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Centenary of composer Hubert Parry's death marked at St Paul's

On Sunday 7 October the Cathedral marked the 100th anniversary of the death of composer Hubert Parry who is buried in the crypt. 

At Evensong, hymns composed by Parry were sung, including Dear Lord and Father of Mankind and his famous Jerusalem, with words by William Blake who is also memorialised in the crypt of St Paul’s. 

The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel preached on Parry’s life, the first in a series entitled ‘For Whom the Bells Toll’ which remembers the great and the good in the Crypt of St Paul’s in a series of addresses on the lives and achievements of men and women whose memorials are found in the Crypt. 

Following Evensong, a short service at Parry’s grave in the OBE Chapel was attended by relatives and a wreath was laid by Professor Colin Lawson CBE, Head of the Royal College of Music, a role Parry held from 1895 until his death in 1918. 

Visitors to the Cathedral wishing to pay their respects can find Parry's grave near the organ in the OBE Chapel.

Born in 1848, by age 33 Parry was a professor at the Royal College of Music, becoming the head of the college 12 years later.

While Parry's compositions did include orchestral works and even an opera, it is his church choral music and songs for which he is most famed. Chief amongst his works which remain known today are the hymn tune Repton, (Dear Lord and Father of Mankind); his musical setting of William Blake's short poem And did those feet in ancient time (Jerusalem); and for the great anthem I Was Glad, set to the words of Psalm 122 and written for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1911.

Whilst never the most acclaimed of English composers either in the UK or overseas, it is known that through both his academic work and composition, Parry was a great influence on Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst.

Aged 70, Parry fell victim to the global Spanish Flu pandemic and died in west Sussex on 7 October 1918. He was buried in the crypt of St Paul's, alongside fellow musicians Arthur Sullivan and William Boyce.