Feature Article

Local Poetry  composed by James Carson

 A biographical note.

 James Carson  was born on 6th April 1876 in Kirkpatrick-Durham. 

His sisters (both older) were Janet Jane Hume (nee Carson ) and Annie McDermaid Carson. Annie was a draper who ran a shop that was where the bar of the Crown pub in Victoria Street used to be and later ran the shop from the front room of 29 Victoria Street .  James, Janet & Annie's mother was Elizabeth Laurie Carson (nee Charters) also a draper, as was her husband who died before James was born.  Elizabeth is mentioned towards the bottom of the list of donors that hangs in the Kirk vestibule 

No record has yet been found of the death of James Carson.  James was to be best man at the wedding (in June 1938) of Janet Hume’s son, James Carson Hume, but he died sometime before the wedding.   Although it is known where Janet, Annie and their parents are buried (all in Kirkpatrick Durham Kirkyard) it is not  known where James is buried.  However, there is an unmarked burial plot in the graveyard on the Castle Douglas road that fits the date of about 1937/8.  Perhaps the Kirkpatrick Durham Parish Burial records could provide some further information.  

Janet’s husband, Robert Paterson Hume ran the sawmill in Spottes Glen sometime between about 1906 and 1920 so perhaps that was the inspiration for that particular poem.

It seems likely that the photograph below shows James Carson and it is possible that he is the taller of the men, the other possibly being Alex Grierson, a cousin, who lived in Craig Royston, the sandstone house on the corner of the Kirkpatrick Durham road in Castle Douglas.  The ladies are Annie Carson (the taller) and Janet Hume.  The photograph was taken in the garden of 29 Victoria Street .

 Any further information about James Carson and his family would be much appreciated.

Ian Hume (Grandson of Janet Jane and Robert Paterson Hume)

i.hume2007@btinternet.com or 01376 33 07 33.

37 Skiddaw Close, White Court , Great Notley, Essex CM77 7UR




                             A Visit  to Spottes Glen       

Far down Spottes Glen

Where the silver stream flows,

And the flowers that bedeck it

Are hushed to repose.


I wandered alone, on a bright summer day

Then I sat down to rest on a seat by the way,

To let memory fly o’er the years that are gone,

And o’er those yet to come to let fancy roam.


I looked aloft, and lo the sun

Could scarcely pierce the trees,

Now all around is quiet and still

Save the noise of humming bees.


The wild birds are hushed to rest

The tree leaves scarcely move,

Ah how the sparkling tear like drops

Fall down, from the rocks above.


The great tree roots doth twist and twine

Among the rocks like snakes,

The green sward spread beneath my feet

A perfect carpet makes.


A scene like this enchants my soul

And lifts me far above

The earth, with all its strife and hate

To a land of peace and love.


Now I review the years gone by

Of this poor life of mine

It makes me sad, to think how oft

To wrong I did incline.


The sad, sad part of life’s rough way,

Stands out so bright and clear,

God knows that as I see it now

My sorrow is sincere.


Had I but listened to the voice

Of conscience, aye within,

No sorrow now, or vain regrets,

O’er a past so seared with sin.











The past has gone, and now regrets

Will not relieve my pain,

Nor will they give it back to me

To live it o’er again  


The years that lie before me, I trust

Will not be lived in vain,

For I’ll try to make amends for those

That make my teardrops rain.


There is one I know to help me

For now I ask His aid,

“Come unto me ye sinful”

Are the words which he hath said.  


I will let Him lead me onward

To the home he hath prepared,

For those who truly follow

As he Himself declared.


I will trust His mighty promise,

As the prophets did of old,

They never were confounded

Nor refused the Shepherd’s fold.


Mid storm and sunshine, I will walk,

Nor will I be afraid,

For though the world may scoff and sneer,

Christ is the perfect aid.


The gentle spark within me burns,

And wavers up on high,

My blood goes coursing through my veins,  

I know that Christ is nigh.  


One moment of this heavenly bliss

Is surely but a light,

To guide our wondering footsteps,

To that land so fair and bright.  


O what a bright reunion,

I long for the happy day,

When we all shall meet at Jesus feet,

And the clouds have rolled away.










                        A Visit to the Black Loch




It was on a Sunday afternoon,

About the third or fourth of June,

To get a breath of country air

And to see the outer world so fair.


To the Black Loch, we bent our steps,

Where in youth we oft did wander,

And there with nature would commune,

Mid scenes of noble grandeur.

The road we went, it beats them all

It was round the lade and past Black-hall

And by the water long we stood

Beneath the shelter of the wood.


In winter too we oft would go

When boys, to see them curling,

I see them now, as up the rink

With noise the stones are hurling.


It is Black-hall who skips that rink,

And yonder is Knockwalloch,

The Miller boys, and Peter too

With John down from Bardarroch.


