Miss Mary Ann Whitefoords Strathspey
X:1 T:Miss Mary Ann Whitefoords Strathspey M:C L:1/16 C:William Shaw R:Strathspey Q:”Slow” B:Robert Petrie – Third Collection of Strathspey Reels (1802, p. 6) N:Dedicated to Francis Garden Esq. Junior of Troup by N:Robert Petrie at Kirkmichael. Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D A,2|A,D3D3E FGAG F2D2|B,E3E3F (GFED) E2F2|A,D3D3E FGAG F2D2| EB3A3C D4D2:|fg|a3baf3 d3efd3|e3f gfed ce3cA3| A3baf3 d3efd3|Bg3ec3 d2(D2D2)f2|a3baf3 d3efd3| B2ef gfed ce3cA3|Bd3Ad3 Gd3Fd3|E2FG AGFE F2D2D2||
MISS MARY ANN WHITEFOORD'S STRATHSPEY. Scottish, Strathspey (whole time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Composed by William Shaw. The subject of the title was probably Mary Ann Whitefoord who was baptised on 12 April 1762 at St. James, Westminster, London, the eldest of four daughters of Major Sir John Whitefoord, 3rd Bt. and Anne Cartwright, of an old Ayrshire family of some standing. The Whitefoords enjoyed a love of literature and Sir John interested himself early in the fame and fortunes of poet Robert Burns, who penned these memorial lines for him:.
Thou, who thy honour as thy God rever'st,
Who, save thy mind's reproach, nought earthly fear'st,
To thee this votive offering I impart,
The tearful tribute of a broken heart.
The friend thou valuedst, I, the patron, lov'd;
His worth, his honour, all the world approv'd,
We'll mourn till we too go as he has gone,
And tread the dreary path to that dark world unknown.
Mary Ann Whitefoord married Henry Kerr Cranstoun, son of Hon. George Cranstoun and grandson of the 5th Lord Cransoutn, in October, 1803, at Canongate, Edinburgh. Robert Burns continued to enjoy a meaningful relationship with the social and business clique of Henry Kerr Cranstoun, Mary Ann Whiteford, and Kerr's sister, Helen D'Arcy Cranstoun, and their family. It was Mary Ann who was the 'Maria' of Burns's autumn song 'Farewell to Ballochmyle' (set to the tune of "Braes of Ballochmyle (The)). Sister-in-law Helen D'Arcy married Professor Dugald Stewart, who owned the 'Catrine Woods' and the 'Catrine Lea' mentioned in the song. They marched with the estate of Ballochmyle, which had for many years been owned by the Whitefoord family until 1785, when the consequences of the failure of the Ayr Bank, of which Sir John Whitefoord was a partner, forced him to sell them.
Although the comopser's name, William Shaw, is common enough, it may have been the same William Shaw (1749–1831) who was a Scottish Gaelic scholar, writer, minister and Church of England cleric. He is known also as friend and biographer of Samuel Johnson, and wrote A Galic and English Dictionary (1780), with Johnson's support. Unfortunately, the volume contains predominantly Irish Gaelic material, as many potential Highland sources demanded payment in advance for their information. This was the basis for a lawsuit, as subscribers to the dictionary contended that Shaw had not fulfilled the terms of the original prospectus.