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William left Howden ropery in 1807 to look after his Perpetual Motion. After brief periods in London in 1808, where he exhibited his ‘Eureka’ perpetual motion machine, and at Jarrow in 1809, where he worked in the rope-making business, William rejoined the Militia in 1810, travelling to Ireland where he taught himself line-engraving. When Napoleon Bonaparte fled to Elba in 1814, the Northumberland Militia was brought back to England and disembodied.

Throughout the years William had not stopped inventing. Many of his ideas arose from dreams or visions which he interpreted in a very strange light. On the night of December 18th, he had another particularly remarkable dream (featuring his brother Richard*)…

[* Richard Martin (1779-1837), the ‘other’ lesser-known brother, and second eldest of the four, was, like his brothers, a skilled artist and an accomplished poet. During the Napoleonic Wars, he fought with the Grenadier Guards in Spain and Portugal and at Waterloo, never being wounded and rising to the rank of Quarter-Master Sergeant. It is recorded that he too wrote an autobiography, which is now considered lost as no copies are known to exist.]



I thought that I was walking along with my brother Richard, who is now dead, along a pleasant road. On the right side were very large trees, and one in particular near the road was very lofty; but it was all hollow, nothing remaining but the trunk and the bark. On the top were placed thirteen spires or steeples, similar to those on St. Nicholas’ Church, in Newcastle. I said to my brother, “See, what a curiosity!” It is so high that we are not on safe ground, for it cannot possibly stand.” After I had walked about a hundred yards, I lost sight of my brother, and heard a voice cry out, “The steeples are falling; take care, the Northumberland Bard.” I looked quickly back and saw the top of the centre steeple fall about 20 yards from me. I thought I saw a beautiful woman, having a towel in her hand, who said, “Mr. Martin, these fine trees should all be washed, or else they will all become decayed, like that which has fallen and is now level with the earth.” Then I awoke, and found it was a dream.

The Interpretation of the above vision:

The interpretation is from God.

The large hollow tree on the side of the road, with the thirteen steeples upon it, signifies that the churches have become decayed and corrupted;
and as it fell towards me, that signifies that the Martinian philosophy will cause all false systems to fall, and bring all to one true religion, the apostolic church of Christ.

The beautiful woman that spoke to me was God’s holy angel, who, by informing me that the other trees (the churches of the living God) should be all washed, signified to me that I should make it known to the world, being the only inspired writer till time shall be no more.

The British nation, therefore, must begin to purify its corrupted churches.

(Words: William Martin / Music: Iain Petrie)


from Mad Martins, releases September 4, 2017
Keith Armstrong - Spoken Word
Iain Petrie - Church Organ, Atmospheric Sound Effects



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Mad Martins England, UK

'Mad Martins' is a unique project by poet Keith Armstrong and songwriter Gary Miller featuring original songs, poetry and spoken word narration depicting the extraordinary life and times of the notorious Martin brothers, William, Jonathan and John, who were born in the late Eighteenth Century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland. ... more

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