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Updated 05/09/2016


Farquhar Macrae
PM William Fergusson

William Fergusson was the Pipe Major for the City of Glasgow Pipe Band, which became the legendary Clan MacRae Pipe Band. In this position he became one of the first of the modern era’s great prize-winning pipe majors, leading the Clan MacRae to World Championships in 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1925 and unrivalled success throughout the 1920s. The band was a prize-winning machine.

The tune may refer to the founder of the Macrae clan, Rev. Farquhar Macrae of /Inverinate, born 1580 at Ellandonan, Ross, Scotland.  He was a delicate child, but grew up to be a man of good physique and great bodily strength.  His father, perceiving that he possessed good ability and talent for learning, sent him to school at Perth, where he remained for four or five years, and became very proficient in Latin.  Some of his exercises and discourses in that language are mentioned as being still preserved in the year 1704.


From Perth he proceeded to the University of Edinburgh, where he studied under James Reid, one of the Regents or Professors of the University, and soon surpassed all his fellow students in the study both of classics and of philosophy.  His repute for learning and scholarship was so great at the University that he was unanimously chosen in 1603 to succeed James Reid as Regent.


But Kenneth, Lord Kintail, who was in Edinburgh at the time, earnestly opposed the appointment, as he was anxious to secure Mr. Farquhar's services for his own people in the Highlands.  Mr. Farquhar himself was not anxious to accept the appointment either, as his great desire was to become a preacher of the Gospel, and with a view to that calling he had already studied divinity at the University.  He therefore fell in readily with Lord Kintail's proposal, and about this time left the University to fill the post of headmaster of the Fortrose Grammar School, which then enjoyed a great reputation in the North, and where he remained for about fifteen months.


He appears to have passed his "trials" or examinations for the Church while he was at Fortrose, and having been admitted to Holy Orders he very soon acquired celebrity as a "sound, learned, eloquent, and grave preacher."  About this time some ironworks were commenced in the parish of Gairloch.  Rev. Farquhar Macrae knew how to preach well in English to the English-speaking ironworkers.  He was accordingly appointed Vicar of Gairloch in 1608, and continued to hold that office until 1618.  He died January 1662 in Kintail.