1978 Zacchaeus


written and composed by: Richard and Jean Britton

This musical vividly portrays a man's life-changing encounter with Jesus. Zacchaeus, a cheating tax collector, was despised by his own people because of his dealings with the hated Romans. In Jesus he found hope and acceptance. After much searching had he at last found the answer?

Zacchaeus was originally written for the children of Kingsclere Primary School and was subsequently re-arranged for Basingstoke Community Church.

An article appearing the Basingstoke Gazette

Kingsclere Junior school teacher. Richard Britton. decided to write musical featuring story of Zaccheus, for his pupils to perform, but he could have had. no idea of the impact his composition was to have on a much larger public.

From becoming just a school production, 'Zaccheus' was developed by the Baptist Church, Basingstoke. into a lively Christian musical. with a message telling of the Salvation of Christ.

This has been performed a number of times in Basingstoke and in neighbouring towns. I watched and listened to a performance in the United Reformed Church, London Street and was impressed with the whole conception and presentation.

It was received by an appreciative audience. mostly young people which packed-the church. At the end, prolonged applause acknowledged the excellence of the production.

What stunned me was the happiness of the performers, which radiated out into the pews. This wonderful company were acting a story from the Bible, the motive of which they sincerely believe for they were so convincing.

Composer Richard Britton was at the piano. with his wife, Jean. who had helped him with the original composition. as one of the soloists.

The part of Zaccheus, the taxpayer, was sung by Dennis Merry and that of Jesus by Kevin Floyd. The production has been developed to such a high standard by the Baptist Church's own workshop in Sarum Hill. The girl dancers were superb as they flung their hands skyward, singing 'Hosanna'.

But what wonderful music Richard Britton composed, for the more it was repeated, the more I liked it. The orchestra, with guitars, flute, timps and piano, was first-class, keeping up a fast tempo.

I was told that many people have seen the production time and time again. This I readily believe, for the whole thing is infectious.

'Zaccheus' has proved so enjoyable that it was decided to have an LP made professionally. This was recorded in Eastbourne and is now on sale, price £2.50, from the Olive Tree Bookshop, London Street. Basingstoke.

It contains some 10 numbers, such as 'Zaccheus', 'Come and Render Unto Caesar', 'He's Coming Soon', 'He Cared for Me', 'Hosanna' and 'Today Has Salvation Come'

Object lesson

I found it an object lesson in worship, where the message is portrayed in such a wonderful way and so readily accepted and understood by young people

The audience, however, contained many middle-aged people who, like me, enjoyed every moment and stood and pondered about it all when the last notes of the marvellous chorus had died away.

I feel that much more will be heard about 'Zaccheus', for I am sure it is worthy of national acceptance. This could easily be brought about, especially if it was lengthened beyond its playing time of some 40 minutes.

Arthur Attwood



Dennis Merry
Jean Britton
Kevin Floyd
Linda Moore
Jeff Dodgson


Guitars and flute Herb Payne
Bass guitar Martin Wells
Drums Mike Maynard
John Prachett
Tuned percussion
Richard Britton
'Cello Patsy McBride
Bob Graham



About two thousand years ago,
With Rome the greatest Empire,
There lived a man of bad repute,
Zacchaeus, a cheat and liar.

Zacchaeus, a cheat, and liar!

Our scene takes place in Jericho
Where citizens are mumbling.
Great discontent has filled their hearts
And cause have they for grumbling.

Now honest work brings honest pay,
Or so one would believe,
Until the taxman does his rounds,
His portion to retrieve.

It wasn't just the portion fair
The taxman made them pay,
Zacchaeus, a cheat, a swindler, knew
Just how to make crime pay!

Come and Render Unto Caesar

Come and render unto Caesar the taxes that are due!
Delay may cause confusion, and twice as much for you!
Officials here are waiting for those who fail to pay,
But if the funds are lacking, a bribe will save the day!

So pay with a cheerful smile,
Don't bring me your denial,
Or you'll end up on trial,
Now what will you say?

Now I'm a busy man, overworked and underpaid,
No prospects of promotion, I'll never make the grade.
So what has life to offer to gentlemen like me,
Unless I aim to prosper, and damn my honesty?

He's Coming Soon

He's coming soon, He's coming through, yes through our city Jericho,
He's on His way, so don't delay, come quickly 'ore He's gone,
Hosanna, the King of kings and Lord of lords

He's coming soon, He's coming through, yes through our city Jericho,
He's on His way so don't delay, come quickly 'ore He's gone.

He Cared for Me

He cared for me,
He saw through me,
He knew how bad I had been,
Yet He cared for me.

His tender love;
His gentle love,
Reaching out to my guilty heart,
He forgave my sin.

He is my Lord,
He is my life,
He gives me reason to live,
Yes, He is my Lord.

Can it Be?

Can it be that He's the answer to my search for happiness and peace of mind? Can it be this man from Galilee is all, yes all I need? Oh can it be?

I've been seeking, searching, hoping; longing, on life's weary way, But my quest seemed hopeless, all in vain, and no reward but pain.

All my expectations unresolved. my hopes dashed to the ground. But in one brief moment all is changing, now some hope is found.


Hosanna, to the King
I can't see Him, I can't see Him, let me through, I can't see Him!

Well climb into this sycamore,
so you can see the Master come —
Leave your work and come and see
this famous man from Galilee,

He heals the lame, the blind can see,
the dumb can speak, men's souls set free!

The power of God at work in Him to loose the chains of suffering,
Behold He comes, prepare the way, for this could be your special day!

Zacchaeus, Come Down from the Tree
Zacchaeus, come down from the tree,
Zacchaeus, come quickly to me,
Zacchaeus, come down from the tree,
Zacchaeus, I'll come dine with thee!

Well, Would you Credit such a Thing!

Well would you credit such a thing,
a Holy man gone off with him!
Just think, He could have come with me,
and mingled with nobility!
To think He could have dined in style,
But He has chosen men of guile,
What kind of Holy man is He,
To mix with such bad company?
To think He could have dined in style,
But He has chosen men of guile!

Zacchaeus leaves much to be desired,
Although he's by the state admired.
His cheating ways have paid him well.
It seems this Jesus thinks him swell!
But those who know him, they can tell
He's heading for the fires of hell!

Perhaps we'd better go and see
If he's regained his honesty.
He may have had a change of heart,
And bid his sinful life depart.
The influence of his Holy Friend
His grasping outlook may amend!

Well would you credit such a thing,
A holy man gone off with him!
I think we'd better go and see
Just what the influence can be!

A Stranger Came

A stranger came, He knew my name,
but how, how can it be?
My life, He knew, from start to end,
what kind of man is He?

Some say He is the Son of God, this I believe to be.
My life must change, I now repent, this man has set me free.

Of all the goods that I possess, a half I give away
to those in need. The poor will know my heart has changed today.

I have been guilty in the past
of fraud and other crimes.
I now repent, and will restore
their goods to them four times.

Today has Salvation Come

Today has salvation come to this house,
Your repentance has gained you forgiveness from God.
Like Abraham, you're trusting in God,
And clothed in His robe of righteousness.


All those who are well, they need no cure.
They need not repent who never fail.
But the sick and the sinner know they need God.
The Messiah has come to seek and save the lost.

Hosanna! to the King!
Hosanna! Amen.