History: When Did the Army Officially Recognise Pipers?

I read recently on Piping Press: ‘But it was not until 1854 that pipers were recognised officially by what was the UK’s War Office’. Although from an interesting article, this statement does not hold true. It is belief still commonly held however, but easy to disprove. The evidence that pipers had formally been a part of Scottish regiments is easy to find and starts with the Acts of the Scottish…

History: The Maclean Banner and Its Journey From America to Yorkshire

The late Roderick Cannon and I published an article in the pamphlet ‘West Highland Notes and Queries’, January 2013, concerning the ‘Maclean’ pipe banner [pictured above]. There was a translation by scholar Ronald Black of the Gaelic inscription in a subsequent issue of the publication. Before we get to that I have another short tale that may be of interest and could pose the query: ‘Did his pipes get wet?’…

More on the Rankin Family of Pipers and their Piping College on the Island of Mull

Regarding the recent article about the Rankin family of pipers, we actually know as much if not more about that family than many other piping families, the only mystery being where they came from.  The earliest record of any of that family name on Mull comes from the Breadalbane papers when in 1697 John MacIntyre the son of the Breadalbane’s piper Donald Roy was sent to first Condullie Rankin for…