Hymn #52: There Is a Name I Love to Hear (O How I Love Jesus)

Frederick Whitfield (1829-1904) wrote the stanzas of this hymn in 1855, and it was first distributed in leaflets in Great Britain.  Whitfield later published the words, without the refrain, in his Sacred Poems and Prose (1861), and it appeared in the United States as early as 1864.

Frederick Whitfield was a priest in the Church of England.  He served as curate at Otley, vicar at Kirby-Ravensworth, senior curate at Greenwich, and vicar at St. John’s Bexley and then St. Mary’s Church, Hastings, England.  Whitfield published over thirty volumes of poetry and prose.

This hymn’s tune is thought by some to be a traditional English melody.  Most scholars, however, recognize in it the lilting simplicity typical of nineteenth-century camp-meeting songs of the United States.  The tune is named O HOW I LOVE JESUS after the words of the refrain.

The refrain of this hymn has been found with numerous texts by other hymnwriters such as Isaac Watts and John Wesley dating from the 1860s.  Hymnologist Ellen Jane Lorenz claims it was related to four different camp-meeting tunes of similar meter.