Henry's Songbook

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Men of Knoydart

  • (Trad / Hamish Henderson)

    It was down by the farm of Scottas Lord Brocket walked one day
    When he saw a sight that troubled him far more than he could say
    For the seven men of Knoydart were doing what they planned
    They'd staked their claims, they were digging drains on Brocket's private land

    You bloody Reds, Lord Brocket yelled, What's this you're doing here
    It doesn't pay, as you'll find today, to insult an English peer
    You're only Scottish half wits but I'll have you understand
    You Highland swine, these hills are mine, this is all Lord Brocket's land

    Then up spoke the men of Knoydart, Away and shut your trap
    For threats from a Saxon brewer's boy we just don't give a rap
    Now we are all ex-servicemen who fought against the Hun
    We can tell our enemies by now - Brocket, you are one

    When the noble lord he heard these words he turned purple in the face
    He said, These Scottish savages are Britain's black disgrace
    I know it's true I've let some few thousand acres go to pot
    But the lot I'd give to a London spiv before any bloody Scot

    You're a crowd of tartan bolshies but I'll soon have you licked
    I'll write to the Court of Session for an interim interdict
    I'll write to my London lawyer and he will understand
    Och, to hell with your London lawyer, we want our Scottish land

    Then up spoke the men of Knoydart, You have no earthly right
    For this is the land of Scotland and not the Isle of Wight
    When Scotland's proud Fianna wi' ten thousand lads is manned
    We'll show the world that Highlanders have a right tae Scottish land

    (as sung by Hamish Imlach)

    Tune: Johnston's Motor Car

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • english [1965:] [Sprung] from events like the crofters' land seizures in Wester Ross, and the Home Rule agitation of the previous years. (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 13)

  • english [1965:] At one of the Belfast hoolies [in the late 1940s], I heard such a spirited rendering of Johnston's Motor Car (from Jean Connor) that the tune kept dancing in my memory. A few weeks later when I was returning from a short holiday in Scotland aboard one of the Burns-Laird steamers, I composed The Men of Knoydart to that same air. The song began while we were lying at the Broomielaw, and was complete before the Clyde coast faded from sight. It had its premiere in Kelly's Cellars in Belfast the following lunch-time. (Henderson, Alias MacAlias 288)

  • german [1976:] Vor etwa 150 Jahren haben die Landbesitzer ihre kleinen Pächter aus den Highlands verjagt, um für die Schafzucht Platz zu erhalten, weil das mehr Gewinn brachte. Dann haben die reichen Leute mit der Schafzucht aufgehört, um das Land für einige Wochen im Jahr zur Jagd auf Hirsche u. a. zu gebrauchen. Die Männer von Knoydart kehren in die Highlands zurück. Sie fangen an, den guten Boden zu rekultivieren. Das ist der Anfang eines drei Jahre dauernden Rechtsstreits mit dem Landbesitzer. Natürlich verlieren die Männer. (Notes Hamish Imlach, 'Scottish Sabbath')

  • english [1985:] About a land raid in the north west of Scotland in 1948, but really a protest against absentee land owners. (Notes Hamish Imlach, 'Sonny's Dream')

  • english [1996:] Providing they have the cash, anyone can buy land in Scotland and do what they want with it. Or nothing at all. [...] Any day now those left on the remote Knoydart Estate may know the identity of their third absentee landlord in 10 years. In November it was sold by a subsidiary of the jute firm, Titaghur, whose chairman, Reg Brealey, had planned a kind of Outward Bound school for teenage inner-city ne'er-do-wells on its historic acres. He bought the remaining 17,000 acres from Surrey businessman Phillip Rhodes, who had whittled the estate down from 160,000 acres by selling off prime blocks of land. The new owners [...] are the anonymous Kinloch Investment Company. The estate, which once supported hundreds, now provides work for 50 people. [...] As the commentator John Robertson put it: 'Some legislatures have made the right of the people superior to the chief. British law makers made the right of the chief everything and those of his followers nothing.' In the 150 years since he wrote that, little has changed. (Ron McKay, Observer, 3 March)

  • english [1996:] Charles Ronald George Nall-Cain, the third Baron Brocket, [...] inherited his title from his grandfather (his father had died when he was little) in 1967 when he was a 15-year-old Eton schoolboy [...]. (Observer, 9 June)

  • english [1997:] Nor did the Prime Minister have a reply to the Lord Brocket Question: If hereditary peers - even the fraudster scions of Nazi sympathisers whose grandfathers bought their titles from Lloyd George - are really such an adornment to democracy, why doesn't he create more of them? (Andrew Rawnsley, Observer, 23 Feb)

  • english [1998:] In Scotland, the landowner who inherits a feudal 'superiority' has some antique rights. One is preemption: if I buy land or a house from my 'superior', I must offer it to him or her first when I sell it again. Another is the ancient 'feu' itself. This is - or was - the grant of a heritable tenancy for all time subject to conditions. [...] Many reformers think 'feudalism' an outrage. But there's another side to it. Feudalism is about ownership which isn't absolute but conditional - an idea now alien to English law. As the land reformer Andy Wightman said the other day, how would it be if a local community, and not some clan chief or German speculator, were the landowner and feudal superior? How would it be if that community gave out feus of land on condition that it was properly farmed, that the owner was not an absentee, that the heirs did not abuse their social privilege? [...]

    Since 1886, the crofters of the Highlands and Islands have been protected in their tenancies. But a web of restrictions limits what they may do with their land. No such restrictions affect their landlords. [...] Many Highland landlords are open and generous with their tenants. But there is also a stream of horror stories. The Knoydart estate near Mallaig currently belongs to a Sheffield speculator whose company faces several court cases and one of whose partners is in jail in Germany. Efforts by the local community to buy out the company, said to have debts of 1.4 million pounds, have so far failed. But community buy-outs are the solution now in vogue. Compulsory purchase is out, in the New Labour era. The Assynt crofters in Sutherland showed the way a few years ago, buying their land and running it successfully under democratic control. [Donald] Dewar intends to use the 'New Opportunities Fund', with lottery money, to support community purchases [...]. All the parties likely to share power in the Scottish Parliament - Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats - intend to 'abolish feudal relics', help community acquisition of land, encourage tenant rights and shake up the Land Register - still incomplete, and still allowing landowners to remain anonymous. (Although 600 individuals own half of Scotland, the public has no right to know their names.) (Neal Ascherson, Observer, 4 Oct)

Quelle: Scotland

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aktualisiert am 27.05.2002