Miss Clementina Sarah Drummond of Perth

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MISS CLEMENTINA SARAH DRUMMOND OF PERTH. AKA and see “Miss Clementina Drummond.” Scottish, Strathspey. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. The melody appears in John Bowie's 1789 collection. Miss Clementina Sarah Drummond was born in 1786, making her all of three years old when Bowie composed his tune. The Drummonds were a noble family of Gow’s home county of Perthshire, loyal to the Jacobite cause for which several of the family died for or were exiled. Clementina Sarah Drummond (1786-1865) was the only surviving child and heir of James Drummond (d. 1800), the first Lord Perth, and Clementina Elphinstone (d. 1822, see see “Honorable Miss Drummond of Perth”), Lady Drummond, from whom she inherited an extensive fortune and vast Perthshire estates. In 1807 she married Peter Robert Burrell, Lord Gwydyr, Lord Willoughby of Eresby, who was a great dandy of the day. Upon their marriage he joined his wife’s family name to his, upon the insistence of his father-in-law. Burrell’s parents were also gentry; he inherited the title Lord Gwydyr in 1820 on the death of his father, and Lord Willoughby de Eresby in 1828 (21st of the line), when his mother died. Thus Clementina became Lady Willoughby de Eresby. The couple resided at Drummond Castle, where the gardens (now one of the finest in Scotland) were reshaped into a vast formal parterrein in the 1840’s for Sarah. Queen Victoria planted copper beech trees when she visited the castle in 1842.

Clementina Sarah Drummond

Clementina was a patroness of Almack’s assembly rooms, St. James, London, but was considered “to be the highest stickler and overly grand,” along with Lady Castlereagh. In fact, she is often featured as a prime villainess in modern Regency-setting romance novels. Balls were held every Wednesday night during the Season. Admittance was tightly controlled by a social elite of women, a committee of patronesses, who, in 1814 (according to a report by Captain Gronow, a Guards officer), included Lady Castlereagh, Lady Jersey, Lady Cowper, Lady Sefton, Mrs. Drummond-Burrell, Princess Esterhazy and Countess Lieven. A rejected application for a season pass to Almacks was cause for social ruin, and the cabal of patronesses made sure that the merchant and pretending classes were kept well away. Curiously, money was not a prime dictator of acceptance, but rather manners, breeding and rank were the desired elements in an applicant.

Henry Luttrell (1766-1851), Irish poet and wit, quipped in verse:

All on the magic List depends
Fame, fortune, fashion, lovers, friends;
‘Tis that which gratifies of vexes
All ranks, all ages, and both sexes.
If once to Almack’s you belong,
Like monarchs you can do no wrong;
But banished thence on Wednesday night,
By Jove, you can do nothing right.

There were other melodies composed for Sarah Drummond: see “Miss Sarah Drummond of Perth (1).” Dancing in 1814, according to Gronow, was Scotch reels and the old English country-dance, “and the orchestra, being from Edinburgh, was conducted by the then celebrated Neil [sic] Gow.” He meant Nathaniel Gow, for Niel had died in 1807. The next year the quadrille was introduced, followed soon after by the waltz. [Grego, Joseph – The Reminiscences and Recollections of Captain Gronow 1810-1860 (London, 1889)].

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Glen (The Glen Collection of Scottish Dance Music), vol.1, 1891; p. 26.

Recorded sources:

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