Frances Ridley Havergal, 1836-1879.

Notes from Dr. Julian's Hymnology:

Miss Havergal was born at Astley, Worcestershire, Dec. 14th. 1836, the daughter of the Rev. W.H. Havergal. Five years later her father moved to the Rectory of St. Nicholas, Worcester. In Aug. 1850 she entered Mrs. Teed's school, whose influence over her was most beneficial. In the following year she says, "I committed my soul to the Saviour, and earth and heaven seemed brighter from that moment". A short sojourn in Germany followed, and on her return she was confirmed in Worcester Cathedral, July 17th. 1853. In 1866 she left Worcester on her father resigning the Rectory of St. Nicholas and resided at different periods in Leamington and at Caswell Bay, Swansea. broken by visits to Switzerland, June 3rd. 1879.

Miss Havergal's scholastic acquirements were extensive, embracing several modern languages, together with Greek and Hebrew. She does not occupy, and did not claim for herself, a prominent place as a poet, but by her distinctive individuality she carved out a niche that she alone could fill. Simply and sweetly she sang the love of God and His Way of salvation. To this end, and for this object, her whole life and all her powers were consecrated. She lives and speaks in every line of her poetry. Her poems are permeated with the fragrance of her passionate love of Jesus. Her religious views and theological bias are distinctly set forth in her poems, and may be described as mildly Calvinistic, without the severe dogmatic tenet of reprobation. The burden of her writings is a free and full salvation, through the Redeemer's merits, for every sinner who will receive it, and her life was devoted to the proclamation of this truth by personal labours, literary efforts and earnest interest in missions.

From 'Great Hymns and their Stories" by W.J. Linner Sheppard:

The story of Miss Havergal's well loved hymn 'Take my life and let it be'. Miss Havergal said, "Perhaps you will be interested to know the origin of the consecration hymn, "Take my life". I went for a little visit of five days (to Areley House). There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer 'Lord, give me all in the house' And He just did. Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit, after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying. Then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced. It was midnight. I was too happy to sleep and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration, and these little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart one after another, till they finished with 'Ever, only, all for Thee"'

Miss Havergal always sang this hymn to her father's tune "Patmos", and the desire both of herself and her family was that any publication that included this hymn would have this tune associated with it. This wish has, however, been almost universally disregarded by compilers, the tune most frequently appearing with the hymn being that known as "Mozart".

Miss Havergal's hymn in 'Spiritual Songs' is no. 369, "Precious, precious blood of Jesus, Shed on Calvary". It was written in September 1874 at Ormont, Dessons. All our hopes for eternity with Christ rest upon the value and efficacy of the precious blood of Jesus.

Hymns by Frances Ridley Havergal