A Popular Hymn

'The little cloud's increasing still ...'

Words from the chorus appear on this centenary plate produced in 1907

This is one of the early hymns that used to be very popular on the Cheshire side of Mow Cop. In the early days there were no Primitive Methodist Hymn Books, but the hymns were sung from memory.

This hymn was taken down by dictation from an old Primitive Methodist near Odd Rode, who told W J Harper he had never seen a printed copy although he had sung it hundreds of times, to a rollicking tune he there and then voiced.

Singing hymns from memory would have been a new experience for many people, but the effect can be imagined when bands of men and women sang  them through the streets.

One day as I was walking
Along a certain way,
I met a band of Christians,
And they were wont to pray;
In unity and order
They slowly moved along,
The gospel news a sounding,
In lofty strains they sang.


Singing glory! Hallelujah!
The Lord is with us still;
The little cloud’s increasing,
That rose upon Mow Hill.

I said, what people are they?
The Primitives, they said!
We are a band of Christians
And Jesus is our head.
From sin’s dark vale we travel,
To joys at God’s right hand,
Say will you go to glory?
Then come and join our band.

We preach salvation full and free,
We preach salvation now,
We bid the guilty come to God,
And stop to tell him how.
The vilest wretch that breathes the air,
Who does repent of sin,
Shall prove that Christ is strong to save,
And free to take him in.

Well, I’ll be one amongst you
So here’s my heart and hand,
Henceforth I am a Primitive,
One of the happy band;
I love your modes of worship,
I love simplicity;
Adieu! My old companions,
A Primitive I’ll be!

So now I am a Primitive,
One of the noisy crew,
We shout when we are happy,
And that we ought to do;
And if we’re blamed for shouting
For that we do not care,
We’ll urge our way to glory,
And shout for ever there.


W J Harper, Mow Cop and its Slopes, Tunstall (1907), p40-41


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