Athelstan Riley

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Plaque at La Hougue Bie with inscription recording a gift: Don d'Athelstan Riley Ecr cette margelle provenant de la maison dite L'Ancienneté St Brélade a été érigée ici par La Société Jersiaise

John Athelstan Laurie Riley (10 August 1858 – 17 November 1945) was an English hymn writer and hymn translator.

Riley was born in Paddington, London, and attended Pembroke College, Oxford, where obtained his BA in 1881 and MA in 1883. Active in the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church of England, he energised the development of the English Hymnal (1906) and was chairman of its editorial board. His best-known hymn is "Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones". He also created an English adaption of the eucharistic hymn "O Esca Viatorum".

In later life he moved to Jersey in the Channel Islands, where he purchased Trinity Manor in 1909, thereby acquiring the feudal title of Seigneur de La Trinité. Finding the manor house in a ruined condition, he undertook an elaborate restoration (or "imaginative reconstruction", which has been criticised as turning the building into a French style château[1]). The reconstruction was carried out 1910–1913 by C. Messervy to designs by Sir Reginald Blomfield.[2] Riley also bought the historic property L'Ancienneté in Saint Brélade, and removed architectural features of interest to incorporate into Trinity Manor, carefully recording the provenance of items and nature of alterations made in his project.[3] He remained in Jersey through the German occupation, and died shortly after its liberation.


  1. ^ The Bailiwick of Jersey, G. R. Balleine, 1951
  2. ^ Portrait of the Channel Islands, Raoul Lemprière, 1970 ISBN 0709115415
  3. ^ Old Jersey Houses, Joan Stevens, 1965

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