An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Wordsworth, Christopher

(Oct. 30, 1807-Mar. 21, 1885). Hymn writer and bishop. A nephew of the poet William Wordsworth, he was born at Lambeth, where his father was rector. He was educated at Winchester School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he served as a fellow from 1830 to 1836. Wordsworth was headmaster at Harrow School, 1836-1844. He was canon of Westminster, 1844-1869, and was also vicar of Stanford-in-the-Vale-cum-Goosey, Berkshire. Wordsworth was the Hulsean lecturer at Cambridge from 1848 until 1849. He was rural dean from 1850-1869, and Archdeacon of Westminster, 1865-1869. He was Bishop of Lincoln, 1869-1885. He was a celebrated Greek scholar and published in several fields. Wordsworth frequently visited and corresponded with William Wordsworth, and began hymn writing after the poet's death in 1850. He continued to write hymns until he became Bishop of Lincoln in 1869. Wordsworth believed hymns to be “one of the most efficacious instruments for correcting error and for disseminating truth, as well as for ministering comfort and edification.” His The Holy Year; or Hymns for Sundays and Holy Days throughout the Year, came out in 1862. The Hymnal 1982 uses eight of his hymns, including “O day of radiant gladness” (Hymn 48), “Songs of thankfulness and praise” (Hymn 135, stanzas 1-3), and “See the conqueror mounts in triumph” (Hymn 215). He died in Lincoln shortly after he resigned as Bishop of Lincoln.

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.