'O Holy Night' is nation's favourite carol

(Photo: Dave Bradshaw Photography)

The French and the Brits may love to make digs at each other but all that is most readily laid aside when it comes to a good tune, as the French-penned 'O Holy Night' remains a firm favourite nearly two centuries after it was written.

The Christmas carol, written by the mayor of a small French town near Avignon in 1847, has not lost any of its popularity after topping a poll of favourite Christmas carols.

O Holy Night came out on top in the poll carried out by Premier Christian Radio, with 15% of the vote.

Hark The Herald Angels Sing came a close second with 12% of the vote.

The Top Ten Christmas Carols favourites in the Premier chart were:

1] O Holy Night 15% vote
2] Hark The Herald Angels Sing 14%
3] In The Bleak Mid Winter 11%
4] Silent Night 9%
5] Joy To The World 7%
6] O Come All Ye Faithful 6%
7] O Little Town of Bethlehem 5%
8] O come O Come Emmanuel 4%
9] It Came Upon A Midnight Clear 3%+
10] Away in a Manger 3%

Pam Rhodes, who was to announce the Top Ten during her 'Hearts & Hymns' programme on Premier, said today that it was interesting that the winning carol was rarely sung by a congregation and is usually an inspirational performance piece.

"O Holy Night fits the mould of a traditional carol perfectly because it was first performed at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in 1847," she explained.

"The words had been written by Placide Clappeau, the Mayor of Roquemaure in France, who took his poem to Paris to ask his friend, the Jewish composer Charles Adam, to write the melody. The carol has been a favourite down the years ever since."