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Henry VIII’s ‘Green groweth the holly’. Photo: British Library

It is only in the sixteenth century that carole became explicitly associated with Christmas. Prior to that carole, a borrowing from the French, had meant a sort of ring-dance, and by extension the songs which might be sung while doing the dance. Publishing Cambridge links us to this post from The British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts blog, which sets out the story and shows several early examples.

In 1967 Cambridge University Press published The Cambridge Hymnal, notable (among other things no doubt) as being the place where Elizabeth Poston’s “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” was first published.

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