Parry’s masterful and rousing setting was not initially composed for a great national occasion, but rather for Francis Younghusband’s patriotic Fight for Right Society in 1916. Although it was to be conducted by Walford Davies, Parry was reluctant about seeming to give credence to such ultra-patriotism, and later withdrew his support entirely. To Parry’s delight, Jerusalem was adopted by Millicent Fawcett and the Women’s Suffrage movement in 1917. The Parrys were keen supporters of the fledgling movement for universal suffrage. Jerusalem was sung at the 1918 Suffrage Demonstration Concert, and it remained the property of The National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies until 1928. It is hard to overstate the hymn’s popularity in contemporary terms, and for many it has become akin to a second English National Anthem, not least through its perennial inclusion in the last night of the Proms programme. It was sung as the final hymn at the wedding of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
from notes by The Revd Dr James Hawkey © 2014