Montgomery, James, son of John Montgomery, a Moravian minister, was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Nov. 4, 1771. In 1776 he removed with his parents to the Moravian Settlement at Gracehill, near Ballymena, county of Antrim. Two years after he was sent to the Fulneck Seminary, Yorkshire. He left Fulneck in 1787, and entered a retail shop at Mirfield, near Wakefield. Soon tiring of that he entered upon a similar situation at Wath, near Rotherham, only to find it quite as unsuitable to his taste as the former. A journey to London, with the hope of finding a publisher for his youthful poems ended in failure; and in 1792 he was glad to leave Wath for Shefield to join Mr. Gales, an auctioneer, bookseller, and printer of the Sheffield Register newspap… Go to person page >
A children’s temple here we build. J. Montgomery. [The Erection of a Sunday School. This hymn was written for the opening of the first Sunday School building in Wincobank, Sheffield. The manuscript—which is in the Wincobank Hall Collection of Manuscripts—is dated “December 18, 1840,” and signed “J. M.” The building was opened on the 13th of April, 1841, the hymn being printed on a fly-leaf for the occasion. In 1853 Montgomery included it in his Original Hymns, No. 313, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines and entitled it “The erection of a Sunday School.” In the Methodist Sunday School Hymn Book 1879, No. 512, stanza iv. is omitted, and slight changes are also introduced. Original text in Original Hymns, 1853, p. 333. The hymn by Mrs. Gilbert, née AnnTaylor, “We thank the Lord of heaven and earth,” was also written for, and sung on, the same occasion. This hymn has not come into common use.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)