An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Alexander, Cecil Frances

(Humphreys) (1818-Oct. 12, 1895). Composer of hymns. She was born at Ballykean House, Redcross, County Wicklow, Ireland, in 1818 (some older sources say 1823). In 1835 the family moved to Miltown House in County Tyrone. She and her sister founded a school for the deaf. She published nearly four hundred hymns and poems, most of which were written for children. Her most famous collection, Hymns for Little Children, was first published in 1848. It went through more than one hundred printings. In 1850 she married the Reverend William Alexander, then serving the remote parish of Trienamongan (or Termonamongan) in County Tyrone. He became Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, and later Archbishop of Armagh, and Primate of all Ireland. In later life she is said to have walked miles daily ministering to the sick and the poor. She died in Londonderry. The Hymnal 1982 contains six of her original hymns including stanzas 1-2 and 4-6 of “Once in royal David's city” (102) and “All things bright and beautiful” (405), and one translation, “I bind unto myself today” (370).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.