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Background to Burning of Auchindoun

DigiTrad:
BURNING OF AUCHINDOUN


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Gaelic Verse in Burning of Auchindoun (29)
Chord Req: Burning of Auchindoun (4)


Maryrrf 26 May 02 - 08:19 PM
toadfrog 26 May 02 - 08:39 PM
GUEST, NOMADman 26 May 02 - 08:51 PM
masato sakurai 26 May 02 - 09:20 PM
Maryrrf 26 May 02 - 10:32 PM
Susanne (skw) 27 May 02 - 06:39 PM
Scabby Douglas 28 May 02 - 04:08 AM
GUEST,pavane 28 May 02 - 07:54 AM
Joe Offer 28 May 02 - 03:00 PM
Susanne (skw) 28 May 02 - 07:39 PM
Scabby Douglas 29 May 02 - 04:13 AM
GUEST 29 May 02 - 07:04 AM
Maryrrf 29 May 02 - 07:10 AM
Malcolm Douglas 29 May 02 - 07:56 AM
Wolfgang 30 May 02 - 05:53 AM
Scabby Douglas 30 May 02 - 08:12 AM
Reiver 2 05 Nov 03 - 06:22 PM
michaelr 05 Nov 03 - 08:37 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Nov 03 - 10:18 PM
Reiver 2 06 Nov 03 - 02:29 PM
Susanne (skw) 06 Nov 03 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,n_sheed@hotmail.com 25 Oct 04 - 03:20 PM
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Subject: Origins: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Maryrrf
Date: 26 May 02 - 08:19 PM

I found the lyrics in the DT. Anybody know the background? Who was Willie MacIntosh?

Click for lyrics in Digital Tradition
Related thread: Historical Ballads


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: toadfrog
Date: 26 May 02 - 08:39 PM

McColl has it:

Following the murder of the Earl of Murray, the MacIntoshes of the Clan Chattan pillaged a castle and killed four men on an estate belonging to the Earl of Huntley [who had killed him, in 1592, after he was accused of conspiring with Bothwell against the king]. In retaliation, Huntley laid waste the lands of the Clan Chattan. Returning home from this engagement he surprised the MacIntoshes spoiling his lands at Cabrach and, in the ensuint fight, killed sixty of them.


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: GUEST, NOMADman
Date: 26 May 02 - 08:51 PM

This is Child Ballad #183. Professor Child notes, "Two William MacIntoshes are Confounded in this ballad. The burning of Auchindown (sic)is attributed, rightly or wrongly, to an earlier William, captain of the clan, who, in August, 1550 was formally convicted of conspiracy against the life of the Earl of Huntly, then lietenant in the north, sentenced to lose his life and lands, and, despite a pledge to the contrary, executed shortly after by the Countess of Huntly."

Child's cited references are Lesley, John, History of Scotland; Gregory, Donald, History of the Western Highlands ed. 1881 and Browne, James, History of the Highlands, IV.

Regards,
John


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: masato sakurai
Date: 26 May 02 - 09:20 PM

AUCHINDOUN CASTLE, with photos.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Maryrrf
Date: 26 May 02 - 10:32 PM

Thanks, everybody! Mudcat comes through again!


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 27 May 02 - 06:39 PM

Some more info here:

Ferrickside


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 28 May 02 - 04:08 AM

Hi Susanne, how are you? Recovered from your Scottish trip and your Euro gathering?

Can I make a teensy correction? I'm pretty sure that it's "Fiddich-side" - as in Glenfiddich, rather than Ferrick side...

It makes sense because Auchindoun castle is near the River Fiddich.

Cheers

Steven


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: GUEST,pavane
Date: 28 May 02 - 07:54 AM

If you haven't heard it, listen to Silly Sisters (June Tabor and Maddy Prior) for a stark and dramatic version


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Subject: ADD: Willie MacIntosh (Child #183)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 May 02 - 03:00 PM

Thanks to MMario, here are the lyrics to the two versions in Child. The version in the Digital Tradition is #183B, with a few modernizations of words.
-Joe Offer-


CHILD 183A

`TURN, Willie Macintosh,
Turn, I bid you;
Gin ye burn Auchindown,
Huntly will head you.'

`Head me or hang me,
That canna fley me;
I'll burn Auchendown
Ere the life lea me.'

Coming down Deeside,
In a clear morning,
Auchindown was in flame,
Ere the cock-crawing.

But coming oer Cairn Croom,
And looking down, man,
I saw Willie Macintosh
Burn Auchindown, man,

`Bonny Willie Macintosh,
Whare left ye your men?'
`I left them in the Stapler,
But they'll never come hame.'

`Bonny Willie Macintosh,
Whare now is your men?'
`I left them in the Stapler,
Sleeping in their sheen.'


