Cyril Taylor was, at the time of writing this tune, assistant to the head of religious broadcasting at the BBC, which had been evacuated to Bristol since the beginning of the war. He was a member of the newly re-formed committee working on what was to become The BBC Hymn Book
(1951). Writing about the tune’s composition, he says that in May 1941 he was certainly conscious that people were writing to the BBC objecting to the use of the tune ‘Austria’ to these classic words by John Newton. However, no decision to replace it had been made. On that Sunday morning this warm, three-in-a-bar tune, so different from the other rather militaristic tune, as he puts it, ‘rose to the surface’. It has proved to be one of the most successful tunes of the century. Abbot’s Leigh is the wooded area of Bristol, south of the river Avon, where he was living.
from notes by Alan Luff © 1999