Few hymn tunes get to be mentioned in great novels. ‘Lydia’ is in two: Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native (1878), and George Eliot’s Scenes of Clerical Life (1857–8), where it is mentioned as a tune associated with ‘the Independent Meeting’. The tune was published for the first time anonymously in 1844, and various names have been associated with it. There was a Thomas Phillips who worked as a brush-maker in Bristol and in his obituary notice was said to be well known among ‘the lovers of psalmody’. He could be the composer.
from notes by Alan Luff © 2004