Matson, William Tidd


b W Hackney, London 1833, d Portsea, Hants 1899. Named after his godfather, the leading QC Wm Tidd, he was educated privately under the Rev J M Gould, then at St John’s Coll Cambridge and the Agricultural and Chemical Coll, Kennington, Surrey (SE London). An Anglican who after a notable spiritual renewal embraced first Methodism (New Connexion, 1853) then Congregationalism, in 1857 he trained for the ministry at Cotton End Academy (Institute) near Bedford, and was ordained in 1860 to a pastorate in Havant, Hants. He later served for 9 years at Gosport Old Meeting (now Bury Rd Church); then at Highbury Chapel, Portsmouth; Stratford (E London); Rothwell (Northants); and Sarisbury Green (nr Fareham, Hants) from 1885 to his retirement in 1897. The new chapel there was named the ‘William Tidd Matson Memorial Church’. He was an enthusiast for Sunday Schools, and president of the Portsmouth Sunday Sch Union in 1880, a year in which the centenary of the movement was celebrated. He published 9 volumes of (mainly) verse, 1857–1894, from A Summer Evening Review to The Poetical Works of W Tidd Matson. Several of his hymn texts were written to be sung to German chorale tunes, but his most enduring texts are the products of his earlier years. ‘Somewhat lacking in lyric energy’ but still ‘far above the average’ is W Garrett Horder’s reluctant commendation in Julian. 5 texts find a place in the 1951 Congregational Praise; several books still have 2 of these, but only his best-known hymn seems to have been much appreciated in N America. Nos.156, 690.

Hymns and songs by Matson, William Tidd

Number Hymn Name
156 God is in his temple
690 Lord, I was blind; I could not see