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Out of the question

10 July 2015


Your answers

Nearly one year ago, our church bought the new Ancient & Modern hymn book. What intrigues me is the number of hymns by Timothy Dudley-Smith. Out of 846, 41 are by him. Since most are completely new to me, where have they been until now? Every one has a new message expressed in simple terms.


Your correspondent enquires kindly about my hymn-writing. You ask us not to send you letters for forwarding, or I would have written personally.

The briefest reply to the question "Where have my hymns been until now?" is that since the 1960s they have been slowly appearing in two main places. They can be found in single-author collections (try A House of Praise, OUP, 2003 and 2015, or A Mirror to the Soul, 2013). But, second, those that appeal to editors sleep peacefully — in excellent company — on the pages of various hymn books, until they are discovered, chosen, learnt, and sung by a congregation, to the glory of God and the praise of Jesus Christ. It is a gradual process, but this is what they were born for.

Hymn-writing has been for me a totally unexpected gift, since I am all-but-totally unmusical, but it is one for which I thank God, and which, I trust, has not yet quite come to an end.

(The Rt Revd) Timothy Dudley-Smith
9 Ashlands, Ford, Salisbury SP4 6DY


Your questions

In the Edinburgh Review (1824, vol. 44, p. 4), Christopher Wordsworth states that the nonjuror George Hickes disclosed that Dorothy, Lady Pakington, was the author of The Whole Duty of Man (apparently in the dedication of Hickes’s Anglo-Saxon Grammar). He notes that Dr Fell, in the preface to the works of the undisclosed author, studiously avoided the personal pronoun that would have disclosed the sex of the author. What is the latest view on this matter, and if known, what exactly did Dr Hickes state or allege?

A. B.


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