Timothy Dudley-Smith

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Timothy Dudley-Smith

Bishop of Thetford
Diocese Norwich
In office1981–1992
Predecessor Hugh Blackburne
Successor Hugo de Waal
Other post(s) Honorary assistant bishop in Salisbury (1992–present)
Archdeacon of Norwich (1973–1981)
Ordination1950 (deacon); 1951 (priest)
Personal details
Born (1926-12-26) 26 December 1926 (age 96)
Manchester, England
Denomination Anglican
ParentsArthur and Phyllis Dudley-Smith
Arlette MacDonald
(m. 1959;died 2007)
Profession Bishop, hymnist
Alma mater Pembroke College, Cambridge

Timothy Dudley-Smith OBE (born 26 December 1926) is a retired bishop of the Church of England and a noted hymnwriter. He has written around 400 hymns, including "Tell Out, my Soul".


Life, education and ministry

Dudley-Smith was born on 26 December 1926 in Manchester, England, to Phyllis and Arthur Dudley-Smith. His father was a schoolteacher. [1] He was educated at Tonbridge School before studying maths and then theology at Pembroke College, Cambridge. [1] After graduating in 1947, he began his ordination training at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. [2] He was ordained deacon in 1950 and priest in 1951 by Christopher Chavasse, the Bishop of Rochester. [1]

After ordination, Dudley-Smith served as an honorary chaplain to Chavasse, as well as head of the Cambridge University Mission in Bermondsey, South London. [1] In 1955, he was appointed editorial secretary of the Evangelical Alliance and editor of the new Crusade magazine, created after Billy Graham's 1954 London mission. [2] [1] Dudley-Smith also began serving with the Church Pastoral Aid Society, serving as assistant secretary from 1959, then as secretary until 1973. [1] He served as Archdeacon of Norwich from 1973 to 1981 and as Bishop of Thetford from 1981 to 1991. [1] He also served as president of the Evangelical Alliance from 1987 to 1992. [3] He was chairman of the governors of Monkton Combe School from 1992 to 1997. [4]

He married Arlette MacDonald in 1959. They were married for 48 years until her death in 2007; they had one son and two daughters. [1] His son, James, is also ordained in the Church of England, and currently serves as rector of St John's Church, Yeovil. [5]

Dudley-Smith has been part of what has been described as a British "hymn explosion" since World War II. [6]


Dudley-Smith is a member and honorary vice-president of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland; he has also been awarded fellowships from the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada and the Royal School of Church Music. [7] In 2003, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire "for services to hymnody". [7] In July 2009 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Durham University. [8]

Selected works

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Saward, Michael (2006). "Timothy Dudley-Smith: An Acknowledged Master Craftsman" (PDF). Anvil. 23 (4): 290. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  2. 1 2 "A Song Was Heard at Christmas". Carols.net. 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  3. Dudley-Smith, Timothy (1997). "Lord, for the Years..." Evangelicals Now. Interviewed by Shirt, Esme. Archived from the original on 27 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  4. A Delightful Inheritance by P. LeRoy, Monkton Print, 2018.
  5. "James Dudley-Smith". St John's Church. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  6. Giles, Gordon (28 October 2016). "Singing through the tide of change". Church Times . Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  7. 1 2 "Dudley-Smith, Timothy". Hope Publishing. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  8. Watson, J. R. (2009). "Timothy Dudley Smith: Doctor of Divinity" (PDF). Durham, England: Durham University. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
Church of England titles
Preceded by Bishop of Thetford
Succeeded by
Religious titles
Preceded by
President of the Evangelical Alliance
Succeeded by