Thring, Godfrey


b Alford, Som 1823, d Shamley Green, nr Godalming, Surrey 1903. Shrewsbury Sch; Balliol Coll Oxford. Ordained (CofE) 1846. After curacies at Stratfield-Turgis and Stratfield Saye (both nr Basingstoke, Hants) and others until 1858, he succeeded his father as Rector of Alford with Hornblotton, nr Shepton Mallet, Som; he was made a Prebendary of Wells in 1876. He published 2 collections of hymns; Hymns and Verses (1866) had 40 hymns and 27 ‘verses’, including autobiographical and romantic items. In editing A Church of England Hymn Book (1880; revised in 1882 as The CofE Hymn Bk), he said that its contents and grand title represented a protest ‘against the system of party hymn books’—high ch, broad, evangelical etc. His aim and achievement were warmly praised by the hymnologist Louis F Benson, but remained more a curiosity than a success. In brotherly correspondence with Jn Ellerton (qv) in 1879, Thring admitted many of its flaws (‘I hardly know how I came to omit this’); he did not always agree (‘You are rather hard upon this’) and regretted that some of JE’s most pertinent comments came too late to affect the contents (‘I had perhaps better have omitted the hymn altogether, but again, too late’). Ironically, the Anglo-catholic English Hymnal of 1906 included 7 of GT’s hymns, a total well above average. But so did the Baptist Hymn Book of 1962, whose ‘Companion’ describes them as more literary and less didactic than was usual for his time; in an extended treatment, Julian lists 53 hymns and uses words such as ‘objective, strong, decided, hopefulness, excellence’. (GT’s elder brother Edward, headmaster of Uppingham Sch, became a noted educationalist and a pioneer of sending public schoolboys to share in inner London church work.) No.480*.

Hymns and songs by Thring, Godfrey

Number Hymn Name
480 Crown him with many crowns