Mrs. Garden of Troup (1)
X:1 T:Mrs. Garden (of Troup’s) Strathspey M:C L:1/16 R:Strathspey B:Petrie – Second Collection of Strathspey Reels &c. (1796, p. 2) N:”Humbly dedicated to Mrs. Garden of Troup by Robert N:Petrie at Kirkmichael.” F: http://ks.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/5/57/IMSLP559819-PMLP901954-rob_petrie_second_collection_118402151.23.pdf Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F C2|F3GF2d2 c2F2d2F2|E2C2C2F2 EFGE C2E2|F3GF2d2 c2F2A2f2|c3f agfe f4 f2:| c2|f2c2a2c2 b2c2a2c2|A2f2 bagf e2g2g2a2|f2c2a2c2 b2c2a2c2|A2f2 agfe f4 f2c2| f2c2a2c2 b2c2a2c2|A2f2 bagf e2(g2g2a2)|d2B2d2f2 c2A2c2f2|A2f2 agfe f4f2|]
MRS. GARDEN OF TROUP . AKA and see "Lady Garner's Troop," "Lady Gardner's Reel," "Miss Montgomery (2)." Scottish, Strathspey (whole time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Kerr, Surenne): AAB (most versions): AABB' (Skye). One of the most famous compositions by Robert Petrie (1767–1830) a native of Kirkmichael, Perthshire, a town that also nurtured composer Donald (sometimes given as ‘Daniel’) Dow. Collinson (1966) calls it a "splendid strathspey (which) has found its way into the permanent repertory". Emmerson (1971) notes that Petrie had a reputation as a profligate and an excellent fiddler, "a not uncommon combination", yet he won either a silver bow at an Edinburgh competition or a cup at an Aberdeen festival in 1822, depending on which story is told. He was employed at Troup House as a gardener, and his Second Collection (1796) is dedicated to his patron, Mrs. Garden of Troup.
Troup head is a northern Scottish headland that juts out into the North Sea between Banff and Fraserburgh on the borders of Banff and Buchan counties and defines the west side of Pennan Bay (the location for the film Local Hero). The first Laird of Troup was a Son of the house of Banchory, Alexander Garden, who was sent by Charles I to assist Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, during the Thirty Years' War. He saw distinguished service, was present at the battle of Lutsen in 1632, and remained at the Swedish court (where he was in high favor with Queen Christina) until 1654. He returned to Scotland, married Betty Strachan of Glenkindy, and purchased the lands of Troup in Banffshire, which remain in the family to this day.
Alexander, the 4th Garden of Troup was a Member of Parliament for Aberdeenshire from 1768 till 1785, but it is his brother Francis Garden (1721–93) who succeeded him who is the more interesting individual (and to whom Petrie dedicated his Third Collection of Strathspey Reels, printed in 1802). By 1764 Francis was a successful lawyer and had become a Sheriff of the Means and judge of the Court of Session. Francis was “distinguished for his conviviality, at a period when, especially in Scotland, it must be admitted that real proficiency was requisite to procure fame in that qualification.” He took the title of Lord Gardenstone from the name of the village on his Banffshire property. Subsequently he purchased the Kincardineshire estate of Johnston and oversaw the development of the village of Lawrencekirk, introducing handloom weaving and the manufacture of snuff boxes. It is his peculiarities that allow him to stand out from the gentry of his era, for he had a singular affections for pigs, one of whom he was so attached to that he even allowed it to share his bed. The animal thrived as a result of Francis’s attentions and although it eventually outgrew his bed it was yet allowed to lodge in his Lordship’s room. During the day the pig would follow his master around like a faithful dog. One morning a neighboring farmer had occasion to visit Gardenstone and was shown into the bedroom, still shaded in the dim light. The visitor stumbled on an object from which a loud grunt emerged, followed by another voice from the direction of the bed, saying: “It’s just a bit soo, puir beast, and I laid my breeks ower’t to keep it warm a’ nicht!” Gardenstone died in 1793. The fate of the pig is unknown.
Who was Petrie’s ‘Mrs. Garden of Troup’? It is difficult to say. Alexander Garden (4th of Troup) was unmarried, as was his younger brother and successor, Francis. After Francis’ death Troup house passed to his nephew, Francis Garden-Campbell (1768–1815), 6th of Troup and Glenlyon, whose mother was the heiress of Campbell of Glenlyon. This Francis married Penelope Smythe in January, 1791, and it is probably she who is Petrie’s “Mrs. Troup.”
Early printings of the tune appear in Thomas Calvert’s 1799 collection and Gow’s Complete Repository from the same year. A note with his collection states that Calvert supplied “a variety of music and instruments, instruments lent out, tun’d and repaired.” “Mrs. Gardern of Troup” was the only tune from all of Petrie's collections printed by the Gows (in First Repository, c. 1800), and Petrie's name does not appear with the tune in any or the Gow issues. See also ship's fiddler William Litten's “Lady Garners Troop” (an interesting mangling of the original title, from c. 1800-1802). See also County Leitrim fiddler and piper Stephen Grier's (c. 1824-1894) reel-setting derivative under the title "Miss Montgomery (2)," entered into his large. c. 1883 music manuscript collection.
One of the oddest appearances of the tune (under the title “Mrs. Gordon of Troup”) is on the barrel organ from the polar expedition of Admiral Parry of 1819. In place of a ship’s fiddler (common in those days), Parry introduced a barrel organ on board ship to provide entertainment and a vehicle to which the men could exercise (i.e. by dancing). It was one of eight tunes on barrel no. 5.
The strathspey has some currency among modern-era Cape Breton fiddlers.