Most people will not know of Cecil Frances Alexander, who lived in the 1800’s. Her music, however, is played in Christian worship services, especially as a processional in many churches.
Who was C.F. Alexander?
“…The author of this text, Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895), was born in Dublin, Ireland, and began writing in verse from an early age. She became so adept that by the age of 22, several of her hymn texts made it into the hymnbook of the Church of Ireland. Alexander [née Humphreys] married William Alexander, both a clergyman and a poet in his own right who later became the bishop of the Church of Ireland in Derry and later archbishop. Aside from her prolific hymn writing, Mrs. Alexander gave much of her life to charitable work and social causes, something rather rare for women of her day. ” (Michael Hawn and Kristen Hanna)
“…. Money from her first publications had helped build the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, which was founded in 1846 in Strabane. The profits from Hymns for Little Children were also donated to this school. She was involved with the Derry Home for Fallen Women, and worked to develop a district nurses service. She was an “indefatigable visitor to poor and sick …” (Wikipedia)
One of her most noted songs is “Once in Royal David’s City” which we will play here sung by King’s College Choir in Cambridge, England.
Once in royal David’s city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a cradle for his bed.
Mary, loving mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little child.
After the death of her husband, three beautiful stained glass windows were made in honor of three of her most loved hymns: “Once in Royal David’s City”, “There is a green hill far away”, and “The Golden Gates Are Lifted Up”.
At this Christian season of Advent, Boyer Writes would like to share this beautiful song with you. The King’s College Chapel was started in 1446 and took over a century to build. It has the largest “fan” vaulted ceiling in the world and some of the finest medieval stained glass. Their Christmas Eve service is broadcast to millions around the world.
Video (turn on sound)
NAVIGATE THE CHAPEL (a virtual tour…and for best viewing, click on full screen)