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Lament For MacLeod Of Colbecks

Lament For MacLeod Of Colbecks was composed by John MacKay, known on Raasay as Iain MacRuaridh. His father came from Sutherland; they were not related to the MacKays of Gairloch.

 

The lament honours Colonel John MacLeod who for a number of years was a planter at Colbecks, Jamaica. He eventually returned to Scotland. Colbecks was of the Lewis line of MacLeods. He was also cousin and brother-in-law to James, XIIth Laird of Raasay. He was known as Iain Culbeck on Raasay. Colbecks died in 1823.

 

Colonel MacLeod raised a short-lived (1795-1802) regiment called the Princess of Wales Fencibles and recruited extensively on Raasay. John MacKay, the Laird of Raasay's piper, joined the Fencibles and served with Colbecks in Ireland.

 

John MacKay was an orphan, raised on Raasay by Captain Malcolm MacLeod who fought in the Jacobite rebellion of 1745/46. MacLeod was a piper; he composed Lament for Prince Charles, 1746. He recognized young John's intense interest in piobaireachd and taught him for a time. He then sent John to MacCrimmon for three six-month sessions. When that was completed he sent John to the Gairloch MacKays for further training.

 

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