Smith, Walter Chalmers


b Aberdeen 1824, d Kinbuck, Dunblane, Perthshire (Stirling) 1908. Aberdeen Grammar Sch and Marischal Coll; Aberdeen Univ (MA 1841); then studied under Thos Chalmers at New Coll Edinburgh. After a probationary period at Newburgh. Aberdeenshire, he was ordained in 1850 to minister to the Ch of Scotland congregation meeting in Chadwell St, Pentonville, N London. After an undistinguished beginning there he returned north in 1854 to pastor Orwell Free Ch at Milnathort nr Kinross, followed by the Free Tron Ch, Glasgow, 4 years later. From 1876 and for some 20 years until his retirement in 1896 he was Minister of the Free High Ch in Edinburgh. Although the Free Church’s 1867 General Assembly had ‘affectionately admonished him’ for some liberal tendencies, and he added to this the offence of wanting a more relaxed form of subscription to the Confession of Faith, he became the Assembly’s Moderator for its Jubilee year 1893. He published several books including collections of hymns and other verse (1902); ‘rich in thought and vigorous in expression’, says F M Bird in Julian. These included several humorous and ‘unpretentious’ poems, some over pseudonyms. Even in Scotland, no more than 2 of his hymns seem to have lasted; one remains well-known but both usually appear in a truncated form. Having been awarded a Glasgow DD in 1869, to which both Aberdeen and Edinburgh Univs added the LLD (1876 and 1893), he died at home a little short of his 84th birthday. Nos.248, 356.

Hymns and songs by Smith, Walter Chalmers

Number Hymn Name
248 Immortal, invisible, God only wise
356 Earth was waiting, spent and restless