A Village Roll Call, 1935

This poem was written nearly seventy years ago by villager Alexander Nisbet of Cliff Cottage. It gives a complete roll call of the village as it was on 14th December 1935. Within the intervening years the village population has slumped by nearly half, but a few of those counted in 1935 can still be counted today.

A Village Roll Call, 1935

Hundreds named Smith and scores named Brown,
Dozens of Macs in every town,
Come to St. Abbs - way down by the sea,
When Wilson's the fruitful family tree.

Sons of Will, they are proud of the name,
Proud of the Will who won much fame,
Who was the man who trumped Harold's tricks,
William the Conqueror - ten sixty six.

The folk in St. Abbs, in year thirty five,
Number two hundred and sixty five,
Four score and seven named Wilson we know,
Let's name the rest and count as we go.

Nisbet comes next with forty six,
In every street with them you will mix,
Hood - sons of Robin of Sherwood fame,
One score and five can boast of that name.

Then comes Rae, with five less than a score,
Fifteen all told, you can't make them more,
Two more than ten makes twelve you'll agree,
Just the right count for Cormack, you see.

You've heard of Dick Turpin who's now in Heaven?
Dick's sons in St. Abbs now number eleven,
The Aitchison tribe, seated to dine,
Surround a table prepared for nine.

From off that table remove one plate,
Book it for Crowe with family of eight,
Dead heat for the place two names are driven,
Colven and Craig yell - now we are seven.

Dougal and Laing and Coats - equal scores,
They number twelve, made up of three fours,
Two families come next - one John one Cowe,
Three members each, who'll now make their bow.

Lamberton, Paterson, Hunter and Scott,
Kerr - two each. Let's go map with the lot,
Ten more names and our task is ended,
If any offence given none is intended.

Gibson, Chapman, Farquharson, Barr,
Mills, Reid and Fairbairn, seven so far,
King, Fell and Ferguson each countone,
Two sixty - five. I hope we've missed none.

Add to the number by counting ten more,
Who dwell at the Haven, almost next door,
Five Gibsons, five Paxtons all are there,
Two seventy five - the lot I declare.

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