About one hundred and ten years ago, this book must have fallen behind a mounted cupboard at The Barony St. John’s Church & Hall – or as it was known then, Ardrossan New Parish Church.

There it stayed,img_2305 hidden from view. Its cover gathering dust and grime over the decades but its inside pages as crisp and clean as the day it was printed – The Scottish National Hymnal for the Young (and Scripture Lessons for 1907).

The price for the book is clearly marked on the front cover as one and a half pence.

Inside are all the hymns of the day and the first page is shown below –


I love the “Whither, Pilgrims, are you going?” quote – it reminds me of the English poet, James Elroy Flecker (1884–1915) who wrote Hassan … The Golden Journey to Samarkand which has been immortalised on the clock tower of the British Army’s 22 Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment in Hereford –

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go

Always a little further; it may be

Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow

Across that angry or that glimmering sea.


But it is actually a hymn by a lady called Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) who coincidentally died the same year as Flecker and who rose to fame for the hundreds of hymns and poems she had published – despite her being blind.

Her poem Whither, Pilgrf1ims, are you going? was published in 1885 and begins;

Whither, pilgrims, are you going,
Going each with staff in hand?
We are going on a journey,
Going at the King’s command,
Over hills and plains and valleys,
We are going to His palace,
We are going to His palace,
Going to the better land;
We are going to His palace,
Going to the better land

A connection from 110 years ago wishing you a very Happy New Year.

Best wishes for 2017 from myself, Alan Bell (The Ardross-man), and all at The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety.