logo Enthusiasms No 76
A collection of shorter pieces on subjects of
interest, outrage or enthusiasm ...

A Note on William Kertland

In the assembly of material relevant to the life and work of the printer Thomas Smith Porter (MT article 299) the name of William Kertland emerged and it is now possible to expand - just a little - the few details that were set out.  This has been largely through contributions to Rootschat.

William Kertland was born in 1775 to Joseph Kertland and his wife Elizabeth (née Neal).  The family resided in Dublin where Joseph worked as a manufacturing chemist until his death, aged 71, in 1822.  William, who had worked with his father, took over the business - in Dublin - until his own death in 1846.  He had married Ellen Graham in 1822, she the daughter of an influential society family at the time.  There were six children of the marriage, five of whom pursued various commercial careers and one, a commercial traveller in fine arts, dying young.

William Kertland was a founder member of Dublin's oldest charity, the Mendicity Institution.  He was a Protestant who espoused the cause of Catholic Emancipation; and he was elected chair of the Dublin Catholic Society.  His political activism was not necessarily popular and, apparently, he fell on hard times during the 1840s and in December 1841 Freeman's Journal, in something of a rebuff to unfavourable comments in the establishment Irish Times, noted that he had lost custom, 'his business being peculiarly dependent for success upon the wealthy and luxurious'.  In fact, friends needed to rally round during 1843 in order to help Kertland out of financial straits.

He was known as a poet, playwright and composer of operas (some mentioned in the Porter article).  In the convolutions attendant on broadside production, it does look as if Kertland was the progenitor of the piece made popular by Laurie and Whittle (amongst others) that had the title of No rest in the grave ...  If so, then this would have been before 1804 and Laurie and Whittle's first printing of the piece.  Porter printed it later as Nobody's Coming to Bury Me.

Readers are also reminded that the piece is probably better known in song form as My Father's a Hedger and Ditcher.  For more enlightenment, perhaps these readers would care to consult the article on Porter.  Any expansion or refinement of known details would be welcome.

Roly Brown - 20.3.16
Oradour sur Vayres, France


Rod Stradling - e-mail: rod@mustrad.org.uk  Tel: 01453 759475
snail-mail: 1 Castle Street, Stroud, Glos GL5 2HP, UK

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