John Samuel Bewley Monsell

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John Samuel Bewley Monsell (2 March 1811 - 9 April 1875) was an Irish Anglican clergyman and poet.


The son of Thomas Bewley Monsell, Archdeacon of Derry, he was born in St. Columb's, Londonderry, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, receiving a BA in 1832 (and an LL.D in 1856). He was ordained deacon in 1834, and priest in 1835.[1] His sister was the noted botanical artist Diana Conyngham Ellis.[2] He lived[3] in Milford House, Co. Tipperary for a time.

He married Anne, daughter of Bolton Waller, of Shannon Grove and Castletown on 15 January 1835. It is widely noted that eldest son Thomas Bewley Monsell, a Lieutenant in the 19th Regiment, died on the way to the Crimean War, aged 18, in a shipwreck off Italy. However, the date of death given by newspapers (February 16th) apparently predates the late-April fire and sinking of the SS Croesus offshore from the Monastery of San Fruttuoso Monastery near Genoa. The eldest daughter Elizabeth Isabella died in Torquay at the age of 28 in 1861. Another daughter, Jane Diana, married the Rev. C. W. Furse in 1859. Through his son William Thomas Monsell, a magistrate and inspector of facturers, Monsell was grandfather to the artist Elinor Darwin (née Monsell).[4][5][6]

His brother Charles, also a clergyman, married Harriet O'Brien, who refounded the Community of St John Baptist at Clewer near Windsor after her husband's death in Italy. Through Charles and Harriet, John Monsell became influenced by the Oxford Movement and an admirer of Edward Bouverie Pusey, and also became acquainted with William Ewart Gladstone, with whom he maintained a correspondence.[7]

He was responsible for the building or rebuilding of three of his churches: Ramoan, at Ballycastle, County Antrim, St Jude, Englefield Green, during his incumbency at Egham, and St. Nicolas' Church, Guildford.

While inspecting the rebuilding of the latter, Monsell fell from a boulder, and subsequently died in 1875 from an infected wound.[1]


Published writings[edit]

Monsell was a prolific hymnist. He published eleven volumes of poems and about 300 hymns.

His books include: Hymns and Miscellaneous Poems (1837), Parish Musings: In verse (1850), Spiritual Songs for the Sundays and Holy Days Throughout the Year (1859), Hymns of Love and Praise for the Church's Year (1863), Our New Vicar (1867), Litany Hymns (1870).[1]

His hymns include:

  • "Fight the good fight with all thy might"
  • "Mighty Father! Blessed Son"
  • "On our way rejoicing as we homeward move"
  • "Sing to the Lord a joyful song"
  • "O Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!"
  • "I hunger and I thirst"


  1. ^ a b c O'Donoghue 1894.
  2. ^ "Thomas Bewlay Monsell". The Peerage. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Estate Record: Smith (Milford)". Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  4. ^ Lodge's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage of the British Empire, John Lodge, 1907, p. 707
  5. ^ The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971 Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages with Genealogies and Arms, L. G. Pine, Heraldry Today, London, 1972, p. 115
  6. ^ Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th ed., 2003, vol. 2, p. 2038
  7. ^ Letters in the British Library

Parish Musings: In verse (London: Francis and John Rivington, 1850) Hymns of Love and Praise for the Church’s Year (London: Bell and Daldy, 1863)

Further reading[edit]