Miss Dundas of Melville’s Strathspey

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MISS DUNDAS OF MELVILLE'S STRATHSPEY. Scottish, Strathspey. A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Composed by William Shepherd, presumably for one of the daughters of Henry Dundas of Melville and Elizabeth Rennie (1751-1843), his first wife; Elizabeth, Anne and Montague Dundas. Henry Dundas was the most powerful man in Scotland in his time, who became Solicitor General for Scotland in 1766, and later a member of Parliament. At the time Shepherd published his first collection, Dundas was serving as secretary of state for the Home Department. He and Elizabeth married in 1765, and it was she who brought money to the union, along with her family estate of Melville. While resident at Melville, she committed adultery in 1778 with a Captain Faukener (also identified as Lieut. Everard Fawkener of the 11th Dragoons) while Dundas was in the capital, and a month later they divorced. As was the law at the time, Henry kept the money and the estate, and she never saw her children again (although she lived to that age of 94).

Elizabeth Rennie



Anne Dundas was married to Henry Drummond several years before Shepherd's 1793 publication, as was Elizabeth, who married her first cousin Robert Dundas of Arniston in 1787. If Shepherd's "Miss Dundas of Melville" was a recently composed for the volume, it can only have been for Montague (1772-1837). She married George Abercromby, 2nd Lord of Aboukir and Tullibody, in 1799.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Shepherd (A Collection of Strathspey Reels), 1793; p. 12.

Recorded sources:




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