The Stella Hymn is better known as Hail Queen of Heaven. H.F. Hemy, the author of Hemy’s Pianoforte Tutor, composed the hymn.
There is one account which says that it was after playing the organ for evening benediction on Sunday at Stella, he called into the (old) Board Inn at the foot of Stella Lane with some companions and seated at the piano first played what we have known for over a century as “Stella”.
Father John Lingard (1771- 1851), a former student at Douai College, wrote the words of Hail Queen of Heaven which were published in a broadsheet by A. Milner of Lancaster in 1833. Between 1823 and 1828 he mused over the words, and the variations can be found in three exercise books in the Lingard Papers in Ushaw College library (UC/P25/4/3-5). Fr Lingard was Vice-President of Ushaw College and could have succeeded Fr Thomas Eyre who had been President from its opening in 1808 until his death in 1810. Fr Lingard preferred the freedom to write and conduct research and chose to move to Hornby in Lancashire where he served as parish priest until his death in 1851. During his time in Hornby, he was a prolific and respected correspondent operating at many levels within the Church. He wrote extensively and completed important works, including A History of England.
Scholarly research by Jim Hughes, one of our parishioners, can be found in
Hughes, J. (2016) The Stella Hymn part 1.
Catholic Archives, the Journal of the Catholic Archives Society, No. 36 and
Hughes, J. (2017) TheStella Hymn part 2. Catholic
Archives, the Journal of the Catholic Archives Society, No. 37
An account of both the words and melody can be found on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail_Queen_of_Heaven,_the_Ocean_Star
An audio link for the Stella melody
can be found at https://hymnary.org/tune/stella_english