North Ayrshire Heritage Trails
North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Irvine Cross

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Cunninghame House from the Low Green.

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Low Green, Irvine, birthplace of George Henry.

Irvine - Explore a medieval New Town

Anne Ross Cousin, Hymn Composer, 1824 - 1906

Anne Ross Cousin, was born on 27 April 1824 in Hull, the only child of Dr David Ross Cundell, a surgeon with the 33rd Regiment at the Battle of Waterloo. Shortly after her birth the family moved to Leith where Anne received a private education and became a skilled pianist. In 1847 Anne married William Cousin and shortly after their marriage William became minister at the Free Church, now the Mure Church, in Irvine.

It was while living in Irvine that Anne composed her most famous hymn "The Sands of Time are Sinking". In a letter in 1894 Anne describes the writing of the hymn in 1854 in the Irvine Manse as follows:

I wrote it as I sat at work one Saturday evening, and though I threw it off entire at the time, it was the result of long familiarity with the writing of Samuel Rutherford, especially his well-known "Letters".

It first appeared as a poem of 19 verses in the "Christian Treasury" of 1857 under the title of "Last Words of Samuel Rutherford". It did not become widely known until an Edinburgh Minister introduced a shortened five verse version into a hymn book for the congregation of his Church. The hymn is more commonly known as "Emmanuel's Land", the phrase which appears at the end of each stanza.

A collection of her poems "Emmanuel's Land and other pieces" was published in 1876 and can be read online at the Internet Archive website. There are several versions of the hymn on Youtube.

William and Anne had six children. They moved from Irvine to Melrose in 1860 and were there until William retired in 1878. William died in 1883 and Anne in Edinburgh on 6 December 1906.

Anne Ross Cousin


  • Dundee Evening Standard 3 September 1894
  • Southern Reporter 13 December 1906
  • Wikipedia
  • Youtube

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