The First Noel

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The First Noel
"The First Noel" (also written "The First Noël") is a popular traditional English Christmas hymn, most plausibly from the early modern period, though perhaps earlier. Noel is actually an Early Modern English synonym of "Christmas". Discover the lyrics and story of this remarkable hymn and find music videos below!

1 The first Noel the angel did say 
was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; 
in fields where they lay keeping their sheep, 
on a cold winter's night that was so deep. 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, 
born is the King of Israel. 

2 They looked up and saw a star 
shining in the east, beyond them far; 
and to the earth it gave great light, 
and so it continued both day and night. [Refrain]

3 And by the light of that same star 
three Wise Men came from country far; 
to seek for a king was their intent, 
and to follow the star wherever it went. [Refrain]

4 This star drew nigh to the northwest, 
o'er Bethlehem it took its rest; 
and there it did both stop and stay, 
right over the place where Jesus lay. [Refrain]

5 Then entered in those Wise Men three, 
full reverently upon the knee, 
and offered there, in his presence, 
their gold and myrrh and frankincense. [Refrain]

The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Songwriters Anonymous Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind The First Noel

The First Noel is of Cornish origin, which is a county in South West England in the United Kingdom. Its contemporary style was originally printed in Carols Ancient and Modern (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Carols (1833), both of which were published by William Sandys and arranged, revised and with additional lyrics penned by Davies Gilbert for Hymns and Carols of God. Now, it is commonly sung in a four-part hymn arrangement by the English composer John Stainer, first published in his Carols, New and Old in 1871. Varieties of its theme are added in Victor Hely-Hutchinson's Carol Symphony.


Collection of Popular Christmas Hymns and Carols:

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
The First Noel
Joy To The World
O Holy Night
Hark The Herald Angels Sing
Silent Night
O Come All Ye Faithful
Go Tell It On The Mountain
What Child Is This
O Little Town of Bethlehem
We Three Kings of Orient Are
Ave Maria


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Breathtaking Performance of The First Noel by Jackie Evancho
‘The First Noel’ A Cappella Christmas Carol From Pentatonix