Away in a Manger

Welcome to the Away In A Manger website

You've most probably come here looking for the lyrics to Away In A Manger, which we provide (just click the link above), but we also offer much more. Below you'll find a history of the carol, and also in the site we host chords, music and more. We hope you enjoy your stay, and have a Merry Christmas!

History of Away in a Manger Carol


The Author of Away in a Manger remains unknown. Some early works suggested it was written by Martin Luther, although this appears unlikely. It is probably a late-nineteenth-century American carol. The first published appearance is in the 1885 Philadelphia The Little Children's Book for Schools and Families. Richard S. Hill, who was head of the reference section of the Library of Congress, researched the origins of the carol and concluded it was likely a poem read in Lutheran children's celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Luther in 1883. The third verse did not appear until 1892 in a collection edited by Charles H. Gabriel.

The tune of the song is not universal, indeed over forty different tunes have been placed alongside the lyrics in hymn books. In the UK the most popular is William J. Kirkpatrick's Cradle Song which is a Gospel song. Kirkpatrick was the music director for the Grace Church in Philadelphia and compiled a total of eighty-seven gospel song books! In the USA the main tune used with the lyrics is James R. Murray's 1887 Mueller.

Away in a Manger is one of the most popular Christmas carols. A 1996 Gallop Poll revealed that it was the joint second most popular carol in Britain along with O Come All Ye Faithful. In 1991 the Observer reported that some schools may try to de-Christianise the lyrics, although this seems largely to have remained a typical scare-story that has little factual basis.

Away in a Manger's contents are very little based on the actual text of the Bible. The Bible does not contain any references to cattle at the birth, nor does it say that Jesus did not cry as a baby. Some have suggested this latter remark comes from heresies such as Gnosticism or Apollinarianism which denied the fullly human characteristics of Jesus. It may be for this reason that it has not appeared in The English Hymnal and Hymns Ancients and Modern.