Hymn Story: Ivory Palaces

Famous evangelist Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman preached at Montreat (Presbyterian conference grounds) in Western, NC in the summer of 1915.

He spoke on Psalm 45 and referenced a book he’d written in 1893 Ivory Palaces of the King. Chapman believed the hymn spoke of the relationship of Christ (the bridegroom) to his bride (the church).

In the congregation that day was a young Britisher he’d met the previous year while preaching in England. That young man’s name was Henry Barraclough.

Later that evening, following a drive with friends Barraclough jotted down some thoughts on a “visiting card” at a little village store. Upon his return to the conference hotel, he began to craft the first three stanzas of the hymn. The following morning soloists preformed the song for the first time.

Henry Barraclough was born on December 14, 1891, in Yorkshire, England. He learned to play the piano and organ at the young age of five. After serving a member of Parliament, he became the pianists for Wilbur J. Chapman and his team. He is created with writing twenty hymns and composing over 120 tunes. He died in August 1983 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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