> Norma Waterson & Eliza Carthy > Songs > We Have an Anchor

Will Your Anchor Hold? / We Have an Anchor

[words Priscilla Jayne Owens (1829-1899), tune William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921)]

The Staithes Fishermen’s Choir sang Will Your Anchor Hold? in a recording made at Staithes, North Yorkshire, by John Howson in 1987. This was originally released on their Veteran Tapes cassette Men of Staithes, and it was also included in 2001 on the Veteran anthology of traditional folk music from Coastal England, When the Wind Blows. Jennifer Pearson noted:

This comes from the Methodist Hymn Book with words were written by Priscilla Jayne Owens (1829-1899) and tune by W.J. Kirkpatrick (1838-1921), who also wrote [tunes for] Away in a Manger and Jesus Saves.

The Gaugers sang Will Your Anchor Hold? on their 1994 album Awa wi the Rovin Sailor.

Isla St Clair sang Will Your Anchor Hold? in her BBC Radio 2 series Tatties & Herrin’ which was broadcast in 1995. This was included in 1997 on her Greentrax CD Tatties & Herrin’: The Sea.

Kirsty Potts sang Will Your Anchor Hold? in 2015 on her CD The Seeds of Life. She noted:

A hymn song at many a seaman’s funeral in my local area of Banff and Buchan and it is also the Boy’s Brigade anthem. I have adapted it to make it a universal song of faith and resilience.

Norma Waterson and Eliza and Martin Carthy sang We Have an Anchor on a digital download bonus track of their 2018 CD Anchor.


Isla St Clair sings Will Your Anchor Hold?

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

Chorus (after each verse):
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
Fastened to the rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!

Will your anchor hold in the straights of fear
When the breakers roar and the reef is near?
While the surges rage, and the wild winds blow,
Shall the angry waves then your back o’erflow?

Will your anchor hold in the floods of death,
When the waters cold chill your latest breath?
On the rising tide you can never fail,
While your anchor holds within the veil.

Will your eyes behold through the morning light,
The city of gold and the harbour bright?
Will your anchor safe by the heavenly shore,
When my storms are passed for evermore?