Chronicles of the Atholl and Tullibardine Families

Collected and Arranged by John, Seventh Duke of Atholl, K.T.

In Five Volumes

Volume IV

Edinburgh

Privately Printed at the

Ballantyne Press

1908

 

In the spring of this year (1839) the Earl of Eglinton had arranged to hold a grand tournament at Eglington Castle during the month of August, and amongst the knights who resolved to compete at the lists was Lord Glenlyon, who entered himself under the style of "Knight of the Gael".

About the beginning of August Lord Glenlyon determined to take a Highland bodyguard with him on his expedition into Ayrshire, and notice was given from Blair Castle to that effect. From a large number who volunteered their services a corps was selected, consisting of 3 sergeants, 4 corporals, 4 pipers, 56 privates, and 2 orderlies, under the command of 5 officers.

 

Rank

Name

Residence

Occupation

Height

Colonel

George A.F.J. Lord Glenlyon

Blair Castle

Lt. Scots Greys

5' 9"

Major

Hon Jas. C.P. Murray

Ens. & Lt Scots F. Gds.

6 1

Captain

John M. Drummond

Yr.of Megginnch

Late Lt. & Capt

Gr. Gds.

6 1"

Lt and Adjt

Charles Home-Drummond

Blair Drummond

Cornet

2nd Life

5' 11 1/2"

Corporal

John Jack

Dunkeld

Blacksmith

6' 2 1/2"

Private

Thomas Jack

Pitlochrie

Draper

6' 1 1/4"

The uniform adopted for corps consisted of a blue jacket with short tails without facings, kilt and plaid of hard Athole tartan, red and white hose, brogues, Glengarry bonnet and crest, white goatskin sporran and crest, buff belts, and black canvas. Sergeants wore a distinguishing stripe of silver lace on the collar, and the pipers had black. The officers had the same uniform, with silver cord shoulder-straps and black belts.

Drill was at once commenced at Blair, under the superintendence of the Adjutant, and occasionally a general parade was formed under the command of Lord Glenlyon.

Thursday August 22 - The men assembled in Perth under the Adjutant, and there received their clothing. They proceeded in plain clothes that evening by steamer to Dundee, which was steamer for Granton, where they arrived about 4pm and a detachment of twenty men in charge of the baggage, left at 11am on Saturday, August 24, and were later in the day joined by the main body, who had traveled by the fly-boat.

Sunday, August 25 - The men remained in Glasgow, where they were joined by Lord Glenlyon and Captain J.M.Drummond.

Monday, August 26 - They went by steamer to Ardossan.

Tuesday August 27 - The Highlanders (always in uniform from this date) marched from Ardrossan to Eglinton Castle, where they were inspected by Lord Eglinton and his guests. Here the officers were quartered in tents, and the men were lodged over the stables. This day Lieutenant Home Drummond joined the bodyguard.

Wednesday, August 28 - The first day of the tournament.

In the grand procession to the lists of the "Knight of the Gael" and his retainers marched in the following formation:-

 

Lieutenant and Adjutant MacDuff

4 Pipers

James Robertson (Orderly) LORD GLENLYON Corporal John Stewart

John Balfour of Balbinnie "Knight of the Gael" (Mains), (Hench,am)

(Esquire), bearing the Sir David Sundas of Dunira

Lance (Esquire), bearing the Helmet,

 

20. Private William Duff

bearing the "Manteau d'Armes."

2.. Sergeant George Stewart,

bearing the "Banner".

37. Private Lachlan Macpherson

bearing the "Gonfalon"

THE BODYGUARD

in two divisions, four deep,

under the command of

Captain J.M.Drummond.

Lieutenant Charles Home-Drummond.

 

This day it having been decided by lot that the "Knight of the Gael" should oppose the "Knight of the Black Lion" (Lord Alford), they accordingly tilted together thrice, the advantage lying with Lord Alford.

From the lists the procession returned to the Castle in the same order.

Thursday, August 29 - Being a very wet day, no tilting took place.

This day the Hon. James Murray (the Major) joined the bodyguard, having come direct from Dresden for the purpose.

Friday , August 30 - the second day of the tournament. The procession to the lists was formed in the same order as on the first day. In this day's tilting Lord Glenlyon was again opposed to Lord Alford, and on this occasion was declared victor.

After the tilting, a melee with swords took place between eight knights, in which Lord Glenlyon opposed the "Knight of the White Rose" (Charles Lamb Esq.) and received a severe blow over the fingers, which smashed his gauntlet. (Preserved at Blair Castle). At night a banquet and ball were given in the Castle.

