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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 09-10-2010, 03:33 PM   #1
erracht
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Default two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

As a spinoff of the latest thread on the Piob Mhor in Ireland I would like to discuss the two actual pipers that I know of who are reported to have played the mouth-blown bagpipe in pre-19th century Ireland and hoping someone can enlighten us with more period-documented information about them.

The first is a Thady Lawler, to whom I have found a single reference, in this article:
http://www.bemccandless.net/pdfs/PastoralUnion_McCandless.pdf
I will reproduce verbatim the text about him, in which Lawler, here identified as a war piper, critiques the "organ pipes" (apparently early pastoral/Uillean pipes):

"In the first half of the eighteenth century, in Ireland, the likeness of the Irish pipes to an organ was noted and its mode of performance contrasted to that of the great pipes. In 1733, Mr. Thady Lawler, a player of war pipes and the self-proclaimed
Prime and Metrapolatine Piper of All Ireland, wrote:"...I lately happen’d to be in the company with an Organ Piper, who brag’d and Bounc’d so furiously of his pipes and performance, and so reproach’d and villify’d mine, that I felt myself oblig’d to vindicate the honor of our noble order, which he endeavor’d to wound through my side. I told him that it would neither be difficult, nor in the least presumptuous to draw a paralel [sic] between Organs and Bagpipes..."."

I would like to know the source of this quote, or of any other information that might happen to be on this Thady Lawler (and what exactly is written in the source to identify him as a "war piper"/Piob Mhor player or similar). Anyone able to help out?

The second piper is Barney Thompson of Lord Rawdon's Volunteers of Ireland, a regiment founded during the Revolutionary War in 1778. Okay, first I will note that he is mentioned by the infamous W. H. Grattan Flood in "The Story of the Bagpipe" - he makes the claim that the regiment had a warpipe band with Thompson as Pipe Major - but other sources mention this person. "Piper Barney Thompson" is found on a muster roll or other period manuscript:
http://www.battleofcamden.org/volsofireland.htm

Note that a William Neil is noted as "fifer", which suggests that Thompson was indeed a bagpiper and not a fifer. Theoretically he could have played Uillean Pipes too, but that would seem unlikely for a military piper. On Google Books I have found another reference to him in a book called "Diary of the American Revolution: From newspapers and original documents" by Frank Moore, from "Rivington's Gazette" for 18 March 1780, on p. 261:

"March 17 - A munificent entertainment was given by Lord Rawdon, Colonel of the Volunteers of Ireland, to his regiment, quartered in Jamaica, Long Island, in honor of St. Patrick, tutelar saint of that kingdom. The following song was sung by Barney Thompson, piper to the regiment; tune Langolee (song follows)"

That's all the information I could find about this character, but I've also managed to find a reference to an article about him by Irish bagpipe historian Sean Donnelly:

Donnelly, Seán, ‘On the Wrong Side in the American War of Independence: Barney Thompson, Piper to the Volunteers of Ireland 1778–82’, The Pipers’ Review, Iris na bPíobairí vol. 26, no 4 (Autumn 2007), pp. 15–25 (http://journalofmusic.com/article/730)

Again, any additional documented information on this character, role and instrument would be appreciated.
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Old 09-11-2010, 05:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

Regarding the first query, on Thady Lawler, why don't you email the author, Brian McCandless, and ask him? He provides his email address;
bemccandless@earthlink.net As his article is under copyright © Brian E. McCandless, 2005, when it was published as part of the programme for the Piper's Gathering, it would be the sensible thing to do.

I may be wrong here, but I think Brian McCandless has copyright on all the Piper's Gatherings journals. Even if he doesn't, you shouldn't really be reproducing copy/pasting his articles on here at all if they are marked copyright 2005 unless you have Brian's permission. We have certainly had clear legal warnings on his forum before from other parties who have had their work cut and pasted from sources marked copyright.
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:06 AM   #3
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Default Re: two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

Wouldn't posting a brief quote with the source given fall under fair use?
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

Quote:
Originally Posted by erracht View Post
Wouldn't posting a brief quote with the source given fall under fair use?
I am not a lawyer and the mods here don't have the time or legal experience to handle each and every post that comes up that directly quotes or lifts from someone else's work, website or publication. That's why rule 5 exists.

