> Folk Music > Songs > Atholl Gathering / Gallant Murray

Atholl Gathering / Gallant Murray

[ Roud - ; Ballad Index HoJR2059 ; Mudcat 1774 , 20473 ; trad.]

Alan Reid sang Atholl Gathering in 1980 on his and Brian McNeill’s Topic album of traditional music of Scotland, Sidetracks. They noted:

A song from James Hogg’s Jacobite Relics. Hogg suggests that it was taken from an anonymous Jacobite poem written in 1745. Lord George Murray joined with Prince Charlie’s forces at Perth and became lieutenant-general of the Jacobite army.

The Tannahill Weavers sang The Athol Gathering in 1996 on their Green Linnet album Leaving St. Kilda. They noted:

Time for a bit of “up an’ at ’em”. We gleaned this song from Hogg’s Jacobite Relics, two volumes of song well worth the gleaning, it should be added. The tune at the end is the Donald MacLeod Reel by Pipe Major P. MacLeod Sr., from the Cabar Feidh Collection. It was composed in 1938 when Pipe Major Donald MacLeod was playing in the Depot Seaforth Highlanders Band, which performed at the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow.

The best thing to do here is fix yourself a Scottish cocktail*, sit (or fall) back, and let this one stir your blood.

* Scottish cocktail: To one large measure of Scotch add one large measure of whisky.

Andy M. Stewart sang Gallant Murray (Gathering of Athole) in 1997 on his Green Linnet album Donegal Rain. He noted:

The hero of this song was Lord George Murray, the fifth son of the first Duke of Athole (now spelled Atholl), who, along with his brother the Marquis of Tullibardine, had taken part in the 1715 Jacobite uprising. Murray was wounded at the battle of Glenshiel in 1719, but managed to escape abroad where he served for some years as an officer in the Sardinian army. He eventually received a pardon and returned to Scotland. On Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s arrival in Scotland, Lord George joined his standard at Perth in September, 1745. He was appointed as one of the Lieutenants-General of the rebel forces and acted as such at the battles of Prestonpans, Falkirk and the final and disastrous Culloden. He was pronounced as having committed high treason but again escaped abroad. He went to Paris in June, 1747, but the ‘Young Pretender’, in spite of all Murray had done and sacrificed for the cause, refused to see him. He then travelled to Rome where he was received with great ceremony by the ‘Old Pretender’, Prince Charlie’s father, who gave him rooms in his palace and introduced him to the Pope. He died on 11 October 1760 at Medenblinck in Holland and left an excellent military memoir on the exploits of the insurgent army of “the Forty-Five”.

I love the spirit in this song and it is brilliant fun to sing live. A very small tribute to a brave man.


Andy M. Stewart sings Gallant Murray (Gathering of Athole)

Chorus (after each verse):
Wha will ride wi’ gallant Murray?
Wha will ride wi’ Geordie’s sei’?
He’s the floow’r o’ a’ Glenisla
And the darlin’ o’ Dunkel’
See the white rose in his bonnet
See his banner o’er the Tay
His gude sword’ he now has drawn it
And he’s flung the sheath away

Every faithful Murray follows
First of heroes! Best of men
Every true and trusty Stewart
Blythely leaves his native glen
Athole lads are lads of honour
Westland rogues are rebels a’
When we come within their border
We may gar the Campbells claw

Menzies, he’s our friend and brother
Gask and Strowan are nae slack
Noble Perth has ta’en the field
And a’ the Drummonds at his back
Let us ride wi’ gallant Murray
Let us fight for Cherlie’s crown
From the right we’ll never sinder
Till we bring the tyrants down

Mackintosh, the gallant soldier
Wi’ the Grahams and Gordons gay
They have ta’en the field of honour
Spite of all their chiefs could say
Point the musket bend the rapier
Shift the brog for Lowland shoe
Scour the durk, and face the danger
Mackintosh has all to do