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(born July 17, 1674, Southampton, Hampshire, Eng.died Nov. 25, 1748, Stoke Newington, London) English Nonconformist minister, regarded as the father of English hymnody. Watts studied at the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington, London, and he later became pastor of Mark Lane Independent (i.e., Congregational) Chapel. His collections of sacred lyrics include (1706), (1707), and (1719). His hymns, numbering more than 600, became known throughout Protestant Christendom; they include When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, O God, Our Help in Ages Past, Joy to the World, and Jesus Shall Reign. A man of great erudition, he published books on a range of subjects.
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