Havergal, William Henry

Composer

b Chipping Wycombe, Bucks 1793, d Leamington, Warwicks 1870. Merchant Taylor’s Sch, London; St Edmund Hall Oxford (BA, MA); ordained (CofE) 1816. He served curacies in Bristol and Coaley (Glos); curate and de facto incumbent of Astley (Worcs) from 1822; rector 1829–42. In spite of uncertain health and limited eyesight following a serious carriage accident in his mid-30s, he was noted for his large and musical household and open house, his preaching, children’s work and building restoration. He composed tunes for regular Sunday use by the congregation, and published music from the 1830s onwards. He was a keen supporter of CMS (now the Church Mission Soc). He was a keen royalist, and for Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1838 he issued his own revised text for the National Anthem, duly sung at the Astley celebrations. In 1845 he became Rector of St Nicholas’ Worcester (and a cathedral canon), where his wife Jane died in 1848; in 1851 he married his daughter Maria’s teacher Caroline Cooke, who survived him by 8 years. He found some improvement in health, including his eyesight, during some months on the continent; but in 1860 he moved to the small but ‘tough’ village parish of Shareshill (Staffs) from which he effectively retired in 1867, moving to Leamington until his death. His publications included an 1844 reprint of Ravenscroft’s Whole Boke of Psalmes of 1621 (which he specially loved); Old Church Psalmody (1847); a History of the Old Hundredth (1854); and A Hundred Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1859). He arranged or adapted several tunes for the early edns of A&M; 16 items in the 1965 Anglican Hymn Book owe something to him as do 7 in the Canadian Common Praise of 1998, while Hymns of Faith (1964) has 5 of his tunes, 2 of these coming twice, and an arrangement. Two tunes are set here as elsewhere to words by his youngest daughter Frances (qv), for whom he was also a great encourager and close companion in the faith. He looked back to the best Elizabethan composers as models of ‘profound erudition and excellent judgement’, contrasting them with the ‘wanton fancy’ of the ‘vulgar, insipid, or boisterous’ musicians who ‘turn auditors into applauders’. No.264=502, 348*, 669*, 765*.

Tunes and arrangements by Havergal, William Henry

Tune Name
Adoration
Pleading Saviour (Saltash)
Ratisbon
Winchester New