Alexander Stewart Esqr. of Glencrepisdle's Strathspey

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ALEXANDER STEWART, ESQR., OF GLENCREPSIDLE'S STRATHSPEY. Scottish, Strathspey (cut time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Composed by Perthshire fiddler-composer Duncan McKercher, the "Dunkeld Paganini." Alexander Stewart of Glencripesdale married Isabella, daughter of Joseph Stewart of Foss (1768–1835), and the couple had a daughter, Margaret, married to Alexander Gallaway, Huntershill. Glencrepsidale was originally a rather grand farmhouse built by Duncan Campbell of Gleunure, around 1775, who was a tenant of the lands located on the peninsula of Morvern, western Scotland. McKercher's connection to Alexander Stewart was probably through Isabella, as McKercher composed several melodies for members of the Stewarts of Foss. Neil King, in his blog "Except the Kyles and the Western Isles" [1] writes:

Glencripesdale was bought by Donald Stewart of Auch in 1821 and by the 1840s, the farm belonged to his son, Alexander. Nicknamed "Glenstool" for reasons unknown, he features in the journal of James Robertson, the Sheriff of Tobermory on Mull in two entries in 1843:

On my arrival at [home] I found Sandy Stewart Glencripesdale with his pretty bride, and his brother in law Niel Stewart, Foss, and a young Edinburgh lad, Bob Renton, sitting round the Table with a quantity of biscuits, glasses and an empty Wine decanter before them. I procured a reinforcement of solids and liquids, and we passed an hour or two very jovially. Mrs Stewart retired at half past 11 and Niel and his young friend went down to the Inn at the same time to roost. Sandy took his three tumblers of toddy and enlarged wisely and emphatically on the incomparable felicity of the married state which he strongly recommended to my consideration and adoption.

Wednesday 9 August 1843

When I was dressing Glenstool came in to my room looking drumly and unrefreshed; he complained of our late sederunt [sitting] last night. I denied the premises, upon which he exclaimed hurriedly: "aye aye its well for you to say so, but mind – I had to give a horn to the wife after I went to bed – mind that, mind that – that makes the difference, you see", rubbing his hands and winking...

Married life doesn't seem to have agreed with Glenstool, however, as he was dead less than three years later.


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: McKercher (Collection of Original Strathspeys and Reels), Edinburgh, c. 1830, p. 21.

Recorded sources:




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