Monday, October 29, 2012

Two of my grandfather's Memorial Poems, printed in Kilmarnock.

Some readers will be aware that a few years ago I helped to publish a collection of my late grandfather's poems. He was well known in the Ards Peninsula area back in his day, and his poems were regularly published in the local papers. I re-found these two poems the other day, which he had written as memorials for the Palmer family of Portavogie, and which were printed as one-offs to be framed and hung on the wall of the bereaved homes. We have collected quite a few of these. What's significant about these two is that they were printed not here in Ulster, but (as the close-up image at the bottom shows) by John Ritchie in Kilmarnock, Scotland. Some copies of the book are still available, with all profits being donated to the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution). Click here for info.The firm of John Ritchie still exists in Kilmarnock today, opposite the entrance to Dean Castle.


'The Scot in Ulster' by John Harrison (1888) - digital edition now available // 125 years old next year


Derek at Library Ireland has over the years digitally published some very important historical books, and (as you might imagine) to a far higher standard than the likes of GoogleBooks and His latest publication is The Scot in Ulster: Sketch of the History of the Scottish Population of Ulster (1888) by Edinburgh author John Harrison.

Harrison (1847-1922) made his own journeys across the sea from Scotland, and much of the book is based upon his own observations. The Scot in Ulster was originally published as a series of articles in The Scotsman newspaper in the spring of that year. Harrison also wrote Oure Tounis Colledge; Sketches of the History of the Old College of Edinburgh (click here for edition) which had been published in 1884. Towards the end of his life, in 1919, he published The History of the Monastery of the Holy-Rood and of the Palace of Holyrood House (click here). Both of these had also begun as series in The Scotsman. In 1920 he published The Company of Merchants of the city of Edinburgh and its schools, 1694-1920.

Here is an excerpt -

'...It is strange for any man who is accustomed to walk through the southern districts of Scotland, and to meet the country people going about their daily work in their everyday clothes and everyday manner, to cross into Ireland and wander through the country roads of Down or Antrim. He is in a country which is supposed to be passionately anxious to set up a separate nationality, and yet he cannot feel as if he were away from his own kith and kin. The men who are driving the carts are like the men at home; the women at the cottage doors are in build and carriage like the mothers of our southern Highlands; the signs of the little shops in the villages bear well-known names — Paterson, perhaps, or Johnstone, or Sloan; the boy sitting on the "dyke" with nothing to do, is whistling "A man's a man for a' that."

He goes into a village inn, and is served by a six-foot, loosely-hung Scottish Borderer, worthy to have served "drams" to "the Shepherd and Christopher North"; and when he leaves the little inn he sees by the sign that his host bears the name of "James Hay," and his wonder ceases. The want of strangeness in the men and women is what strikes him as so strange.

Then he crosses the Bann, and gets into a different region. He leaves behind him the pleasant green hills which shut in Belfast Lough, the great sweep of rich plain which Lough Neagh may well ask to show cause why it should not be annexed to its inland sea; he gets within sight of the South Derry hills, and the actors in the scene partly change. Some are very familiar; the smart maid at his inn is very like the housemaid at home, and the principal grocer of the little village is the "very image" of the elder who taught him at the Sunday-school; but he meets a donkey-cart, and neither the donkey nor its driver seem somehow or other to be kin to him; and the "Father" passes him, and looks at him as at a stranger who is visiting his town,—then the Scotsman knows that he is out of Scotland and into Ireland.

It is not in Belfast that he feels the likeness to home so much, for everybody is walking fast just as they are in Glasgow, so he cannot notice them particularly, and, of course, the "loafers" at the public-house doors, who are certainly not moving smartly, do not count for anything in either town; but it is in the country districts—at Newtown-Ards, or Antrim, where life is leisurely, that he recognises that he is among his own people. While it is in a town which is in the border-land between Scottish and Irish, say at Coleraine, on a Saturday market-day, that he has the difference of the two types in face and figure brought strongly before him. Some seem foreign to him, others remind him of his "ain countrie," and make him feel that the district he is in, is in reality the land of the Scot. The manner in which the two races have lived side by side for three centuries and are yet separate still, is stated with fine courtesy and good feeling in the account of the parish of Dungiven in Derry, written by the rector, for an old Statistical Account of Ireland.—The book was never completed, like so many noble attempts in Ireland.—"The inhabitants of the parish are divided into two races of men, as totally distinct as if they belonged to different countries and regions. These (in order that we may avoid the invidious names of Protestant and Roman Catholic, which indeed have little to say in the matter) may be distinguished by the usual names of Scotch and Irish; the former including the descendants of all the Scotch and English colonists who have emigrated hither since the time of James I., and the latter comprehending the native and original inhabitants of the country. Than these, no two classes of men can be more distinct: the Scotch are remarkable for their comfortable houses and appearance, regular conduct and perseverance in business, and their being almost entirely manufacturers; the Irish, on the other hand, are more negligent in their habitations, less regular and guarded in their conduct, and have a total indisposition to manufacture. Both are industrious, but the industry of the Scotch is steady and patient, and directed with foresight, while that of the Irish is rash, adventurous, and variable...'

