Monday, March 14, 2022

A Methodist view on the the language of the Ards Peninsula

Presbyterians get almost all of the Ulster-Scots attention. But the story and sources are much wider than that. A biography of Rev Hans Morrison (1836–1898) was published in 1899, written by Rev John Coulter of Glastry Methodist Church between Ballyhalbert and Kircubbin. Morrison's ancestry was at Killinchy on his father's side, and Cloughey on his mother's. Hans was born at Echlinville townland near Rubane in 1836. The colourful introduction is a brilliant social study of the area at the time, which includes another description of the language spoken, from Donaghadee to Portaferry which was where Morrison toiled –

"... the Ards is a thickly-populated district of country. Scottish characteristics in dialect, &c, prevail amongst the inhabitants, chiefly around the eastern coast ..."

If I recall correctly, there's a reference in John Wesley's diaries to him trying to preach in east Down in the mid 1700s, but struggling to do so effectively because the people spoke 'Scotch'.