Feast of George Hugh Bourne (December 1)   3 comments

Above:  Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, by John Constable

Image in the Public Domain

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GEORGE HUGH BOURNE (NOVEMBER 8, 1840-DECEMBER 1, 1925)

Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator

George Hugh Bourne comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church.

Bourne was a priest in The Church of England and the son of an Anglican priest.  The father was R. B. Bourne, serving at St. Paul’s Cray, London, England, on November 8, 1840, when our saint debuted.  G. B. Bourne grew up with at least one sibling, Elizabeth.  Our saint studied at Eton then at Christ Church College, Oxford (B.A., 1863; B.C.L., 1866; D.C.L., 1871).  He, ordained to the diaconate in 1863, joined the ranks of priests the following year.

Bourne served as the Curate of Sandford-on-Thames from 1863 to 1865.  During this time, he translated Pange lingua gloriosi corporis from Latin into English as “Of the Wondrous Body, O My Tongue Be Telling.”  This translated hymn was one of the texts in Lyra Eucharistica, Second Edition (1864).

Bourne served at St. Andrew’s College, Chardstock, starting in 1866.  He was the headmaster (1866f) then the warden (1874f).  Sometime during our saint’s tenure, St. Andrew’s College transferred to St. Edmund’s College, Salisbury.  In 1867, Bourne composed a hymn, “O Christ, the King of Human Life,” for the wedding of his sister, Elizabeth, to Allan Webb (1839-1907), soon to become the Anglican Bishop of Bloemfontein, South Africa.  Also, in 1874, our saint contributed at least two texts to Seven Post-Communion Hymns (1874), for use in the chapel at St. Edmund’s College, Salisbury.  One text was “O Christ Our God, Who With Thine Own Hast been.”  However, “Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor,” usually sung to BRYN CALFARIA, has become a hit.

I know Bourne’s name because of “Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor.”  Perhaps you do, too, O reader.  This is our saint’s most popular hymn, ranked by inclusion in hymnals, over time.  This is a text that that made its U.S. debut in The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church.

Bourne served faithfully in a succession of positions.  He was the chaplain to this brother-in-law, Allan Webb, from 1879 to 1898.  Webb was the Bishop of Bloemfontein (1870-1883) then the Bishop of Grahamstown (1883-1898), in South Africa.  He retired in 1898.  From 1901 to 1907, Webb served as the Dean of Salisbury, England.  Bourne doubled as sub-deacon at the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Salisbury Cathedral) from 1887 to 1901.  Starting in 1901, our saint served as the cathedral’s treasurer and a prebendary there.  (“Prebendary” was an honorary title.  A prebendary held a prebend, an endowment in land or a pension, given to a cathedral for the support of a secular priest or a regular canon.)

Bourne, aged 85 years, died in Salisbury on December 1, 1925.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS MARY, MARTHA, AND LAZARUS OF BETHANY, FRIENDS OF JESUS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

George Hugh Bourne 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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3 responses to “Feast of George Hugh Bourne (December 1)

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  1. Pingback: Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor | GATHERED PRAYERS

  2. Had to go and listen to “Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor.” Still don’t recall having heard it before. Quite nice.

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