One of the most beloved hymns from the Anglican tradition is this, "The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended."
This quintessential English hymn has featured prominently at some important historic occasions. It was chosen by Queen Victoria to be sung at the 1897 service commemorating the 60th year of her reign. It was also sung at the ceremony when Britain returned control of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
The words were written by John Ellerton, who was born in London, Dec. 16, 1826, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A. 1849; M.A. 1854). Taking Holy Orders he was successively Curate of Easebourne, Sussex, 1850; Brighton, and Lecturer of St. Peter's, Brighton, 1852; Vicar of Crewe Green, and Chaplain to Lord Crewe, 1860; Rector of Hinstock, 1872; of Barnes, 1876; and of White Roding, 1886. It is as a hymnologist, editor, hymnwriter, and translator, that he is most widely known.
The music was composed by the Rev. Clement Cotteril Scholefield (1839–1904), who was born at Edgbaston, Birmingham. He was educated at Pocklington Grammar School and, after three years at St John's College, Cambridge, he was ordained a deacon in 1867 and a priest in 1869 in the Church of England. From 1869 until 1879, he served at Hove parish church, St. Peter's in Kensington, as well as a brief tenure at St Luke's Church, Chelsea. He spent the ten years to 1890 as chaplain at Eton College before becoming vicar at Holy Trinity, Knightsbridge, for five years. He had no systematic musical training but he was an accomplished pianist.
This tune, "St. Clement" has always been attributed to him, but recently, a case has been made that Sir Arthur Sullivan may be the composer.
Not everyone loved the tune, as former Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang referred to it as a "feeble waltz tune..." ;-)
Whatever your feelings, the "world" of this hymn has long passed - and will not be returning any time soon.
Pictures of Ellerton and Scholefield are attached below.