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

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.

She died of peritonitis at Caswell Bay on the Gower Peninsula in Wales at age 42. 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.


Frances Ridley Havergal's memoir, 1876
Bright be thy Christmas tide! Carol it far and wide, ..., words by F.R. Havergal, floral design by Helga von Cramm, c. 1880.
Aiguille du Dru, chromolithograph by Helga von Cramm, with F.R. Havergal verse, 1870s.
  • 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 (1880)
  • 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)
  • My King and His Service (1896)
  • Forget Me Nots of Promise, Text from Scripture and verses by Frances Ridley Havergal, Marcus Ward&Co.
Cover of LIFE CHORDS, published by James Nisbet & Co., London, 13th edition, c. 1880.

See also[edit]

Cover of LIFE MOSAIC The Ministry of Song and Under the Surface, by Frances Ridley Havergal, With Twelve Illustrations by THE BARONESS HELGA VON CRAMM, A.D.F. Randolph & Co., 900 Broadway, New York, 1878.
Cover of LIFE MOSAIC The Ministry of Song and Under the Surface, 3rd edition, James Nisbet & Co., London, 1879.
English women hymnwriters (18th to 19th-century)


  • 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]