Henry Francis Lyte

In the south choir aisle of Westminster Abbey is a memorial to hymn writer Henry Francis Lyte. The white and brown alabaster tablet was unveiled on 16th November 1947 by Major J.M. Maxwell-Lyte, Henry's oldest male descendant. The inscription includes a line from his most famous hymn and reads:

In memory of Henry Francis Lyte 1793+1847. "Abide with me; fast falls the eventide"

He was born on 1st June 1793 at Ednam near Kelso in Scotland, a son of Captain Thomas Lyte and Anna Oliver. The family eventually moved to Ireland where his parents separated. He spent most of his time at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen and went on to Trinity College, Dublin. In 1814 he was ordained and had already started writing poetry. He married Anne Maxwell and their children were Henry William, John, Farnham and Anna Maria. After serving in several places as curate he settled in Brixham in Devon. He published Poems, Chiefly Religious and Spirit of the Psalms. As well as "Abide with me" he also composed the popular "Praise my soul, the King of Heaven". While travelling abroad he died at Nice in France and was buried in the English cemetery there.

Further reading

"Henry Francis Lyte" by B.G. Skinner, 1974

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Born

1st June 1793

Memorial

16th November 1847

Occupation

Composer; musician; priest/minister

Location

South Choir Aisle

Memorial Type

Tablet

Material Type

Alabaster

Henry Francis Lyte
Henry Francis Lyte memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster