Holy Father, we adore Thee

Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

John Bacchus Dykes wrote the music for this hymn. He was born March 10, 1823, Kingston upon Hill, England in the “Old Ivy House, ” and was baptized on the same day in Old Sutton Church, Kingston upon Hull, by his grandfather Thomas Dykes. His middle name,

Bacchus, was originally a surname, from his maternal ancestors. John died January 22, 1876, Ticehurst, Sussex, England and buried at the Saint Oswald’s Church, Durham England.

John was the son of William Hey Dykes, a ship builder, later banker, and Elizabeth Huntington; husband of Susanna Kingston; and brother of Eliza Alderson who was a hymn writer.

Around age 12, he became assistant organist at St. John’s Church in Hull, where his grandfather was a vicar. He studied at Wakefield Yorkshire and Saint Catherine’s hall, Cambridge, where he was a Dykes Scholar, president of the Cambridge University Musical Society, and earned a BA in classics.

In 1848, he became a curate at Malton, Yorkshire. For a short time, he was a canon of Durham Cathedral, then precentor (1849-62). In 1862 he became vicar of Saint Oswald’s Durham (he named a son St. John Oswald Dykes and one of his tunes Saint Oswald).

Dykes published sermons and articles on spiritual matters but is best known for composing over 300 hymns. In his music, as in his ecclesiastical work, he was less dogmatic than many of his contemporaries about the theological controversies of the day-– he often fulfilled requests for tunes for non-Anglican hymns. In addition to his gift for writing music he played the organ, piano, violin, and horn.