Charlotte Alington Barnard

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Charlotte Alington Pye Barnard (23 December 1830 in Louth, Lincolnshire – 30 January 1869 in Dover) was an English poet and composer of ballads and hymns, who often wrote under the pseudonym Claribel.


Charlotte Alington Pye was the daughter of Henry Alington Pye, a solicitor and Charlotte Yerburgh. She married Charles Barnard in 1854: though he was parson of St Olaves in Ruckland, Lincolnshire, they lived at The Firs in Westgate, Louth, Lincolnshire. After Charlotte's presentation at court in 1856, the couple moved to Pimlico. Among their neighbours was the conductor Michael Costa.[1]

On 8 July 1847, Charlotte laid the foundation stone of Louth railway station. In a visit back to Louth in 1862, Charlotte wrote 20 Spring Songs and sang some of her own compositions at a concert held to clear the debt on the new east window of St James' Church, Louth. A stained glass window in her memory now stands at the west end of the church.[2]

By 1864, she had moved to Kirmington rectory[3] as her husband had been appointed Rector of Brocklesby with Kirmington.[4]

A prolific balladeer and hymn-writer, Barnard is probably best known for 'I Cannot Sing the Old Songs', 'Bide A Wee' and 'Come Back to Erin'. She was also the composer of the hymn tune 'Brocklesby'.[5]

In 1868 it was discovered that her much respected father had been systematically stealing money left in his care and trust.[6] He fled to Belgium with his second wife. Charlotte joined him there with her husband but returned to England at the beginning of 1869 for a holiday,[3] when she became ill and died after a short illness from typhoid fever.[1]

See also[edit]

English women hymnwriters (18th to 19th-century)


  1. ^ a b "Biography". NetHymnal. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  2. ^ "A life in song began here in Louth". Louth Leader. 13 October 2005. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Claribel". Louth Museum. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Charles Cary Barnard". Brocklesby Park Cricket Club. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  5. ^ More Voices Found - Charlotte Barnard
  6. ^ "Claribel". Lincolnshire County Council. 23 September 2009. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015.

External links[edit]