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The Battle o Harlaw



ITEM PERSON: MacDonald, Donald of Islay, Lord of the Isles

TRACK DURATION: 0:05:41

  • LANGUAGE:
  • Scots

GENRE: Song, Information

COLLECTION: SOSS

RECORDING LOCATION

  • County - Aberdeenshire
  • Parish - Aberdeen
  • Village - Aberdeen

ITEM LOCATION

  • County - Aberdeenshire
  • Parish - Chapel of Garioch
  • Village - Harlaw

TRACK ID: 25362

ORIGINAL TAPE ID: SA1953.247

ORIGINAL TRACK ID: SA1953.247.A5

AUDIO QUALITY: Fair

SOURCE TYPE: Reel to Reel tape

ITEM NOTE: 16 verses of 4 lines with refrain.

The Battle of Harlaw (Cath Gairbheach in Gaelic) took place near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on 24 July 1411 between Donald MacDonald of Islay, Lord of the Isles, and an army commanded by Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar. Despite the biased and historically inaccurate view of this Scots song (e.g. MacDonald was not in actual fact killed at the battle), and some Gaelic songs that place the outcome more in MacDonald's favour, the battle is generally considered to have been a draw, in view of the severe casualties on both sides. It is remembered as a particularly bloody and savage battle in Scottish history. The site of the battle lies approximately three kilometres north-west of Inverurie.

See:
Greig-Duncan vol. 1, pp. 302-313, no. 112
'Scottish Ballads' (E. Lyle, 1994) pp. 44-47
'Come Gie's a Sang' (S. Douglas, 1995) pp. 20-21
Ord pp. 473-475
'The Scottish Ballads' (R. Chambers, 1829) pp. 20-28
'The Scottish Minstrel' vol. 4 (R. A. Smith, 1821) p. 36
'Ballads of Scotland' vol. 1 (W. E. Aytoun, 1858) pp. 64-78
'Book of Scottish Ballads' (A. Whitelaw, 1845) pp. 138-140
'The Scottish Folksinger' (N. Buchan & P. Hall, 1973) pp. 132-133
'Ancient & Modern Scottish Songs' vol. 1 (D. Herd, 1869, 1973) pp. 37-45
'Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads' (A. Keith & G. Greig, 1925) pp. 101-106
'The Scots Musical Museum' vol. 6 (J. Johnson & R. Burns, 1853 edition) p. 528, no. 512

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