Cornwall Council has a page on Cornish Christmas Carols / Curls:
Before 1825 Christmas carols were dying out. Celebration of Christmas had been abolished by the Cromwellian government of 1647, and, followed by the Puritanism of early Methodism and the attitudes of Victorianism, it all served to suppress the happy songs of Christmas.
Davies Gilbert of St Erth is credited with pioneering a revival, notably by the publication in 1822 of a collection titled 'Some ancient Christmas carols and complete with their tunes'. This was followed in 1833 by Christmas carols, ancient and modern by William Sandys, Commissioner of Affidavits in the Stannary Court of Cornwall.
Contrary to the effect Methodism might have had on the English carollers, in Cornwall its impact was to stimulate song. In those areas where Methodism was strongest, music and signing had their greatest appeal, and notably so at Christmas. The singers would practice in chapels and school-rooms, some of them walking miles to be there. They rehearsed the folk songs and newer carols, such as Nahum Tate's "While Shepherds" and Charles Wesley's "Hark the Herald Angels".
Local musicians composed tunes themselves and this was the start of a new tradition, with composers such as Thomas Merritt, Thomas Broad, R H Heath, W B Ninnis and many others providing a wealth of music with the soaring harmonies (and 'repeats') so beloved of the mining communities. The favourite carols were those which gave the best opportunities to exercise skills in 'parts' singing with trebles, altos, tenors and basses performing with gusto. The conventional restraint of polite choral music was not always the most obvious feature!
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