Holy Father, cheer our way

A hymn to sing along with…

A short evening hymn referencing the Trinity. As we do not have sung Evensong as part of our normal service pattern at St Oswald’s, there are not so many evening hymns in our repertoire. Hopefully, our older parishioners won’t find the words of verse 3 too morbid, especially in a time of pestilence.

The words were written by Revd Richard Hayes Robinson (1842-1892), an Anglican clergyman born in Dublin. The hymn was written in 1869 for the parish of Upper Norwood while he was curate at nearby Penge (possibly in the same parish at that date).

That same year he was appointed as Minister to the Octagon Chapel, Bath “without cure of souls”. This chapel had been built in 1767 and had been a fashionable church for the likes of Jane Austen to attend while visiting Bath. The astronomer William Herschel was the first organist. However, as the chapel was leasehold, it was never consecrated. It fell out of use in the 1890s and became an antique shop.

The reason for including this hymn in the collection is for its tune “Vesper” by Sir John Stainer (1840-1901). The metre of the hymn is 77 75 and the only other well-known hymn of this format is “Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost” – which already has its own popular Stainer tune (“Charity”).

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