Friday, November 1, 2013

BBC Radio Ulster “Kist O’ Wurds” will feature Nutfield History this month!

Chris Spurr photographs Jean Manthorne, Richard Holmes, Heather Rojo and Mark Wilson
in Derry, New Hampshire's Forest Hill Cemetery

In August the BBC Radio Ulster team of Chris Spurr and Mark Wilson came to Derry, New Hampshire to search for and record stories about the early history of Nutfield.  They were looking for evidence of the original Scots Irish culture in New Hampshire, and found a plethora of history and tales when they interviewed Richard Holmes, the Derry Town Historian; Heather Rojo, the President of the Londonderry Historical Society; Jean Manthorne, the President of the Windham Historical Society and also Brad Dinsmore, local historian and a descendant of Robert Dinsmoor, “The Rustic Bard”. 

Why is Derry Town Historian, Richard Holmes, lying on the ground
to read a gravestone?  Tune into the radio show to find out more! 
On Sunday, November 3rd, the radio show “Kist O’ Wurds” will highlight stories from Heather Rojo and Richard Holmes, discussing the original Ulster Scots who settled Nutfield, which became Derry, Londonderry and Windham, New Hampshire.  This band of settlers was led by the Reverend James MacGregor, a Presbyterian pastor from Aghadowey, Northern Ireland, in 1718.  The program will air on the BBC on air at 11am and be available for listening on the website for one week afterwards at this link:

Mark Wilson interviews Jean Manthorne and Brad Dinsmore
in the historic First Parish Church, founded by Scots Irish pastor James MacGregor.
They are standing in front of the MacGregor stained glass window
decorated with the MacGregor tartan, and Gaelic family mottoes 

On November 17th a second episode of the radio show will air and focus on the history of Robert Dinsmoor (1757 – 1828), “The Rustic Bard” of Windham, New Hampshire.  Brad Dinsmore and Jean Manthorne will be featured, and you will hear excerpts of Dinsmoor’s poems read by his descendant.  There was much discussion of the poet’s use of the Scots dialect and language in his writing, and I hope this made it into the radio show.  You will be able to listen to this episode on line for one week after it airs on the BBC radio, until Sunday November 10th, see the link above.
After visiting Derry, New Hampshire Spurr and Wilson went on to visit the Highland Games at Loon Mountain, an Ulster Scots archaeological dig in Maine, and a Scots Irish festival in Pennsylvania.  These adventures will also be episodes of “Kist O’ Wurds” and available on the website, too.  "A Kist O' Wurds" has been running on BBC Radio Ulster since 2002, and features music, poetry, history, culture and the Scots Irish language. 

“A Kist O’ Wurds”  Radio Program website

Thank you to Joan Normington of the Windham Historical Society for the top photo on this page!

The URL for this post is

Copyright © 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Very cool Heather. I'll have to set my calendar to remind me to listen in!

  2. I am looking forward to this, too!

  3. Great photo, Heather! And what a gem of a project. All of us connected to the First Settlers will no doubt find the radio series interesting.

  4. Hi Heather, I wonder are you aware of the Monreagh Heritage Centre, near Carrigans in County Donegal, which celebrates the Presbyterian links between Ulster and the United States. Although it was the Reverend McGregor who led the first mass migration of Presbyterians to America in 1718 from Coleraine in County Derry/Londonderry, the expedition was actually organised by the Reverend William Boyd, Presbyterian minister of Macosquin, just outside Coleraine. It was he who took the "Petition of Ulstermen" to Governor Schutte of Massachussetts, asking for permission to settle in New Hampshire. The original copy of the Petition of Ulstermen now hangs in the rooms of the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord. The Reverend Boyd did not however remain in America but returned to Ulster and in 1725 became the minister of Monreagh Presbyterian church. The Monreagh Heritage Centre is based in his manse. I have a particular interest in this because my Christian name comes from my great great grandmother, Mary Boyd, 1810-85, from Macosquin, so I like to claim descent from this famous minister! I too however, also relocated from the Coleraine area to a few miles from Monreagh in Donegal. Here is a link to the centre:

    1. Thanks, Boyd! I just joined your Facebook group. I'm already planning a trip up to Concord to see the petition.

    2. Hi Boyd, In August this year I made a special pilgrimage to the kirk with Rev. Boyd's grave. I have pictures if you don't have a stash already. And I don't think the petition has been on the wall for beaucoup its kept safer in their vault. 'Tis very faded. Rick Holmes, own historian, Derry, NH