The Royal Scots Cap Badge


Lament for Prince Charles, 1746

This piobaireachd Lament for Prince Charles was composed by Calum Ruaidh, Captain Malcolm MacLeod of Eyre, Isle of Raasay.


Malcolm served as a Captain in a contingent raised by his uncle Malcolm, Xth Chieftain of Raasay, who gave over the estate to his son to avoid confiscation should his side lose - a canny move that ensured that the estate remained in the family. However, it did not save the estate from being savagely pillaged by Hanovarian forces, some under the control of MacLeod of Harris and Dunvegan.


Captain Malcolm fought at Falkirk and Culloden. After Culloden, Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Tearlach Ruaidh to Raasay people) made his way to the Western Isles. At one point in the Prince's escape, Captain Malcolm escorted him to safe haven with the Skye MacKinnons. The Prince went as Captain Malcolm's servant and had to dress down. In the trading of clothes, Captain Malcolm was given the Prince's scarlet tartan vest with a gold twist button, a remnant of which was in my mother's Raasay home when she was a child (1880's).


Captain Malcolm was captured and sent to London for trial. As only one unreliable witness was available to testify against him, he was released before going to trial. He returned to Raasay where he wrote his memoir of the rebellion for Bishop Forbes, Inverness.


It was at his tack at Eyre, Raasay, that he became aware of the talent for pipe music in an orphan herds-boy he had taken in care. The boy, Iain MacRuaridh as he was called on Raasay, John MacKay, was taught first by Captain Malcolm, then sent by him for training to MaCrimmons of Skye for three six-month sessions – it is believed that both Iain MacCrimmon and his brother Donald Ruadh taught him. MacLeod then sent John to the MacKays of Gairloch (no relation). In this way, an important link in the preservation of much ceol mor was forged.


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