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Archbishop J. R. Darbyshire

14 October 2016


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Glyn Paflin (Diary, 26 August) mentions Hymns A. & M. 595. This is Archbishop J. R. Darbyshire’s hymn “For the Fallen”, with its line about “a tryst of love with them that sleep”, safer than the once popular 594 (not mentioned), now seen as “too doubtful”. When and where did the Archbishop live and work? How else is he remembered?


According to the Historical Companion to “Hymns Ancient & Modern”, John Russell Darbyshire was born at Birkenhead in 1880. He was educated at Birkenhead School, Dulwich College, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge; BA 1902, MA 1906, and later DD and Litt.D. He was consecrated Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway in 1931, and in 1938 was appointed Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of South Africa. He died in London on 30 June 1948.
John Radford
Wimborne St Giles, Dorset


Archbishop Darbyshire was taken ill and died suddenly while staying with the future Bishop George Reindorp at St Stephen’s Vicarage, Rochester Row, having come to London for the Lambeth Conference. He had served on the Doctrine Commission chaired by William Temple which had reported in 1938.

Geoffrey Clayton, Bishop of Johannesburg, wrote in the Church Times (9 July 1948) that he was “a most interesting and attractive personality”. Brought up under Evangelical influences, he had become Vice-Principal of Ridley Hall. “In the course of his life his theological and ecclesiastical posi­tion altered. But he was always a definite Churchman, and never an undenominationalist. He was a great lover of beauty, an excellent musi­cian, with a considerable knowledge of literature and art. . .

“He believed whole-heartedly in the Catholic faith, and he was of opinion that the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church had rendered great services in standing out for the defence of the essentials of the faith. . . After a spell of work at Liverpool and Manchester, he went to Sheffield as Archdeacon, and there he accomplished a great work. The breadth of his interests, his wide culture and his musical and literary gifts attracted to him, and through him to the Church, numbers of young people.

“After his episcopate at Glasgow, he went to South Africa. . . As Archbishop he worked extremely hard, and overtaxed his strength. He devoted much of his time to visiting the various dioceses in his Province. He interested himself in the Christian Council of South Africa, of which he was chairman, and in which his leadership was greatly appreciated.” Editor


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