My Jesus I Love Thee (ELLIS)

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Within the last few days, someone has changed the authority for "my_jesus_i_love_thee_ellis" to "my_jesus_i_love_thee_english", evidently in response to edits I recently made to identify more instances of this tune. But this tune is not English, it is Welsh, by composer John Ellis (1760–1839), published as ST. MEIFOD in the November 1821 issue of Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd, under Ellis’s pseudonym Pencerrd Myllin. For an excellent history of the tune, please see this page:

And for crying out loud, if you are going to change my edits, you would be much better off asking me first (, because people who go behind me to "fix" my work end up making careless mistakes and then I have to come back here and complain about it.

And as long as I'm complaining about bad information related to "My Jesus, I love thee," please note that Elizabeth Featherston Wilson, aunt of William Ralph Featherston, did not live in Los Angeles in 1862, she lived in West Oxford, Ontario. This is a faulty misinterpretation of Ira Sankey's story, printed in 1906.

Chris Fenner
Hymnology Archive


I apologize, I should have contacted you to see where you got your information.  It was the date of 1878 that you added that made me doubt, as the tune "My Jesus I Love Thee" identified as an English melody appeared in an 1868 hymnal published in the U.S. I do not see the evidence that "My Jesus I Love Thee" evolved from ST. MEIFOD. I do see that the tune used in the LDS hymnals comes from ST. MEIFOD and that the two tunes are similar. If you want, we can separate out the LDS tune and "O boundless salvation" from "My Jesus I Love Thee" as they are different enough to make a separate record.

To me, they are the same and should be treated as variants of the same tune. In the 1821 printing of ST. MEIFOD, the melody is in the tenor part, but where the tenor part stops, most printings incorporate the soprano part for two bars before the tenor comes back in. In the first phrase, some hymnals send the melody back up to the upper octave rather then sending the tune down to the lower; this is just an editorial octave/range displacement. The biggest difference is in the beginning of the second phrase, but the slight melodic shift is only about two measures long. I don't know if Ellis printed later editions of his tune or how it was adopted into Welsh hymnals.

The bulletin blurb, notes, and other narrative elements of the authority page for "My Jesus, I love thee" need to be updated. Mrs. Wilson's residence in 1862 was not Los Angeles. Gordon first published his tune in 1872. Nobody knows how or why the hymn was written in Canada but first published in England. J.H. Duffell has also been credited with writing the hymn. William's gravestone is clearly spelled "Featherston" not "Featherstone".

Thank you for your help in sorting out these issues as they apply to the Hymnary.


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