Last year someone did exactly as you have done from another online publication and I personally received a quite legitimate warning of legal action within 24 hours of the post being made, despite the fact I had nothing to do with the post, (in fact I was unaware of the thread until I was contacted).

Obviously, this being the History area, a certain amount of leeway is given with older documents, but with something so clearly and loudly marked copyright 2005, I wouldn't risk it.

Besides, the name Brian McCandless rings a bell. I seem to recall some notion in NW USA to revive the Piper's Gathering Journal, but it was impeded by the fact that Mr McCandless owns the copyright.

Besides the clear copyright indications, the author's contact information is clear. Your first step should be to ask the author and copyright owner, I would have thought.
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Sanderson View Post
Besides the clear copyright indications, the author's contact information is clear. Your first step should be to ask the author and copyright owner, I would have thought.

Ok, point taken. Regarding asking the author, I e-mailed him once, but never received a reply. So I was wondering if anyone else could source the 1733 quote.
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

Quote:
Originally Posted by erracht View Post
Regarding asking the author, I e-mailed him once, but never received a reply.
Sigh; I can assure that does not give you the right to reproduce his clearly copyrighted work without permission.
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Old 09-28-2010, 11:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

There is a little more information on Lord Rawdon’s Volunteer’s of Ireland at the Loyalist Institute web site. The regiment was raised in Philadelphia and had Irish Officers appointed to encourage volunteers and deserters of Irish ancestry to enlist. We can’t assume they had all just arrived from Ireland.
http://www.royalprovincial.com/military/rhist/voi/voilist.htm

The site contains information on St Patrick’s Day 1779 and 1780.

In 1779 a reference is made to a Band of Music but there is no mention of any pipers.
“Band of Music” is usually 18th Century Speak for Regimental Band, and many current or recent Regimental bands trace their formation to the unit’s “band of Music” ie Coldstream Guards Band http://www.army.mod.uk/music/corps-band/467.aspx
The term is used in reference to other bands here http://military-bands.co.uk/bands.html .

The full 1780 newspaper story, a part of which is above, is also on this site.

There is another reference to a piper of Lord Rawdon’s contained in Court Martial Records regarding events of March 17th 1781 http://www.royalprovincial.com/military/courts/cmallr.htm Part 2 includes a reference to a piper from Lord Rawdon’s regiment but doesn’t name the piper. Whether it was Barney Thompson is anyone’s guess.

I don’t think we can assume any piper in the regiment played any particular type of pipes. If anything, the Court Martial reference leans one to think they were Uillean pipes.

There are Regimental Muster rolls from April 1799
http://www.royalprovincial.com/military/musters/voi/mrvoiman.htm

I can find no Barney Thompson, however, Capt John Doyle’s company does list one Barnaby Thompson, a prisoner in the Gd Room. William Neal is listed in Campbell’s company.

Lieutenant Colonel Welbore Ellis Doyle eventually took command of the 14th of foot and is credited with appropriating their Regimental March Ca Ira.

Captain John Doyle eventually raised the 87th Foot in 1793 which became the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lord Rawdon became the Earl or Moira and was the British Commander-in-Chief in the Ghurka War 1814-1816
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Halliday View Post
There are Regimental Muster rolls from April 1799
http://www.royalprovincial.com/military/musters/voi/mrvoiman.htm

I can find no Barney Thompson.
There are no references to any pipers in the muster role for 20th September 1799 either, although 39 drummers are accounted for.

I would guess that his position as piper was unofficial. As you say, what kind of pipes he played was anyone's guess. As they were used as for playing indoors and as an accompaniment for "serenading ladies" it does seem to suggest that they were a type of bellows pipes, which were the common bagpipe of that period.

Last edited by Adam Sanderson; 09-29-2010 at 11:44 AM. Reason: Spellin.
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Old 10-01-2010, 07:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

Thanks for all the references, Ray. If Thompson was a Pastoral/Uillean piper, that wouldn't surprise me too much at this point.
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: two 18th-century Irish pipers: Thady Lawler and Barney Thompson

I just found the title of the work by Thady Lawler. On Google Books, there is a book called "A Union of Multiple Identities: The British Isles, c. 1750-c. 1850". Onp. 144, endnote 67 references a comment in the text (which I won't reproduce this time, Adam. It's not useful anyway) is referenced to the following author/work: Thady Lawler, An Apology for Pipes and Pipers, Dublin, c. 1730.

Now to find the original book...
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