THOMAS KEN (1637-17x1), the most eminent of the English non-juring bishops, and one of the fathers of modern English hymnology, was born at Little Berkhampstead, Herts, in 1637.
He was once more residing at Winchester in 1683 when Charles came to the city with his doubtfully composed court, and his residence was chosen as the home of Nell Gwynne; but Ken stoutly objected to this arrangement,.
In 1652 Ken entered Winchester College, and in 1656 became a student of Hart Hall, Oxford.
Such a sketch must pass lightly over debatable ground, and must consist largely of suggestions still in need of confirmation; but if it serves as a frame into which more precise and more detailed statements may be fitted as they come to the ken of the reader, its object will be attained.
Art, science, literature - little escaped his ken - and that not merely in Germany: English writers, Byron, Scott and Carlyle, Italians like Manzoni, French scientists and poets, could all depend on friendly words of appreciation and encouragement from Weimar.
Ken's step-sister, Anne, was married to Izaak Walton in 1646, a connexion which brought Ken from his boyhood under the refining influence of this gentle and devout man.
Along with his six brethren, Ken was committed to the Tower on the 8th of June 1688, on a charge of high misdemeanour; the trial, which took place on the 29th and 30th of the month, and which resulted in a verdict of acquittal, is matter of history.
Although Ken wrote much poetry, besides his hymns, he cannot be called a great poet; but he had that fine combination of spiritual insight and feeling with poetic taste which marks all great hymnwriters.
As to which of the first two methods of pronunciation had chronological precedence, the weight of opinion is that the ken came later than the go.
Leaving aside the primitive phases of the religion as lying beyond the ken of historical investigation, we may note the sharp distinction to be made between the pre-Khammurabic age and the post-Khammurabic age.