Harrison's book will be 125 years old next year. Over a century later we can look at it and pick holes in some of the dated ideas - but his book is important as it is another example of the awareness of Ulster-Scots culture and heritage in the mid to late 1800s. As a light-touch introduction to the Ulster-Scots story it's hard to better.


A short biography of Harrison can be found here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry



Intro: Here in Northern Ireland, Ulster-Scots heritage is all too often trivialised, used as a commodity to soak money from public funders, politicised and poisoned - and often by those who claim to be its firmest advocates. Meanwhile from across the Atlantic comes an example of the depth and quality of work which could also be done here, if the 'decision makers' only understood the value of what we have under our very feet.

(article below reproduced from this website)


For more than 30 years, UNC Chapel Hill folklorist Daniel Patterson spent spring breaks and vacations roaming old cemeteries in the Piedmont region of the Carolinas.

Dodging poison ivy and black widow spiders, he photographed weathered gravestones when the light was just right, so he could read the carvings; often he sat for hours, watching until that moment arrived.

At first, it was a casual hobby, sparked by curiosity over markers similar to those he’d seen in New England and read about in Northern Ireland.

Then, while tramping through such historic church cemeteries as Thyatira Presbyterian in Rowan County, Steele Creek Presbyterian in Charlotte and Waxhaw Presbyterian in Lancaster County, S.C., Patterson began to notice a certain gravestone style rich in artistic design, poetic inscription and professional detail. The carver didn’t sign the stones, but Patterson sensed they came from a single source.

Through painstaking research, he traced the markers back to a shop near Charlotte run by members of the Bigham family in the 18th century. By the late 1970s, Patterson’s hobby had turned into a passion.

Decades of intensive field work and digging into archives and little-used manuscripts have produced a book that not only examines the unique Bigham headstones made before and after the American Revolution, but a vanished pioneer culture.

Published this month by UNC Press, “The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry” is a story that also encompasses how people lived during the violent times of the Revolution, their political and religious battles along with providing new insights into slavery.

David Perry, editor-in-chief at UNC Press, doubted Patterson would ever finish the book he’d been working on for so long. When the author, who is 84, finally turned in a massive manuscript, Perry took a “big gulp.”

“It was daunting,” he said. “I was expecting a catalogue of old gravestones. Instead, Dan gave us a world.”

Looking through the lens of three generations of Bigham carvers and their circle of apprentices, Patterson has produced a work Perry thinks will appeal not only to specialists, but a wider readership interested in families and history.

“This book will be around a long time,” Perry said. “It will remind us of who we are, how we got here and what we hold dear.”

Tom Hanchett, historian at the Levine Museum of the New South, said Patterson is a highly respected educator who for many years headed the folklore curriculum at UNC Chapel Hill.

“He trained generations of scholars to appreciate the traditions passed down to us today,” Hanchett said. “This book is his life’s work.”

The names and dates on old gravestones are keys to “helping us understand how people fit into a larger culture,” Hanchett said. “It’s a great way to see local culture at work.”

Linda Blackwelder, who helped Patterson research the history of the Steele Creek community, urged him “to hurry up and finish the book.”

“I told him ‘I’m gonna die before you get it finished,’” she said. “I’m excited he has completed it. I’m glad he’s made a record of these stones. They’re eroding. They’re all melting away and it makes me sick.”

Bigham family member Earl Pike connected with Patterson years ago and read early chapters of the book. He’s been looking forward to the finished work.

“I’m thrilled to death Dan has done this,” said Pike, 78, of College Station, Texas. “I’m going to pass it on to my children. They need to know something about their ancestors.”

