Brethren Archive

Tune: Mudstone

by F H Parkes


Tom said ...
Mudstone is by F H Parkes of Brixham - he lived next to Mudstone Lane which goes to St Mary's Bay. Originally, that was called Mudstone Bay after the mudstone cliffs that surround it but with the advent of the railways, the Victorians didn't think Mudstone Bay had the romantic sound that tourists want so they renamed it St Mary's Bay after the parish it is in!
Saturday, Oct 21, 2017 : 17:49
Tom said ...
Bit of a mixup with this one, it was actually written by another Brixham man, David Johnson. Johnson wrote Mudstone for hymn 12 - he also lived in Brixham not far from Parkes

Frederick Henry Parkes (1912, Brentford to 1960, Brixham, Devon) was an Estate Agent and Auctioneer - just 48 when he died. Married Evelyn Maude Thorstensen (1904-94) in 1948, no children. Her father was Norwegian but lived in England. He composed Avoca which goes to hymn 26.

I think they were both with the Taylor fellowship.
Monday, Oct 23, 2017 : 19:04
Timothy Stunt said ...
Can you tell us more, Tom, about F H Parkes. What were his dates? Back in the early days of the Brethren, Brixham was the parish of Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847), — an evangelical clergyman who during his ministry in Brixham became more Tractarian in his churchmanship. Several of his congregation (and probably some of his choir) left the Brixham parish church to join the Brethren. A quasi legendary account of the story as 'remembered' by a former member of the choir (at least fifty years after the event) is recorded in F.A. Jones, 'Famous Hymns and their Authors' (London 1903) 12-14. I imagine that this must have been before Parkes's time. Timothy Stunt
Monday, Oct 23, 2017 : 20:11
Timothy Stunt said ...
Thanks Tom... When I asked my question I hadn't seen your later note! It would be interesting to know whether the Brixham Brethren have any oral tradition about the parishioners who seceded in Lyte's time... Timothy
Monday, Oct 23, 2017 : 20:20
Tom said ...
I'd heard that story .. For those unfamiliar with it, legend has it that the famous hymn "Abide With Me" was written upon the secession of members of Lyte's congregation to the Brethren! I've reproduced the Jones quote (through Beattie, Romance of Sacred Song) below, and will add more if I can find anything from my friends.

F. A. Jones, in his delightful book, Famous Hymns and their Authors, tells in a very entertaining manner of his casual meeting, over forty years ago, with an old member of Mr. Lyte’s choir. As the two sat on the old pier at Brixham, watching the trawlers setting sail for the fishing grounds, the old man chatted animatedly about the late hymnist, evidently well pleased to find some one who took an interest in a man of whom he was palpably never tired of talking. “I was a member of Mr. Lyte’s choir,” he said, “in 1846; I and a dozen others, all dead now. We were deeply attached to him. He had the gentlest expression and most winning manner possible, and yet I suppose we caused him more grief than all his trouble of ill-health. We left his choir and gave up teaching in the Sunday School, and though I should probably do the same thing to-morrow under similar circumstance, it gives me a feeling of intense sadness even now when I think of it. This is how it came about. A short while before he left us to go to Nice, some influencial members of the Plymouth Brethren visited Brixham and persuaded ten of us to join them. After due deliberation we went in a body to Mr. Lyte and told him that we intended to leave his church. He took it calmly enough, although we practically constituted his entire choir, and said that nothing would be further from his thoughts than to stand between us and our consciences. He bade us think the matter over very seriously and come to him again in a few days. We did so, but our decision remained unaltered. We left him, and never entered his church again. When ‘Abide with me’ came to be written, each of us was given a copy, and then we realized, perhaps more keenly than any one else, the true meaning of the words:

‘When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.’”

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 : 15:40

Add Comment: