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The Tailor of Glenkirlie

The Tailor of Glenkirlie

a wee bit doggerel to mark the

Anniversary of the death of James McIntosh

(1773 — 24 June 1867)


Why are we gathered here today

Upon this hot and sunny day?

Why did we all make such a journey?

Was’t just to picnic by the burny

And gather raspberries on the way

And in the purple heather play — 

And then have tea without delay

And celebrate with Uncle Kay?

Why, all of these, both yeah and nay;

For really we are here today

Because we have a debt to pay,

A debt of gratitude to one

Who died ere we were yet begun.

He lived and worked just down the road

[The track that led ye tae Glenshee

It wisn’ae called A93]

Across these very hills he strode

It was his darg tae toil an’ moil

From Clackavoid to Tigh-na-Coille.

He’s buried here beneath this stone 

By weather worn and moss o’ergrown.

He worked with linen, cloth and gauze,

And that’s of course because he was

The tailor of Glenkirlie.



James McIntosh with wife and bairns

Was wont to roam among these cairns;

Upon Mount Blair he often stood

And watched the sunset o’er the wood.

And homeward bound, he’d times encroach

Upon Blackwater’s pools and poach

A trout or two with oats to mix

To feed his hungry children six,

All cosy in the but ’n ben

They didn’a have much money then!

On other nights they’d dine on skirlie,

And stay up late and get up early,

They made a lot of hurly-burly

While Elspeth knitted plain and purly,

And nobody was ever surly

With the Tailor of Glenkirlie!


He lived and lived and lived still more

And reached the age of ninety-four;

His children’s children then had bred

And over half the globe had spread;

Their children other children fathered

And some by gender others mothered;

And that is why we here are gathered

And why for such a time I’ve blathered;

For what we share and shall for aye

Are several strands of DNA;

It’s in our genes, you can’t deny,

And that is why we’re here forbye.


This thread that links us to the past

Still binds the generations fast;

T’was woven then and made to last

By the Tailor of Glenkirlie.


Family gathering in the  churchyard of Glenshee

Sunday 24 June 2001

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