A Greensboro native, Patterson is the author or editor of nine books, including “The Shaker Spiritual,” “Sounds of the South,” and “A Tree Accurst: Bobby McMillon and Stories of Frankie Silver.”

“The True Image”
is particularly fulfilling. The burying grounds of North and South Carolina became windows into the past, allowing him to unlock some of the region’s mysteries.

As Patterson explored old cemeteries, he found the stones were mostly made by unskilled hands helping their families or neighbors.

But the Bigham work was different. These markers came from skilled, creative craftsmen who turned out what Patterson calls “a surprisingly large and impressive body of work.”

Making the Bigham connection wasn’t easy. In his spare time, Patterson left his Chapel Hill home and drove to old cemeteries scattered from Hillsborough to Chester, S.C. He walked the grounds, collecting names of deceased persons and dates from the markers.

Then he took the list to the State Archives where he explored old records. Probates were especially helpful. Families listing their deceased relative’s possessions might include a receipt for a gravestone, naming the person who made it.

Traces of the Bighams weren’t left behind in letters or diaries. Patterson had to dig the story from deeds, marriage bonds, probates, court minutes and Revolutionary pension applications. Of special help was a privately printed family history supplied by the descendant of another stonecutter in Chester County, S.C.

“It was slow going,” Patterson said. “Tedious and time-consuming.”

Ultimately, he identified about 1,000 stones from the Bighams and their apprentices. The markers – the earliest surviving art of British settlers in the region – were scattered across 11 counties in North and South Carolina and in Pennsylvania.

Patterson looked at all aspects of the stones – designs, motifs, inscriptions. He began to see cemeteries as “art galleries and little libraries … used for storytelling.”

At Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church cemetery in Charlotte, Patterson found a Bigham marker with the names of four children who died within four consecutive days of each other in 1781.

Patterson wrote: “The stone has no explanatory inscription, but only the coat of arms, as if having lost so much of the future in so short a space, the family stayed itself with a tight grip upon the past.”

A church history provided an answer to what had happened. The children’s’ 16-year-old brother came home from the Battle of Kings Mountain on Oct. 7, 1780, suffering not only from a gunshot wound but smallpox. The battered teen soldier survived. But smallpox brought down his younger sisters and brothers, one by one.

Early one morning, as sunlight raked across a flat gravestone at Hopewell Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Mecklenburg County, Patterson saw shadows fall into the cuts carvers had crafted on the surface. And that made something magical happen: Previously invisible words appeared on the stone.

It looked like poetry – put on the 1815 marker of prominent citizen Richard Barry, the son of one of Charlotte’s founders. The words were hard to read, but Patterson managed to get them down and research the inscription on the Internet.

He found the epitaph came from “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, by Phillis Wheatley, Negro Servant to Mr. John Wheatley of Boston, in New England,” the earliest book by an African-American poet.

Born in Africa, Phillis Wheatley had been a slave since the age of 7. Her poetry book had been published in London in 1773 – 11 years before her death.

“The member of the Barry family who devised the epitaph knew the volume well, for the lines bind together couplets from three of Wheatley’s elegiac poems,” Patterson wrote.

Why a white Southern family in pre-Civil War Mecklenburg County picked lines from a black poet for their kinsman’s marker is an intriguing question.

To Patterson, it appears they were “making a statement … that they disapproved of slavery.”

He couldn’t answer all the questions that arose while writing “The True Image.” But he tried – mining as much information as possible.

The job that once seemed never-ending is done. And Patterson hopes it will appeal to anyone interested in the region, its early history and people.

“I had no idea I’d ever finish this,” said Patterson. “Now, it feels good to get it over with. It’s been wonderful fun. And also exhilarating.”


• Order the 544 page book on Amazon for £42.50
- click here

Friday, October 26, 2012

Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen / Peace in the Valley - Luther Dickinson (& recordings from The 78 Project)

This recording was released back in April of this year by Tompkins Square Records in San Francisco as a limited edition record, a 78rpm to be precise. The guitarist, Luther Dickinson, plays in a range of different bands including The Black Crowes and North Mississippi Allstars. The recording below of two old classics sounds like it was done in the 1920s, just right for something available on a 78rpm.

He's also involved in something called 'The 78 Project" with a range of other musicians and singers, to make new recordings of old old songs in the way they were originally recorded - nothing digital and no autotuners, all live. The video below of 'Glory Glory Hallelujah, Since I Laid My Burdens Down' is great - adding a fife really works and adds a certain 'Ulster-ness' to the performance! As you can see it's all recorded live, cut onto vinyl there and then and played back to the artists just the way the original 78s were. Inspirational!

(all 78 project videos available here)

The 78 Project: The Wandering - "Glory, Glory" from The 78 Project on Vimeo.

The 78 Project: Valerie June - "Happy or Lonesome" from The 78 Project on Vimeo.

The 78 Project: Joe Henry & Lisa Hannigan - "Red River Valley" from The 78 Project on Vimeo.

The 78 Project: Valerie June - "Wildwood Flower" from The 78 Project on Vimeo.

And this one which was written by 'Son of Ulster' the Baptist pastor and hymnwriter Robert Lowry...

The 78 Project: Adam Arcuragi - "How Can I Keep from Singing?" from The 78 Project on Vimeo.

...and a lovely version of the old murder ballad 'Banks of the Ohio'

The 78 Project: Vandaveer - "Banks of the Ohio" from The 78 Project on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Blue Sky Boys

If there's an old 'brother duet' that I really love , it's the Blue Sky Boys. There's something primitive and deceptively simple about their music, from the era before past-faced bluegrass and when music was just starting to be recorded. Stuff like this gives a wee glimpse of what music was like before commercialisation. Magnificent.

Rowan Atkinson's speech at Reform Section 5 Parliamentary reception

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tourism fixation?

Everything in NI these days seems to be justified by, or focussed upon, potential tourism. This is nothing new - the Ulster Tourist Development Association was the first tourism agency in the British Isles, founded back in the 1920s shortly after the establishment of Northern Ireland.

This is a small place and to prosper financially we need to attract money from beyond our own region. Tourism is important. However, to prosper culturally there are things we need to treasure, promote and recover for our own communal good, regardless of whether tourists care or not. But I'd argue that a culturally interesting and confident place will naturally attract people who want to come and see, and to enjoy being in that place, whether NI or anywhere else.

Marketing Northern Ireland as a cultural destination would have been difficult without 40 years of terrorism, which broadcast 40 years of urban and violent footage around the world and which became the paradoxical image for a place that is overwhelmingly rural and peaceful. But even before that it was hard to get the message out and for visitors to see a reason to get beyond the big iconic 'must-see' places.

I recently picked up a copy of Scotch-Irish, Third Letter by W. W. Watson of Salina, Kansas, published privately as a limited edition almost exactly 100 years ago on 6th November 1912. He begins his travelogue as follows:

"We were long undecided as to where we would spend our summer vacation. Being of Scotch-Irish descent, I was anxious to visit the land of my great grandfathers, Scotland and Ireland. After a great deal of discussion, we got off on the Kron Prinz Wilhelm from New York on July 16th. The Titanic disaster caused Mrs Watson to rather lean toward a summer trip to the Pacific coast, but as we had been to the coast so many times, usually returning over the Canadian Pacific, I held out somewhat unreasonably for spending our vacation this time on and across the Atlantic."

So far so good. He's stood up to his wife and has opted for a cultural quest to the old country.

After six days sailing they arrived at Plymouth, headed for two days in London, and then got a train to Fishguard in Wales. They took a ferry from Wales to Rosslare in the south of Ireland. From here they went to Cork, Blarney Castle, Queenstown, Bantry, Glengariff, Killarney, then to Dublin.

However, just when you think 'okay, the Scotch-Irish tourists have done the south, and now they're heading for a full immersion experience in Ulster, the province of their ancestors', it all gets a bit disappointing. They spent just 2 days here - they went to Belfast 'by far the liveliest city in Ireland, up-to-date and full of business', Portrush, Dunluce Castle, the Giants Causeway. They then took the train from Portrush via Ballymoney 'the home of President McKinley's ancestors' to Larne and sailed to Scotland, arriving at Stranraer. They whisked up the west of Scotland, back down to Edinburgh, then Melrose, and then back to London.

So, even 100 years ago, people from overseas were coming here to feel a connection with their roots and to enjoy some cultural tourism, but spent little or no time in Ulster at all, and when they did it was just for a quick look at Belfast, a spin up to the Causeway and away again. And that's what the majority of overseas visitors still do today.

There is so much more here than the big 'must sees'. But I wonder if these undiscovered gems will ever appeal to anyone apart from local daytrippers and the real hardcore heritage buff.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

“The ideological compass in Northern Ireland is pointing towards Narnia and the media are writing the script”

A highly insightful piece reported by Alan in Belfast over on Slugger O'Toole about Northern Ireland's media (a subject which has been touched on here many times over the years). Click here. It summarises a speech by Brian McDermott at the Workers Party conference in Belfast yesterday. An audio recording of the speech is on that same page.

'...and “audience figures” are what obsesses “media people” here in Northern Ireland, not “informing people, developing arguments or analysing the society we live in...'

A few weeks ago a friend who works in the NI media summarised that, regrettably, most people in that sector have 'a kind of well-heeled disdain' for tradition and ordinary things.

Brian McDermott's speech focuses on radio, and so would be interesting for him to expand the theme onto tv, print and online. And full credit to Alan for his work in regularly reporting events which are seldom, if ever, covered in the mainstream media.

(thanks to Michael for tipping me off about this)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Broadside ballad entitled 'Sons of Levi, A New Masonic Song'

The late George Holmes gave me a recording of this song, I am pretty sure he played the lambeg drum on it but was too modest to admit that to me. I found it again recently here on The Word on the Street, a website by the National Library of Scotland which is a collection of nearly 1800 'broadsides'. The commentary on the song says that it is Jacobite in origin, became Masonic and then Orange. The lyrics from George's version are a little different than those shown below. The lyrics are full of quite esoteric scriptural references; I'll leave it for my more Biblically-literate readers to assess the claim from the chorus that a group of people can be 'the root and the branch of David, the bright and glorious morning star...'. George's recording of it is great.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Prints by Anthony Burrill

Website is here


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Boston Harbour Auctions - Royal Ulster Yacht Club - 1899 America's Cup Pennant

An amazing item now up for auction by Boston Harbour Auctions, bids start at $1800 but expected to achieve $3000 - $5000. Description below:

Extremely rare original late 19th/early 20th century Royal Ulster Yacht Club pennant with painted and embroidered detail including the red hand of Ulster and Royal Crown; elements of their burgee. The bunting is marked R.U.Y.C.. Royal Ulster Yacht Club, was the sponsor club of Sir Thomas Lipton during his challenges for the America's Cup. The bunting is also marked "The S McFadden Co, makers, 198 Hudson St. NY". Sir Thomas Lipton, the tea and grocery magnate raced for the America's Cup five times, never winning. A story in the New York Times from 1899 details the events of the Lipton vessels and how they were adorned with national flags, Royal Ulster Yacht Club pennants and Lipton on private burgee. Flown from a topmast as it measures 15'5" x 9'. The flag does have some minor holes but is in great condition considering it's age.

Thomas Lipton's parents are often said to have been Ulster-Scots - from Clones in County Monaghan.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Scotland viewed from Ballywalter at 8am this morning

The hills of Galloway in the distance, the Mull of Galloway in front of them, the waters of the North Channel, and with Ballywalter beach in the foreground.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mission Hall Chic? The Tin Tabernacle Tearoom

Baileys Home and Garden of Ross-on-Wye (the place with the annual book festival) is a fairly unique retailer who have carved out a reputation for themselves as treasuring the simpler things of life. We have been there a few times.

Visiting their website earlier, I see they now have a 'Tin Tabernacle Tearoom'. Now, I'm not sure about converting wee former places of worship into eateries, but Baileys Home and Garden clearly understand the aesthetic and innocent beauty of these buildings. This may well be a brilliant repro rather than an original (apart from the giant pieces of cutlery it looks original to me). But can you imagine this in present-day Northern Ireland? I can't - not without some smart-alec 'twist' to spoil it.

Bailey's Home and Garden were awarded 'Best Homewares Retalier 2012' by The Daily Telegraph. Their book Simple Home is an absolute joy.



Friday, October 12, 2012

In Belfast

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What would John Knox do?

A sad story unravelling in Glasgow. Be thankful that Presbyterians on our side of the water have more sense than this. (full article here)

'... Whilst in the great scheme of things what I am about to write about is not of the same scale as some of the much deeper and wider injustices in our society and world today, nonetheless what is going on is indicative of a deep malaise within the church in Scotland in general and the Church of Scotland in particular...

