Northrop, Abraham

A native of West Hartlepool, he worked for a firm of coal exporters. played the harmonium at Belle Vue UMFC chapel while still a boy and succeeded his father as organist of Burbank chapel (later the Central Hall) 1884-1936. He wrote cantatas and anthems, as well as hymn tunes. One of his tunes, 'Northrop' (HP 360, SF 127; originally called 'Bethlehem') was written for the carol 'While shepherds watched' and, according to the English Hymnal (1906), was especially popular in Cornwall. In its present form the tune was first set to Charles Wesley's words in the 1933 Methodist Hymn Book.