Feast of Greville Phillimore (January 16)   1 comment

Henley-on Thames

Above:  Henley-on-Thames, England, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08588

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GREVILLE PHILLIMORE (FEBRUARY 5, 1821-JANUARY 20, 1884)

English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

The name of Greville Phillimore came to my attention via The Pilgrim Hymnal (1931/1935), one of the better old hymn books.  The process of reading and taking notes about Phillimore led me to wonderful hymns he wrote.  I have added 13 of them to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.  I also read other splendid hymn texts he composed, but they did not address God, so I chose not to augment GATHERED PRAYERS with them.

Greville Phillimore entered the world at London, England, the United Kingdom, on February 5, 1821.  He, the fifth son of Joseph Phillimore (1775-1855) and Elizabeth Phillimore (died in 1859), came from a distinguished family.  Joseph was the Regius Professor of Civil Law at Shiplake House, Henley-on-Thames, near London.  One of our saint’s brothers was Sir Robert Joseph Phillimore (1810-1885), the first Baron of Shiplake.  Another brother was Sir Augustus Phillimore (1822-1897), an admiral of the Royal Army.  Young Greville attended the Westminster School, the Charterhouse, and Christ Church, Oxford (B.A., 1842; M.A., 1844).  Then his fruitful career as a priest in The Church of England began.

That career commenced in 1845, when Phillimore took Anglican Holy Orders.  He served as the Curate of Henley-on-Thames (1846-1847), the Curate of Shiplake (1847-1848), the Curate of Wargrave and Fawley (1848-1849), the Curate of Henley-on-Thames again (1850-1851), the Vicar of Down Ampney (1851-1868), the Rector of Henley-on-Thames (1868-1883), and the Rector of Ewelme (1883-1884).  He died at Ewelme on January 20, 1884.  Among his survivors was a daughter, Catherine Mary Phillimore, whose mother Emma Carolina Goddard (Phillimore), who married our saint on April 16, 1857.  Emma Carolina’s father was a Member of Parliament.

Phillimore left a fine legacy in hymnody.  Not only did he write original hymns, he also translated hymns from Latin.  (I have read hymns our saint wrote, but not located any he translated.)  He (with Hyde Wyndham Beadon and James Russell Woodford) edited the Parish Hymn Book (1863), a volume of great importance.  It was among the first hymnals to include hymn translations by John Mason Neale (1818-1866).  An expanded version of the Parish Hymn Book followed in 1875.

Phillimore also published sermons.  Parochial Sermons dated from 1856.  His daughter, Catherine Mary, included hymns and certain sermons by her father in In Memoriam:  A Selection of Sermons by the Rev. Greville Phillimore, M.A….Also, Hymns by the Same Author (1884).  Thus his theological legacy has come down to us in written form, fortunately.

When I started researching Greville Phillimore I read blurbs at hymn websites and a rather scant biography in a hymnal companion volume.  These sources provided helpful hints for further exploration in the historical record, but did not convey the man’s literary ability.  From a variety of sources I compiled the texts of 13 hymns for a sister weblog.  Spending time with Phillimore’s texts has left me impressed with his faith and his literary skill.  The fact that few of those gems remain in hymnals in use in 2015 has confirmed my evaluation of the relatively dismal state of English-language hymnody.

At least Phillimore’s hymns are available for interested parties to use in worship as they deem appropriate.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SHEPHERD KNAPP, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GOTTFRIED WILHELM SACER, GERMAN LUTHERAN ATTORNEY AND HYMN WRITER; AND FRANCES ELIZABETH COX, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN DUCKETT AND RALPH CORBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS IN ENGLAND

THE FEAST OF NIKOLAI GRUNDTVIG, HYMN WRITER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Greville Phillimore and others, who have composed and translated hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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One response to “Feast of Greville Phillimore (January 16)

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  1. Pingback: Greville Phillimore | GATHERED PRAYERS

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