Charitie Lees Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Charitie Lees Smith
Born21 June 1841
Bloomfield, Merrion, County Dublin, Ireland
DiedJune 20, 1923(1923-06-20) (aged 81)
Oakland, California, US
Occupationhymnwriter, religious writer
Arthur E. Bancroft (m. 1869)

Charitie Lees Smith (later, Charitie Lees Bancroft; still later Charitie de Cheney or Charitie de Chenez; pen name, C.L.S.[1] 21 June 1841 – 20 June 1923) was an Anglican Irish American hymnwriter. Her hymns, well known in England and Ireland, were included in Lyra Sacra Hibernica, Ryle's Spiritual Songs, Lyra Britannica, and Times of Refreshing.[2] Additionally, she wrote various religious pieces for periodicals.[3]

Early years[edit]

Charitie Lees Smith was born on 21 June 1841, at Bloomfield, Merrion, County Dublin,[2] the fourth child of Rev. George Sidney Smith and Charlotte Lees.[4][3] The Rev. Smith was the minister of Colebrooke church, in the Church of Ireland parish of Aghalurcher from 1838–1867 and, during this period, the family lived in Ardunshin House near Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Ireland.

Her talent for poetic composition was developed at an early period of her life.[4]


In 1860, one of Smith'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 20th century). In 1867, Smith's father took the family to Tattyreagh, Omagh, County Tyrone, when he became the rector of St Columba's Church. Smith continued with her compositions, publishing them in a volume entitled Within the Veil in 1867.

She wrote considerably for several serial publications and contributed hymns to J. C. Ryle's Spiritual Songs, Times of Refreshing, and Charles Rogers' Lyra Britannica (1866).[3] Her hymn, "Christ Mighty to Save," was included in the latter publication,[4] while "Heavenly Anticipations" was a favorite in Sunday schools.[5] "Mighty to Save" first appeared in 1867 in the Lyra Britannica, its form being seven stanzas of eight lines each, but it was considerably abbreviated to fit it for common use, including a cento beginning with the third verse.[6] "Aspirations" was written in the flush and fervor of coming "out of darkness into marvellous light" during the awakenings of 1859-60 in Ireland.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1869, Smith married a Liverpudlian, Arthur Bancroft,[2] 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 surname de Cheney,[8] or de Chenez.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Charitie Lees De Chenez". The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Robinson 1893, p. 208.
  3. ^ a b c O'Donoghue 1892, p. 16.
  4. ^ a b c Hatfield 1884, p. 35.
  5. ^ Rogers 1868, p. 511.
  6. ^ Robinson 1893, p. 474.
  7. ^ Havergal 1881, p. 66.
  8. ^ Barba 2012, p. 57.



Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]