Reginald Heber

Reginald Heber (21 April 1783 – 3 April 1826) was an English clergyman, man of letters and hymn-writer who, after working as a country parson for 16 years, served as the Anglican Bishop of Calcutta until his sudden death at the age of 42.

The son of a wealthy landowner and clergyman, Heber gained an early reputation at Oxford University as a poet. After graduation he expanded his view of the world by undertaking, at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, an extended tour of Scandinavia, Russia and central Europe. He was ordained in 1807 and took over his father's old parish of Hodnet in Shropshire, where he combined his pastoral duties with other church offices and literary work. Several hymns that he wrote subsequently became staples in church hymnals for many years.

Heber took office as Bishop of Calcutta in October 1823. During his short episcopate he travelled widely in the areas of India within his diocese, and worked hard to improve the spiritual and general living conditions of his flock. However, a combination of arduous duties, hostile climate and indifferent health brought about his collapse and death while visiting Trichinopoly (now Tiruchirappalli), after less than three years in India. Monuments were erected to his memory in India and in St Paul's Cathedral, London. A collection of his hymns was published shortly after his death; one of these, "Holy, Holy, Holy", has survived into the 21st century as a popular and widely known hymn for Trinity Sunday. Later commentators have asserted that although Heber's example and writings inspired others to devote their lives to the mission fields, the paternalism and imperial assumptions expressed in his hymns are outdated and generally unacceptable in the modern world.

Read more about Reginald HeberMemorials and Legacy

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Reginald Heber - Memorials and Legacy
... Although Heber's episcopate had been brief he had made a considerable impression, and news of his death brought many tributes from around India ... who was serving as Calcutta's Chief Justice, spoke of Heber's cheerfulness, his lack of self-importance, his good humour, patience and kindness ... above the grave recorded the date and place of Heber's death this was in due course made much more elaborate ...

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