“Tranent Muir”


"The Chevalier, being void of fear, did march up Birslie brae, man," and prepares for battle against John Cope. The battle results in a complete win for the Jacobites. Many soldiers taking part in the battle are listed.


This has been recorded by Archie Fisher (on "The Fate o' Charlie," under the title "The Battle of Prestonpans"), so it's perhaps worth indexing.

Despite the quality of the source, I rather doubt it's traditional; I know no field recordings, and the only printed version is that in the _Scots Musical Museum_. Which is extremely long (15 8-line stanzas), and quite dull unless you're a Jacobite trying to recall all the officers at Prestonpans. Whoever chopped the song down to the length recorded by Fisher did everyone a favor.

On the other hand, the _Scots Musical Museum_ tune isn't the same as Fisher's, so maybe there has been some oral tradition in there somewhere.

Tranent, like Prestonpans, was a village near the battle site. I am unable to reconcile the information in Stuart Reid's _1745: A Military History of the Last Jacobite Rising_, pp. 29-34, with the map on p. 103 of Clennell Wilkinson's _Bonnie Prince Charlie_ except on the assumption that Wilkinson's map is printed with north and south reversed, but it appears Tranent was south of the battlefield -- actually closer to the field as the crow flies than is Prestonpans on the coast, but separated from the battle site by a large marsh which somewhat restricted maneuver. The Jacobite forces passed through Tranent, in effect using it as a path to Cope's rear; the marshes would have prevented Cope from taking them in flank even had he been alert enough to do so. Thus the name "Tranent" is in some ways more suitable than "Prestonpans."

For more details on Prestonpans, see the notes to "Johnnie Cope." - RBW

Historical references

  • Sept 21, 1745 - Battle of Prestonpans. Bonnie Prince Charlie's Highland army routs the first real Hannoverian force it encounters

Same tune

  • Praelium Gillicrankianum (Scots Musical Museum, appendix to #102; a Latin piece along the same lines but apparently about Killiecrankie)


  2. BI, DTtranmu


Alternate titles: “The Battle of Prestonpans”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1797 (Scots Musical Museum #102)