Live from Scotland Volume 3


Part three of the aforementioned series, live from the Glasgow Town hall and recorded in the early Seventies. Some really nice songs on this album, but my attention is mostly to the Massacre of Glencoe. Some explanation is needed, although the wiki page for this is not very well written I think. So here is my attempt.

Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Scottish nobles needed to kiss the hand of the new king William III. Not everyone agreed, and it led to the Jacobite Rising of 1689. The name Jacobite comes from the Latinised name for the deposed catholic king James II (or VII in Scotland). William was protestant, and that did not go down well in mostly catholic / presbyterian Scotland.

By 1690 most of the revolt had died out or was subdued. Four clans were left, and they were bought with a large sum of money: twelve thousand pound. There were no provisions for the division of that money, so it led to another round of brawls. Pressure was put to the Scottish Secretary of State Lord Stair to put an end to the matter. He sent in his forces under the command of Robert Campbell with order to kill all of the Glencoe MacDonalds as an example.

In February 1692 the whole regiment of 120 men were quartered by the MacDonalds. This was a way of paying taxes in a society that barely had money: the regiment carried a written order forcing the MacDonalds to accept them. In the morning of February 13 they killed their hosts, hunting down the ones that tried to escape. An estimated 25 to 38 men died by the sword that day.

The matter shocked the rest of Scotland, leading to the resignation of Lord Stair three years later. The events of that morning gave the Jacobite movement a new strength, and it played a big role in the Rebellion of 1745 (called a quarter to six by The Corries). In the nineteenth century it was explained as a feud between the Campbells and the MacDonalds by the British historian Thomas MacAulay. This explanation seems to be the one that is mentioned in the lyrics of The Corries. In this way the blame was not laid on the king.

In the nineteenth century, the event was the subject of the great romantic poets, like Sir Walter Scott and T.S. Eliot. A little footnote: when in the TV-series Mad Men Pete Campbell’s daughter is rejected at an elite school he lays the blame on the feud between the clans. The headmaster is a MacDonald.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *