Alford, Henry


b Bloomsbury, Middx (C London) 1810, d Canterbury, Kent 1871. The product of a long-standing clerical family, at the age of 6 he produced his own ‘Travels of St Paul’, at 11 a collection of hymns, soon followed by several Latin odes. After attending Ilminster Grammar Sch, Som, and Trinity Coll Cambridge (BA 1832), he became a Fellow of Trinity, and was ordained in 1833. He served as curate at Wingfield, Wilts (to his father), then at Ampton, nr Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk; for 18 years as Vicar of Wymeswold, nr Loughborough, Leics; as Incumbent of the large congregation at Quebec Chapel, Marylebone in C London (1853–57); and finally as Dean of Canterbury from 1857 until his death 14 years later. In 1841 he was the Hulsean Lecturer at Cambridge, and his commentary on the Gk NT which took 20 years to complete remained a standard work, critical but conservative, of the later 19th c. He was also a member of the NT Revision Company for the Revised Version of the Bible. Skilled in painting, music and even organ-building, he was the first editor of the Contemporary Review and cherished a hope of visiting Palestine which was not to be fulfilled. He wrote his own poetry, edited that of Jn Donne, translated Gk texts including Homer’s Odyssey, and composed several original hymns in classic Victorian-Anglican mode, while remaining on better terms with Free Church members than some of his contemporaries felt able to do. He was also a hymnal editor; Hymns for the Sundays and Festivals throughout the Year (an echo of his boyhood efforts) was published in 1836, and Year of Praise in 1867. 7 of his texts have featured in various edns of A&M, though only his celebrated harvest hymn survives in its latest (2000) one, as here. EH has 5 of his hymns, CH has 4 and GH, 3. One remarkable (to us) but then hardly unique item was set for the Sunday after Christmas Day, beginning ‘Set thine house in order…’, from Isaiah 38:1ff. No.913.

Hymns and songs by Alford, Henry

Number Hymn Name
913 Come you thankful people come