The Battle Of Sherriffmuir
This tune was for long attributed to John MacIntyre of the great piping and bardic family of the Braes of Rannoch, pipers to Menzies of that Ilk.
Another view posted by Bridget MacKenzie in her book Piping Traditions of the North of Scotland, is that this piobaireachd may have been composed by the Earl of Seaforth's piper, Finlay Dubh MacRae, who had fought alongside his Chieftain, William Dubh MacKenzie, at the Battle of Sherriffmuirr, 1715.
Although there may be uncertainty about the composer, there is no question about the inspiration for the piobaireachd, a factor that is of critical importance in the playing of the music.
The battle itself was indecisive. Jacobite troops under the indecisive leadership of the Earl of Mar outnumbered Argyle's Hanovarian force but lacked cavalry, a factor that had an important influence on the outcome of the engagement. The Jacobites withdrew from the field and soon thereafter clansmen dispersed to their home territory. A contemporary ballad captured the essence of the battle in the words, “we ran away and they ran away, they ran away and we ran away”.
This brought a temporary end to the campaign of the “Old Pretender” James Francis Edward Stuart to gain the throne lost by his father. A second attempt in 1719 also failed.
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