An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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Neale, John Mason

(Jan. 24, 1818-Aug. 6, 1866). British cleric, hymn writer, and translator. He was born in London. Neale was caught up with the ideals of the Oxford Movement while he was at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1839 Neale and Benjamin Webb founded the Cambridge Camden Society. After 1845 it was known as the Ecclesiological Society. The Society's goals focused on church architecture and traditional catholic worship. Neale was ordained deacon in 1841 and priest in 1842. His early ordained ministry was limited by poor health. After a period of rest, Neale was appointed warden of Sackville College, East Grinstead, in 1846. He also devoted himself to literary work and the Society of St. Margaret, a religious order for women, which he founded in 1855. The Bishop of Chichester inhibited Neale from 1847 to 1863 because of his ritualistic practices. Today Neale is primarily remembered as a translator of ancient Greek and Latin hymns. His two major publications, Medieval Hymns and Sequences (1851) and Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862), had a major impact on English language hymnals published in the second half of the nineteenth century. Neale contributed nearly an eighth of the texts of the original edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1859). His translations continue in use today. The Hymnal 1982 contains twenty-seven texts or portions of texts that were translated by Neale, including such classics as, "All glory, laud, and honor" (Hymns 154/155), "Come, ye faithful, raise the strain" (Hymns 199/200), and "Of the Father's love begotten" (Hymn 82). The Hymnal also has two original texts by Neale, including "Good Christian friends, rejoice" (Hymn 107). Neale died in East Grinstead on the Feast of the Transfiguration, 1866. He is commemorated in the Episcopal calendar of the church year on Aug. 7.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.