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Mary Macdonald

MACDONALD, Mary (née MacDougall). b. Ardtun, Isle of Mull, 1789; d. Ardtun, 21 May 1872. She was the daughter of a farmer; she married a crofter, Neil Macdonald. A devout Baptist, she wrote hymns and poems in Gaelic which she sang at her spinning wheel. The best known is probably ‘Leanabh an aigh’, verses of which were roughly translated as ‘Child in the manger’* by Lachlan Macbean* for his Songs and Hymns of the Scottish Highlands (1888) and set to the Highland melody called in hymnbooks BUNESSAN, after the village near Ardtun. The popularity of this hymn, and its inclusion in mainstream books in Scotland and elsewhere, would no doubt have astonished the author. In many hymnbooks her dates...

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