CHILD 183B

As I came in by Fiddich-side,
In a May morning,
I met Willie Mackintosh,
An hour before the dawning.

`Turn again, turn again,
Turn again, I bid ye;
If ye burn Auchindown,
Huntly he will head ye.'

`Head me, hang me,
That sall never fear me;
I'll burn Auchindown
Before the life leaves me.'

As I came in by Auchindown,
In a May morning,
Auchindown was in a bleeze,
An hour before the dawning.

***

Crawing, crawing,
For my crowse crawing,
I lost the best feather i my wing
For my crowse crawing.

***Light was the mirk hour
At the day-dawing,
For Auchindoun was in flames
Ere the cock-crawing

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Willie Macintosh [Child 183]

DESCRIPTION: Willie Macintosh (probably in revenge for the slaying of the Earl of Murray; see Child 181) swears he will burn Auchindown, even if Huntly murders him. Macintosh succeeds in his efforts
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1808 (Finlay)
KEYWORDS: feud revenge fire
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1592 - Vendetta between the Earl of Huntly and Clan Macintosh
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland) US(NE)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Child 183, "Willie Macintosh" (2 texts)
Bronson 183, "Willie Macintosh" (1 version)
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 264-266, "Bonny Willie Macintosh" (1 text, learned in Scotland) [Phillips Barry, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, and Mary Winslow Smyth British Ballads from Maine (1929)]
Friedman, p. 266, "Willie Macintosh" (1 text) [The Penguin Book of Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World - exactly the same as Child 183A, above, except for "but coming o'er Cairn [gorm]" in line 1 of stanza 4]
Oxford Book of Ballads 134, "Willie Macintosh" (exactly the same as Child 183A, above -JRO-)

Roud #4010
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Burning of Auchindown
Notes: The Willie Macintosh of this ballad was an ally of the Earl of Murray; [to avenge] Murray's death, he and his followers harried the Earl of Huntly, whose followers eventually caught up with Macintosh's men and defeated them. Contrary to the ballad, this Willie didn't burn Auchindown castle; that had been burned by another Willie Macintosh forty years before. - PJS
The only [known] tune [for this song] was miraculously preserved by either [Ewan] MacColl's father or else his mother. Yeah, sure! - AS
And Barry et al argue that the piece wasn't really meant to be sung. But even Bronson admits the effectiveness of the tune supplied by MacColl. - RBW
File: C183

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2003 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 28 May 02 - 07:39 PM

Hi Steve - yes, back in the treadmill ... Next year I'll be there for at least one festival (plus the Yorkshire gathering, if I can make it)!

As to 'Ferrickside' - I've only got the song on tape, but it is from the Tannahill Weavers' 'Are Ye Sleeping Maggie' album, and I'm fairly sure that's what the tracklist said. So the fault is theirs, not mine, I think! Maybe someone can look it up ...


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 29 May 02 - 04:13 AM

Well, sounds like the Tannahills need a right good kicking then...

Thing is, I've a notion that the first time I heard this song was BY the Tannahills - many, many years ago... over 20 years ago, at a concert in Dunoon

Cheers

Steven


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 02 - 07:04 AM

Maybe worth mentioning that 'Head ye', i.e. behead you, is pronounced like 'heed ye' which is a bit closer to rhyming with 'bid ye'


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Maryrrf
Date: 29 May 02 - 07:10 AM

Thanks to all for the info. This one is on the next "batch" of songs I want to work on. It's a good one!


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 May 02 - 07:56 AM

Child 183A (a) is taken from Alexander Laing's The Thistle of Scotland, 1823, p.106: (b) is from Alexander Whitelaw, A Book of Scottish Ballads, 1845, p.248; "from an Aberdeen newspaper of about 1815", differing from (a) as follows:
Verse 1,line 2: Turn, turn
Verse 1, line 3: If you
Verse 2, line 2: That winna
Verse 3 omitted
Verse 4, line 1: But omitted
Verses 5 and 6 omitted.
After verse 4 appears the additional verse Joe quotes above, which belongs here, in 183A, not in 183B as the layout of Joe's table suggests.

183B is from John Finlay's Scottish Historical and Romantic Ballads, II, 89, 1808; "as recollected by a lady and communicated by Sir Walter Scott". The asterisks denote a suspected missing verse.


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Wolfgang
Date: 30 May 02 - 05:53 AM

on the Tannahill Weavers website:

Ferrickside

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Scabby Douglas
Date: 30 May 02 - 08:12 AM

Thanks Wolfgang... and just to re-state my apology to Susanne - you were absolutely spot-on in your transcription.

Apart from the Tannahills, I have never come across any version of the song which refers to "Ferrick-side". Has anyone else?

