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The Scottish Nation

MASTERTON, a local surname of great antiquity in Scotland, derived from lands of that name in Fifeshire. According to tradition, one of the principal architects at the building of the abbey of Dunfermline, obtained from Malcolm Canmore the estate of Masterton, in that neighbourhood, and was the founder of a family of the name. Among the barons recorded in the Ragman Roll as having sworn a compulsory fealty to Edward I. of England in 1296, appears William de Masterton, A female descendant of this family, Margaret, daughter of Alexander Masterton of the lands of Bad in Perthshire and Parkmill in Fifeshire, and wife of Mr. James Primrose, was nurse to Henry, prince of Scotland, eldest son of James VI., for which she and her husband had a pension during their lives.

Mr. Allan Masterton, teacher of writing and arithmetic in Edinburgh, is known to all the admirers of Burns the poet, as one of his most intimate companions and the composer of the airs to many of his songs. He is said to have possessed a good ear and a fine taste for music, and, as an amateur, played the violin remarkably well. Among the tunes composed by him for Burns’ pieces were those to ‘Strathallan’s Lament,’ ‘Beware of Bonnie Ann,’ ‘The Braes of Ballochmyle,’ ‘The Bonnie Banks of Ayr,’ ‘O Willie brewed a peck o’Maut,’ and ‘On hearing a Young Lady Sing.’ On Aug. 26, 1795, Dugald and Allan Masterton, and Dugald Masterton, jun., were elected writing masters in the High School of Edinburgh. The verses beginning, “Ye gallants bright, I rede yon right,” were written, in 1788, by Burns, in compliment to Miss Ann Masterton, the daughter of the composer.

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