Today, at the Cathedral, we used a tune so well-known to church-goers and non-church-goers alike, that it is one of the favourites used at Burial Services (you just have to lookat the most-thumbed page in Burial Service Sheets!). The words are a paraphrase of Psalm 23, and the name of the tune is Crimond.
Jessie Seymour Irvine was born in July 1836, the daughter of a Scottish clergyman who served in Peterhead, and then in the village of Crimond, in Aberdeenshire. Whilst studying the organ, she wrote a tune, which was harmonised by David Grant in 1872, when it appeared in the Northern Psalter. It was thought that the original tune was by Grant but in the 1929 Scottish Psalter, she was acknowledged as the composer.
It seems to be a perfect example of the Scottish Psalter compositions, and whilst to some it may smack of sentimentality but it does have that simplicity of tune which makes it easy to learn and remember, and difficult to forget….it truly passes the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’.
She died in 1887 and is buried in St Machar’s Cathedral, in Aberdeen…..and while she is mainly remembered for this tune alone….surely that is sufficient epitaph alone!