PS 193 – MacRae’s March

      Spaidsearachd Mhic Rath

      Suarachan

Primary Sources

Suarachan A.22: 67
KB Spaidsearachd Mhic Raadh / MacRae’s March KB.8: 21
Dj Failte Lady Margeret Dj.33

Notes on Gaelic Titles

Spaidsearachd Mhic Rath Spaidsearachd Mhic Raadh / MacRae’s March KB. MacRae’s March (not ‘The MacRaes’ March’). Could spaidsearachd (‘marching’) have been confused with spaidearachd (‘boasting’)? Cf MacNiel of Barray’s March (PS 8). For the link with Duncan MacRae and stories about him that circulated in Kintail and Gairloch, see the note on Suarachan below. 

Suarachan Suarachan A. According to Angus MacKay, this was the nickname of Duncan MacRae who fought at the Battle of Park in 1491 and acquitted himself so well that from then on he was known as Donnchadh Mór na Tuaighe, ‘Big Duncan of the Axe’ (KB, ‘Historical & Traditional Notes’, No. VIII). Dwelly gives the adjective suarach a range of meanings, such as ‘insignificant’ and ‘contemptible’, and adds the noun suarachan ‘worthless person’ on the authority of one informant, William Cameron, Poolewe. Angus MacKay’s note states: ‘This devoted follower was known by the familiar cognomen of “Suarachan,” a term of contemptuous signification’. Other stories about Duncan MacRae are retold by Alexander Mackenzie: History of the Clan Mackenzie, Inverness 1879, pp 68-71.

Roderick Cannon (2009), rev. Barnaby Brown 2015

Other Material

William Donaldson’s Set Tunes Notes  (2009)

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