The Ulster History Circle has unveiled a commemorative blue plaque to United Irishman James (Jemmy) Hope at Mallusk Cemetery.
Mayor Fraser Agnew and Blanche McMordie, James Hope’s last living relative, performed the official unveiling at a special ceremony on Monday morning (March 24).
They were joined at the Park Road graveyard by representatives from the Ulster History Circle, Ulster-Scots Agency and local residents.
James Hope was born on August 25, 1764 in Roughfort. His father, John, a linen weaver, was a native of Templepatrick. His grandfather, a Covenanter, had left Scotland to avoid persecution.
Hope was apprenticed as a linen weaver, but attended night school in his spare time. Influenced by the American Revolution, he joined the Irish Volunteers. When they were wound up, he was further influenced by the French Revolution and joined the Society of United Irishmen in 1795.
It was Wolfe Tone who declared: “Our strength shall come from that great respectable class, the men of no property”, and Hope was one such man all his days.
Hope, who was married with four children, established himself as a prominent organiser within the Society and was a leader in the Battle of Antrim.
Known as ‘the Spartan’, he was described as being observant, discreet, thoughtful, incorruptible and independent.
James Hope died in 1847 and is buried in Mallusk Cemetery. Today he is regarded as the most egalitarian and socialist of all the United Irish leadership.
Chris Spurr, chairman of the Ulster History Circle, said: “James Hope was a man whose name matched his aspirations. His Scottish forebears gave him the zeal to follow his principles, and he remains a fine embodiment of the ideals of the United Men. The Ulster History Circle is delighted to celebrate the life and achievement of Jemmy Hope, and the Circle would especially like to thank the Ulster-Scots Agency for their financial support towards this plaque.”
Blue plaques commemorate men and women associated with the province of Ulster who have made a significant contribution to its history and development. To date, 170 plaques have been erected.
• Pictured inset: Blanche McMordie, the last living relative of Jemmy Hope, is presented with a special gift by Maud Hamill of the Ulster History Circle. INNT 13-073-FP