<< Previous | 10 of 14 | Next >>

Regular Columns

Being Anne Steele

Sadly forgotten today, the Baptist writer Anne Steele (1717–1778), has been rightly called the ‘mother of the English hymn’, and at the close of the 19th century she was as famous as Isaac Watts, John Newton or William Cowper.

Rear View Mirror Professor Michael Haykin
Figure Image
photo: iStock

Anne was the daughter of William Steele, the Pastor of the Particular Baptist Chapel in Broughton, Hampshire, a village situated roughly mid-way between Salisbury and Winchester. Converted in 1732 and baptised the same year, she grew to be a woman of deep piety, genuine cheerfulness, and blessed with a mind hungry for knowledge. Her piety was wrought in the furnace of affliction. She wrestled most of her adult life, it appears, with ongoing bouts of tertian malaria and terrible stomach pain.