Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Peters, Mary

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PETERS, Mrs. MARY (1813–1856), hymn-writer, daughter of Richard Bowly and his wife, Mary Bowly, was born at Cirencester in Gloucestershire on 17 April 1813. While very young she married John McWilliam Peters, sometime rector of Quenington in the same county, and afterwards vicar of Langford in Oxfordshire. The death of her husband in 1834 left her a widow at the age of twenty-one. She found solace in the writing of hymns and other literary pursuits. She wrote a work in seven volumes, called ‘The World's History from the Creation to the Accession of Queen Victoria.’ It is, however, as a hymn-writer that Mrs. Peters will be best remembered. She contributed hymns to the Plymouth Brethren's ‘Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs,’ London, 1842, 8vo. Her poetical pieces, fifty-eight in number, appeared in 1847 under the title ‘Hymns intended to help the Communion of Saints’ (London). Selections from this volume are found in various hymnals both of the established and nonconformist churches, such as ‘The Hymnal Companion,’ Snepp's ‘Songs of Grace and Glory,’ Windle's ‘Church and Home Psalter and Hymnal,’ ‘The General Hymnary,’ &c. Among her most admired hymns are those beginning: ‘Around Thy table, Holy Lord,’ ‘Holy Father, we address Thee,’ ‘Jesus, how much Thy name unfolds!’ and ‘Through the love of God our Saviour.’ The first and last named are in very general use.

Mrs. Peters died at Clifton, Bristol, on 29 July 1856.

[Julian's Dict. of Hymnology, and private sources.]

W. B. L.