With Ascension Day upon us, we asked Christopher Jobson, our local historian and Organist at Colemere Church for 64 years, to suggest his favourite hymn and the history behind it.
George Herbert, 1593-1663, was the fifth son of a noble family of the Welsh Marches, which had several branches, one of which lived at Chirbury in Shropshire. Born in Montgomery Castle, George was educated at Westminster and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was a fine scholar, a fellow of his College, Public Orator of the University and a musician who became a personal friend of James I.
When his mother died he became a priest, in accordance with her wishes, and was presented to the small parish of Bemerton by King Charles I. Here, in the last few years of his life, he wrote some of the most penetrating religious verse in the English language some of which consoled Charles I as he awaited execution. It is said that he was so loved and respected by his parishioners that the ploughmen would stop ploughing when they heard the church bell ring each day.
No. 704 in Ancient & Modern, Hymns and Songs for Refreshing Worship, 2013
You can read more of Christopher’s works in his series “Treasures of the Benefice”.
The feature image for this post is “Portrait of Geo. Herbert“, WkiCommons (P.D.)