The next I see is Cowans own,

Pity the rink who meets them,

At Parish spiel, or Queens Hill cup,

For Tommy mostly beats them.

Down by the wood John Roxburgh plays,

A king of curlers all his days,

With Bennoch, Murdoch and John Barr,

Lads famed for skill both near and far.


My mind comes back to where I stand,

The scene around me is so grand,

The sun shines down with glorious splendour,

From him an oak is our defender.


The surface of the loch is still the same,

Save where an island lifts its head,

From out the water here and there

Where myriad seagulls through the year are bred.


We clap our hands to make them rise,

Soon between us and the skies,

There is a cloud of birds on graceful wing

Screaming, as though their cries, some timely help would bring.


Now back into the wood we quietly step,

To see the place once more in peaceful rest,

Then turning round we see the gulls

Settling on nature’s silvery breast.


On we move and leave the scene behind,

But conscious of a mark upon the mind,

That through life none will take its place

A mark that this world cannot, and the next will not, efface.


              A visit to Martyr's monument


I left my home one summer morn

When all was quiet and still

Intent on paying once again

A visit to Larg Hill.


To see the graves of Martyred men

Shot down for conscience sake

Who rather than forsake their God

Would suffer at the stake.


While walking up the Brooklands Glen

My heart in tune with nature,

I thought that this must surely be

Of heaven a vivid picture.


The sloping banks of this sweet glen

With primroses are studded,

The water gurgling laughed below

As o’er the rocks it scudded.


This perfect scene is one, which I

Forever will remember,

None fairer in this land of ours

So noted for its grandeur.


I left the glen and right before

Far as the eye could reach

A weary waste of mountains high

With scarce a single breach.


In such a dreary place as this

One can scarce understand,

How persecutions murdering clutch

Could reach that Godly band.


The hill itself is wild and bare

Far from the haunts of men,

No sound does break the perfect quiet

Save the cry of a moorhen.



On these wild moors our fathers met

In secret to worship God,

Were hunted, captured and shot down

Then laid beneath the sod.


Their bodies rest where they were laid

But their souls have gone to God,

For those who tread the narrow way

Hath a safe and sure abode.


Christ our King had gone before

To prepare a place for them,

These words would meet them at the door

“Well done thou faithful men”

The monument that marks the place

Where noble martyrs fell,

Bears a hand with finger pointing up

To the land where all is well.


The little knot of trees below

Seem strangely out of place,

Though in our national history

They hold an honoured place.


Let us tread these rugged heights

As though we understood,

What the noble martyrs suffered

When the land ran red with blood.


If we forget their memory

Let us not forget their God,

And let us try to walk below

In the path which they have trod.


So that we may meet them

Before the judgement throne

And in that bright and happy day

We too may hear “well done”


                 A Visit To Barmoffity Hill



I visited Barmoffity Hill

One lovely summer night,

To see the place so loved “Lang Syne”

In the days declining light.


The night was warm, the air was clear,

The sun was sinking in the west,

When on the top I took my stand

To spend an hour as nature’s guest.


All things seemed to be at rest,

Not a single sound could I hear,

Not even the cry of a bleating sheep

From the flocks that are feeding near.


I thought as I looked on the scene so fair,

Alas, that it should be,

So little changed, the place has been,

And what a change in me.


I thought of my friends of my early days,

Now scattered far and wide,

Some seek fortunes in other lands,

Far away o’er the roaring tide.


But I send up a prayer to heaven tonight,

For those friends where ere they be,

That God will protect them and bring them back

To this place so fair to see.


Some few have been called to a fairer land,

For them I would shed a tear,

“But no” although it was hard to part,

They are better there than here.


They have not the cares and worries of life,

For they live in a mansion grand,

And sing with the white robed saints up there,

In that far, far better land.



Again the scene takes up my thought,



I see it clearly still

There standing out in bold relief,

The smithy and the mill.


From here one sees so many homes,

I scarce could name them all,

But those that nearest to me are,

Bardarroch and Black-hall.


O’er to the left, there sits Barbain

In fancy now I see,

Those dear kind folks, I’ll ne’er forget

Till mind and memory flee.


But now the sun’s last rays are just,

Slipping out of sight,

They speak to me of a darkened land,

And the fast approach of night.


Ah, Johnnie Turner’s hill I see,

Has caught the fading beams,

And now his crest seems all awash, 

With shimmering golden streams.


I waited till the darkness fell,

And the day closed her e’e,

Then back to the busy world again,

And the life that awaited me.


But the memory of that happy hour,

Will never, never fade

Till I will lay my burden down

And rest in the peaceful shade.


I would ask no fairer scene than this,

In a world which is to come,

Nor wish to meet with kinder folks

When the Master calls me home.