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William John Blew, Ecclesia Dei: A vision of the church (1848). Kessinger Publishing, 2008. Courtesy

Rev. William John Blew (13 April 1808 - 28 December 1894) was an English translator and hymnist.


Blew, the only son of William Blew of St. James's, Westminster, was born in that parish. He was educated at St. Nicholas's school, Ealing; John Henry Newman was a schoolmate.[1]

Blew matriculated from Wadham College, Oxford in October 1825. He was elected Goodridge exhibitioner of Wadham in 1826, and earned a B.A. on 13 May 1830 and an M.A. on 13 June 1832.[1]

He was curate of Nuthurst, Sussex, from 1832 to 1840, being ordained deacon in 1832 and priest by the bishop of Chichester in 1834. From 1840 to 1842 he was curate of St. Anne's, Soho, and in 1842 became incumbent of St. John's, Milton-next-Gravesend, where he was free to give a high church tone to the services.[1]

In 1850, owing to a difference with his bishop, he retired from active clerical work and devoted himself mainly to liturgical and theological studies. He had married after his father's death in 1845, and resided at his father's house, 6 Warwick Street, Pall Mall East.[1]

Blew was a scholar of some repute. He published translations of the 'Iliad' in 1831, Æschylus's 'Agamemnon' in 1855, and Euripides's 'Medea' in English verse in 1887. He also edited, under the title Queen Mary, 2 plays by Dekker and Webster and by Thomas Heywood, viz.: The Famous History of Sir Thomas Wyat and If you know not me, you know nobody; or, The troubles of Queen Elizabeth (London, 1876, 8vo). But his chief interest lay in ecclesiology, and probably his most solid work was his edition of the Aberdeen Breviary for the Bannatyne Club in 1854.[2]

In 1852 he published, with his friend Henry John Gauntlett, The Church Hymn and Tune Book, which reached a second edition in 1855. The hymns, which are chiefly translations from the Latin by Blew, "are terse, vigorous, musical, and of great merit" (Julian). The volume also contains several original hymns by Blew. This was followed by Hymns and Hymn Books, 1858, 8vo, and in 1877 by an edition of the 1548 Altar Service of the Church of England.[2]

Blew died in his home, aged 86.[1]



  • God Save the Men of Denmark! London: Dorrell & Son, 1864.


  • Ecclesia Dei: A vision of the church. London: 1848.
  • Hymns and Hymn-books; with a Few Words on Anthems: A letter to the Rev. William Upton Richards, M.A. London: Rivingtons, 1858.
  • The Crisis of Common Prayer: A letter addressed to the Very Rev. the Dean of Westminster. London: C.J. Stewart, 1862.
  • Church Restoration: Its principles and methods. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, 1863.
  • The Common Prayer in Latin: A letter addressed to the Rev. Sir William Henry Cope, bart. London: C.J. Stewart, 1863.
  • On the New Latin Prayer-books: A letter to a friend in the shires. London: Dorrell & Son / Brighton, UK: G. Wakeling, 1865.
  • Church Life: Its grounds and obligations. London: 1867.
  • On the Proposed New Lectionary: A letter to the Right Reverend Henry Lord Bishop Suffragan of Nottingham. London: Strangeways & Walden, 1870.
  • 1548, the Second Year of the Reign of King Edward VI: The altar service of the Church of England for that year; to which is added that of the third year, 1549. London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1877.
  • Privy Council Infallibility: The "mere mistake" in the Knightsbridge judgment. London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1877.



  • Breviarium Aberdonense. London: Bannatyne Club, 1854. Volume I, Volume II, Volume III
  • The Church Hymn and Tune Book (edited with Henry John Gauntlett). London, F. & J. Rivington, 1852.
  • Queen Mary: Two old plays. London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1876.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[3]

O Lord, Thy Wing Outspread by William John Blew

O Lord, Thy Wing Outspread by William John Blew

See alsoEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Pollard, 218.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pollard, 219.
  3. Search results = au:William John Blew, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Jan. 30, 2017.

External linksEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement (edited by Sidney Lee)​. London: Smith, Elder, 1901. Original article is at: Blew, William John

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