The massacre of Glencoe took place on 13th Feb 1692, due to a Royal Ordinance from King William that every highland clan chief must abandon his loyalty to James II and swear an oath of allegiance to him by Jan. 1, 1691. But there were secret plans to punish some of the clans, including the small Glencoe branch of the MacDonalds who were known to be cattle thieves who stole from their hereditary enemies, the neighbouring Campbells.
The chief of the clan was an old man called MacIain, who did actually attempt to go and take the oath but was delayed by a blizzard, and this was used as a pretext for the massacre, led by Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon. He and the troops under him hated the MacDonalds of Glencoe but for two weeks he and his men stayed with them, played cards, drank and were treated hospitably. On Feb 12, Captain Campbell received a communication from his superior, Major Duncanson, stating "You are hereby ordered to fall upon the McDonalds of Glencoe and put all to the sword under seventy...' Thirty-six were slaughtered, many in their beds, including old MacIain and several women and children. There have been many worse atrocities in Scotland's bloody history, but the real crime here was the treachery of turning against their hosts, in violation of the tradition of Highland hospitality.
This song, also known as "Ballad of Glencoe", is often thought to be traditional, but it was, in fact, written by Scottish songwriter, Jim McLean in 1963. It was not recorded until 1969, by Nigel Denver. Alastair McDonald recorded it in 1972, on his album "Scotland in Song", which was produced by Jim McLean. It has also been recorded by Tommy Scott, Kenneth McKeller, John McDermott and The Corries.
I have put up this tune before, just as a fiddle tune without words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqmeUxiWIts
For this rendition, my wife has made a valiant attempt to accompany me on the fiddle.
Lyrics and chords of this song can be found here: http://www.raymondfolk.com/page/Massacre+of+Glencoe
You can see a playlist of all my videos of music with family and friends here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCi_Xcl2_fAUEiMUatnoPGjTREqKm5Z1z
For lyrics and chords of all my songs, please see my website: