Frances Ridley Havergal

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Frances Ridley Havergal

Frances Ridley Havergal (14 December 1836 – 3 June 1879) was an English religious poet and hymn writer. Take My Life and Let it Be and Thy Life for Me (also known as I Gave My Life for Thee) are two of her best known hymns. She also wrote hymn melodies, religious tracts, and works for children.


Memorial plaque
Memorial plaque situated near Caswell Bay
Astley, Worcestershire, St Peter's Church: grave of Frances Ridley Havergal (1836–1879), and of her father William Henry Havergal (1793–1870)

Havergal was born into an Anglican family, at Astley in Worcestershire. Her father, William Henry Havergal (1793–1870), was a clergyman, writer, composer, and hymnwriter. Her brother, Henry East Havergal, was a priest in the Church of England and an organist.

In 1852/3 she studied in the Louisenschule, Düsseldorf, and at Oberkassel. Otherwise she led a quiet life, not enjoying consistent good health; she travelled, in particular to Switzerland. She supported the Church Missionary Society.

Frances Ridley Havergal died of peritonitis near Caswell Bay on the Gower Peninsula in Wales at age 42. She is buried in the far western corner of the churchyard at St Peter's parish church, Astley, together with her father and near her sister, Maria Vernon Graham Havergal.[1]


Her sisters saw much of her work published posthumously. Havergal College, a private girls' school in Toronto, is named after her. The composer Havergal Brian adopted the name as a tribute to the Havergal family.


Havergal prayer on a Helga von Cramm chromolithograph, (No. 5. Alpenrose, Gentian, and St. John's Lily).
  • Ministry of Song (1870)
  • Take My Life and Let It Be (1874)
  • Under the Surface (1874)
  • The four happy days (1874)
  • Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace (1876)
  • Who Is on the Lord's Side? (1877)
  • Royal Commandments (1878)
  • O Merciful Redeemer
  • Loyal Responses (1878)
  • Kept for the Master's Use (1879) memoir
  • Life Chords (1880)
  • Royal Bounty (1877)
  • Little Pillows, or Goodnight Thoughts for the Little Ones (1880)
  • Morning bells, or, Waking thoughts for the little ones (1880)
  • Swiss Letters and Alpine Poems (1881) edited by J. M. Crane
  • Under His Shadow: the Last Poems of Frances Ridley Havergal (1881)
  • The Royal Invitation (1882)
  • Life Echoes (1883)
  • Poetical Works (1884) edited by M. V. G. Havergal and Frances Anna Shaw
  • Coming to the King (1886)
  • Jesus, Master, Whose I am Hymns of the Christian Life 1936
  • My King and His Service (1896)
  • Forget Me Nots of Promise, Text from Scripture and verses by Frances Ridley Havergal, Marcus Ward&Co.

Books & Illustrations[edit]

See also[edit]

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

An Hymn[edit]

Take my life, and let it be

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.[2]


  1. ^ A Guide and History of the Parish Church of St Peter. Astley, Worcestershire (2010), p. 20
  2. ^ Written February 4, 1874.
  • Frances Ridley Havergal Janet Grierson, The Havergal Society, Worcester 1979 ISBN 0-9506544-0-X
  • Frances Ridley Havergal's Last Week (1879) Maria Vernon Graham Havergal
  • Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal, by her Sister (1880) M. V. G. Havergal, including an autobiography
  • Florence Nightingale, Frances Ridley Havergal, Catherine Marsh, Mrs Ranyard (1885) Lizzie Alldridge
  • Frances Ridley Havergal: a full sketch of her life, (1904) Edward Davies
  • Women who have worked and won : the life-story of Mrs. Spurgeon, Mrs. Booth-Tucker, F.R. Havergal, and Pandita Ramabai (1904) Jennie Chappell
  • In Trouble and in Joy: Four Women Who Lived for God, (2004) Sharon James, ISBN 0-85234-584-4. Biographies of Margaret Baxter (1639–1681), Sarah Edwards (1710–1758), Anne Steele (1717–1778) and Frances Ridley Havergal
  • Francis Ridley Havergal - Opened Treasures : 366 Choice Meditations - Loizeaux Bros, New York, 1979

Further reading[edit]

  • Waite, Yvonne S. Take My Life: a Portrait of Frances Havergal. Collingswood, N.J.: The Bible for Today, [ca. 2000]. 25 p. N.B.: Transcript of a bio-dramatic text, for public recitation, about the life, religious piety, and accomplishments of this lady hymnist.

External links[edit]