Lamberton Races (1)

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LAMBERTON RACES [1]. AKA – "Colonel Renton's Favourite." Scottish, Reel. F Major (Gow, Skye, Surenne): G Major (Hardings). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Harding, Skye, Surenne): AABB (Athole, Gow): AABB' (Kerr). Composed by Nathaniel Gow (1763–1831). Colonel Renton owned the extensive estate of Lamberton, near the town of Berwick in the Borders region. The Rentons were related by marriage to the Earl of Eglinton, and Eleonora Renton married (22 August 1770) Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe of Hoddom (1750–1813). There was public horse racing held for several days, usually at the end of May (although occasionally later), until 1837, when they were run for the last time due "to the difficulty of obtaining subscriptions toward the stakes, the decline of the sport among the neighbouring gentry, and the stronger attractions offered at the Kelso meetings." A ball was usually held at the end of the sporting facilities.

A printed announcement was held at the Berwick Museum in the mid-19th century, and reads:

Lamberton Races, July 6, 1786.—For the Non-Freeman's purse. The last day, on which there was a numerous and respectable concourse of people, promised satisfaction to the most sanguine hopes. The rapid steeds, after having given proof of their speed, began the second heat; every one seemed elated at the prospect of a good race, whilst the giddy gaping crowd, too eager for the sight, broke in upon the course, and all the horses (one excepted) eager in the race, forsook their destined paths. The slender riders, unable to command their steeds, were leveled with the dust. Where was then, O hope! thou delusive but beneficial goddess, thy cup of pleasures? The race was finished, the tender youths, all bruised and mangled by their falls, were little less than dead, and while the more humane and tender-hearted deplored their misfortunes and pains, the selfish and cruel uttered the bitterest execrations against the anxious crowd, not for the sufferings of their fellow-creatures, but because their promised pleasures were at an end. The assemblies were genteel, the last in particular very billiant; the ladies appeared with a becoming dignity and ease, and shewed a delicate taste in their dresses; the entertainment did honour to the gentlemen concerned. The inhabitants are under great obligations to the gentlemen of the Lamberton Hunt for their public-spiritedness. Sir Carnaby Haggerstone, Sir Alex. Don, and Mr. Baird, are appointed stewards for the ensuing year (1797).


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4), 1796; No. 25, p. 10. Gow (Second Collection of Niel Gow's Reels), 1788; p. 11 (3rd edition). Harding's All Round Collection, 1905; No. 29, p. 9. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 4); No. 186, p. 21. MacDonald (The Skye Collection), 1887; p. 139. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 232. Surenne (Dance Music of Scotland), 1852; p. 101.

Recorded sources:




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