Young, Andrew (DNB00)

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YOUNG, ANDREW (1807–1889), author of ‘There is a happy land,’ schoolmaster and poet, second son of David Young, teacher in Edinburgh, was born at Edinburgh on 23 April 1807. He had a brilliant career in the arts and theological classes at Edinburgh University, where he secured Professor Wilson's (‘Christopher North's’) prize for the best poem on the ‘Scottish Highlands.’ In 1830 he was appointed by the town council of Edinburgh headmaster of Niddrie Street school, where he taught for eleven years, starting with eighty pupils and leaving with six hundred. In 1838 he wrote his well-known hymn, ‘There is a happy land,’ first published in James Gall's ‘Sacred Songs,’ and afterwards copied into hymn-books throughout the world. The words were written to an Indian air which he heard one night played on the piano by a lady. In 1840 he became head English master of Madras College, St. Andrews, from which he retired in 1853 to Edinburgh, where he was till his death superintendent of the Greenside parish Sabbath school, being also actively engaged in other philanthropic work. He was found dead in bed on 30 Nov. 1889. His remains were interred in Rosebank cemetery, Edinburgh.

Young was twice married. His first wife, Maria Mivart, whom he married in 1845, died in 1847. He married, secondly, in 1851, Christina Allan, niece of Sir William Allan [q. v.] He was survived by her and a daughter. Many of Young's hymns and poems were contributed to periodicals. A collected edition was published in 1876 as ‘The Scottish Highlands and other Poems,’ a work which entitles him to high rank among Scottish minor poets.

[Julian's Dict. of Hymnology; Scotsman, 2 Dec. 1889; Preface to the Scottish Highlands, 1876; information supplied by Miss Young.]

G. S-h.