For many years St Georges Tron has been a flagship church of the evangelical renewal within the Church of Scotland – something that has been going on since the 1950s ... the congregation have recently completed a £3 million refurbishment of their City centre building. As anyone who goes into the centre of Glasgow can see it is truly a church building at the heart of the city, reaching out to thousands every day. And yet it looks as though this is now going to end – not because of persecution from outside, nor decline within, but simply because the Church of Scotland has decided to destroy this work...'

It's nearly 500 years since a German Catholic monk, Martin Luther, took his lonely stand at Wittenburg, and sparked the Reformation and a return to a clear understanding of what Scripture teaches. 'Reformation' is often presented as solely a Protestant v Catholic thing, and as such is 'sectarianised'. However one of the phrases linked to the Reformation of the 1500s and 1600s and Reformed thought generally is 'Semper Reformanda' - always reforming.

Sadly it increasingly seems that many nominally Protestant denominations today need a new Reformation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Statistical Survey of the County of Antrim, by Rev John Dubourdieu of Annahilt, 1812

"... the descendants of the Lowland Scots still retain the accent of their original country, though it is not as strong as it formerly was; and the English colonists have in many instances acquired it..."

Monday, October 08, 2012

A message from Georgia

It's always an encouragement to get this sort of feedback (reproduced with permission).



Stumbled on your blog site. My wife and I made two trips and spent four weeks in Northern Ireland and Southern Scotland in 2011. Being from southern USA I just wanted to put my feet on the land of my heritage. Great trips, highlighted by great people who made me feel at home. We may be miles apart in distance but we still share many common values passed by previous generations. Thanks for keeping our history alive and well in this digital age.

I'm from Georgia. My ancestor John Agnew sailed from Larne to South Carolina in 1772 with Rev. Martin's group.

Clinton Agnew

'Ireland for Christ' - Rev John Pollock of St Enoch's Presbyterian Church, Belfast (part 2)

Rev John Pollock (subject of this previous post here back in August) turns out to have been a fascinating character. Thanks to Robert and Margaret who got in touch with me I now have the words and musical notation of 'Ireland for Christ' which he wrote in 1899. A scan is reproduced below, with permission -


The references in the lyrics to 'ancient land of saints and sages', 'from the slavery of ages, rise to liberty', 'Erin's sons and daughters' etc. read today as quite (N)ationalistic. However by way of contrast I've also been sent handwritten tonic sol-fa notation for a piece that Pollock wrote to be the 'Christian Endeavour Convention Song, Derry 1903' entitled 'No Surrender' !. Presumably the words of it had Gospel content and he was just making use of the well-known slogan to catch the attention of the audience at the Convention, in a way that was appropriate for the city.

If these two pieces suggest that Pollock's politics wavered a bit, then he confirmed that in a later speech. I recently came across a very interesting article in the North Down Herald from early 1914 which gives a report of a visit Pollock made to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada where he spoke at an Orange Hall in North James Street.

'...His opposition to Home Rule was made all the more remarkable by the admitted fact that he was a Scotch Liberal. He confessed that he had already changed his mind on the question twice... at the outset he proclaimed he was "a Home Ruler on principle, but thought Irish self-government impossible under present conditions"..."I have no objection to a free Parliament on College Green in Dublin, but I do object to Italian rule"...'

The article goes on to explain that his only reservation was of 'Rome Rule', ie Catholic church interference in a future 'Home Rule' parliament in Dublin, and suggests that if it weren't for this suspected interference Pollock would have supported Home Rule.

Bear in mind that Pollock was minister of the single largest Presbyterian church in the British Isles at the time. So, whilst not very 'PC' for today, his speech reveals intriguing nuances within the mind of one of the most prominent Ulster Presbyterians 100 years ago, whose speeches in Canada were given newspaper coverage back at home. Whichever side of the political debate Pollock found himself on, his focus remained on the Gospel.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Mumford & Sons - Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

A gem for a Sunday morning, written in 1757. (see Wikipedia entry here)

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Mumford & Sons with Emmylou Harris - help!

If any US-based readers can somehow help with this I'd be very grateful. Mumford & Sons and Emmylou Harris performed a one hour concert last week on CMT Crossroads. This channel isn't available in the UK and the CMT website won't allow UK residents to view the online clips. Here's the link.