Composer Frederick Helmsley
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 693
    I am looking for information on a composer Frederick W. Helmsley (F.W. Helmsley). He composed a melody for the hymn "I Need Thee, Precious Jesus" which appears in the 1932 edition of "A Daily Hymn Book" published by Burns Oates & Washbourne, Ltd. I also have a 1948 edtion of this hymn book and each are melody edtions. My usual Google searchs' and other reference material I rely on does not have any information on this composer. has a tune named HELMSLEY but this might be a coincident.

    I was wondering if any one in this group would have any information on the composer or an organ accompinament for the melody?
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,167
    I searched, and also in some other historical records including newspapers and genealogy -- nothing.

    Is it possibly an editorial mistake? if the only reference to “Frederick W Helmsley” is in editions of the one hymn book. For the actual poet is Frederick Whitfield; and as you say Helmsley is a well-known 18th century tune (for Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending: definitely not by any Mr Helmsley). (Helmsley is a small town in Yorkshire.)

    In the Daily Hymn Book I see they have “Anon” for the text: perhaps that's also evidence of editorial error?

    It's interesting that in the dozens and dozens of page scans of this popular hymn at, the tune in question does not appear. Unless I missed it.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 693
    @Andrew_Malton - I have both a 1932 and 1948 edition and the name Frederick W. Helmsley is the same spelling.

    In the 1948 addition the composer shows up for several other hymns.
    Slumber, Thou Heavenly Child
    I dwell a captive in this Heart
    O Paradise, O Paradise (also in the 1932 edition)
    Out of the depths to Thee, O Lord, I cry (also in the 1932 edition)
    O Strength of Stay
    O Sacrament Most Holy

    I'm still looking through the 1932 edition. If the name is wrong in its spelling, at least the editors were consistant!
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,169
    From Italian WikiPedia article on Geral Finzi: "Finzi had Frederick Helmsley, organist of Saint Wilfrid's, in Harrogate, as a teacher."
  • Andrew_Malton
    Posts: 1,167
    Yep, my rhetorical “is it possible” is quite wrong!

    I find him on the 1911 census, St Wilfrid’s parish, Harrogate (Yorks.), age 31, married, two children, (all) born in Nottingham, “professional musician”.

    He clearly signed his name “Frederic”, and his son’s (Frederic R W Helmsley) also.

    He must have been the first organist at that large Anglo-Catholic parish, dedicated 1908, consecrated 1914.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Don9of11
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,731
    I would not put too much to the spelling...
    My great grandfather Jehu Windsor, has his name spelt 'Winsor' in at least one official document, and 'Windsor' in another.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 693
    Thank you everyone for the leads. It would appear he was a parish muscian of some note for St. Wilfrid's, although the Gerald Finzi characterization of Helmsley suggest he was not a worthy composer to study under. Interesting.

    @ Andrew_Malton, I found similar information on Family Search.
  • RoborgelmeisterRoborgelmeister
    Posts: 144
    So, is it correct that the melody, appearing here
    appeared only in the 1932 edition, but was dropped for the 1948 edition?
    Not one of his tunes could be considered superior, as I see it.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 693
    As far as I can tell.
    Thanked by 1Roborgelmeister