Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Colin's Little Known Facts: Gustav Holst and Thaxted

The famous English composer Gustav Holst lived for some of his life at the delightful Essex village of Thaxted, in the North West of the county close to Saffron Walden and Finchingfield.

He was born at Cheltenham, on the edge of the Cotswolds, where there is a museum dedicated to his life and work.

Holst was organist at the beautiful St. John the Baptist Church at Thaxted, whose spire is one of the finest in England.

It was here that he wrote most of his best known work “The Planets Suite”. One of the themes from this is even better known as the tune for a much loved hymn “I Vow to Thee My Country”. The tune itself has the name “Thaxted”.

Holst also composed the music which is usually used for the Christmas song “In the Bleak Midwinter”, whose words were written by Christina Rossetti.

He died at Chichester, and has a memorial at Chichester Cathedral.