107497: John Morison

John (1790-1852) was born in Rodel, Harris, the son of blacksmith Angus Morrison and Catherine MacLeod. In about 1820 John married Marion MacLean of Strond. Following Marion’s death in 1829 John married Catherine MacLeod. Widowed for a second time, his third wife was Mary MacAulay; Mary was from either Quidinish or Flodabay. John resided with all three of his wives at Obbe, until he and Mary were evicted to Leacklee in 1848.

John followed his father in the smithing tradition, and became a famous catechist and hymn-writer, known as Gobha na Hearadh. He was ordained as a missionary for the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge, in 1828. A number of years later, in 1843, following unrest in the Church of Scotland, he was ordained into the Free Church. One of his achievements was a tour on the Free Church vessel Breadalbane to collect funds for the construction of Manish Church. 

John died in 1852, and was buried at St Clement’s Church, Rodel.

More details of John’s life can be read here. This archived page from BBC Alba includes lyrics from his works.

John’s poems were collected and edited in the following work:
Dàin Iain Ghobha (The poems of John Morison : the songsmith of Harris) / collected and edited with a memoir by George Henderson.
Glasgow : Archibald Sinclair (two volumes: 1893-1896)

Record Type:
Also Known As:
John Morrison; Gobha na Hearadh
Date Of Birth:
Date of Death:
6 Dec 1852
Brothers Keeper Reference:
CEBH 2384
Blacksmith; catechist; hymn-writer
Record Maintained by: