Reginald Heber was born in England on April 21, 1783 to scholarly and well to do parents. When 17, in the year 1800, he was entered into Oxford University where he received much attention as a scholar and one of literary ability. He won prizes for a Latin poem, an English poem entitled Palestine and a prose essay, The Sense of Honour. Palestine is considered the best prize poem ever written at Oxford. In 1804, after completing his studies, he took a long tour of the Continent.
He was ordained to the Anglican Church in 1807.
In 1809 he was married to Amelia, the daughter of the distinguished professor, Dr. Shipley. He served in obscure churches, but was known as a man of Christian refinement and noble character. He was a prolific writer and made frequent contributions to magazines of his poems, hymns and essays. He wrote about the Holy Land, the war in 1809, the Holy Spirit's work as comforter, biographies, his travels in India, and his sermons.
In 1823, he was sent to India as the first Anglican Bishop to be sent to India. Just before going, Oxford conferred on him a D.D. degree. There in India, he baptized the first convert in East India, consecrated churches, founding schools, and doing Christian duties. He is said to have had an apostolic zeal and labored indefatigably for the spread of Christianity throughout the East. He lasted only three years due to a harsh work schedule, and high humidity. He preached a sermon against the system of castes to a large crowd of Indians in the open-air, apparently suffered sunstroke. He died taking a bath afterwards suddenly at the young age of 43, on April 3,1826. A year later, his widow and friends published 57 of his hymns of which all are still in use today. Some of them are:
George Grant & Gregory Wilbur The Christian Almanac (Nashville: Cumberland, 2000) Page 240-241.
K.W. Osbeck, 101 Hymn Stories (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1982). Page 79,94.
W.J. Federer, Great Quotations (St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch, 2001).
W.H. DePuy. The Encyclopaedia Britannica (Chicago: R.S. Peale Company, 1882), Vol 11, page 593-594