Archive for the ‘William Hiley Bathurst’ Tag

Feast of William Hiley Bathurst (November 25)   Leave a comment

BCP 1662

Above:  The Title Page of a 1968 Edition of The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Scan Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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WILLIAM HILEY BATHURST (AUGUST 28, 1796-NOVEMBER 25, 1877)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

William Hiley Bathurst (1796-1877) was the son of the Right Honourable Charles Bragge-Bathurst, Member of Parliament for Bristol.  Our saint, born at Clevadale, near Bristol, England, on August 28, 1796, was also a son of Charlotte Addington Brazze-Bathurst, whose mother’s maiden name was Hiley.

Our saint, an 1818 graduate of Christ Church, Oxford, became an Anglican deacon in 1819 and a priest the following year.  From 1820 to 1852 he served as the Rector of Barwick-in-Elmet, Yorkshire.  There he earned his reputation as a pious introvert who had, as one source another source I consulted quoted yet did not identity indicated,

the peculiarity of becoming utterly silent if one asked him the most trivial question.

That introversion helped Bathurst write much, for, while Rector, he published the following books:

  1. Psalms and Hymns for Public and Private Use (1831), 206 hymns plus 150 Psalm versifications; he wrote all but 18 of them;
  2. Metrical Musings (1849); and
  3. A Translation of the Georgics of Virgil (1849).

By 1852, however, our saint had developed theological reservations about the baptismal and funerary rites in The Book of Common Prayer (1662), so he retired from priestly duties.  (I have sought without success information regarding the precise nature of his theological qualms.)

Bathurst’s retirement entailed more writing.  For about eleven years he lived at Darley Dale, near Matlock, Derbyshire.  Then, in 1863, he inherited the family estate at Lydney Park, Gloucestershire, when his brother died.  Our saint died there on November 25, 1877.  A book, Roman Antiquities of Lydney Park, rolled off the presses in 1879.

Among Bathurst’s hymns was “Jesus, Thy Church with Longing Eyes” (1831), an Advent text.  The third stanza prayed:

Come, gracious Lord, our hears renew,

Our foes repel, our wrongs redress,

Man’s rooted enmity subdue,

And crown Thy Gospel with success.

Another 1831 text asked God for a “faith that will not shrink.”  Although I disagree with parts of that hymn, the fifth stanza stands the test of time well:

A faith that keeps the narrow way

Till life’s last spark is fled

And with a pure and heavenly ray

Lights up the dying bed.

Introverted, bookish saints appeal to me, for I am an introverted, bookish person and Christian.  Overly extroverted forms of religion annoy me at best and alienate me at worst.  I knew that, regardless of any theological distance between Bathurst and me, I liked him when I read that he was shy and retiring and had translated Virgil.  And, when our saint developed theological qualms, he retired; he did not commit schism.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 16, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ALL CHRISTIAN MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS POTT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF HUGH LATIMER, NICHOLAS RIDLEY, AND THOMAS CRANMER, ANGLICAN MARTYRS

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

William Hiley Bathurst and others, who have composed 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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