Beyond Reason is completely fictional although it is set between the towns of Annan and Dumfries in South West Scotland. I have used the principles of the first Savings Bank to illustrate how important it was to people at that time to preserve their pride and independence, how they dreaded the poor house, and how much they valued education.
Below are a few facts about the Ruthwell Savings Bank which was established by the Reverend Doctor Henry Duncan in the Village of Ruthwell for people with little money but who wanted to save. Anyone interested in the facts of this great enterprise will find many interesting articles and books written about the Rev.Henry Duncan.
He believed in the dignity of the ordinary working people and he encouraged thrift. Despite the appalling poverty at that time, he was against the introduction of a poor rate and fostered a spirit of pride and independence whenever possible.
|It exists today as a small museum|
He used his knowledge,
gained during the three years he spent working in Heywoods Bank in Liverpool, but he believed a savings bank could only succeed if it were self-supporting and based on business principles. He gained the backing of the landowners – possibly because they welcomed the idea that the poor might no longer need their support.
As writers we all know the value of marketing and publicity to sell our books. The Rev Duncan had the same idea when he founded a local newspaper, The Dumfries & Galloway Courier, and published his proposal for a parish bank in Ruthwell.
On 10th May 1810 in the Society Room in Ruthwell he explained his ideas for a parish bank to his parishioners. Established banks needed £10 to open an account.(A small fortune to working people at that time). Sixpence would be enough to have an account in the Ruthwell Savings Bank. The deposits were placed with the Linen Bank in Dumfries and received 5% interest. Members received 4% interest - on whole pounds. The surplus provided a charity fund, increased interest for long-term savers, and a sum for administering the bank. The administration in Ruthwell was done by the Rev Duncan himself but he did not take any remuneration. Instead he used the money due to him to build another school in the parish. During the first year £151 was deposited in Ruthwell and there were savings banks throughout the UK within five years of the bank opening. The movement spread to Europe and the United States.
The Ruthwell Cross does not feature in my novel but it would be a pity to mention Dr Henry Duncan and Ruthwell and not include a little about it here in this blog post. The Cross is reputed to be late seventh or early eight century and is one of the finest Anglo-Saxon crosses in Britain. The Rev Duncan rescued it from the manse gardens where it had lain broken for many years after being cast out as idolatrous by previous Church of Scotland officials. Rev. Duncan restored it and it now stands in the Ruthwell Church where visitors can see it. The Savings Bank Museum can supply more information about it and the man who was minister for almost fifty years.
BEYOND REASON is
published in hardback by Robert Hale Ltd £19.99 and will be available to download to digital readers in May 2014.
shortened link to Amazon http://amzn.to/RHGHfr
Janet Scott loves books, and learning, and is happy living at the schoolhouse where her grandfather is the dominie. When tragedy strikes, and her grandfather dies suddenly, everything changes, and she is sent to work for farmer, Wull Foster. Life with no one to protect her is tough, and Janet experiences first-hand the dangers which can befall a young woman. So, when philanthropist, Josiah Saunders, an old friend of her grandfather's takes her in they both enjoy the companionship, but Josiah's avaricious relatives resent his generosity and are furious when he encourages Janet to stay at Crillion Keep. He considers ways to thwart their scheming. Janet loves Fingal McLauchlan but while he is only a lawyers' clerk he is unable to offer the help she needs to keep her promise to her brother and care for their mother. She faces a difficult dilemma when Josiah offers her marriage, and security, but even worse problems arise when Josiah's relatives devise an evil plot to be rid of her.