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Isaac Watts
Birth: Jul. 17, 1674
Southampton Unitary Authority
Hampshire, England
Death: Nov. 25, 1748
Stoke Newington
London Borough of Hackney
Greater London, England

Hymn writer and theologian. Regarded as "The Father of English Hymnody". He was born and went to school in Southampton, and showed an early facility in rhyme. As the son of a well-known Nonconformist, who had been imprisoned for his faith, he was unable to go to Oxford or Cambridge universities, and studied at the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington. He worked as a private tutor, as well as preaching, writing, and training preachers. He was Lord Mayor of London from 1700 to 1701, in spite of his Nonconformity. Watts' work as a writer of hymns was important because, prior to his influence, most singing in worship in England used biblical texts, mainly from the Psalms. Watts wrote new poetry to set to music, emphasising personal spirituality, and also produced metrical English versions of the Psalms. His intention was that the congregation, not just the choir, should make an active contribution to worship. His ideas were widely adopted, notably by members of the Wesley family. Three of his best known hymns are, "Joy to the World", "O God, Our Help in Ages Past", and "When I Survey the Wond'rous Cross". One of his poems for children was parodied by Lewis Carroll in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", as "How Doth the Little Crocodile", and is now better known from that than from the original. The same poem is the source of the quotation, "Satan finds some mischief still / For idle hands to do," which occurs, amongst other places, in Dickens' "David Copperfield." Isaac Watts' papers have been held by Yale University since his death, because of the founders' strong Congregationalist connections. The tomb in Bunhill Fields replaces the original, and dates from 1808. There is an earlier memorial in Westminster Abbey, and a statue, erected by public subscription in 1845, in Abney Park, Stoke Newington. A memorial bust, formerly in the London chapel with which Watts was associated, was lost when it was demolished in the late 18th century. There is also an Isaac Watts Memorial United Reformed Church in Southampton. (bio by: Sheilia W.) 
Bunhill Fields Burial Ground
London Borough of Islington
Greater London, England
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1078
Isaac Watts
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Isaac Watts
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Isaac Watts
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- In Memory of You
 Added: Jul. 17, 2017
Many thanks to Isaac Watts for his excellent and thought-provoking THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE MIND (1741). It is a fountain from which I never cease to find wisdom and sustenance. Would that I had read it when I was much younger.
- Don Cress
 Added: Apr. 20, 2017

- Sarah K
 Added: Mar. 15, 2016
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