The first edition of The English Hymnal was published in 1906 by Oxford University Press. The project was conceived and overseen by Percy Dearmer (1867–1936), while the music was selected and edited by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958) who also contributed new and adapted melodies of his own.  In the first edition these newly created melodies appeared as ‘anonymous’, although in later editions the composer’s name came to be associated with them.

In this selection we see an example of a newly commissioned tune from a contemporary composer (Gustav Holst’s CRANHAM, no. 25), an adaptation of a folk song (The Ploughboy’s Dream becomes FOREST GREEN, no. 15), an existing tune from outside the Anglican tradition which was to reappear in other works by Vaughan Williams (YORK, no. 472), and an original tune (SINE NOMINE, no. 641).