John Samuel Bewley Monsell was born to Thomas Bewley MonsellArchdeacon of Derry, in St. Columb’s, Londonderry on 2 March 1811. There is nothing noted about his birth mother or his younger years. He attended Trinity College, Dublin where he received a BA in 1832 (and an LL.D in 1856). John was ordained deacon in 1834, and priest in 1835.

On 15 January the latter year he married Anne, daughter of Bolton Waller, of Shannon Grove and Castletown. There were four children born from this union, but only two survived—a daughter, Jane Diana and a son, William Thomas Monsell who became a magistrate and and inspector of facturers. From William the artist Elinor Darwin was born.

Through his brother Charles and his wife Harriet, John became influenced by the Oxford Movement and an admirer of Edward Bouverie Pusey, and also became acquainted with William Ewart Gladstone, with whom he kept continual correspondence.

Monsell was a prolific hymnist. He published eleven volumes of poems and about 300 hymns. His books include: Hymns and Miscellaneous Poems (1837), Parish Musings: In verse (1850), Spiritual Songs for the Sundays and Holy Days Throughout the Year (1859), Hymns of Love and Praise for the Church’s Year (1863), Our New Vicar (1867), Litany Hymns (1870).[1] His two most notable hymns to date are “Fight the good fight,” and “Lord of the living harvest.”

He was also responsible for the building or rebuilding of three of his churches: Ramoan, at Ballycastle, County Antrim, St Jude, Englefield Green, during his incumbency at Egham, and St. Nicolas’ Church, Guildford. While inspecting the rebuilding of the latter, Monsell fell from a boulder, and subsequently died in 1875 from an infected wound.


  1. O’Donoghue 1894.
  2. “Thomas Bewlay Monsell”The Peerage. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  3. “Estate Record: Smith (Milford)” Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  4. Lodge’s Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage of the British Empire, John Lodge, 1907, p. 707.
  5. The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971 Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages with Genealogies and Arms, L. G. Pine, Heraldry Today, London, 1972, p. 115.
  6. Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 107th ed., 2003, vol. 2, p. 2038.
  7. Letters in the British Library.

Accessed 08 March 2022.


1674Dürer’s painting The Coronation of the Virgin burned in a palace at Munich this night, where it had been in the possession of Elector Maximilian of Bavaria.

1761 – English devotional writer William Law died in Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire. His Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life greatly influenced George Whitefield and John Wesley.

1857 – Author and hymnwriter Marianne Farningham (Mary Anne Hearne) of Farningham, England, contributed some poetry to the first issue of the newspaper The Christian World and continued as a regular and beloved contributor for over fifty years.

1906 – Edward Lee asked Pentecostal evangelist William Seymour to pray for him that he was given the gift of tongues. When Seymour prayed, Lee spoke in tongues, one of the events initiating the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles.

1934Louisa Lee becomes the first missionary assigned by the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. After twenty years of service in India with the Presbyterian Church in the USA, she had recently broken with it because she felt that its adoption of modernist ideas undercut basic Bible doctrines. She continued to serve in India until her death in 1972.

Accessed and 8 March 2022.

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