Briggs, George Wallace
b Kirkby, Notts 1875, d Hindhead, Surrey 1959. Emmanuel Coll Cambridge (BA in Classics, 1897); following ordination in 1899 he was a curate in Wakefield, a Royal Naval chaplain from 1902–09 including a spell on the staff of the London Coll of Divinity (1906–07), then incumbent successively in Norwich, where his hymnwriting began, and Loughborough. In 1920 he was a Select (visiting) Preacher at Cambridge. He became a Canon of Leicester (1927–34) and Worcester ( 1934–56), serving on many educational and church committees before retiring to Hindhead. In 1927 Prayers and Hymns for Use in Schools, produced in Leicester largely under his guidance, proved highly popular, and indirectly influenced many school assemblies nationwide; another formative volume was The Daily Service. As well as compiling other books of prayers and hymns for schools (including a share in Prayers and Hymns for Little children, 1932, which featured I love God’s tiny creatures and 3 other texts of his) he assisted Percy Dearmer with the editing of Songs of Praise, which had 16 of his texts and 8 tunes, in 1925 and 1931. Congregational Praise in 1951 had 9. He helped to compile the BBC Hymn Book (also 1951), having in 1932 became a founder-member of the Hymn Society of GB and Ireland. Hymns of the Faith, compiled in 1957 for Worcester Cathedral, was another of his productions. The latest A&M (Common Praise, 2000) includes 5 of his texts, and they are frequently found in N American hymn-books; among them is Now is eternal life, acclaimed by Alan Gaunt and others as his finest. Others would equally value his communion hymn from 1931, Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest. Routley commended his ‘fastidious and self-critical mind…a marvellous simplicity, and a rare sense of lyric form’. No.546.