Mrs. MacKenzie of Applecross (1)

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X:1 T:Mrs. MacKenzie of Applecross [1] C:Joseph Lowe M:C L:1/16 B: Joseph Lowe - Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, B:book 5 (1859, p. 2) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:A a2|e3A dcBA F3AE3A|d3B dcBA GB3Ba3|ec3~c3A F3AE3A|FA3d3B cA3A2:| g2|a3e dcBA ce3e3g|a3e dcBA bB3B3g|a3e dcBA ce3e3c|d3cBe3 cA3A3g| a3e dcBA ce3e3g|a3ec3a bB3B3g|(3a2g2a2 (3e2f2g2 (3a2e2d2 (3c2B2A2|(3B2b2a2 (3g2f2g2 aA3A2||

MRS. MACKENZIE OF APPLECROSS [1]. Scottish, Strathspey (whole time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AAB. Composed by Joseph Lowe (1797-1847) from Marykirk, who was the editor of the famous Lowe's Collection of 1844. He was from a well known family of musicians and dance teachers of Edinburgh. Applecross (from the Scottish Gaelic A' Chomraich) is the name of a remote peninsula on the west coast of Scotland, in Ross-shire, isolated and inaccessible except by boat until the early 20th century. The Applecross estate extends to approximately 70,000 acres (280 km2) and covers most of the peninsula. In the second half of the 16th century, the lands of Applecross came into the possession of Alexander Mackenzie (died 1650), an illegitimate son of Colin Cam Mackenzie of Kintail. With a brief interruption between 1715 and 1724 (a period of forfeiture caused by Applecross's part in the 1715 Uprising), the estate remained in the ownership of Mackenzie's heirs until the mid-19th century, when it was sold to the Duke of Leeds.

John Mackenzie was the 7th laird of Applecross and Lochcarron. Previous to his succession as Laird, Applecross had been run along traditional lines, with rents being paid partly in kind to tacksmen. The Edinburgh-educated MacKenzie introduced "improvements" and removed tenants from the fertile ground to the shoreline, turning the good land into a new Home Farm, and establishing a kelp industry. A cash economy was established, and in kind payments ceased. Since he died childless, his successor was his brother Thomas who became MP for Ross and Cromarty. However, another brother, Donald ('Captain Danie'), objected to the 'improvements' of the estate and sided with the tenants, for which Thomas cut him off from the succession. Robert Burns criticized Thomas MacKenzie of Applecross for trying to prevent Highlanders from emigrating. Burns wrote his poem 'Address of Beelzebub' on this subject: 'To the Rt Hon. The Earl of Breadalbane, President of the Highland Society, which met on 23rd May last, at the Shakespeare, Covent Garden to concert ways and means to frustrate the designs of 500 Highlanders who, as the Society were informed by Mr M'Kenzie of Applecross, were so audacious as to attempt an escape from their lawful lords and masters whose property they were, by emigrating from the lands of Mr M'Donald of Glengarry to the lands of Canada, in search of that fantastic thing - LIBERTY.'

Faith you and Applecross were right
To keep the Highland hounds in sight…

They, an' be damn’d! what right hae they
To meat, or sleep, or light o' day?
Far less to riches, pow'r, or freedom,
But what your lordship likes to gie them?

Thomas died unmarried in 1827 and was briefly succeeded by a sister (Elizabeth), and when she died two years later, the estate went to her cousin-germain, (also named) Thomas MacKenzie of Inverinate, who became the 10th Laird of Applecross. He married Mary MacKenzie, daughter of George MacKenzie of Avoch, and it is presumably Mary who was the person for whom Joseph Lowe named his strathspey. It was Thomas, 10th Laird, who sold the estate in 1857, the year of his death.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Hunter (Fiddle Music of Scotland), 1988; No. 148. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880's; No. 89, p. 11. Joseph Lowe (Lowe's Collection of Reels, Strathspeys and Jigs, book 5), 1859; p. 2.

See also listing at :
Hear a field recording of the tune played by fiddle with piano at Tobar an dualchais [1][2]

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