Cheers

Steven


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Reiver 2
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 06:22 PM

Susanne, thanks for posting the link with all the historical information re. the background of the song. It that material your own? And is it part of a publication that could be purchased somewhere? As you and Wolfgang are probably aware, I love to sing those old songs, but as an amature historian, I'm equally interested in learning as much as possible about the persons and events mentioned in old Scottish and Irish ballads.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: michaelr
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 08:37 PM

What might be the "stapler"?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Nov 03 - 10:18 PM

See Child III 456. The notes aren't all that long, so I may as well quote the lot. Although parts have already been quoted here, the answer to Michael's question is in the following:

"The murder of the 'Bonny Earl of Murray' was the occasion of serious commotions in the North Highlands. Towards the end of the year 1592, the Macintoshes of the Clan Chattan, who of all the faction of Murray 'most eagerly endeavoured to avenge his death,' invaded the estates of the Earl of Huntly, and killed four gentlemen of the name of Gordon. Huntly retaliated, and 'rade into Pettie (which was then in the possession of the Clan Chattan), where he wasted and spoiled all the Clan Chattan's lands, and killed divers of them. But as the Earl of Huntly had returned home from Pettie, he was advertised that William Macintosh with eight hundred of Clan Chattan were spoiling his lands of Cabrach; whereupon Huntly and his uncle Sir Patrick Gordon of Auchindown, with some few horsemen, made speed towards the enemy, desiring the rest of his company to follow him with all possible diligence, knoeing that if once he were within sight of them they would desist from spoiling the country.

Huntly overtook the Clan Chattan before they left the bounds of Cabrach, upon the head of a hill called Stapliegate, where, without staying for the rest of his men, he invaded them with these few he than had. After a sharp conflict he overthrew them, chased them, killed sixty of their ablest men, and hurt Willie Macintosh with divers others of his company.' (The History of the Feuds and Conflicts among the Clans, etc., p. 41 f, in Miscellanea Scotica. Spottiswood, ed., 1666, p. 390).

Two William Macintoshes are confounded in the ballad. The burning of Auchindown is attributed, rightly or wrongly, to an earlier William, captain of the clan, who, in August, 1550, was formally convicted of conspiracy against the life of the Earl of Huntly, then lieutenant in the north, sentenced to lose his life and his lands, and, despite a pledge to the contrary, executed soon after by the Countess of Huntly. (Lesley, History of Scotland, p. 225; Gregory, History of the Western Highlands, ed. 1881, p. 184; Browne, History of the Highlands, IV, 476. For the traditional story, Finlay, II, 95, note; Lang's Thistle of Scotland, p. 107 f.; Whitelaw, p. 248).

Auchindown castle is on the banks of the Fiddich, B 1. By Cairn Goom, A4, is meant, I suppose, the noted Cairngorm mountain, at the southern extremity of Banffshire."


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Reiver 2
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 02:29 PM

Malcolm, many thanks for taking the time to post the entire quote. I really appreciate that kind of information. After a trip through Ireland 2 years ago, I'm hoping to do the same with Scotland in the next year or two. I'll put Auchindoun Castle on my list of places to make sure I visit. Aside from visiting pubs, etc., where I can enjoy traditional and folk music, I like to visit the places I've learned about through the songs and ballads.

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 06 Nov 03 - 07:49 PM

Hi, Reiver! My apologies for not replying to your question of last year - I sometimes miss threads in spite of checking the list almost every day. Don't know how that happens. Anyway, I've been collecting background to songs for more than 30 years and am now feeding this info into My Songbook, run by Henry from the town of Schwerin. So far he only has about half my material and is busy updating. The next batch (roughly from next Christmas) will include many of the songs not yet 'filled'. You ought to find the occasional nugget there, although it's a collection, not a scholarly undertaking like, say, Bruce Olson's. If there's anything you can add - please do! If you'd like to ask further questions, send me a PM, or we'll get heided for hijacking this thread ...:-)


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Subject: RE: Background to Burning of Auchindoun
From: GUEST,n_sheed@hotmail.com
Date: 25 Oct 04 - 03:20 PM

In case anyone is still interested here's more stuff:

Another/alternative part to the song:

'Oh.Willie Macintosh, oh, Willie Macintosh, whaur left ye a' yer men?
Ye've left them in the Granes 'o' the Gauch, feeding the Cabrach swine.'

The Gauch is a farm in the Cabrach:
Ordance Survey Get-a-map
Grid reference at centre - NJ 365 245 GB Grid

And if you look slightly to the NW of that (and zoom right in) you should find Little Steplar Burn
Grid reference at centre - NJ 330 265 GB Grid

The Steplar itself is the name given to the road that passes beside it:
Mountaineering Scotland


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