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All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name

The words are by Edward Perronet  (1721-1792), educated at Sevenoaks School and St John’s College, Cantab .(though he left without taking a degree). The Perronets were Huguenot emigrés. Edward became a close follower of John Wesley, though their relationship was fraught with disagreement snd with disobedience on Perronet’s part. [He insisted on administering eucharist in spite of Wesley’s dictum that only ordained priests should do ot.]  When Wesley was trying to keep the Methodists within the C of E, Perronet  self-published The Mitre (1757), a harsh verse satire of the establishment church and churchmen [4 cantos 1243 6-line aabccb stanzas]. Wesley demanded that it be withdrawn.  Perronet later became attached to the Countess if Huntington’s Connexion, but later still separated from that group to establish his own independent sect, centred in Canterbury, where he died. In that later period Perronet published three small volumes of hymns. “All hail the power” first appeared in full in 1780 in The Gospel Magazine. [Founded 1766 and still published, at the outset at least, it seems to have been mostly an evangelical vehicle, with connections to Selina, Countess of Huntington and to Augustus Toplady.]  A year earlier the same journal published the first stanza only. Perronet is buried in Canterbury Cathedral. 

The tune, Miles Lane, is by William Shrubsole (1760-1806), who was a chorister in Canterbury Cathedral (1770-1777), then an organ teacher in London, and, in 1782, organist of Bristol Cathedral.  He was, however, fired from that position a year later for consorting with dissenters.  He returned to London, becoming organist in the Countess of Huntington’s chapel in Clerkenwell.  But there must have been a reconciliation with the C of E, for in 1800 he became organist of St Bartholomew the Less in Smithfield.  [I have seen  a suggestion that Shrubsole was sometime a countertenor at Westminster Abbey, but I haven’t been able to confirm that.]  Shrubsole is buried in Bunhill Fields, the dissenters’ cemetery; the music of the first phrase of the tune is carved on his tombstone.  He wrote Miles Lane at age 19.  The title is a corruption of St Michael’s Lane, the location of a dissenters’ chapel near London Bridge (destroyed in the 1831 construction of the new bridge).  The name may have been attached to the tune by Stephen Addington, who led the chapel congregation after 1781.     

Perronet’s original second stanza:

               Let high-born Seraphs tune the lyre,
               And, as they tune it, fall
               Before His face who tunes their choir,
               And crown Him Lord of All

The tune was originally written for three voices, with the repeats divided among them, starting with the bass.  Ralph Vaughan Williams composed a stunning concert arrangement for choir and orchestra.

- Dr. Phillip Rogers