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Archiver > BISSETT > 2002-02 > 1012770800

From: "Bev Barney" <>
Subject: [BISSETT-L] Ancestral Spiritual Greeting!
Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 16:13:20 -0500

Hi All ~~ Some of you may remember that when I was at Lessendrum two years
ago I met another Bissett at the ruins. It was Bill Bissett and his wife.
Bill chases everything ancient regarding the Bissett's. Today I received
the following from Bill and have his permission to pass this on to the list.
However, attachments cannot be sent via the list so I have turned his
beautiful copy of the greeting into dull email text which you will find at
the bottom of this message. Thank you, Bill for sharing this material so
that all of us might enjoy it.


Bill Bissett wrote:

I had read a reference to a Bissett setting up a monastery in Ulster during
the middle ages but I couldn't find any further information in my research
here in England. When we went to Ireland in search of the medieval
Bissett's, I visited the library in Ballycastle to research Rathlin Island
and the local history of the Bissett's who held the Glens of Antrim and were
known as the Lords of the Glens from the 1250's to 1400, when the Lordship
passed to the Lords of the Isles through the marriage of Margery Bissett to
John Mor Macdonnell, who was the youngest son of the Lord of the Isles, by
his second wife, Margaret, the daughter of King Robert II of Scotland. In
passing, I asked the Librarian if he had heard of the Bissett's, which he
had, I went on to ask him if had heard of the reference to the monastery, to
which he replied that he knew of the monastery and that its remains were
still in existence with a church built on the site. He explained that it was
about 50 miles away and gave me its location at the entrance to the last of
the Glens. We immediately set off for the place and as you know found it, we
entered the grounds with the reverence of someone visiting an ancestors
grave, stepping carefully and searching for any mark on ancient stone where
our ancestors had once trod. Having searched the grounds we decided to have
a look inside the church which looked like a typical late 1800's building
with spire etc.

We silently entered the empty church which had been built 400 years after
our monastery, not thinking that we would find any reference to the
Bissett's. In the foyer, in a picture frame on the wall was the attached
greeting which seemed to have been put there by some one a long time ago,
who knew that one day we would come and find it. It was an incredible
feeling to read the greeting which seemed to be written for me, the hairs on
the back of my neck stood up, I stood there dumbfounded and read it several
times to make sure I wasn't mistaken and misreading the words, but it was

Below the greeting, on an old wooden table lay the manuscript written by
Hector McDonnell, Earl of Antrim with the title of Glenarm Friary and the
Bissett's. This is the document I gave you, so you know its contents. As I
was reading through the pamphlet the congregation started to arrive for the
service. The first lady in engaged us in conversation and we asked her about
the pamphlet etc., we asked if we could purchase a copy but unfortunately
she informed us that it was the only one in existence. I asked if it would
be possible to get it photocopied, she said that she would copy it the
following day and leave it in the church for us to pick up. We thanked her
and took her up on her offer, which she duly carried out. She did say that
if the Earl was in (the castle is across the road from the monastery but is
not open to the public) he would have been glad to see us given that we were
Bissett's as he obviously had a strong interest in the family and of course
is a blood relative of Margery Bissett.

I recently took out the photograph of the greeting, which was too poor a
reproduction to copy and OCR, so I experimented with the available fonts
until I made a more or less exact copy. I was so pleased with the result
that I printed it on photo paper and framed it. I have a copy on my desk at
work, which gives me great comfort, and I have a copy at home on the wall. I
thought you might appreciate a copy yourself so the greeting is attached.

Pause when you enter Traveller and bethink
thee how holy, yet how homelike, is this place.
Time that thou spendest humbly here shall link
thee with men unknown who once were of thy race.
This is Thy Fathers house, to him address thee,
Whom here is his children worship face to face.
Be at thy coming in with the peace will bless thee,
Thy going out make Joyful with his grace.

Greeting in St Patricks Church foyer, Glenarm Northern Ireland.
The church is on the site of Glenarm Monastery of the Third Order Francisan
monks, built and endowed by Robert Bissett, Lord of Glenarm, in 1465

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