Onward Christian Soldiers to be auctioned at Bonhams

A copy of the ever popular hymn, Onward Christian Soldiers, is to be auctioned at Bonhams this spring.

The hymn was written by the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, when he was a curate at Horbury St Peter's Church near Wakefield, Yorkshire.

He scribbled the hymn down the night before a school Whit Day Festival for the children to sing as they walked.

Little did he know that it would go on to become one of the best loved hymns in the English language.

Baring-Gould wrote the lyrics to the melody from the slow movement of Haydn's Symphony No 15, but it was truly cemented in church tradition when Sir Arthur Sullivan - of Gilbert and Sullivan - wrote a new tune for the hymn in 1871.

It was later taken up by The Salvation Army as a processional.

The copy going on sale at Bonhams on 10 April is estimated at £1,000 - £1,500.