Annotation:Mrs. McAdam of Craigengillan's Reel

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X:1 T:Mrs. McAdam of Craigengillan’s Reel M:C| L:1/8 R:Reel B:John Riddell of Ayr – Collection of Scots Reels, Minuets &c. B:for the Violin (1782, p. 47) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G (g>ag)B GBgb|(a/g/f/e/ g)B A/A/A A2|(g>ag)B GBgb|(a/g/f/e/ g)B G/G/G G2:| |:d>BG>B dBgB|d>BGB A/A/A (AB/c/)|d>BG>B degb|(a/g/f/e/ g)B G/G/G G2:| |:gdgb gdgb|gedB A/A/A A(e/f/)|gdgb gdba|gedB G/G/G G2:| |:(d/c/B/A/ G)B dBgB|(d/c/B/A/ G)B A/A/A AB/c/|(d/c/B/A/ G)B degb|(a/g/f/e/ g)B G/G/G G2:|]

MRS. MCADAM OF CRAIGENGILLAN'S REEL. Scottish, Reel (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABBCCDD.
Craigengillan House
The estate of Craigengillan has been in the McAdam family for almost 400 years. At the time Riddell published his second volume (1782) containing this reel, the estate was owned by John McAdam, an engineer and innovator. His name is familiar to today as the McAdam behind 'road macadam', invented tarmac by him and his cousin, John Loudon McAdam. They both became road and bridge builders. John McAdam was also an agricultural improver who was civic minded and employed many in the local community. He was also a patron of the arts and a sportsman; a subscriber of poet Robert Burns' works, John invited him to stay at Craigengillan in 1786. Burns thanked him for his support with a poem inscribed: 'To Mr McAdam of Craigengillan, in answer to an obliging letter he sent in the commencement of my poetic career.' The second stanza panders a bit:

Now deal-ma-care about their jaw,
The senseless, gawky million.
I'll cock my nose aboon them a',
I'm roos'd by Craigengillan !"

McAdam was a friend of the Boswells of Auchinleck, Ayrshire. At one dinner at the family seat in 1762, Boswell, James Chalmers, McAdam and McAdam's nephew, the Laird of Camlarg were present. The conversation touched mainly upon subjects concerning practical agriculture, and, as Boswell recorded in his journal, he (Boswell) "exhausted all [his] little stock of country conversation [and] no other could be well understood, at least could not please, [he] was heartily wearied".

'Mrs. McAdam' of Riddell's reel title was Katherine Cunningham, daughter of Sir William Cunningham, whom she married in 1763, the year after his dinner with Boswell. Together she and John McAdam had three children. Burns referred to the McAdam girls as "loosome simmers' in his Epistle. "Writing to Dr Mackenzie from Edinburgh on 11th January 1787, Burns told him that Sir John Whitefoord's son, John: 'who calls very frequently on me, is in a fuss today like a coronation. This is the great day — The Assembly and Ball of the Caledonian Hunt — and John has had the good luck to pre-engage the hand of the beauty-famed and wealth-celebrated Miss McAdam, our Country-woman.' She was Craigengillan's daughter"[1]

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Riddell (Collection of Scots Reels, Minuets &c.). 1782; p. 47.

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