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 >
Fair shines the morning star. J. Montgomery. [Year of Jubilee.] Appeared in his Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 556, in 5 stanzas of 6 lines, and in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 263, the title in each case being "The Year of Jubilee." In 1836 J. Conder adopted it for the Congregational Hymn Book, and others have followed, both in Great Britain and America: but its use is not so extensive as many of Montgomery's hymns. In the New York Church Praise Book, 1882, No. 227, is a cento beginning with stanza i. of this hymn, and stanzas ii.-iv. from C. Wesley's "Blow ye the trumpet, blow " (q.v.).
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)