North Fencibles

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NORTH FENCIBLES. Scottish, March (9/8 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The march appears in Daniel McLaren's A Collection of Strathspeys Reels &c. (1794) and identically in Glasgow publisher James Aird's Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 4 (1796). The latter was one of a series of volumes dedicated to the personnel of Britain's armed forces. The Fencible units (the name taken from the word "defence") were raised locally and meant to serve locally, partly because of the threat of invasion from France, and partly to free up regular troops for assignment overseas. As soon as the threat from France was over the Fencible units were disbanded.

'North Fencibles' could refer to any one of twenty-one Highland Fencible units raised between 1793 and 1799 [1], (most raised prior to 1794), although not none are formally named the North Fencibles. The name may refer to Lord Breadalbane's Fencibles, three battalions of which were formed in 1793-94. However, the name is more likely to refer to the Duke of Gordon's North Fencibles, raised in Aberdeen in 1778 and disbanded in 1793. They served in Scotland under Colonel Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon, who was strathspey composer William Marshall's patron and employer. A separate regiment was The Northern or Gordon Fencibles, raised in Aberdeen in 1793 and disbanded in 1799. In 1794 the men agreed to move from Scotland to England and were quartered in Kent. General Stewart of Garth remarked, "...the King, who had never seen a Highland regiment, ordered them up to London, where they were reviewed in Hyde Park in the presence of His Majesty, who expressed himself highly satisfied with their appearance." There was also the English unit 'North's Fencibles' raised in 1779, disbanded in 1783, confined to garrison duty in England.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Aird (Selection of Scotch English Irish and Foreign Airs vol. 4), 1796; No. 123, p. 48.

Recorded sources:




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