Prince Charlie's Medley

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PRINCE CHARLIE'S MEDLEY. AKA - "Prince Charlie's Dance with Lady Wemyss." AKA and see "Lady Wemyss (2)." Scottish, Jig. E Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Editor James Stewart-Robertson noted in 1884: "Danced at Holyrood, 1745." The tune also has been called "Danced by Prince Charles and Lady Nellie Wemyss at Holyrood 1745." Irish collector George Petrie (1789-1866) printed the tune and title with even more detail: "Dancing measure to which Prince Charles Edward and Lady Wemyss danced in the gallery of the palace of Holyrood house in the year 1745." The latter title (and tune) were collected by Petrie from Henry Robert Westenra, 3rd Baron Rossmore, known as Lord Rossmore, an uilleann piper like his father. Rossmore was good enough to have enraged the renowned blind Galway piper Paddy Conneely (considered on of the best pipers of his generation), who had been engaged to play in Dublin for a gathering of gentleman. At the event Rossmore was pressed to borrow Conneelly's pipes and play a few tunes, and after hearing several Conneely jumped to his feet berating the group in fury: "I did not expect such treatment from any people calling themselves gentlemen. It was most scandalous to bring me, a poor dark man, here to be humbugged as you are trying to do, calling on My Lord to yoke on my pipes and play for ye. He is as much 'a lord' as I am myself; the Devil a lord ever played as he does, he's nothing but a rale piper. It is not honest or decent to try to deceive me, but you can't do it." Conneely was pacified with the truth of the matter, and Rossmore seemed to have been pleased to take the outburst as a compliment on his playing [the story appears in the account of a guest at the party, Frank Thorpe Porter, in his memoirs Twenty Years Recollections of an Irish Police Magistrate, 1880].

Jack Campin ("The Oldest Cheeses have the Most Mites" [1]) traces the tune to a manuscript of Lady John Scott's, who may have obtained the tune from a member of the Wemyss family who also had it in a manuscript. However, Campin notes, as C.K. Sharpe pointed out, Lady Nellie Wemyss would have been too young to have danced with the Prince on that date. The tune was much older than Prince Charles Stuart's rising, for Campin finds that "it had been used for the Jacobite song "The Bob of Dunblane" about the Battle of Sheriffmuir in 1715; the Jacobites got it from a song of which only a fragment was ever written down in 1710." [Ed. London publisher John Walsh's jig "Bob of Dunblane (1)" is a different melody, while William Thomson printed yet another melody for the song in his Orpheus Caledonius (1733) "Bob of Dunblane (2)."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: David Glen (Edinburgh Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music, Part X1), 1908; No. 35, p. 25 (as "Prince Charlie's Dance with Lady Wemyss"). Stanford/Petrie (The Complete Collection of Petrie's Irish Music), 1905; No. 870. Stewart-Robertson (The Athole Collection), 1884; p. 265.

Recorded sources:




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