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The Scottish Nation

MACRIMMON, the surname of a minor sept, (the Siol Chruiminn,) who were the hereditary pipers of Macleod of Macleod. They had a sort of seminary for the instruction of learners in bagpipe music, and were the most celebrated bagpipe players in the Highlands. The first of whom there is any notice was Ian Odhar, or dun-coloured John, who lived about 1600. About the middle of the 17th century, Patrick Mor MacRimmon, having lost seven sons, (he had eight in all,) within a year, composed for the bagpipe a touching ‘Lament for the children,’ called in Gaelic Cumhadh na Cloinne. In 1745 Macleod’s piper, esteemed the best in Scotland, was called Donald Ban MacRimmon, When that chief, who was opposed to Prince Charles, with Munro of Culcairn, at the head of 700 men, were defeated by Lord Lewis Gordon, and the Farquharsons, at Inverury, 12 miles from Aberdeen, Donald Ban was taken prisoner. On this occasion, a striking mark of respect was paid to him by his brethren of the bagpipe, which at once obtained his release. The pipers in Lord Lewis’ following did not play the next morning, as was their wont, and on inquiry as to this unusual circumstance, it was found by his lordship and his officers that the pipes were silent because MacRimmon was a prisoner, when he was immediately set at liberty. He was, however, shortly afterwards killed in the night attempt, led by the laird of Macleod, to capture the prince at Moyhall, the seat of Lady Macintosh near Inverness.

On the passing of the heritable jurisdiction abolition bill in 1747, the occupation of the hereditary bagpipers was gone. Donald Dubh MacRimmon, the last of them, died in 1822, aged 91. The affecting lament, Tha til, tha til, tha til, Mhic Chruimin, “MacRimmon shall never, shall never, shall never return,” was composed on his departure for Canada.

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