LETTER: All hymns wise and wonderful

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The Independent Online
From Mr Hallam Murray

Sir: I cannot be alone in my feelings of sheer amazement at the vitriolic attack on one of our finest children's hymns by the Catholic Bishop of Leeds (report, 5 September).

"All Things Bright and Beautiful" was written by one of our most prolific Victorian hymn writers, whose canon of work includes such hardy perennials as "There is a Green Hill" and "Once in Royal David's City". Mrs C. F. Alexander (the centenary of whose death falls this year) wrote this hymn while staying at Markree Castle just outside Sligo. Her beautiful yet simple portrayal of nature, which includes the purple-headed mountain (Benbulbin) aptly describes this majestic corner of Ireland. The offending last verse, which would have been perfectly acceptable in Victorian times, was removed from most hymn books as early as 1930.

Yours faithfully,

Hallam Murray

London, SW11