Edith Margaret Clarkson, 1915-2008

Christopher Idle  |  Features
Date posted:  1 Jun 2008
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Margaret Clarkson, whose rarely-used first name is Edith, was born in 1915 into, as Margaret herself described, ‘a loveless and unhappy marriage’, which broke up when she was 12.

C. Stacey Woods (‘a name not widely known’) was well celebrated by Julia Cameron in November’s EN. Another of his hidden achievements came in Toronto in 1946. He asked Margaret Clarkson to write a hymn.

Recently turned 30, Margaret was then a primary schoolteacher known for her keen evangelical faith, her love of music and talent for verse. In childhood she treasured her Presbyterian hymnbook, responding to the gospel by the age of ten during a series of meetings based on Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Second only to her Bible, she learned and loved the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and from the top of the family’s cherry tree she sang the hymns she had picked up by heart in church; many from Watts, Newton and Havergal among her favourites. She always preferred ‘real hymns’ to gospel songs or their later counterparts.

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