"For All the Saints" was written as a processional hymn by the Anglican Bishop of Wakefield, William Walsham How.
The hymn was first printed in Hymns for Saints' Days, and Other Hymns, by Earl Nelson, 1864.
The hymn was sung to the melody Sarum, by the Victorian composer Joseph Barnby, until the publication of the English Hymnal in 1906.
This hymnal used a new setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams which he called Sine Nomine (literally, "without name") in reference to its use on the Feast of All Saints, 1 November (or the first Sunday in November, All Saints Sunday in the Lutheran Church). It has been described as "one of the finest hymn tunes of the 20th century."
Although most English hymn tunes of its era are written for singing in SATB four-part harmony, Sine Nomine is primarily unison (verses 1,2,3,7 and 8) with organ accompaniment; three verses (4, 5 and 6) are set in sung harmony.
The tune appears in this forms in most English hymnbooks (for example English Hymnal, New English Hymnal, Common Praise) and American hymnals (for example, The Hymnal 1982 and the Lutheran Service Book).
Charles Villiers Stanford's tune Engleberg was also written to be partnered with this hymn, although in the wake of Sine nomine it never gained popularity and is now more commonly used with other hymns, including "When in Our Music God is Glorified."
The hymn is introduced by exerpts from a Fanfare written by Jack Noble White.
The Fanfare and the hymn sound remarkably well on this truly British organ.