John Francis Wade


April 16, 1711 - August 16, 1786


From England
Served in Douai, France
Affiliation: Catholic

"Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n; Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing."

John Francis Wade was a Catholic layman who lived in Lancashire, England.

At the age of 32, Wade produced a Latin Christmas carol, Adeste Fidelis. Though scholars once thought the music was simply Wade's copy of an ancient hymn, further research has led most to conclude that Wade composed the lyrics and music himself. Since that time, Wade's hymn has been translated to the well-loved "O Come All Ye Faithful" that we sing today.

When the Jacobean rebellion led to persecution of English Catholics, Wade fled the country in 1745. Settling at a Catholic college in Douay, France, Wade began teaching Latin and church song. He also became known for his copies of plainchant and hymn manuscripts. In that day, printing music scores was cumbersome and thus much of the work was done by hand.

Wade continued to produce manuscripts at Douay and died at the age of seventy-five, still living in France. His work was said to be exquisite, and his obituary honored him for his "beautiful manuscripts" that adorned many chapels and homes.

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