Charitie Lees Smith

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Charitie Lees Smith (1841–1923) also known as Charitie Lees Bancroft, was an Anglican Irish American hymnwriter.


Charitie was born on 21 June 1841, at Bloomfield, County Dublin, the fourth child of Rev. George Sidney Smith and Charlotte Lees. The Rev. George Smith was the minister of Colebrooke church, in the Church of Ireland parish of Aghalurcher from 1838–1867 and, during this period, the family, including Charitie, lived in Ardunshin House near Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Ireland.

In 1860, one of Charitie's first compositions O for the robes of whiteness appeared in leaflet form in the immediate aftermath of the Irish 1859 revival. In 1863 she wrote perhaps her best known hymn "Before the Throne of God Above" which she entitled The Advocate (a hymn which was revived in evangelical circles in the late Twentieth Century). In 1867 Charitie's father took the family to Tattyreagh, Omagh, County Tyrone, when he became the rector of St Columba's Church. Charitie continued with her compositions eventually publishing them in a volume entitled Within the Veil in 1867.

In 1869, a Liverpudlian Arthur Bancroft married Charitie in Edinburgh, Scotland. Records of her married life are scarce but it seems she was widowed twice. She died on 20 June 1923, in Oakland, California aged 82 bearing the name de Cheney.

The Advocate[edit]

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Saviour and my God!


Jack Strahan (2002) More Hymns and Their Writers Glasgow, GTP.

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