Dunkeld Steeple

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DUNKELD STEEPLE. Scottish, Hornpipe. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Composed by Niel Gow (1727-1807). Dunkeld is a small town in Perthshire between Perth and Pitlochry, and Gow's birthplace and home. There is a cathedral in Dunkeld with a prominent steeple, the scene in 1689 of an altercation between Cameronian troops (Covenanter) and Jacobite forces. The Cameronians were driven into the church, where they led a spirited defense and fought off their enemy. However, not before holed up in the church and successfully fought off the Jacobites. In doing so they ran out of ammunition, necessitating the stripping off of the leaded church roof to melt down for bullets.

A song fragment, entitled "O What a Parish" (from Emily Lyle's Andrew Crawfurd's Collection of Ballads and Songs, 1996) goes:

Drounit the minister
Hangit the precentor
Burnit their Bibles
And drank the kirk bell
O what a parish a parish a parish
O what a parish was Dunkell

Source for notated version: Gow (The Beauties of Niel Gow), c. 1819.

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