Angus MacKay

1813 - 1859

Piper to Queen Victoria. Born on Raasay, the son of John MacKay (1767 - 1848), who was a notable teacher of the pipes and a composer. He moved with his family to Drummond Castle, when his father was appointed piper to Peter Drummond Burrell, Lord Gwydir (1782 - 1865). The younger MacKay became piper to Sarah Drummond, Lady Gwydir, in his own right.

He went on to work for Davidson of Tulloch, and then Campbell of Islay before being appointed the first personal piper to Queen Victoria in 1843. He served in this position until 1854, when he was discharged due to the sudden onset of violent mental illness. MacKay was given a royal pension but, having the delusion that he was married to the Queen, he was committed to the Crichton Royal Hospital in Dumfries. He escaped from the hospital but drowned while trying to swim across the River Nith near Glencaple, where a monument was unveiled in his memory in 2010.

MacKay was responsible for recording more pipe tunes than almost anybody else, publishing a Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd in 1838 and The Piper's Assistant (1843).

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