Saturday, August 31 - At 4am the Atholemen paraded in front of the Castle, and being joined by their officers, who came straight from the ballroom, marched off for Ardrossan, Lord Eglinton and his guests coming out to see them depart. As it came on a very wet day, the whole party were thoroughly drenched. From Ardrossan they proceeded by steamer to Glasgow, where they dined, and at 4pm embarked in the fly-boat for Lock No. 16, where they disembarked and marched to Falkirk, which was reached about 11pm.

Sunday September 1 - The Atholemen remained in Falkirk under the command of the Adjutant, Lord Glenlyon and the other officers going on to stay with Mr. Home-Drummond of Blair Drummond, to whose daughter Lord Glenlyon was engaged to be married.

Monday, September 2 - The Adjutant marched the men to Blair Drummond (seventeen miles) where they spent the night, being lodged over the stables.

Tuesday, September 3 - the march was resumed.

At Ardoch they halted for luncheon, and were inspected by Major Moray-Stirling, brother to Mrs. Home Drummond, the men continuing their march to Crieff (22 1/2 miles in all) under the command of the Major.

Wednesday, September 4 - Marched from Crieff to Methven Castle (where Lord Glenlyon rejoined). After being entertained there, marched by Pitcairm Greem to New Mill in Strathord (Captain MacDuff's farm) where they were hospitably treated, and danced many reels on the lawn, after which they marched to Dunkeld, which was reached at 10pm. Here they were escorted into the town by torchlight, and the chime of bells in the cathedral tower was pealed in their welcome, being the first time they had rung since the late Duke's death. The men were entertained by the Duchess, and lodged over the stables. (Day's march twenty-eight miles.)

Thursday, September 6 - In the morning the men were inspected in front of the brick buildings, and then resumed their march to Blair, where, before being dismissed, they were entertained to dinner in the servant's hall, the officers also being present. Lord Glenlyon then intimated to the men that in recognition of their services they would be allowed to retain their uniforms as their own.

 


Eglinton Castle

 


The armour used by Lord Glenlyon at the Eglinton tournament is in the Armory at Blair, with the tilting-lance bearing Miss Home-Drummond's glove tied to the point. She also gave Lord Glenlyon a blue silk scarf, on which she had worked in silver the Murray motto "Tout Prest" (this scarf has since been lost).

At this period Lord Glenlyon was in the habit of riding from Blair to Blair Drummond through Strathbran, a distance of sixty-four miles, and after spending a few hours there, returning the same day.

Tuesday, October 29 - Lord Glenyon's wedding took place at Blair Drummond. After their marriage Lord and Lady Glenlyon drove to Ardoch and from thence to Blair, though Strathbram, passing Dunkeld in the evening, which town was gaily illuminated. Bonfires were also blazing on the hill-tops on either side between Dunkeld and Blair Atholl.

During the afternoon a dinner had been given to the Blair tenantry in a large wooden pavilion erected at the Mains, the Tournament bodyguard being also included. the chair was occupied by Captain Drummond, younder of Megginch, the croupiers were Captain MacDuff, Mr. Condie and Robert Murray, farmer, Strathgroy.

The following account of her arrival at Blair as a bride has been supplied by the Duchess Dowager:-

"At the Bridge of Tilt the men of the Athole Highlanders, who had been at the Tournament, were drawn up under the command of Capt Drummond, yr of Megginch, and Capt. McDuff, and kept themselves warm by dancing reels till our arrival. The horses were then taken out of the carriage, which the men drew up the grass Avenue (Gregor's walk, now front approach), at the upper end of which a substantial wooden arch was erected, covered with evergreens. On the top of it stood Peter Fraser and assistants with two small Cannons. (the "Spanish Armada" guns) When the carriage passed under the arch, Peter fired off the guns, one of which burst, but did no damage. At the front door of the Castle,as it is considered unlucky for a Bride to walk into her new home, I was lifted over the threshold by some of the Atholemen, whilst an Oatcake was broken over my head by aid of a string pulled by Jean the Dairymaid, afterwards wife of Sandy McAra. The only light, I remember, was afforded by a pair of candles in the tallest plated candlesticks, borne by the Dowager Lady Glenlyon's maid, Alsey, dressed in white. She had been left as Housekeeper in the Castle whilst Lady Glenlyon remained on a visit at Blair Drummond. Alsey preceded us to the room now known as No. 15, which was then prepared as a sitting-room, No. 16 the present Library serving as a Dining-Room"