Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Story of "Haughs O'Cromdale"






A battle took place on 30 April, 1690, in which a Jacobite force was routed on the low ground (haughs) at Cromdale in Morayshire by government forces. James Hogg, the Ettrick shepherd, later wrote a song about the defeat which became very popular. But then an unknown bard, unhappy with the story of a lost battle, added an exaggerated description of Montrose's victory over the Covenanters at Auldearn in 1645. Despite the muddled history and the fact that Montrose had been dead for 40 years before the conflict at Cromdale, the ballad remained popular. Many a Highland regiment has marched to the tune of this song.


As I came in by Auchindoun,
A little wee bit frae the toun,
When to the Highlands I was bound,
To view the haughs of Cromdale,
I met a man in tartan trews,
I speir'd at him what was the news;
Quo' he the Highland army rues,
That e'er we came to Cromdale.

We were in bed, sir, every man,
When the Engligh host upon us came,
A bloody battle then began,
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
The English horse they were so rude,
They bath'd their hooves in Highland blood,
But our brave clans, they boldly stood
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.

But, alas! We could no longer stay,
For o'er the hills we came away,
And sore we do lament the day,
That e'er we came to Cromdale.
Thus the great Montrose did say,
Can you direct the nearest way?
For I will o'er the hills this day,
And view the haughs of Cromdale.

Alas, my lord, you're not so strong,
You scarcely have two thousand men,
And there's twenty thousand on the plain,
Stand rank and file on Cromdale.
Thus the great Montrose did say,
I say, direct the nearest way,
For I will o'er the hills this day,
And see the haughs of Cromdale.

They were at dinner, every man,
When great Montrose upon them came,
A second battle then began,
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
The Grant, Mackenzie and MacKay,
Soon as Montrose they did espy,
O then, they fought most valiantly!
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.

The Macdonalds they returned again,
The Camerons did their standard join,
MacIntosh play'd a bloody game,
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
The MacGregors fought like lions bold,
MacPhersons, none could them control,
MacLaughlins fought, like loyal souls,
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.

MacLeans, MacDougals, and MacNeils,
So boldly as they took the field,
And make their enemies to yield,
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
The Gordons boldly did advance,
The Frasers fought with sword and lance,
The Grahams they made the heads to dance,
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.

The loyal Stewarts with Montrose,
So boldly set upon their foes,
And brought them down with Highland blows,
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.
Of twenty thousand Cromwell's men,
Five hundred fled to Aberdeen
The rest of them lie on the plain,
Upon the haughs of Cromdale.

Meaning of unusual words:
speir'd at him=asked him
haughs=low lying ground

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