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GENERAL WYNNE. Irish, Air or Planxty. C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Stanford/Petrie): ABCD (Complete Collection, O’Sullivan). Composed by Irish harper Turlough O'Carolan (1670–1738). George Petrie (1855) prints the march and jig as separate tunes, while in O'Sullivan (1956) the two are combined into one 'suite' (see Stanford/Petrie, 1905; No. 976, p. 249).
The Wynne family originally came from Wales, and in 1658 acquired tracts around Lurganboy, County Leitrim, and later expanded into Sligo. There were several famous military figures in the family, including General James Wynne and Major-General Owen Wynne II (1655–1737), the sons of Owen Wynne of Lurganboy. Both brothers fought with the Williamite forces at the Battle of the Boyne (1689), and later fought together in Flanders against the French. Older brother James was killed in the conflict on the Continent, and, while Owen was made a prisoner of the French for a time, he was back at the head of his regiment, the 5th Irish Dragoons, at the battle of Blenheim. Owen was made a Brigadier-General in 1706, and thus probably had to give up command of his regiment, but he took part in the siege of the fortress of Lille, France, and was given command of the garrison by Marlborough when the city finally succumbed. At the end of the wars, in 1713, Owen had attained the rank of Major-General. In 1727 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed Commander-in-Chief in Ireland.
Apart from his military accomplishments, Owen Wynne established himself as one of the foremost powers in north-west Ireland. He was MP for Carrick-on-Shannon as early as 1692. His accomplishments brought him great riches, which he proceeded to invest in land. In 1722 he bought some 14,500 acres in County Sligo and also purchased land in Cavan. On his return to Ireland he re-entered the political arena and established the family as a political hegemony that was to last locally for over a hundred years, particularly in Sligo. Owen married a daughter of Robert Miller of Milford, Co. Mayo, but they had no children, and he left his estates to his nephew when he died. Owen is likely the General Wynne to whom O'Carolan addressed his air, I believe.
Source for notated version:
Complete Collection of Carolan's Irish Tunes, 1984; No. 170, p. 115.
Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 986, p. 252 & No. 976, p. 249.
O'Sullivan (Carolan: The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper), 1958; No. 170.
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