John Mason Neale
|John Mason Neale|
John Mason Neale
|Born||24 January 1818
|Died||6 August 1866
East Grinstead, England
|Education||Trinity College, Cambridge|
|Church||Church of England|
John Mason Neale (24 January 1818 – 6 August 1866) was an Anglican priest, scholar and hymn-writer.
Neale was born in London, his parents being the Revd Cornelius Neale and Susanna Neale, daughter of John Mason Good. He was educated at Sherborne School, Dorset, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where (despite being said to be the best classical scholar in his year) his lack of ability in mathematics prevented him taking an honours degree. Neale was named after the Puritan cleric and hymn writer John Mason (1645–94), of whom his mother Susanna was a descendant.
At the age of 22 Neale was the chaplain of Downing College, Cambridge. At Cambridge he was affected by the Oxford Movement and helped to found the Cambridge Camden Society (afterwards known as the Ecclesiological Society). Though he was ordained in 1841 becoming the Vicar of Crawley the following year, but being forced to resign by 1846 due to disagreements with the diocesan bishop and his congregation, when he became warden of Sackville College, an almshouse at East Grinstead, an appointment which he held until his death.
In 1854 Neale co-founded the Society of Saint Margaret, an order of women in the Church of England dedicated to nursing the sick. Many Anglicans in his day, however, were very suspicious of anything suggestive of Roman Catholicism. Only nine years earlier, John Henry Newman had encouraged Catholic practices in Anglican churches and had ended up becoming a Roman Catholic. This encouraged the suspicion that anyone such as Neale was an agent of the Vatican, assigned to destroy Anglicanism by subverting it from within. Once, Neale was attacked and mauled at a funeral of one of the Sisters. From time to time unruly crowds threatened to stone him or to burn his house. He received no honour or preferment in England, and his doctorate was bestowed by Trinity College (Connecticut). However, his basic goodness eventually won the confidence of many who had fiercely opposed him, and the Sisterhood of St Margaret survived and prospered.
He was also the principal founder of the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association, a religious organization founded as the Anglican and Eastern Orthodox Churches Union in 1864. A result of this organisation was the Hymns of the Eastern Church, edited by John Mason Neale and published in 1865.
Neale was strongly high church in his sympathies, and had to endure a good deal of opposition, including a fourteen years' inhibition by his bishop. Neale translated the Eastern liturgies into English, and wrote a mystical and devotional commentary on the Psalms. However, he is best known as a hymn writer and, especially, translator, having enriched English hymnody with many ancient and mediaeval hymns translated from Latin and Greek. More than anyone else, he made English-speaking congregations aware of the centuries-old tradition of Latin, Greek, Russian, and Syrian hymns. The 1875 edition of the Hymns Ancient and Modern contains 58 of his translated hymns; The English Hymnal (1906) contains 63 of his translated hymns and six original hymns by Neale. His translations include:
- All Glory, Laud and Honour
- A Great and Mighty Wonder
- O come, O come, Emmanuel
- Of the Father's Heart Begotten
- Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle
- To Thee Before the Close of Day
Hymns and carols
Neale's most enduring and widely known legacy is probably his contribution to the Christmas repertoire, most notably:
- Good Christian Men, Rejoice, Christmas carol
- Good King Wenceslas, his original legendary Boxing Day carol
- O come, O come, Emmanuel, Advent hymn translated from the "O Antiphons" for the week preceding Christmas
John Mason Neale also wrote the hymn:
- A Great and Mighty Wonder (translated from the Greek of St Germanus, although Neale incorrectly attributed it to St Anatolius.
- Hymni ecclesiae e breviariis: quibusdam et missalibus gallicanis, germanis, hispanis, lusitanis (1851)
- Hymnal Noted (Novello, Ewer and Company, 1851)
- Accompanying Harmonies to The Hymnal Noted, John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, published under the sanction of the Ecclesiological society by Novello, Ewer (1852)
- Sequentiae ex missalibus : Germanicis, Anglicis, Gallicis, Aliisque medii aevi, collectae (1852)
- Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, 1862 edition compiled by John Mason Neale
- Seatonian poems (1864)
- Hymns of the Eastern Church, translated with Notes and an Introduction 1870 edition compiled by John Mason Neale
Theological and historical books
- A History of the Holy Eastern Church (1847)
- An Introduction to the History of the Holy Eastern Church, John Mason Neale (1850, 2 vols)
- A short commentary on the Hymnal noted; from ancient sources John Mason Neale (1852)
- The Bible, and the Bible only, the religion of protestants, a lecture John Mason Neale (1852)
- The ancient liturgies of the Gallican Church: now first collected, with an introductory dissertation, notes, and various readings, together with parallel passages from the Roman, Ambrosian, and Mozarabic rites (1855)
- Mediæval preachers and mediæval preaching (1856)
- A history of the so-called Jansenist church of Holland; with a sketch of its earlier annals, and some account of the Brothers of the common life John Mason Neale (1858)
- Voices from the East, documents on the present state and working of the Oriental Church (1859)
- Essays on Liturgiology and Church History (1863)
- A commentary on the Psalms, John Mason Neale and Richard Frederick Littledale (1868)
- A History of the Holy Eastern Church (1873)
- A Commentary on the Psalms: From Primitive and Mediaeval Writers John Mason Neale and Richard Frederick Littledale (1874)
Books related to Cambridge Camden Society
- The history of pews: a paper read before the Cambridge Camden Society on Monday, November 22, 1841: with an appendix containing a report presented to the Society on the statistics of pews, on Monday, December 7, 1841 (1841)
- A few words to churchwardens on churches and church ornaments John Mason Neale (1842)
- The symbolism of churches and church ornaments: a translation of the first book of the Rationale divinorum officiorum (1843), John Mason Neale and Benjamin Webb
Since Neale died on the Festival of the Transfiguration, he is commemorated by the Anglican churches on the following day, 7 August. He is also commemorated in the Calendar of Saints of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a hymnwriter on 1 July with Catherine Winkworth.
- "Neale, John Mason (NL836JM)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- "The Reverend John Mason". The Church of St Giles, Water Stratford. The Parish of St. Giles, Water Stratford. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- A Great and Mighty Wonder. "Carols.co". Retrieved 9 December 2011
- Hymns of the Eastern Church, ccel.org, retrieved, 12 November 2014
- Nelson, Dale J., "John Mason Neale and the Christian Heritage", Mayville State University, 1997
- John Mason Neale, DD: A Memoir (1907), Eleanor Towle
- Memoir by his friend, Richard Frederick Littledale
- Letters of John Mason Neale (1910), selected and edited by Eleanor Towle
- "Neale, John Mason". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. Has a complete list of Neale's works
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Works of John Mason Neale
- John Mason Neale and the Christian Heritage
- John Mason Neale 1818-1866
- John Mason Neale
- John Mason Neale
- Papers relating to Neale, including his correspondence and diary