Featherston(e), William Ralph (or Rolf)
b Montreal, Quebec, Canada 1846, d Montreal 1873. He grew up as a Wesleyan Methodist in Montreal. His family’s church later became St James’s Methodist Ch, then St James’s United Ch; WRF lived in that city all his life. He was converted at the age of 16, and appears to have written his best-known hymn, including its most solemn adult lines, around that time. He sent it to his aunt in Los Angeles; she sent it to the Primitive Methodist Magazine that same year (1862) and two years later it featured anonymously in a British book for the first time (it was still ‘anon’ to Julian). At a period when few Canadian hymns were sung outside Canada, it entered Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos and it is still used in the UK in CH, MP and other books. No.735.