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The Scottish Nation
Marshall


MARSHALL, a surname derived from the ancient and honourable office of marischal, and not confined to Scotland.

There was a painter of this name, George Marshall, a scholar of the younger Scougal (see SCOUGAL, GEORGE) and thereafter of Sir Godfrey Kneller, whose paintings are remarkable for good colouring, although there is a flatness in them which is displeasing to the eye. After a long practice in Scotland, he went to Italy, but this produced no visible improvement on his works. He died about 1732.

MARSHALL, WILLIAM, a celebrated composer of Scottish airs and melodies, was born at Fochabers, Morayshire, Dec. 27, 1748, old style. In his 12th year he became employed under the house steward at Gordon castle, Banffshire, the seat of the Duke of Gordon, but was soon appointed butler and house steward, a situation which he held for nearly 30 years. “The correctness of Marshall’s ear,” says a MS. Memoir of him quoted in Stenhouse’s Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum, (vol. iv. p. 413), to which we are indebted for this notice, “was unrivalled, and his style of playing strathspeys and reels lively and inspiring, while his fine taste and peculiarly touching manner of executing the slow and more plaintive Scottish airs and melodies, delighted all who heard him.” He is styled by Burns “the first composer of strathspeys of the age.”

About the beginning of 1790, the delicate state of his health obliged him to relinquish his situation at Gordon castle, when he retired for a short time to a small farm in the neighbourhood of Fochabers. The same year he removed to the larger farm of Keithmore, belonging to the duke of Gordon, in the lordship of Auchendown and parish of Mortlach, where he became a keen agriculturist. Shortly thereafter he was appointed factor or land steward to the duke, over a very extensive range of his estates in the counties of Banff and Aberdeen, comprehending the districts of Cabrach, Auchendown, Glenlivet, Strathaven, Strathdown, &c. This situation he filled with fidelity and honour till 1817. He died at Newfield cottage, 29th May 1833, aged 85. He had married, at the age of 25, Jane Giles, who predeceased him, on 12th December 1825, and by whom he had five sons and a daughter.

A collection of Marshall’s ‘Airs and Melodies’ was published, by subscription, in May 1822, containing 176 tunes. It was followed by a supplement of about 74 additional tunes. Many of them had appeared separately, before the close of the 18th century, and were well known.


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