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Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-95)

Although the celebrated hymn-writer and poetess was born in Dublin, Cecil Frances Humphreys spent the greater part of her life in north-west Ulster in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe. By the 1840s she was already known as a hymn writer and her compositions were appearing in Church of Ireland hymnals. In October 1850 she married William Alexander, an Anglican clergyman, who subsequently became Bishop of Derry (1867) and Archbishop of Armagh (1896). Many of her hymns – including ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘There is a Green Hill Far Away’ and ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ – remain popular throughout the world.

Further reading: Alexander E. W. Lovell, A Green Hill Far Away: A Life of Mrs C. F. Alexander (1970).

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