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Reginald Heber

1783-1826. Bishop of Calcutta and hymnwriter. Educated at Oxford, he was appointed to the family living at Hodnet, Shropshire, in 1807. He published an edition of Jeremy Taylor* in 1822, and the next year he became bishop of Calcutta, a see that then included all of British India. He worked tirelessly to spread Christianity there, but after three years of travel and administration, during which he ordained the first Indian, he died suddenly. His fifty-seven hymns, all written at Hodnet, were collected and published in 1827 as Hymns written and adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year, the title indicating pioneer work. Heber led a movement toward a literary type of hymn and helped popularize the use of hymns in the Church of England. His compositions include “Bread of the world,” “Brightest and best,” “From Greenland's icy mountains,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and “The Son of God goes forth to war.”