Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth

Born 1827, died 1878. Translator of hymns. Born near London to a silk merchant’s family; one of 4 daughters. At some point, her family moved to Manchester, England, where she lived the rest of her life. … with one exception. She lived one year in Dresden, Germany. This year, apparently changed her life. She began to translate German hymns into English, so that her fellow English-speakers could get the benefit of the spiritual nourishment of some of the great German hymns. When she died, at age 51, in Geneva, Switzerland, she had translated over 103 hymns, and had compiled three different hymn books. Many of the hymns that she translated are well known, and still sung, today…. almost 200 years after she translated them. They range from Martin Luther’s From Heaven to Earth I come (Von Himmel Hoch, a Christmas carol) to Martin Rinkart’s Now Thank we all our God (Nun Danket alle Gott). She also translated a hymn well loved and used during Advent and Lent (especially Palm Sunday): Lift up Your heads, Ye Mighty Gates. Her purpose in all of this was to share the faith of those who came before her with those who would come after her in the Christian faith. I will be seeking to try to uncover more information about Ms. Winkworth, as I have most definitely benefited personally from her work as a translator of hymns.

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