John Bacchus Dykes

10 March 1823–22 January 1876


John Bacchus Dykes, from J.T. Fowler, The Life and Letters of John Bacchus Dykes (London: John Murray, 1897).

Rev. John Bacchus Dykes, Mus. Doc., was born in Hull, where his grandfather was incumbent of St. John’s Church, in March 1823. He received his first musical tuition from Skelton, organist of St. John’s. In October 1843 he went to St. Catherine Hall, Cambridge, where he very soon obtained a scholarship. He graduated as B.A. in 1847, and in the same year, having taken Holy Orders, obtained the curacy of Malton, Yorkshire. During his stay in Cambridge he pursued his musical studies under Professor Walmisley, and became conductor of the University Musical Society. In July 1849 he was appointed Minor Canon and Precentor of Durham Cathedral. In the next year he proceeded M.A. In 1861 the University of Durham conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Music, and in 1862 he was presented by the Dean and Chapter to the vicarage of St. Oswald, Durham, on which he resigned the precentorship. He died January 22, 1876.

Dr. Dykes composed many services and anthems, and a large number of hymn tunes, many of which have met with very general acceptance. Among these may be noted “Nearer my God to Thee,” “The day is past and over,” and “Jesu, lover of my soul.” He was joint editor of Hymns Ancient & Modern. Beyond his musical repute he was much esteemed as a theologian.

by William H. Husk
A Dictionary of Music and Musicians
, vol. 1 (1879)

Featured Tunes:


Collections of Hymn Tunes:

The following list is adapted from Hymn Tunes Composed by John Bacchus Dykes (London: Novello, 1902).

Congregational Church Music (1856, enlarged 1876): WorldCat

1st ed., Pt. 1 (1856): WorldCat
1st ed., Pt. 2 (1856): PDF
Enlarged Ed. (1876): PDF

Congregational Hymn & Tune Book, ed. R.R. Chope

1st ed. (ca. 1858)
Enlarged ed. (1862): PDF

Congregational Psalmist, ed. Henry Allon

1st ed., Part 1 (1858): HathiTrust
2nd ed., Part 1 (1861): HathiTrust
Part 2 (1868): HathiTrust
Enlarged ed. (1875): HathiTrust

The Chorale Book, ed. H.H. Bemrose

1st ed. (1861): WorldCat
2nd ed. (1863): WorldCat

Hymns Ancient & Modern

1st ed. (1861): PDF
Annotated by Louis Biggs (1867): PDF
with Appendix (1868): PDF
2nd ed. (1875): PDF
with Supplement (1889): PDF
Historical Companion (1889): PDF

Hymns for the Church of England (1862 / 1865): WorldCat / WorldCat
The Holy Year, ed. William Monk (1862): PDF
The Bristol Tune Book

1st ed. (1863): PDF
2nd ed (1881): PDF
3rd ed. (1891): PDF

The Praise-Book, ed. William Reid (1866): PDF
A Hymnal for use in the English Church, ed. John Grey (1866): WorldCat
The Anglican Hymn Book  

1st ed. (1868): PDF
2nd ed. (1871): PDF

Christmas Carols New and Old (1868): PDF
Sarum Hymnal (1868): PDF
Advent Hymns with Appropriate Tunes, George Joyce (ca. 1870): PDF
A Supplement to the Collection of Psalms and Hymns, . . . Reading (ca. 1870): WorldCat
The Hymnal Companion to the Book of Common Prayer (1870): PDF
The People's Hymnal Tune Book (ca. 1870-1873): WorldCat
Supplemental Hymn Tune Book (1871): PDF (4th ed)
Parish Church Hymnal (1872): WorldCat
Processional Hymns with Accompanying Tunes, ed. John Biden (1872): WorldCat
Accompanying Tunes to the Hymns for Infant Children (1872): WorldCat
The Hymnal with Tunes Old and New (1872): WorldCat
XIII Hymns for Advent and Lent (1873): WorldCat
Church Hymns with Tunes, ed. Arthur Sullivan (1874): PDF
A Book of Litanies, Metrical & Prose, ed. W.S. Hoyte (1875): PDF
Children's Hymnal, with Tunes, ed. John Tucker (1875): PDF
New Mitre Hymnal (1875): PDF
The Song of Praise, or Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1875): WorldCat
Four Hymns by Godfrey Thring (1875): WorldCat
The Children’s Hymn Book, ed. Carey Brock, et al. (1877): HathiTrust
The Child’s Book of Praise . . . with Accompanying Tunes, ed. C.A. Barry (1879): WorldCat
Harvest-Tide: A Service of Sacred Song, ed. A.H. Brown (1880): WorldCat
Church Praise, ed. E.J. Hopkins & Herbert Oakeley (1883): PDF
Day School Hymn Book, ed. Emma Mundella (1890): WorldCat
O God of Love: Hymn for Use in Time of War, H.W. Baker (1900): WorldCat


Hymn Tunes Composed by John Bacchus Dykes (London: Novello, 1902): WorldCat

Related Resources:

William H. Husk, “John Bacchus Dykes,” A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. George Grove, vol. 1 (London: MacMillan & Co., 1879), pp. 477-478:

J.T. Fowler, The Life and Letters of John Bacchus Dykes (London: John Murray, 1897): PDF

Erik Routley, “Victorian Hymn-Composers – II: John Bacchus Dykes, 1823-1876,” Bulletin of the Hymn Society, vol. 2, nos. 3 and 5 (July 1948, January 1949).

Arthur Hutchings, “Dr. John Dykes, 1823–1876,” English Church Music, new series, vol. 11 (1973), pp. 41–56.

Paul Westermeyer, “John Bacchus Dykes,” Let the People Sing: Hymn Tunes in Perspective (Chicago: GIA, 2005), pp. 251-254.

Arthur Hutchings & Nicholas Temperley, “John Bacchus Dykes,” Grove Music Online:

John Bacchus Dykes,

Jeremy Dibble, “John Bacchus Dykes,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology: