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Murdoch McRaw

(Words and Music: Brendan Nolan; Produced by Brendan Nolan)


Key of E; Guitar: Capo 2nd fret, Drop D Tuning (EBGDAD)

A story from the great historical narrative Culloden by John Prebble. Murdoch McRaw was hanged from an old apple tree on the edge of Inverness. The apples that grew from it's branches were called 'Jenny Sinclairs'. After Murdoch's execution, legend has it that the tree bore no more fruit and eventually died.

Long time ago in Inverness town
There once stood an old apple tree
And just as green turned to gold
In the cool autumn sun
Came the loveliest fruit you’ve ever seen

In a time when fair Scotland
did mourn and weep
For the death of
her chiefs and her sons
And Culloden’s dark moor
was awash in their blood
As they fell
before Cumberland’s guns
In the weeks that passed by
the killing went on
As many more perished
for their cause
And in the heat of the fray
An innocent man lost his way
His name it was Murdoch McRaw

And no leaves clothe her now in the sunshine
No Jenny Sinclairs in the fall
And her branches hang low in sadness they say
For the killing of Murdoch McRaw

Neath the blue mountain peak
near the Pass of Glen Shiel
The McRaw’s lived their old Highland ways
And in the ranks of the Prince
some fought and were killed
It was his name that condemned him that day
For in the house of Macdonald
they took him in chains
A spy and a traitor for the cause
Though he pleaded his innocence
it was in vain
It was enough that he was there
by their law


On the very next morning
they took him away
To Inverness to the old apple tree
This cannot be so he thought
he had done them no wrong
And he prayed they would
soon set him free
But with the rope round his neck
he shivered with fear
“My God now this madness is done”
But he hung there they say
for nearly two days
Till the beggars at last cut him down


A long time ago in Inverness Town
There once stood an old apple tree
Before green turned to gold
In the cool autumn sun
Came the loveliest fruit you’ve ever seen