MacDougall of Aberfeldy, the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria and Dunolly House

I noticed the brief feature on Piping Press concerning the sale of Dunolly House, Aberfeldy, and its association with the MacDougall pipemakers.

Some facts and dates concerning Duncan MacDougall’s places of residence and his being a ‘Royal piper’. These are all from my ‘Bagpipe Makers’ books.

By 1873 Duncan MacDougall was piper to Breadalbane at Taymouth Castle but he continued his pipe making business in Aberfeldy.

By Jeannie Campbell

Duncan’s son, Gavin Campbell MacDougall, was born on the 20th July 1874 at Fortlodge in the parish of Kenmore. At the time of the 1881 census the MacDougall family were living at Weem, a village near Aberfeldy.

One of Duncan MacDougall’s sons, named Duncan, was born in 1877 at Killin. He died aged 12 on 17th September 1888 at Dunolly House in Aberfeldy.

Dunolly House, Aberfeldy, recently put up for sale

At the time of the 1891 census the MacDougall family were living in Kenmore Street, Aberfeldy.

On 24th September 1892 The Scotsman newspaper reported, ‘Mr Duncan MacDougall, bagpipe maker, Dunolly, Aberfeldy, has been appointed by a Royal Warrant bagpipe maker to Her Majesty the Queen. Mr MacDougall recently made a magnificent set of Highland pipes for Her Majesty’s piper.’

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The Dundee Courier of 16th December 1896 had this, ‘On the recommendation of the Works Committee, Mr Duncan McDougall, bagpipe maker, was granted leave to have a villa erected in Kenmore Road.’

Duncan MacDougall died on the 1st July 1898 at Lorne Cottage, Aberfeldy, or as stated in his obituary, Lorn Villa.

Jeannie’s books are available here

The inventory of his estate came to a total value of £1,081.3.8d. (This is £166,293.28 in today’s money, a strictly inflationary calculation which does not account for the increase cost of property and ‘plenishings’ when calculating the value of the estate. Dunolly House alone is on sale today for £300,000 but is in a poor state of repair.)

The £1,081 was made up of the household furniture, effects and plenishings in Dunolly House and offices valued at £187.11/8d, the furniture effects and plenishings in Lorne Cottage and offices £88.11/8d, balance in the bank of £109.7s, a life insurance policy £613.4/4d, cash £2 and book debts valued at £80.

Duncan’s naming of his properties Lorne and Dunolly is probably due to his presumed descent from the MacDougalls who were hereditary pipers to the MacDougall chiefs at Dunollie in Lorn from the 16th century, and possibly earlier.

  • A set of silver MacDougall pipes featured on Piping Press a few weeks ago reaffirms the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. This set, pictured above, are to be found in the Clan Donald Museum on Sleat, isle of Skye. The description reads: ‘Bagpipes made by Duncan MacDougall of Aberfeldy from cocus wood for Lord MacDonald in c.1880. MacDougall was considered the premier bagpipe maker of his day and held the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria. His father and grandfather had also made bagpipes.’

3 thoughts on “MacDougall of Aberfeldy, the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria and Dunolly House

  1. A pipemaker asked me in the nineteen nineties where exactly MacDougalls operated in Aberfeldy. As I didn’t know, I phoned a friend of my mother who was then in her nineties and she told me it was Lorne Cottage. She could remember hearing the pipes being played when she was a girl going to school, which was behind Lorne Cottage. This would have been around 1905, maybe?

  2. My mother’s Clan is Mac Dougall, there is a family story of a set of bagpipes presented to one of my ancestors before he emigrated to Australia. The family ended up in the Western Districts of Victoria, Horsham or Hamilton. Is this ancestor of mine one of Duncan’s sons? It would have been at the turn of the 20th century.
    Simon Dwyer

  3. I’ve never seen an other pic of Duncan Mac Dougall . I cannot believe that such a famous pipe maker of Royal Warrant and renown piper and competitor got only one photo of himself during his carreer.
    If other pics exist I will be please to know and see.

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