Mrs. Hamilton of Sundrum

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MRS. HAMILTON OF SUNDRUM. AKA - "Mrs. Hamilton of Sundrum's Reel." Scottish, Reel (cut time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. John Glen (1891) finds the earliest printing of this tune in Ayrshire fiddler-composer John Riddell's 1782 collection (p. 49), published in Glasgow by James Aird. Aird's second collection was an expansion and elaboration of his first collection, printed in Edinburgh by Robert Bremner in 1766.

Sundrum Castle, c. 1880

Mrs. Hamilton of Sundrum was Lilias Montgomery (sometimes 'Montgomerie'), daughter of Alexander Montgomery of Coilsfield and sister to Hugh Montgomery, 12th Earl of Eglinton. She was born in 1743 and, in 1762, married John Hamilton (1739-1821) a merchant and agricultural improver who had acquired the estate of Sundrum, a few miles north east of Alloway, from Lord Cathcart about 1750. Riddell honored all the aforementioned with reels in his collection. John and Lilias's entwined crests are carved on the fireplace of the Great Hall of Sundum Castle, one of the oldest inhabited castles in Scotland. He was appointed 'Oversman' or referee in William Burnes's (father of poet Robert Burns) dispute with his landlord David M'Lure and decided that of the £775 claimed by M'Lure, £543 was offset by credits for improvements made by Burns, part payments on rent, and other matters. He was thus instrumental in reducing the claim for rent against Burns, and in aiding the family in time of need. Lilias died in 1827, outliving John a few years.


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Riddell (Collection of Scots Reels, Minuets, &c.), 1782; p. 49.

Recorded sources:




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