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Sinclairs' March

The "Spaidsearachd Mhic nan Cearda" translates as the "Sinclairs' March" . The Argyll Sinclairs were referred to as "Clann Mhic nan Cearda" ("Clan of the Craftsmen") and there is some discussion how that came to be. "Cearda" does mean "Craftsman" and there is speculation that the Argyll Sinclairs got the name as a corruption of Sinclair (pronounced in Scotland 'Sink-ler') and 'Tinkler' meaning 'tinker' hence a craft person. [We have much more about this.] The connection of the Argyll Sinclairs to the Rosslyn and Caithness Sinclairs is not well-understood, although brother Clansman Neil Sinclair of Toronto has produced a paper on the Argyll Sinclairs which I gather is still in progress but of which he provided a synopsis at our Winter Gathering the February past.

The writer is a piper and a piobaireachd player and he too was very intrigued by the tune mentioned above. It took him a year but he found the music for the tune in Tomason's Ceol Mor (pub ca. 1900) and also in Glen's Collection (pub late 1800's).. Like so many piobaireachd tunes, there are alternative names and this one is primarily known as "The Red Ribbon" although both sources give "The Sinclair's March" as an alternative name. "Spaidsearachd " does mean March but be careful! This does not mean march as in a pipe band march. Today, all piobarieachd is played 'largo' or slow with expression. The Red Ribbon is not played in today's repertoire but we shouldn't take that personally. Of the 500 or so tunes that have been handed down to us through oral and later written tradition, only about 200 are played. I have looked at the tune and I intend to learn actually is not a difficult tune but the fact that it is not played should give you a clue as to its 'musical merit' which, and it pains me to say this, is not great. It is highly repetitive and does not have a very interesting melodic line. However, I will learn it and will eventually make it available to those who would like to hear it.

For your information, there are 3 other piobaireachds with Sinclair connections:

  • Robert Sinclair's Wife's Lament aka The Bicker
  • Lord Berriedale's Salute (Lord Berriedale is the title of the son of the Earl of Caithness)
  • The Carles with the Breeks (Composed by a Campbell piper on the defeat of the Sinclairs in 1681 by the Campbells at Altemairlach near Wick)
Further on the Sinclair March: David Bouschor has a copy of the Music of all the tunes mentioned in my piece that you very kindly added to FAQ section. I know this because I gave it to him in Duluth in 1995. Ray Lower was there but perhaps Ray did not catch what was being said. Certainly the Sinclair March is not a quickstep and the tune that Ray believes is in a Black Watch Book is probably not correctly remembered. Most Clan Pipe tunes are of the Piobaireachd (Ceol Mor or 'big music') type and not of the Light Music (Ceol Beag or 'little music') type which is normally band marches, jigs, reels, strathspeys, airs, hornpipes. etc. There are appx. 15 tunes that I know of that have Sinclair themes and I will provide that list in the near future.

[Clan Sinclair Canada] yours aye, Rory Sinclair, Toronto
of Clan Sinclair Association (Canada)

[See also the FAQ and the glossary. —jsq]

David Leask

Prince Henry song on CD titled In The Blood by David Leask, songwriter & singer.

Six Scottish flavored songs in contemporary folk/passionate pop styling. Pleases all ages. Features "Prince Henry" in a song with a powerful message. The lyrics say, "You don't need a map or compass to help you find the New World. When you set out like Prince Henry Sinclair, it's the passion that drives you there!"

This is a MUST for all Sinclairs! Available from Clan Sinclair Canada.

Listing supplied by Pete Cummings.

Folk Songs

from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Germany.

Listing supplied by Laurel.

Scottish Folk Songs

Hello all — This site may have the music you are searching for and a lot more. Joe Greigg

Airs, Ballads, Ditties, Folksongs, Jigs, Reels, and Strathspeys of Scotland Sorted by first line of lyric AND title, with title in italics. Last updated: 7. April 1999 Dedicated to: Sir William Wallace and Sir James "The Black" Douglas

Steward MacLean Sinclair

Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 13:20:53 -0400 (EDT)
From: (Antonia Sinclair)

Hi folks

Just to add to the marches: I have The International Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music, book one, by Bob Worrall. It shows a march called "Steward MacLean Sinclair", by R.S. MacDonald.

I don't know what it sounds like, and I don't even know why I have the music. I'll donate it to Rory, if he doesn't already have it. Perhaps someday we'll all hear it over the internet. That's possible, isn't it?

Toni S.

The Carles wi' the Breeks

From: Donald Sinclair <>
Date: Saturday, April 10, 1999 7:13 AM

A h-uile duine
Juli there is a piping tune called "The Carles wi' the Breeks". It's a Campbell tune but it is supposed to be a direct reference to the Sinclairs. It was made around the time of the Sinclair / Campbell feud in the 1670's. The story goes that the Campbells had never seen any men wearing trousers ( Breeks) before, and it gave them a bit of a laugh.

"Spaidsearachd Mhic nan Cearda" My gaelic dictionary translates this as "The Sinclairs Strut"!!

Donald Sinclair
From: "David & Gloria Bouschor" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 11:55:13 -0500

Hi Donald,

``The Carls'' was very derisive of the Sinclairs because they wore trews when they were defeated by the Campbells at Altimarlach. The hungover Sinclairs were ambushed as the crossed the River Wick. It is called thieves Burn as the Campbells looted the dead bodies after they killed them. The tune is not usually played by Sinclair pipers.

Yours aye, David (a piper)

From: Joe Greigg <>
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 23:19:25 EDT

Hello all --

Since we seem to have a lull in the list activity , I found this on the webb and decided to share it with all in the hope it is " new " to everyone ??
(ascribed to Carrie Bell Sinclair)

Oh, yes, I am a Southern girl,
And glory in the name,
And boast it with far greater pride
Than glittering wealth or fame.
We envy not the Northern girl,
Her robes or beauty rare,
Though diamonds grace her snowy neck,
And pearls bedeck her hair.
cho: Hurrah! Hurrah!
For the sunny South so dear;
Three cheers for the homespun dress
The Southern ladies wear.
The homespun dress is plain, I know,
My hat's palmetto, too;
But then it shows what Southern girls
For Southern rights will do.
We have sent the bravest of our land
To battle with the foe,
And we will lend a helping hand
We love the South, you know.
Now, Northern goods are out of date;
And since old Abe's blockade,
We Southern girls can be content
With goods that's Southern made.
We sent our sweethearts to the war
But dear girls, never mind,
Your soldier-love will ne'er forget
The girl he left behind.
The soldier is the lad for me ---
A brave heart I adore;
And when the sunny South is free,
And fighting is no more,
I'll choose me then a lover brave
From out the gallant band,
The soldier lad I love the best
Shall have my heart and hand.
The Southern land's a glorious land,
And has a glorious cause;
Then cheer three cheers for Southern rights
And for the Southern boys.
We scorn to wear a bit or silk,
A bit of Northern lace;
But make our homespun dresses up,
And wear them with such grace.
And now, young man, a word to you;
If you would win the fair,
Go to the field where honor calls,
And win your lady there.
Remember that our brightest smiles
Are for the true and brave,
And that our tears are all for those
Who fill a soldier's grave.
Music: "Bonnie Blue Flag" ("Irish Jaunting Car")
from Songs of the Civil War, Silber
@America @Civil @war @clothing
filename[ CNFEDGAL

Last changed: 01/02/24 07:27:39 [Clan Sinclair]