1903 at Roby, near Liverpool, England, the third child of Charles Green, a leather
merchant, and Hannah, nèe Greenwood. The abbreviation Fred has been used
by the author for his hymnwriting: his close family, and in particular his late
wife Marjorie, used Derick. Pratt was the name of a relative, who was a Methodist
preacher. His father resigned from the office of Wesleyan Local Preacher because
he could not accept current teaching about eternal damnation for unbelievers.|
worshipped with his family at Childwall Parish Church: attended Huyton High School.
The family moved to Wallasey, Cheshire, England where the young Green attended
Claremount Road Wesleyan Church and Wallasey Grammar School, before moving on
to Rydal, a Methodist boarding school at Colwyn Bay, North Wales. In his schooldays,
he showed interest in becoming an architect, but in fact took employment in his
father's leather business. During the pastorate of Revd William Rushby at Claremount
Road, and after hearing a sermon on John Masefield's The Everlasting Mercy,
he offered for the Wesleyan ministry about the time his friend Eric Thomas offered
for the Anglican priesthood. The key to Fred's eventual choice of Methodism was
its open welcome to Holy Communion.
Fred Pratt Green was sent to serve in 1924 in the Severn Valley Circuit
From 1925 to 1928, he attended Didsbury Theological College. Green emerged from
Didsbury convinced that fundamentalism is a grave misinterpretation of the Bible,
that Christian unity, though seemingly unattainable, is an important goal, and
that the Church must involve itself in social concerns.
· He served
next in Filey Circuit and as chaplain to Hunmanby Hall Boarding School for Girls:
in 1931, he married Londoner, Marjorie Dowsett, who taught French at the school.
He moved on to Otley Circuit, living at Pool-in-Wharfedale.
· He was
appointed to Bradford (Manningham) Circuit based at Girlington where he began
writing plays. In 1935 he attended the World Congress of Faiths. Green later suffered
a breakdown, leading to the need for three months' rest.
· In 1939,
as the Second World War broke out, he moved to the London (Ilford) Circuit based
at Gants Hill, combining his ministerial duties with those of an air raid warden
in an area about three miles from the Thames with its heavily bombed docks and
major industrial sites: later the Greens became guardians to Elizabeth, the daughter
of Revd Vincent Shepherd, a missionary hospitalised with leprosy in India after
fleeing from the Japanese in Burma.
In 1944, Green moved to London (Finsbury Park) Circuit, based at Grange Hill:
on a pastoral visit to a Sunday School member, he met Fallon Webb, a gentle agnostic
poet, to begin a friendship which encouraged Fred's poetry writing and lasted
until Webb's death.
· In 1947, he was appointed to the Dome, Brighton,
in which concert hall the evening congregation often exceeded two thousand people.
In 1952 he moved to Shirley at the Southern edge of London and bordering Green
He was appointed in 1957 as Chairman of the York and Hull District of the Methodist
· In 1964, he returned to the Circuit ministry in the London
(Sutton) Circuit in charge of Trinity Church: in 1967 he was appointed to the
working party planning Hymns and Songs, a supplement to The Methodist
Hymn Book, a task which was to set off his hymnwriting career coincident with
his retirement to Norwich at the end of his distinguished itinerant ministry.
Over two decades Pratt Green wrote around 300 hymns and songs which found their
way across theological, denominational and national boundaries, his work gaining
particularly wide use in the USA.
A phone call from Lambeth Palace in 1977 advised Pratt Green of the inclusion
of one of his hymns in the official order of service for the nationwide celebrations
of the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
· He was appointed in 1977 to
co-edit an ecumenical collection for all-age worship Partners in Praise (London:
Stainer & Bell and Chester House Publications, 1979)
· In 1982,
Emory University (Atlanta) conferred upon Green an honorary doctorate in Humane
In 1984, he set up The Pratt Green Trust, a charitable body for the furtherance
of hymnody and church music, principally funded by the royalties from his hymnwriting.
In 1990, the Greens moved to Cromwell House Methodist Home for the Aged, Norwich,
where Marjorie died in 1993. The empty chair was all too poignant at low-key celebrations
of Fred 's ninetieth birthday.
· In 1995, Frederick Pratt Green was
honoured by the Queen with the award of an MBE for services to hymnwriting.
Fred died quietly in his sleep at Cromwell House on Sunday 22nd October 2000.
a much fuller biography see pages 122 to 171 of Bernard Braley's Hymnwriters
3 (London, Stainer & Bell, 1991)
Old Couple. Poems. Stockport, Peterloo Poets, 1976
Hymns and Ballads of Fred Pratt Green. London, Stainer & Bell Ltd and
Carol Stream, Hope Publishing Company, 1982
Last Lap. A Sequence of Verse on the Theme of Old Age. London, Stainer &
Bell Ltd and Carol Stream, Hope Publishing Company, 1991.
in Creation. The definitive collection of Fred's hymns (including new tunes
where alternatives are not available) was published in 2003 to mark the centenary
of his birth.
details from Stainer & Bell.
God & God's Creatures - An illustrated Biographical Volume about Fred
Pratt Green Compiled by Bernard Braley ISBN 0 85249 865 9 Cat. No. B865. Contains
over 60 photographs and illustrations compiled from Fred Pratt Green's papers,
photograph albums, scrapbooks and diaries memories contributed by those who still
remember him from as early as 1924. Also, Fred's poems and sonnets addressed to
his friends and other previously unpublished writing and many other sources commissioned
by The Pratt Green Trust.