OT: 13 May 1911 – Charles Bannatyne [“The Great Highland Bagpipe and Its Music”]

The Oban Times, 13 May, 1911

Salsburgh, by Holytown, 9 May, 1911

Sir,–your correspondent of 6th inst. on this subject takes exception to a statement I made in a lecture on piping and dancing to the effect that the bagpipes were practically unknown in the Highlands till the latter part of the sixteenth century. He cites the dates of certain battles, etc., on which pibrochs were composed in support of a contention that the pipes were known in the Highlands some centuries previous to the sixteenth century.

Can “Morag” prove that these tunes were composed of the dates of the events they celebrate? Can “Morag” prove that either a Menzies or a set of bagpipes was at Bannockburn?

Can “Morag” prove that Quintillianus was ever in Scotland? Historians say he never was. If “Morag” studies the subject carefully, you will find that though reference is often made in old writings to the bagpipes in Scotland no references can be found regarding its presence in the Highlands earlier than the sixteenth century. “The MacLeod’s Controversy” was composed in 1603, not as stated by “Morag,” in 1503. –I am, etc.,

Charles Bannatyne, M.B., C.M.