Gaelic hymns from the Highlands

Grant, Peter. Dain spioradail. Elgin : Peter Macdonald, bookseller, 1837. New College Library Gaelic Collections 250.

New College Library’s recently catalogued Gaelic Collections contain several editions of  “Dain spioradail ” by the celebrated hymn writer Peter Grant.

This edition at Gaelic Coll. 250  is the fifth edition, considerably enlarged and improved from earlier editions. It was published in Elgin, in the highlands of Scotland.

The title page information refers to Grant’s Gaelic name Pàdraig Grannd nan Òran, which means ‘Peter Grant of the songs’. Grant was a Baptist minister, born on 30 January 1783 at Ballintua, Strathspey, Scotland. He was a skilled fiddle player, who was able to set his poems on evangelical themes to well known tunes which were popular into the twentieth century.  This work is typical of the works in the Gaelic Collection, which contains many volumes of religious poetry.

With thanks to Patrick Murray, our Gaelic Cataloguer, for supplying details of this item.

Researching the motherhood of God

The School of Divinity at New College hosts a colloquium on June 7, 1:00 – 4:30 on Women, Language, and Worship in the Church of Scotland – see the blog or facebook page for more details.

 In 1984, a report was submitted to the General Assembly by Anne Hepburn,  president of the Women’s Guild, which explored how God might be referred to as a Mother figure as well as a Father in the New Testament, and the implications for gender inclusive language within the Church. New College Library holds this report in the Reports of the General Assembly (at  sLX 50 B) and it was also reprinted separately as a volume in its own right (at pRQ 20 MOT, New College Library). The report received a hostile reception, which was widely reported in the Scottish and National Press.

New College Library holds substantial collections of order of service books and hymnbooks, which researchers can access to see if the 1984 report did have an impact on Church practice. These include the Hymnology Collections as well as the fourth edition of the Church Hymnary (2005),  on the shelf at New College Library at Ref. BV431 Chu.

Summer days at New College Library … and Hymnology collections

Summer has arrived!  The weather forecast says 12 degrees today –  but it feels much warmer. The School of Divinity’s exams are over, and the bustle of last week’s General Assembly has faded. Inside the  library, only a few dedicated researchers are at work – and the library staff, of course. Here’s a summer themed item from New College Library’s Special  Collections.

The child’s book of song and praise, including 34 pieces of music … [1870]. Hymnology Collection, E15/g 6.

  The child’s book of song and praise [1870] is an item from the Hymnology Collections. The core of these collections was the gift in the 1880s of two thousand hymnbooks from James Thin, the founder of the famous Edinburgh bookshop. This collection has been added to by gift, purchase and the re-organisation of other library books of a similar nature to form the collection of over 5000 items  we have today.

Primarily 18th & 19th century printed volumes (some with very nice pictorial publishers bindings),  there are also some older books,  a few scores and some LPs and cassettes. The collection covers sacred songs and poetry as well as hymns, including  many items intended for children, both for Sunday School and home use. This verse from The child’s book of song and praise is just one example:

“Peace be around thee, wherever thou rov’st’ / May life be for thee one summer’s day …”

A project to catalogue the Hymnology Collections online has just begun – just one of the Funk Cataloguing Projects which are opening up the Special Collections here at New College Library.