Hymn #126: Angels, from the Realms of Glory

            James Montgomery (1771-1854) published this poem under the title “Nativity” in the Christmas Eve, 1816, issue of his newspaper, The Sheffield Iris.  It received little attention until revised and reprinted in 1825 in another paper he published called the Christian Psalmist.

           James Montgomery was born November 4, 1771, in Ayrshire, Scotland, the son of a Moravian minister.  After trying various jobs, he became editor of the Sheffield Register and held that post for thirty-one years.  He died at Sheffield, England, on April 30, 1854, and hundreds of people attended his funeral.

            Henry Thomas Smart (1813-1879) composed this tune, but it was named REGENT SQUARE in 1867 by the editor of the English Presbyterian Hymnbook, James Hamilton.  Hamilton was the pastor of Regent Square Presbyterian Church in London, England, at the time.
 

           Henry T. Smart, son of a well-known violinist, gave up his study of the law to study music.  Mostly self-taught, Smart served as organist and choirmaster at various Anglican churches in Blackburn and London, England.  He continued playing even when blind during his last fifteen years of life.