James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >
Lord of hosts, to Thee we raise. J. Montgomery. [Laying the Foundation Stone, or The Opening of a Place of Worship.] The foundation stone of St. George's Church, Sheffield (of which the Rev. W. Mercer was subsequently Incumbent), was laid on the day of the coronation of George IV., July 19, 1821. On that day Montgomery published in his Iris newspaper a leading article on Bonaparte, who died on the 5th of the previous May. Montgomery's original manuscript of that article and "a set of the coronation medals, and other usual memorials," were placed in a glass jar under the foundation stone (Memoirs, iii. p. 241). This hymn was composed for the occasion; was sung during the ceremony, and was printed in the Iris of Tuesday, July 24,1821. It was included in Montgomery's Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 475, and in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 301, and in both instances headed "On Opening a Place of Worship."