Anne Ross Cousin (1824 – 1906), Hull-born hymn composer who lived in Irvine.

Anne Ross Cousin, was born on 27 April 1824 in Hull, the only child of Dr David Ross Cundell, a surgeon with the 33rd Regiment at the Battle of Waterloo. Shortly after her birth the family moved to Leith where Anne received a private education and became a skilled pianist. In 1847 Anne married William Cousin and shortly after their marriage William became minister at the Free Church, now the Mure Church, in Irvine.

It was while living in Irvine that Anne composed her most famous hymn “The Sands of Time are Sinking”. In a letter in 1894 Anne describes the writing of the hymn in 1854 in the Irvine Manse as follows:

I wrote it as I sat at work one Saturday evening, and though I threw it off entire at the time, it was the result of long familiarity with the writing of Samuel Rutherford, especially his well-known “Letters”.

It first appeared as a poem of 19 verses in the “Christian Treasury” of 1857 under the title of “Last Words of Samuel Rutherford”. It did not become widely known until an Edinburgh Minister introduced a shortened five verse version into a hymn book for the congregation of his Church. The hymn is more commonly known as “Emmanuel’s Land”, the phrase which appears at the end of each stanza.

William and Anne had six children. They moved from Irvine to Melrose in 1860 and were there until William retired in 1878. William died in 1883 and Anne in Edinburgh on 6 December 1906.