Catherine Winkworth

13 September 1827–1 July 1878


Catherine Winkworth, from Hymns Ancient & Modern Historical Edition (1909).

MISS WINKWORTH was the daughter of Henry Wink­worth, of Alderley, near Manchester, England. She was born September 13, 1829, at London, and died in the year 1878. She is known, principally, by her valuable contribu­tions to hymnology. Her familiarity with the German language, and its wealth of spiritual songs, is apparent in her several publications.

The first publication of Miss Winkworth was her Lyra Germanica: Hymns for the Sundays and Chief Festivals of the Christian Year. Translated from the Ger­man. The Preface is dated, “Alderley Edge, July 16th, 1855.” It contained translations of 108 hymns selected from the Chevalier Bunsen’s Gesang und Gebetbuch, of 1833. They were translated, she says, “not so much as specimens of German hymn-writing, as in the hope, that these utterances of Christian piety, which have comforted and strengthened the hearts of many true Christians in their native country, may speak to the hearts of some among us, to help and cheer those who must strive and suffer, and to make us feel afresh what a deep and true communion of saints exists among all the children of God in different churches and lands.”

The success of her first effort emboldened her to prepare and issue (1858) Lyra Germanica : Second Series : The Christian Life. The 128 hymns in this series were “selected for their warmth of feeling and depth of Christian experience, rather than as specimens of a particular master or school.” An edition of the Lyra, containing some of the fine old German Chorales to which the hymns are sung in Germany, by vast congregations, was published [1863] with the title, The Chorale Book for England.

Miss Winkworth published an Eng­lish translation of the Life of Amelia Wilhelmina Sieve­king (1863), the Foundress of the Female Society for the Care of the Sick and Poor in Hamburg, Germany. Her Christian Singers of Germany, the Preface to which is dated, “Clifton, April, 1869,” contains a fund of desirable infor­mation respecting the principal hymn-writers of Germany, from “the early dawn of German Sacred Poetry and Song,” to the middle of the present century. She published later,­ Palm Leaves : Sacred Poems Selected and Translated from the German of Karl Gerok.

by Edwin Hatfield
The Poets of the Church (1884)

Featured Hymns:

God, who madest earth and heaven
Now thank we all our God
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Collections of Hymns:

Lyra Germanica [Songs for the Household]

1st series, 1st ed. (1855): PDF
1st series, 2nd ed. (1856): PDF
1st series, New ed. (1866): PDF

2nd series, 1st ed. (1858): PDF
2nd series, 6th ed. (1865): PDF
2nd series, Illustrated (1868): PDF
2nd series, 8th ed. (1872): PDF

Chorale Book for England

1st ed. (1863): PDF
with Supplement (1865): PDF

Christian Singers of Germany (1869): PDF

Palm Leaves: Sacred Poems Selected and Translated from the German of Karl Gerok (1870?)

Related Resources:

Theodore Kübler, Historical Notes to the Lyra Germanica (London: Longman, Green, Longman , Roberts, & Green, 1865): PDF

Edwin Hatfield, “Catherine Winkworth,” Poets of the Church (NY, 1884), pp. 682-683: HathiTrust

John Julian, “Catherine Winkworth,” A Dictionary of Hymnology (London, 1892), p. 1287: Google Books

Margaret J. Shaen, Memorials of Two Sisters (London: Longmans, 1908): PDF

Erik Routley, “Lyra Germanica,” Bulletin of the Hymn Society, vol. 84 (1958), pp. 171-174.

Elizabeth Patton Moss, “Catherine Winkworth: a personal study,” The Hymn, vol. 17, no. 1 (January 1966), pp. 5-11: HathiTrust

J. Vincent Higginson, “Catherine Winkworth and the Chorale Book for England,” The Hymn, vol. 25, no. 1 (January 1974), pp. 9-13: HathiTrust

Robin Leaver, Catherine Winkworth: The Influence of her Translations on English Hymnody (St Louis, MO: Concordia, 1978): WorldCat

Robin Leaver, “Catherine Winkworth’s place in English hymnody,” The Hymn, vol. 29, no. 4 (1978), pp. 214-216: HathiTrust

Peter Skrine, Susanna and Catherine Winkworth: Clifton, Manchester and the German Connection (Hymn Society Occasional Paper, Second Series, No 2, June 1992).

J.R. Watson, “Catherine Winkworth,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology:

Catherine Winkworth,

Susan Drain, “Catherine Winkworth,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: