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.


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

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