Pilcher, Charles Venn


b Oxford 1879, d Sydney, NSW, Australia 1961. Charterhouse Sch; Hertford Coll Oxford (BA, MA, BD). Ordained in 1903, he was a curate in Birmingham before becoming chaplain to Bp Handley Moule of Durham (qv, 1905) and principal of the Bishop’s Hostel. In 1906 he moved to Toronto, Canada, where he stayed for 30 years, first teaching Gk at Wycliffe Coll, then as curate of St James’s Cathedral, 1910–16. For 10 years he played bass clarinet in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Overlapping with a period as precentor of the Church of the Resurrection, he again taught at Wycliffe Coll (Prof of OT Literature 1919–23, and of NT Language and Literature 1923–26), and served as canon and precentor of St Alban’s Toronto from 1931 until 1936 when he became Bishop-Coadjutor of Sydney, Australia. During his 20 years there he lectured at Moore Theological Coll and was a member of the Board of Studies in Divinity at the Univ of Sydney. He was also a pioneer specialist in Icelandic studies, publishing standard translations of Icelandic works in 1913 (as Passion Hymns of Iceland, see also under H Petersson), 1923 (meditations on Christ’s passion) and 1950 (other Christian classics). In 1938, 3 of his translated texts and 4 tunes appeared in Canada’s Book of Common Praise, and he was secretary of the committee planning an Australian Church Hymn Book in the wartime conditions of 1943–45. What emerged in 1947 was an Australian Supplement to the Canadian book, which included 13 of his hymns and 12 tunes. One text and two translations were chosen for the book known outside Australia as With One Voice. As with many translations from Welsh hymns, it appears hard to catch in English the full poetic flavour of the original. No.907.

Hymns and songs by Pilcher, Charles Venn

Number Hymn Name
907 I know that my Redeemer