is one of those hymns where, regardless of whether you went to a Church of England school or not, everyone knows because you will have either been to Church and sung it there or you've probably heard it being sung on the TV. One thing I will say about this hymn though, which can be said about a lot of hymns, is that it is incredibly high pitched. I only go to Church for special occasions, such as weddings, but when I do, it is an absolute nightmare to try and sing that high-pitched. If you want to take a listen to this hymn, you can do so here.


From the Tiny Ant

an ant on the ground

The main reason this was one of the best hymns to sing is that the headteacher (or whichever teacher was leading the assembly) would split the school down the middle, with one half singing the first bit and the other half singing the second bit. It was an unspoken rule to have a competition between the two halves of which half could sing the loudest, and you would always try your best to fully belt out your part of the hymn so the other half wouldn't win. We love a competitive spirit! To take a bit of a trip down memory lane to think back to the first bit of competitiveness you ever encountered, you can listen to this hymn here.


Give Me Oil in My Lamp

a lamp

First off, I don't know why you would put oil in my lamp, but who am I to question a hymn? I don't know whether this happened in anyone else's school, but where the younger kids couldn't properly read yet, they always used to add an extra bit in the chorus. They would always add an extra 'of kings' at the end of the chorus and there was one time when I was in year six that we decided to join in with them on this (whether you would class that as mocking depends on what your own personal beliefs are surrounding this) and the headteacher actually stopped the hymn to tell us off. If that was you that we were 'mocking', I can only apologise. If you would like to take a listen to it, you can do so here.


Who Put the Colours in the Rainbow

a rainbow going into the sea

This was yet another great hymn and given how upbeat it was, even if you were having a bad day because you had to do maths, it could always put you in a good mood. Although, this was another song that was ridiculously high-pitched and even at such a young age where your voice is high anyway, it could often be difficult to sing. If you want to take a listen to it, you can do so here.


Cauliflowers are Fluffy

cauliflower, carrots, turnips, lettuce, aubergines

"The apples are ripe and the plums are red, the broad beans are sleeping in their blankety bed". This hymn would always be brought out around harvest time, accompanied by an assembly that focused on what the harvest was about and the vicar asking us to ask our parents to bring in some vegetables for the harvest festival (anyone else's Mum just donate a can of soup?). You can listen to this hymn here.


Morning has Broken

the sun rising over the sea

This is one that even if you didn't go to a Church of England primary school if you have ever been to church, you will know this hymn as it is sung pretty much every single time you enter a church. This is another hymn that is ridiculously high and was an absolute struggle to try and belt out when you're trying to out-do your mates on who can sing the loudest (or trying to sing really out of tune to make your friends laugh to see if you can get them into trouble). If you want to take a listen to this hymn, you can do so here.


One More Step Along the World I Go

a man walking across a wall next to the Rome colosseum

If you didn't have this as one of your hymns as part of your year six leavers assembly, then did you really attend a Church of England primary school? This was the last hymn we sang before leaving primary school and it still makes me feel a bit emotional when I hear it. If you want to give it a listen, you can do so here.


Autumn Days

a road surrounded by loads of trees with orange leaves

This was another one that only seemed to come out during the Harvest Festival and then once Christmas comes around, this hymn seemed to go away for another year. It was high-pitched, but not too high-pitched, and, in general, was quite an upbeat hymn that you loved to belt out with your friends. You can listen to the hymn here.


I know for a fact with a lot of these hymns we used to change the lyrics, but I can't remember what we changed them to. If any of you used to do the same with any of these hymns (or with other hymns), please feel free to leave your alternative lyrics in the comments below so we can all continue this nostalgia train together. If there are any other hymns that you sang in primary school that I haven't mentioned, please feel free to comment them down below also.


As always, if you have any ideas of topics you would like me to cover as part of this Nostalgia Sunday series then please feel free to comment them down below too.


What was your favourite hymn to sing in primary school?


Love Beth xx


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