There is a love more perfect

* When the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland planned to hold a festival in St Martin’s Dorking (where I was a chorister), I wrote these words to be sung to ABINGER, by local resident Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), hoping that the tune might become better known and loved.


There is a love more perfect.midi

At St Martin’s Junior School in Dorking we sang I vow to thee my country (by Cecil Spring-Rice (1859-1918) to ABINGER, which was specially written for it; and I loved both that music and those words.

Only when I got into the wider world did I discover that nowadays hardly anyone sings I vow to thee to the tune ABINGER; THAXTED, by Vaughan William’s friend, Gustav Holst (1874-1934), is the generally preferred tune.

At the time the HSGBI visited St Martin’s Dorking, the Organist and Choirmaster there was Martin Ellis; it was he who composed the harmonisation of the second stanza.