||John Reynell Wreford|
||Wreford, John Reynell, 1800-1891|
Wreford, John Reynell, an English Unitarian minister, was born December 12, 1800, at Barnstaple; educated at Manchester College, and in 1826 became pastor of a Church in Birmingham. In 1831, on account of the failure of his voice, he withdrew from the active work of the ministry and, in conjunction with Rev. Hugh Hutton, established a school at Edgbaston. He wrote a History of Presbyterian Nonconformity in Birmingham, 1832, and Lays of Loyalty, 1837. He contributed fifty-five hymns to Rev. J. R. Beard's Collection, 1837. His most popular and valuable hymn is the one given in this book. The last years of his life were spent in retirement at Bristol, where he died in 1891.
—Hymn Writers of the Church by Charles Nutter
Wreford, John Keynell, D.D., born Dec. 12, 1800, educated at Manchester College, York, and in 1826 succeeded the Rev. James Yates as co-pastor to the Rev. John Kentish at the New Meeting, Birmingham. In 1830 he published a translation of Cellerier's Discourse on the Authenticity and Divine Origin of the Old Testament. In the following year, in consequence of failure of voice, he withdrew from the Ministry, and in conjunction with the Rev. Hugh Hutton, Minister of the Old Meeting, opened a school at Edgbaston. In 1832 he published a Sketch of the History of Presbyterian Nonconformity in Birmingham; and in 1837, Lays of Loyalty, in celebration of the Queen's accession. He also contributed, in 1837, to the Rev. J. R. Beard's Collection of Hymns for Public and Private Worship 55 hymns, of which the following are still in common use:—
1. God of the ocean, earth, and sky. God seen in His Works. In various collections, including those by Page Hopps, G. Dawson, and others.
2. Lord, I believe; Thy power I own. For increase of Faith. In Martineau's Hymns, &c, 1840.
3. Lord, while for all mankind we pray. National Hymn. This is in a large number of collections of various denominations, and is by far the most popular of his hymns. Sometimes it begins with stanza iii., "O! guard our shores from every foe."
4. When my love to Christ[God]grows weak. Passiontide. In Longfellow and Johnson's Unitarian Hymns of the Spirit, Boston, U. S. A., 1864, "When my love to God grows weak." This is repeated in Martineau's Hymns, &c, 1873.
Dr. Wreford was also the author of several volumes of verse, chiefly devotional. The latter years of his life he spent in retirement at Bristol, and died there in 1881.
[Rev. Valentine D. Davis, B.A.]
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)