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Heber Close

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Heber Close

This street was added to the village in the early 1970's. It was to recognise one of Malpas's most famous son's, Reginald Heber.

Son of one of the two rectors of Malpas, Reginal was born in the former 'Higher' Rectory in 1783.
His father, also named Reginald, wrote to his sister in London in April of that year: ' my dear Mary was safely delivered of a fine little lad He is as fat as a little mole and they say looks very well.'

Reginald followed in the footsteps of his father by becoming ordained, in 1807.

His first post was as Rector of Hodnet in Shropshire.

Since being at school he had written verse and while studying at Oxford University he won prizes for his poetry.

Back home he wrote Honour its own reward, a 'battle hymn' for one of the local corps of Volunteers set up as an early form of 'Dad's Army' to defend the country against French invasion.

From 1811 he began to write hymns to be used in parish churches.
Most are almost forgotten today but there are four still sung in Christian churches of many denominations:

  • Holy, holy holy, Lord God almighty;
  • The Son of God goes forth to war;
  • God that madest earth and heaven;
  • Brightest and best of the sons of the morning.

In 1823 Reginald went to India to become Bishop of Calcutta but after three years of intense activity, as a missionary and carrying out his episcopal duties, he died of a stroke in 1826.

He is commemorated in Malpas by the east window in Saint Oswald's church, which depicts scenes from his life and ministry; by the Bishop Heber High School; and by the road named 'Heber Close'.

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