Caswell the Hymn Translator

This is the day that … Edward Caswell was born in Hampshire, England, in 1814.

The son of an Anglican vicar, young Edward graduated from Oxford in 1836, and three years later became a clergyman.

But during his first ministerial charge he was caught up in the Oxford Movement, which resulted in his seceding to the Church of Rome. After the death of his wife three years later he was accepted into the Roman Catholic priesthood.

For the next 28 years he worked among the “sick and the poor” at Edgbaston – and there he died on 2 January, 1878.

During those later years he wrote, and translated from the Latin, many hymns. Some of the best known include :

Jesus, the very thought of Thee …

O Jesus, King most wonderful …

When morning gilds the skies …

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.

John Henry Newman, Hymn Writer

This is the day that …John Henry Newman wrote his immortal hymn …
Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead Thou me on;
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene – one step enough for me.

Newman was ‘at sea, 16 June, 1833’ when he penned those words.

At the age of 32 this Church of England clergyman had visited the continent in an effort to regain his health. In Sicily he caught a fever that brought him to the brink of death. Besides all of this, there was mental turmoil over spiritual issues.

It was on the voyage home to England – ‘on a merchant vessel carrying a load of oranges’ – that he wrote his famous hymn.

Twelve years later he forsook the Church of England and joined the Church of Rome.

In 1879 he was made a cardinal. He died the following year, at the age of 89.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.