b Manchester 1926. Tonbridge School, Kent, Pembroke Coll Camb, and Ridley Hall Camb; ordained (CofE) 1950. After ministry at Northumberland Heath (nr Erith, Kent) and Bermondsey (SE London) he worked with the Evangelical Alliance, editing Crusade magazine before moving to the Church Pastoral Aid Society, becoming Gen Sec in 1965. Subsequently he became Archdeacon of Norwich (73–81), then suffragan Bp of Thetford until his retirement to Ford, nr Salisbury, in 1992. A writer of verse (including a mastery of the comic sort) from his youth, he is seen by Prof J R Watson (in The English Hymn, 1997) as igniting the late 20th cent ‘hymn explosion’ with his 1961 Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord, one of the hymns from that period in the widest use. He is the author of over 250 hymn texts in a similar number of hymnals worldwide, first collected in Lift Every Heart (1984), most recently in A House of Praise ( 2003). The latest of 4 smaller supplements, A Door for the Word, appeared in 2006, and 2 smaller booklets of his texts with accompanying music were published in 2001 and 2006: respectively Beneath a Travelling Star and A Calendar of Praise.
For many years the Bible commentator Derek Kidner was a mentor for most of TDS’s early drafts. While some were begun or completed at home, on trains or elsewhere, several were the fruit of family holidays on the Cornish coast, as a pre-breakfast employment (and delight) overlooking the beach near The Lizard. As reviewers have often observed, his texts are notable for their varied metres, disciplined rhyming, and biblical content; the theme of redemption through the cross and the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is a theme encountered consistently, naturally and with variety; so is the fact that ‘the Lord is risen’. Without plagiarising, the hymns deliberately draw on a wide range of earlier poets and other authors for suggested ideas, as the attached notes fully illustrate. 37 items are included in Sing Glory (1999); 18 are in the N American Worship and Rejoice (2001), 9 in the 2005 edn of A Panorama of Christian Hymnody and 33 in the new Anglo- Chinese Hymns of Universal Praise (new edn, 2006). His other books include A Flame of Love: A personal choice of Charles Wesley’s verse ( 1987), Praying with the English Hymn-writers (1989), and a 2 vol biography (the first) of John R W Stott (1999, 2001). He has served on editorial groups for Psalm Praise (1973) and Common Praise (2000), and has addressed and been honoured by both the N American and British Hymn Societies, respectively as Fellow and Hon Vice-President. In 2003 he was awarded the OBE ‘for services to hymnody’. Hymn festivals in Tunbridge Wells and Salisbury, together with an extended BBC ‘Sunday Half Hour’ on New Year’s Eve, marked his 80th birthday at the end of 2006, following the publication of a seasonallyarranged selection of 30 texts in A Calendar of Praise (with music, mostly traditional). In an opening address to the Hymn Soc’s Guildford conference in its 70th year (also 2006), TDS spoke of his (and our) ups and downs as ‘Snakes and Ladders’, concluding with that greatest of ‘ladders’ from Gen 28, referred to in Elizabeth’s Clephane’s text (699) which has meant everything to him: ‘so seems my Saviour’s cross to me/ a ladder up to heaven’. Nos.10, 20, 25, 26, 32, 34, 41, 56, 60, 63, 65, 69B, 72, 73, 91B, 115, 119H, 134, 141, 218, 238, 320, 327, 351, 360, 389, 402, 405, 410, 413, 436, 459, 466, 488, 497, 516, 531, 553, 558, 623, 628, 659, 688, 697, 746, 750, 784, 823, 924, 925, 939, 949, 951.