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Updated 09/17/2015


The Sweet Maid of Mull
Alan C. Beaton

The Sweet Maid of Mull was composed by Alan C. Beaton of Tobermory, Mull.  Tobermory (shown above) is the capital of, and the only burgh on, the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. It is located in the northeastern part of the island, near the northern entrance of the Sound of Mull.  The town was founded as a fishing port in 1788.  The name Tobermory is derived from the Gaelic Tobar Mhoire, meaning "Mary's well". The name refers to a well located nearby which was dedicated in ancient times to the Virgin Mary.

Legend has it that the wreck of a Spanish galleon, laden with gold, lies somewhere in the mud at the bottom of Tobermory Bay – although the ship's true identity, and cargo, are in dispute. By some accounts, the Florencia (or Florida, or San Francisco), a member of the defeated Spanish Armada fleeing the English fleet in 1588, anchored in Tobermory to take on provisions. Following a dispute over payment (or possibly, according to local folklore, a spell cast by the witch Dňideag), the ship caught fire and the gunpowder magazine exploded, sinking the vessel. In her hold, reputedly, was 300,000 GBP worth of gold bullion. Other sources claim the vessel was the San Juan de Sicilia (or San Juan de Baptista), which, records indicate, carried troops, not treasure. Whatever the true story, no significant treasure has ever been recovered in Tobermory Bay.

Due to similarities in sailing conditions, in the mid-1800s emigrant sailors created the community of Tobermory, located in Ontario, Canada.

I could find little about Alan C. Beaton himself.  The earliest publication I could find of The Sweet Maid of Mull was in the 1966 John MacFayden Collection by Bayley & Ferguson.   Accordion player Bobby MacLeod – also from Tobermory – composed the 2/4 tune, Alan C. Beaton of Tobermory.