|Short Name:||William Barton|
|Full Name:||Barton, William, 1598?-1678|
|Birth Year (est.):||1598|
Barton, William, born cir. 1603, and for some time Minister of St. Martin's, Leicester, died May 14, 1678. He was the author of one of the earliest collections of hymns, as distinct from Versions of the Psalms, in the English language. He was a friend of Richard Baxter, and it was at Baxter's request that he made four metrical renderings of the Te Deum (q. v.). His Hymns and Versions of the Psalms were numerous and were published as follows:—
(1) The Book of Psalms in Metre, 1644, 2nd ed. 1645, 3rd ed. 1646, 4th ed. 1654. (2) Psalms & Hymns composed for the Public Thanksgiving, Oct. 24, 1651. This consists of versions of Ps. 48, 76, 46 and 135. A copy of this is in the Bodleian. (3) A Century of Select Hymns, known as the Chapter Hymns, 1659, 100 in all. (4) Four Centuries of Select Hymns, an imperfect edition, published, he said, against his will. It contains the 1659 Century, a new Century of Chapter Hymns, and two Centuries of Psalm Hymns, 1668. (5) A new and revised edition of the Chapter Hymns, 1670. (6) A new and revised edition of the Psalm Hymns, 1672. (7) Last revise of the Psalm Hymns, containing the Third Century, 1682. (8) The foregoing Centuries collected, a Third Century of Chapter Hymns added thereto, 20 additional hymns, the Catechism, Book of Canticles, the Catalogue of Virtuous Women (all in metre), were published with an Introduction by his son, Edward Barton, "Minister of Welford, in Northamptonshire," in 1688. This is Barton's work which is known as the Six Centuries of Select Hymns and Spiritual Songs, collected out of the Bible, &c, Lond., 1688. Of these works Nos. 1,2, and 4 differ widely in text from each other; and together with the rest are again altered in the final revision published after his death, 1682, and several times reprinted. The last ed. was published by Robert Robinson of Cambridge in 1768. These versions deserve more attention from compilers than they have hitherto received. It must be noted, however, that the Book of Psalms, and the Psalm Hymns, are distinct works. (9) Barton also printed a 4to volume in 1655, as, A View of Many Errors and some gross Absurdities in the Old Translation of the Psalms in English Metre, as also in some other Translations lately published. This work contains specimens of his own translations and epigrams, and commendatory verses by his friends.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)