He made a study of hymn tunes and in 1844 published a reprint of the Thomas Ravenscroft Whole Booke of Psalmes, which had been originally published in 1618. He followed this with Old Church Psalmody (1847), another collection of older tunes, many with his new arrangements. Later, he brought out A Hundred Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1859) which were all new compositions. A History of the Old Hundredth Psalm Tune appeared in 1854. He also wrote hymn texts in addition to other sacred compositions, and many of his sermons were published.
To praise our Shepherd's care,
That wisdom, love, and might,
Our loudest, loftiest songs prepare
And bid the world unite!
Supremely good and great,
Christ tends the earthly fold;
And stoops, though throned in highest state
The weary to uphold.
Kind Shepherd of the sheep,
A wandering flock are we,
And snares and foes are nigh; but keep
The lambs who look to thee.
And if through death's sad vale
Our feet should early tread,
Oh, may we reach thy fold, and hail
The love which has us led.
William Henry Havergal, 19th c.; alt.
Tune: SWABIA (S.M.)
Johann Speiss, 1745;
arr. William Henry Havergal, 1847
Most of his texts and tunes are little known today. SWABIA is still found in some modern hymnals, though I don't know that it's anyone's favorite tune (someone will no doubt show up now to tell me that it is); also surviving is EVAN, an original Havergal tune. William Henry is probably better known today as the father of another hymnwriter and composer, Frances Ridley Havergal.
The painting below, by an unknown artist, depicts St. Nicholas' church in Worcester, where Havergal was rector for eighteen years and was probably painted around the time he was there. However, the church was closed in 1990 and is now a pub/restaurant, part of the "Slug & Lettuce" chain (if you should ever find yourself in Worcester).