Friday, January 29, 2016

The Ulster connections of the 1650 Psalter

Psalter 640On 6th August 1649, the General Assembly appointed a committee to “overtake the review and examination of the new paraphrase of the Psalms”. This would form the second Scottish Psalter, the first having been compiled in 1564–5. Those appointed were –

• Rev James Hamilton (1600–66; formerly of Ballywalter)

• Rev John Smith (d 1667; chaplain to General Leslie's Scottish army; minister of Burntisland, Fife - also 'Bruntilland')

• Rev Hugh McKail (d. 1660; had been in Ulster in 1644, and whose brother Rev Matthew McKail had been here from 8th Sept - 8th Dec 1643)

• Rev Robert Traill (1603–78; whose brother James Traill lived in Killinchy, to whom there is a large memorial inside Killyleagh Parish Church, tutor to Sir James Hamilton jr. Another brother - William Traill - was minister of Ballindrait in Donegal)

• Rev George Hutcheson (1614–74; he had been sent to Ulster by the General Assembly in February 1644)

• Rev Robert Lowrie (1606–78; had been minister of Perth, then Edinburgh, but 'conformed' in 1660 and was nicknamed 'The Nest Egg'. He became Bishop of Brechin)


The final volume, entitled The Psalms of David in Meeter: newly Translated and diligently compared with the Original Text and Former Translations, etc. Allowed by the Authority of the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland was agreed on 8th January 1650. (see page 94 here). This continued as the standard Psalter well into the 20th Century, around 1930.

(Matthew McKail had been minister at Carmunnock south of Glasgow from 1639–1649, and then moved to nearby Bothwell. The Salty Scrivener blog has an excellent telling of the horrific torture and martyrdom of his brother Hugh's son and namesake, young Hugh McKail).

The 1650 Psalter blog has further detail