Timothy Dudley-Smith

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Timothy Dudley-Smith

Bishop of Thetford
In office1981–1992
PredecessorHugh Blackburne
SuccessorHugo de Waal
Other post(s)Honorary assistant bishop in Salisbury (1992–present)
Archdeacon of Norwich (1973–1981)
Ordination1950 (deacon); 1951 (priest)
Personal details
Born (1926-12-26) 26 December 1926 (age 96)
Manchester, England
ParentsArthur and Phyllis Dudley-Smith
Arlette MacDonald
(m. 1959; died 2007)
ProfessionBishop, hymnist
Alma materPembroke College, Cambridge

Timothy Dudley-Smith OBE (born 26 December 1926) is a retired bishop of the Church of England and a noted hymnwriter. He has written around 400 hymns, including "Tell Out, my Soul".

Life, education and ministry[edit]

Dudley-Smith was born on 26 December 1926 in Manchester, England, to Phyllis and Arthur Dudley-Smith. His father was a schoolteacher.[1] He was educated at Tonbridge School before studying maths and then theology at Pembroke College, Cambridge.[1] After graduating in 1947, he began his ordination training at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.[2] He was ordained deacon in 1950 and priest in 1951 by Christopher Chavasse, the Bishop of Rochester.[1]

After ordination, Dudley-Smith served as an honorary chaplain to Chavasse, as well as head of the Cambridge University Mission in Bermondsey, South London.[1] In 1955, he was appointed editorial secretary of the Evangelical Alliance and editor of the new Crusade magazine, created after Billy Graham's 1954 London mission.[2][1] Dudley-Smith also began serving with the Church Pastoral Aid Society, serving as assistant secretary from 1959, then as secretary until 1973.[1] He served as Archdeacon of Norwich from 1973 to 1981 and as Bishop of Thetford from 1981 to 1991.[1] He also served as president of the Evangelical Alliance from 1987 to 1992.[3] He was chairman of the governors of Monkton Combe School from 1992 to 1997.[4]

He married Arlette MacDonald in 1959. They were married for 48 years until her death in 2007; they had one son and two daughters.[1] His son, James, is also ordained in the Church of England, and currently serves as rector of St John's Church, Yeovil.[5]

Dudley-Smith has been part of what has been described as a British "hymn explosion" since World War II.[6]


Dudley-Smith is a member and honorary vice-president of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland; he has also been awarded fellowships from the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and the Royal School of Church Music.[7] In 2003, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire "for services to hymnody".[7] In July 2009 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Durham University.[8]

Selected works[edit]

  • Dudley-Smith, Timothy (1987). A Flame of Love: a personal choice of Charles Wesley's verse. London: SPCK.
  • —————— (1989). Praying with the English Hymn Writers. London: SPCK.
  • ——————; Dakers, Lionel (2001). Beneath a Travelling Star. Canterbury: Canterbury Press.
  • —————— (2003). A House of Praise: Collected Hymns 1961-2001. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • —————— (2006). A Door for the Word: 36 new hymns 2002-2005. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • ——————; Llewellyn, William (2006). A Calendar of Praise. Canterbury: Canterbury Press.
  • ——————; Llewellyn, William (2007). High Days and Holy Days. Canterbury: Canterbury Press.
  • ——————; Llewellyn, William (2008). The Voice of Faith. Canterbury: Canterbury Press.
  • ——————; Llewellyn, William (2009). Above Every Name. Canterbury: Canterbury Press.
  • —————— (2009). Snakes and Ladders: a Hymn Writer's Reflections. London: The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • —————— (2009). Praise to the Name: 36 new hymns 2005-2008. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • ——————; Llewellyn, William (2010). Draw Near to God. Canterbury: Canterbury Press.
  • —————— (2011). Seasons and Reasons: New Hymns for various times and occasions. Bromsgrove: Christian Music Ministries.
  • —————— (2012). Beyond Our Dreaming: 36 new hymns 2008-2011. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • —————— (2015). A House of Praise 2: Collected Hymns 2002-2013. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • —————— (2017). A Functional Art: Reflections of a Hymn Writer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • —————— (2019). A House of Praise 3: Collected Hymns 2013-2018. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Saward, Michael (2006). "Timothy Dudley-Smith: An Acknowledged Master Craftsman" (PDF). Anvil. 23 (4): 290. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "A Song Was Heard at Christmas". Carols.net. 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  3. ^ Dudley-Smith, Timothy (1997). "Lord, for the Years..." Evangelicals Now. Interviewed by Shirt, Esme. Archived from the original on 27 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  4. ^ A Delightful Inheritance by P. LeRoy, Monkton Print, 2018.
  5. ^ "James Dudley-Smith". St John's Church. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  6. ^ Giles, Gordon (28 October 2016). "Singing through the tide of change". Church Times. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Dudley-Smith, Timothy". Hope Publishing. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  8. ^ Watson, J. R. (2009). "Timothy Dudley Smith: Doctor of Divinity" (PDF). Durham, England: Durham University. Retrieved 15 August 2010.

External links[edit]

Church of England titles
Preceded by Bishop of Thetford
Succeeded by
Religious titles
Preceded by
President of the Evangelical Alliance
Succeeded by