Miss Russell of Blackhall (1)

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X:1 T:Miss Russel [sic] of Blackhall's [1] M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:Archibald Duff – Collection of Strathspey Reels &c. (1794, p. 28) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F A/B/|cdc cAc|fgf fga|cdc cAc|dBG G2 A/B/| cdc cAc|fgf fga|cAc BAG|F3 F2:| f/g/|agf fga|gec cde|Tf3 {ef}dgf|ecA ABc| dBG GAB|cAF Ffd|cAc BAG|F3 F2 f/g/| agf fga|gec cde|Tf3 {ef}dgf|ecA AcA| BdB AcA|Ggf edc|TB>AB GcB|AFF F2||

MISS RUSSEL(L) OF BLACKHALL'S [1]. Scottish, Jig (6/8 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Francis Russell, Esq., lived at Blackhall Castle, on the river Dee two miles west of Banchory, Kincardineshire, Scotland, which was a large substantial mansion house erected by Russell in 1771 on the site of what is said to have been an older fortification with battlements (that were perhaps incorporated into the house). Blackhall was demolished in 1946. Francis married a sister of the wife of Alexander Burnett, the Sheriff, the daughters of Sir Alexander Bannerman of Elsick. Elizabeth was the elder Bannerman daughter,

...and she and her sister Mary, afterwards Mrs. Russell, were co-heirs of his estates in the pretty valley of the Feugh, including the whole parish of Strachan, of which the southern part, looking over into the _How_ of the Mearns, was Mrs. Burnett's portion; the northern, with the beautiful bank of Dee where Blackhall stands, falling to Mrs. Russell. Both sisters were eminently handsome. I have a tradition of the young ladies, when they first came from their York school to Edinburgh, being followed and gazed at by passengers in the streets, for their beauty....Mrs. Russell [was] a woman of many sorrows, but whose sweet voice and silver laugh brought joy into the house even amidst sickness and sorrow. [1]

Apparently, the couple had only one daughter, Jane, who was a child of about age 8 when Alexander Duff published his collection. She married Sir Alexander Ramsay, MP for Kincardineshire 1820-1826, in 1811, and was pregnant with a succession of children nearly every year until her death in 1819.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Archibald Duff (Collection of Strathspey Reels &c.), 1794; p. 28.

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  1. Edward Bannerman Ramsay, Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character, 1874. Mrs. Russell had lost her two sons by a strange fatality--both were drowned, the elder, Lockhart, while skating at Bath, about 1805-6, James, the younger, in crossing the river Dee in a boat rowed by himself in 1827.