Monday, 5 March 2012

Hymns…And Hers…

Preparing my PIL for the latest Floss-Fest yesterday, I was struck by how many hymns mention girls’ names

raphael-st-george-fighting-dragon-louvre-parisThe one that started off this train of thought was Valerie. Anyone over 50 will have sung this one at school [written by Jan Struther, who wrote the book ‘Mrs Miniver’] In ‘When a Knight won his spurs’, the first verse ends thus…

For God and for Valerie, rode through the land!

Then of course there is Grace – she pops up all over the place. I knew an elderly gentleman who could not sing this one without smiling at his wife

Grace tis a charming sound, harmonious to my ear

In 1970, our Head Girl was called Julie, and on the morning that we were electing her successor, we sung in Assembly ‘O Jesus I have promised’ with the line

My hope to follow Julie is in thy strength alone

fra-angelico-the-annunciation1Gloria is almost as ubiquitous as Grace in our hymnody. One of the older Christmas carols ‘The angel Gabriel from heaven came’ has a refrain about a spicy young lady

Most highly flavoured lady Gloria

Men’s names occur too, often with their surname  – another carol, Silent Night, gives us the rotund figure of John

Round John Virgin, mother and child

funeral director

And finally, we mustn’t forget Ernest Tones, the undertaker…

Tell me the old, old story, with Earnest Tones, and Grave.

Can you think of anymore names which occur in the hymnbook?


  1. We always sang " most highly flavoured gravy, gloria".

    Compliment on the lady's cooking no doubt : )

    1. Now I can't wait for the opportunity to sing that next Christmas!

  2. I'll always think of women's names when I sing hymns now! Thanks for the info.

  3. If I start laughing in church, I'm blaming you!
    Jane x

  4. Can't think of any other ladies' names, but my sister's favourite childhood hymn was "Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear".

  5. Oh you are a naughty girl! Here I was just starting to take you seriously!

  6. Very funny post - wish I could think of one - love Mrs Mcawber's comment too!


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