Dugald Buchanan

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Dugald Buchanan (Dùghall Bochanan in Gaelic) (Ardoch Farm, Strathyre (near Balquhidder) in Perthshire, Scotland 1716–1768) was a Scottish poet writing in Scots and Scottish Gaelic. He helped the Rev. James Stuart (Church of Scotland) or Stewart of Killin to translate the New Testament into Scottish Gaelic.[1] John Reid called him "the Cowper of the Highlands".[2]


Rannoch's clans had played a full part in the Jacobite uprisings. All those the troops believed to be rebels were killed, as were some non-combatants, 'rebellious' settlements were burned and livestock was confiscated on a large scale. Some in the highland Jacobite regions survived the Redcoats' ravaging of the countryside only to starve the following winter.

When the reprisals ceased, the warriors returned. However, without crops or cattle, there seemed no alternative open to them but thieving, and sheer hunger drove them to commit savage deeds. A Captain Patton of Guise’s Regiment said ’the people of this country (Rannoch) are the greatest thieves in Scotland and were all in the late rebellion, except for a few. They have a great number of arms but they keep them concealed from us.’

Kinloch Rannoch. The church is All Saints Scottish Episcopal Church. The obelisk is not a war memorial, but is inscribed: "In memory of Dugald Buchanan the Rannoch schoolmaster, evangelist and sacred poet, died 24th June 1768". The memorial is dated 1875.


Dugald Buchanan was a teacher and an evangelist, preaching at large open air meetings, which upwards of 500 people attended. He showed great courage as he persuaded the 'wild men' of Rannoch to give up their lawlessness and savage ways. He and his wife taught them new trades and crafts. They worked with James Small, formerly an Ensign in Lord Loudoun’s Regiment, who had been appointed by the Commissioners for the Forfeited Estates to run the Rannoch estates which had been seized from the clan chieftains who had supported the Jacobites. The tiny hamlet at the east end of Loch Rannoch, now known as Kinloch Rannoch, was enlarged and settled, mainly by soldiers being discharged from the army, but also by displaced crofters.

A wide range of agricultural and other improvement works were undertaken across the estates, including drainage, road making and bridge building. Slowly peace and prosperity were brought to Rannoch. Flax and potatoes were introduced, mills built and spinning and weaving taught; a mason, joiner and wheelwright passed on their skills; a shoemaker and a tailor set up business.

Dugald Buchanan is buried in the Little Leny, Buchanan Burial Enclosure and Burial Ground near Callander, Stirling, Scotland, at the confluence of the Eas Gobhain and Garbh Uisge rivers.[3]


Buchanan is commemorated by a monument erected in The Square at Kinloch Rannoch and by the first church built at the Braes of Rannoch, or Georgetown as it was known at the time, named after the Redcoats' king. This latter name was swiftly changed again after the Redcoats' withdrawal from the area.[4][5]


  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Richard D. Jackson, ‘Buchanan, Dugald (1716–1768)’, first published 2004, 933 words http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/3835
  2. ^  "Buchanan, Dugald". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  3. ^ "Monumental inscriptions at Little Leny, Callander". Scotland. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  4. ^ A History of Rannoch, A.D. Cunningham
  5. ^ Buchanan article and photo of the monument

Further reading[edit]

  • Murdoch, Adrian (ed.), Dugald Buchanan: The Bard of Rannoch, Rott Publishing, 2012. Kindle Edition. ASIN: B0080XRY94.
  • interwiki see also gd:Bìoball article "Bible" on Scottish Gaelic Wikipedia.