Posted by: rcottrill | January 30, 2010

Today in 1826 – Joseph Bromehead Died

Joseph Bromehead was educated at Queen’s College, Oxford, and served as curate of Eckington, Derbyshire, until his death. He produced one of several versions of a longer hymn that was at least two centuries old in Bromehead’s time. Renowned hymn historian John Julian considered this hymn so historically important that he devoted more than three pages to it. The original manuscript is now in the British museum, in which the author is identified as F.B.P. One hymnologist claims this stands for Francis Baker, Pater (Father Francis Baker).

Jerusalem, my happy home!
Name ever dear to me;
When shall my labours have an end,
In joy, and peace, and thee?

When shall these eyes thy heaven built walls
And pearly gates behold?
Thy bulwarks, with salvation strong,
And streets of shining gold?

There happier bowers than Eden’s bloom,
Nor sin nor sorrow know:
Blest seats, through rude and stormy scenes,
I onward press to you.

Apostles, martyrs, prophets there
Around my Saviour stand;
And soon my friends in Christ below
Will join the glorious band.

O Christ do Thou my soul prepare
For that bright home of love;
That I may see Thee and adore,
With all Thy saints above.

The “Jerusalem” of the hymn is, of course, a reference to the heavenly kingdom, described in the book of Revelation as New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2; cf. Heb. 12:22; Rev. 3:12). Some versions of the song from the early nineteenth century attach the stanza (by an unknown author) that now concludes the hymn Amazing Grace. Though not part of the original, it certainly fits the theme.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

(2) Today in 1928 – Handel Parker Died
Handel Parker lived in the small village of Oxenhope, in West Yorkshire. He was one of a large family of musicians, most of whom were named after famous composers. Having left school at the age of 13, he went to work in a textile mill as a wool sorter, but after seven years he turned to music as a profession. He taught flute and violin. To those instruments he added the trombone. He assisted many brass bands in the West Yorkshire area, both as player and conductor, gave organ recitals and conducted choirs.

Parker was also a composer of sacred music, and he produced a number of hymn tunes. His beautiful Deep Harmony, written around 1900, is sometimes used with Isaac Watts’s hymn, Sweet Is the Work. I can remember singing the hymn in a male choir, back in the 1960’s.  (For more on Isaac Watts, and a list of some of his hymns, see Today in 1674.) Deep Harmony also became part of the standard repertoire of the legendary Black Dyke Mills Band in England. They played it at all their concerts for many years. Sit back and enjoy another brass band version of the tune below.

Sweet is the work, my God, my King,
To praise Thy name, give thanks and sing,
To show Thy love by morning light
And talk of all Thy truth at night.

My heart shall triumph in my Lord
And bless His works and bless His Word.
Thy works of grace, how bright they shine!
How deep Thy counsels, how divine!


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