Sunday, 16 March 2014

Frances Ridley Havergal - Famous Worcestershire Hymn writer and poet

Frances Ridley Havergal was loved by everyone throughout her life. From the moment she was born in 1836, Frances was considered an angel by her family.

Frances as a young girl was charming and lovely, almost fairy tale-like in her manner and appearance, but Frances had a secret; she felt unworthy of being a Christian. This feeling plagued her. Frances made sure that her outward appearance was always a happy one, so that nobody knew how she felt.

Image of Frances Ridley Havergal from Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal (London, 1881). Reproduced by permission of the Chapter of Worcester Cathedral (U.K.)
Frances lost her mother when she was only eleven years old and a bitterness from losing her made Frances, for a while, feel alone and lost in the world. After having a holiday in North Wales, Frances' father decided that she should go to school. At school Frances soon developed a scholarly interest. She learnt French and German; as well as showing a talent for music, Frances sang hymns and even wrote her own, as she possessed a skill for rhymes. Anything she wrote or sang was always dedicated to god. Everyone who knew Frances thought that she was a clever and amazing child.

Although Frances was a fun and happy teenager, as shown in a quote from a school girl who met her: "Miss Frances flashed into the room, she was like a burst of sunshine - I sat perfectly spellbound as she sang and talked." Frances still didn't feel connected to God, which upset her immensely, as she wanted to be filled with the Joy of God.

Frances top right in Lizzie Alldridge's The World's Workers- Florence Nightingale, Frances Ridley Havergal, Catherine Marsh and Mrs. Ranyard (London, 1886). Reproduced by permission of the Chapter of Worcester Cathedral, (U.K.)

Frances' charasmatic personality allowed her to make friends easily. Wherever she went, others wanted to follow. Frances had  a full life. She supported many charities, as well as writing books of poems and prayers for children and adults. Finally in 1873, Frances decalred that she had received a blessing, saying that "her whole life had been lifted in to sunshine". Now that Frances felt connected with God, she became filled with a new and all consuming happiness. She became if possible even more radiant to those around her.


 Frances' grave from Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal (London 1883). Reproduced by permission of the Chapter of Worcester Cathedral, U.K.
Frances died when she was 41 years old in 1879. What is interesting about Frances Ridley Havergal was her pureness and the way she seemed raised above others; Frances througout her life remained perfect and untouched. Frances is unlike anybopdy that I have ever read about or met, inn today's fast moviung world. The qualities she embodies are exceptionally hard to find in oneself. What sums her up to me is the way that others respond to these qualities. "I love her I do: I would follow her every step of the way back to England if I could".

by Darcie Sutton       

Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal by her sister M.V.G.Havergal, (London,1881 and 1883 editions)
The world's workers- Florence Nightingale, Frances Ridley Havergal, Catherine Marsh, Mrs.Ranyard by Lizzie Alldridge (London, 1886)                


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