A couple of years ago Mark Thompson produced a wonderful booklet telling the story of: - 'The Thomas Smith's Forgotten English Colony - of the Ards and North Down in 1572'.
It was a very well researched to be local history article by Mark and published with the help of Loughries Historical Society with both Ards Borough Council, North Down Borough Council and the Ulster Scots Community Network seeing the merit of the booklet who all contributed finically to the production costs.
Read so much more here! Marks Blog Post - Sir Thomas Smith
Today I parked at my Mum's house at Greenwell Street in Newtownards and went on a 5 mile hike - with my trusted 4 legged friend Dudley. As we proceeded along the 'tide bank' Strangford Lough was coming in and I noticed that the farmers were busy in their fields preparing the land. It came into my mind the Thomas Smith booklet and one of the more memorable quotes contained therein: -
“going to win and replenish with English inhabitants the Country called The Ards to possess a land that floweth with milk and honey, a fertile soil truly if there be any in Europe, whether it be manured or left to grass. There is timber, stone, plaster & slate commodious for building everywhere abundant, a country full of springs, rivers and lakes both small and great, full of excellent fish and fowl, no part of this country distant above 8 miles from most plentiful sea, have I not set forth to you another Utopia?”
When growing up in Ards I was blissfully unaware how lucky we Andersons were - as Newtown Folk, to have been graced with all the goodness that Mother Nature can provide!