Tuesday, May 21, 2019

"Christianity, North Carolina, the Mecklenburg Resolves and freedom" - Rev Mark H Creech

This article by Rev Mark H. Creech on ChristianPost.com is worth reading for those of you who are interested in the fusion of faith with ideas of liberty.

I've covered the Mecklenburg 1775 story here before, but this source by Rev Benjamin Morris (1810-1897), entitled Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States was published in 1864 and is online here.

“Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who formed so large a proportion of the people of North Carolina, and moulded its religious and political character… The religious creed of these Christian immigrants formed a part of their politics so far as to lead them to decide that no law of human government ought to be tolerated in opposition to the expressed will of God. Their ideas of religious liberty have given a colouring to their political notions on all subjects – have been, indeed, the foundation of their political creed. The Bible was their text-book on all subjects of importance, and their resistance to tyrants was inspired by the free principles which it taught and enforced.”

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Judas Fires of Liverpool, 1963

I came upon this while looking for something else. Here is a BBC article from 2006

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ulster's three-dimensional language combination

Some very interesting observations here from Tom Paulin, from a 1983 Field Day publication I picked up recently, in which he clearly understands our linguistic complexities and combinations far better than most today - "three fully-fledged languages " –  I recall that he presented an excellent documentary for BBCNI about Ulster-Scots around 2003-ish.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Name that tune – The Scottish Breakway

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Son Volt - Ballymena

This EP was released by iconic alt-country band Son Volt last year. The title track 'Ballymena' is very interesting. I don't know of any other songs that mention the Steelboys/Hearts of Steel.

The rents have all risen, wages are low
If there’s wages to be found any more
There’s a challenge in the air to the powers that be
We’re Steelboys forever from now on

Tales of the troubles, sails against the tide
In the old songs of Ballymena
Tales of the troubles, sails against time
In the old songs of Ballymena

The gentry in the castles will hear the people’s words
There’s fire, the cause will not be stained
Days filled with hunger turn thoughts to America
In America we’ll live and celebrate

With the Hearts of Steel, we’re everyone you know
Without bread the castles will come down
Days filled with hunger turn thoughts to America
To America in the boats of Belfast town

Thursday, May 02, 2019

The Holestones of Ulster and Scotland

The top colour image is the Holestone near Doagh in south Antrim. The bottom black and white image is from near Kirkcowan in south west Scotland. Ancient stanes made by ancient folk. One who was fascinated by ancient traditions was historian and writer Sir Samuel Ferguson, whose grandfather lived at 'Standing Stone', ie the Antrim Holestone.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Land Purchase Commission and the Ballyfrench Thompsons, 1929

This document surfaced recently, in a set of photocopies given to me by a late aunt. This is my great-grandfather Robert Thompson finally having the opportunity to buy the six acre farm in 1929. Other documents are dated 1933 so I'm not sure of the precise date that it was all finalised.

He was 71 in 1929. His son William, my grandfather, was 18. An older son, John, had emigrated to Canada in 1925 (previous post here). The Thompsons had farmed these fields as far back as records go - 1750s - and probably back even further than that, but for almost 200 years they had been tenants of the landlord. Francis Heron Scott was the last one they served (partial estate listed here). I wonder what it felt like to finally own the ground that they had sweated over all those generations?

Scott was a GP in Saintfield, who had inherited his estate from his own ancestors back to a Francis Heron of Killyleagh.

Six acres. My father, his two brothers and his two sisters were all raised on this. Self-sufficient with no other income apart from labouring to the local neighbours, the Ralstons and Johnstons. Hard work during every hour of daylight. They say that the agrarian economy was the most gender-equal, because everybody worked themselves to death.

This isn't ancient history, it's a whisker away from living memory. What a different world.