View Full Version : The Snowball Rent

Thursday, October 16th, 2008, 05:40 AM
(Never known a Campbell aplogise for anything yet! :P (I`m a MacDonnell myself, :D)

Sourse, The Scotsman online, Heritage section.

The snowball fight that went on for centuries

THERE is nothing like a clan gathering to rekindle historic rivalries. But where once feuds descended into bloody battle, these days all it takes is a tune and a small sweetener to smooth things over.

An international gathering of the Clan MacIntyre is being held this week in Taynuilt in Argyll for the first time since the 1970s. The occasion has provided the opportunity for local Campbells to apologise to their old foes for a penalty imposed centuries ago.

The MacIntyre of Glenoe occupied land in the area for 500 to 600 years prior to 1806, making an unusual annual payment to the Campbells of Glenorchy of a white calf and a snowball that was obtained from Ben Cruachan. This was either as a death duty for a murder in about 1440 or for rental of land at Glen Noe. The payment was made on Midsummer's Day at Clach an Laoigh Bhiata, or Stone of the White Calf.

During the 18th century the rent was changed to cash, then progressively raised. Donald the fourth MacIntyre chief, could not pay so emigrated to Canada.

His brother and successor, Captain Donald MacIntyre, tried but failed to make ends meet and the Glen Noe lands were lost.

Now Russell Campbell, a piper from Taynuilt who composed a special tune for the gathering, has decided on a contemporary version of the historic ritual.

His sons, Fraser, seven, and four-year-old Struan, presented snowballs in the shape of the Scottish confectionery to the MacIntyre delegation at Taynuilt village hall.

Mr Campbell said: "Originally the Campbells let them have the land but exacted a penalty by making them undertake difficult challenges to find a snowball in the summer for instance.

"They eventually upped the rent until they cleared off, and that's why there are so many MacIntyres in America.

"We decided to give them the snowballs back, in the form of the modern Scottish version as a way of welcoming them to the village. We thought climbing Cruachan to find snow at this of year would be impossible with global warming. Reparation has been made."

Thursday, October 16th, 2008, 09:24 AM
They seem to have had good business sense, and throughout their history switched sides from Robert the Bruce to William of Orange.

Also this:

John Campbell White (Lord Overtoun)
(1843 - 1908)
John Campbell White was born at the house in Hayfield on November 11, 1843. He studied Natural Philosophy at Glasgow University under Professor William Thompson who was later to become Lord Kelvin.

The professor became famous in 1866, and he nearly took his pupil John with him when he sailed on the steamship the "Great Eastern" to supervise the laying of the first ever transatlantic communications cable. John was late applying for the job and instead went into accountancy in 1867 before joining his father's firm. Upon his fathers death he became joint partner in the firm with his cousin William Chrystal.

John was a deeply religious man, a philanthropist and a Liberal. Heavily involved in the Free Church of Scotland by his mid-30s he was also the West of Scotland's principal organisers for the US evangelists Moody & Sanley. He continued to support the Christian Institute in Bothwell Street as well as the Bible Society and the Livingstonia Mission in Africa.

He gave a staggering 10,000 a year to charity and for his workface he donated a gymnasium, swimming pool and 12 acres of parkland in Rutherglen which today is known as "Overtoun Park". In 1907 he was given the freedom of the burgh of Rutherglen.

As well as local politics he also took an active interest in national affairs, specifically with the Liberal Party under its famous leader William Ewart Gladstone. Although he never stood for Parliament, because of his tireless work for the party, in 1893 at the personal request of Gladstone himself, he was made a life peer in the Queen's birthday honours list. It was only from this time that he became Lord Overtoun.

All these works were funded from profits from the chemical works in Shawfield that had expanded to 20 acres and 500 workers mostly Irish immigrants. The workers were known as "Whites canaries" on account of the yellow dust on their clothes. However the yellow dust and other chemicals were extremely toxic to humans, eating away at their noses and skin. For this dangerous work they got 15s 6d per week and were expected to work a twelve-hour day, seven days a week - with no time off for meals. In 1899 the workers striked and turned to Keir Hardie, a socialist later to became the founder of the Labour party. Hardie published a series of pamphlets attacking Lord Overtoun to which he replied that they were paid the going rate for unskilled labour and that factory conditions satisfied factory inspectorates. The strike ended when Lord Overtoun offered modest concessions on conditions and a wage increase.

Lord Overtoun died on February 15th, 1908 and the obituaries were kind. To his contemporaries conditions and pay in his factories were in no way abnormal, the environmental and health impact of his chemicals not known, but his widespread generosity was remembered.

How mean was that? But of course, everything is relative. ;)

Lord Overtoun was really a White not a Campbell, but Fanny Campbell must have been fairly domineering to press for a hyphenation. Behind every great man there is a strong woman, and would wager that Lord Overtoun did it all for his mum.

As for giving the snowballs back... now that is a class move. :-O

I thought I was good at taking the p***! :-O

Thursday, October 16th, 2008, 09:30 AM
Tsk! I demand a fued! :P
Give me a day or so and I`ll be over there reiving your cattle and ...um...erm...men...
(well, I`m a woman, not really wanting to raid women now am I?;))

I do remember the Campbell and MacDonald chiefs refusing to sit in the same room together...MacDonald wanted Campbell to apologise for Glencoe, which, of course, Campbell refused to do, seeing it as `no big deal` and irrelevant after all these centuries. Fair made MacDonalds blood boil :D

We Scots have always been our own worst enemy, but there is still a rather heady romantic thrill in the tales of reiving and fued and sometime solidarity that can make the blood sing a little. ;)
Good fun. :)

Thursday, October 16th, 2008, 09:48 AM
:D so would it be rude for a Hutcheson(part of clan McDonald) to be friends with a Campbell:-O

Thursday, October 16th, 2008, 09:52 AM
The Campbells were accursed in much of the Highlands and even to this day the old Clachaig Inn at Glen Coe carries the sign on its door, 'No Campbells'.



In truth , I`ve found that though the history of certain clans is still sharp for many folks (my Granny forbade me to talk to any Hay! :|) it`s all taken as tongue in cheek nowadays. :)

And since nobody can be responsible for what their ancestors did, speaking personally, I take folks as I find them, and this clan rivalry for me is, for the most part, a bit of fun. Well, except if I ever met the Campbell chief, maybe...;)