Catherine Winkworth was born in London in 1827, and spent most of her life in Manchester. In 1845 she went to Dresden, Germany, to stay for a year. In 1853 (or 1855?) she published a collection of translations of German hymns into English, called Lyra Germanica. It was an instant success, and went into 23 editions. Her second series, published in 1858, went into 12 editions. In 1863 she published The Chorale Book For England, and in 1869 Christian Singers of Germany. Her work is one of the principal means by which the great German chorale tradition of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries has been incorporated into English-language worship.
Some of her hymn translations widely sung today, plucked from a couple of nearby hymnals, are listed below. I give the first line, followed by the German author, and the date of writing or (preceded by a +) the date of the author's death. Stars mark my own favorites.
All depends on our possessing (Nuernburg Hymnal, 1676)
* All my heart this night rejoices (Paulus Gerhardt, 1656)
* Baptized into thy name most holy (Johann J Rambach, +1735)
* Blessed Jesus, at thy word (Tobias Clausnitzer, +1684)
Christ, the life of all the living (Ernst C Homburg, +1681)
Christ the Lord is risen again! (Michael Weissel, +1534)
* Comfort, comfort ye my people (Johann Olearius, +1684)
Dearest Jesus, we are here (Benjamin Schmolck, +1737)
Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness (Johann Franck, 1649)
* From deepest woe I cry to thee (Martin Luther, +1546)
* If thou but suffer God to guide thee (Georg Neumark, +1681)
In thee is gladness (Johann Lindemann, + c1631)
* Jesus Christ, my sure defense (anon., Berlin, 1653)
* Jesus, priceless treasure (Johann Franck, +1677)
Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates (George Weissel, 1642)
Lord God, we worship thee (Johann Franck, 1653)
* Lord Jesus Christ, be present now (Wilhelm II, +1662)
Lord, keep us steadfast in thy Word (Martin Luther, +1546)
* Lord, thee I love with all my heart (Martin Schalling, +1608)
* My soul, now bless thy maker (Johann Gramann, +1541)
* Now thank we all our God (Martin Rinkart, c1630)
O Christ, our light, O Radiance true (Johann Hermann, +1647)
* O God, thou faithful God (Johann, Franck, +1647)
O Holy Spirit, enter in (Michael Schirmer, +1673)
O Jesus Christ, our Lord most dear (Heinrich von Laufenburg,1429)
* O living Bread from heaven (Johann Rist, +1667)
Oh, blest the house, whate'er befall (Christoph von Pfeil, +1784)
Once he came in blessing (Johann Horn (aka Jan Roh?), +1547)
Open now thy gates of beauty (Benjamin Schmolck, +1737)
* Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Joachim Neander, +1680)
Rise, my soul, to watch and pray (Johann B Freystein, +1718)
Thy Word, O Lord, is gentle dew (Carl B Garve, +1841)
* Wake, awake, for night is flying (Philip Nicolai, 1597)
* When in the hour of deepest need (Paul Eber +1569)
(Note: Your hymnal may have a slightly different title, since hymnal compilers tend to fiddle with the wording. Thus, "All my heart this night rejoices" has been changed in some hymnals to "Once again my heart rejoices," presumably so that it can be sung on other occasions than Christmas Eve.)
In addition to translating hymns, Miss Winkworth was deeply involved in promoting women's rights, and was the secretary of the Clifton Association for Higher Education for Women, a supporter of the Clifton High School for Girls, and a member of the Cheltenham Ladies' College. She died suddenly of heart disease near Geneva on 1 July 1878.
Heavenly Father, by whose grace thy servant Catherine was moved To render into English the words of praise which she had heard in the German tongue: grant unto us a like devotion, that we may be moved to proclaim thy glory in sacred song; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever.
Heavenly Father, by whose grace your servant Catherine was Moved to render into English the words of praise which she had heard in the German tongue: grant us a like devotion, that we may be moved to proclaim your glory in sacred song; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.