Norman MacSwayd

(circa late 1800s)

In his 2009 publication, Pipers of the Highland Regiments 1854-1902, published by Savannah Publications, R. H. Crawford describes Norman MacSwayd as:

Son of Angus MacSwayd, a native of Skye and former piper or Pipe Major of the 78th Highlanders. He transferred from the Highland Rifle Militia on the 5th July, 1872 to the Stirlingshire Militia, where he was appointed Pipe Major upon the discharge of John MacDonald. On the 8th July, 1873, he attested for permanent staff with the Regiment. He was the composer of the Seaforth march, “Cuidich ‘n Righ” and often competed at the Northern Meeting during the 1870s and the Argyllshire Gathering in 1890. It is believed that he continued his service with the 3rd (Militia) Batttalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

On the 2nd January, 1871, a Norman MacSwayd wed Elizabeth M. Burgess at inverness, and in 1895 a Norman MacSwayd was appointed Pipe Major of the 48th Highlanders of Canada. Their relationship to the above is uncertain.

The history book of the 48th Higlanders suggests that this is in fact the same Norman MacSwayd, and that he served as Pipe Major of the 48th in Toronto from 1895-1900:

Norman MacSwaydFollowing Pipe-Major Ireland, the pipe-majorship was held by Mr. Norman MacSwayed, a native of Dingwall, who had a military training as a piper and who was a strict disciplinarian and a thoroughly capable leader. He was known as a good piobaireachd player in Scotland, and had won honours at Braemar, and other Highland gatherings where were competitions for mastery in the music of Scotland. Mr. MacSwayed had in his band : Sergeant George Murray, Pipers Wm. Currie, Hugh Mackenzie, James R. Muir, John Suther land, John Trenholm, George Thomson, James Thomson, John Shire, and John Bryden ; Drummers Alexander Munro, Samuel McCracken, Harry McGowen, James Malbrough, Charles Hawkins, and George Cottenden. When Mr. MacSwayed resigned the position to return to Scotland, his place was filled by Mr. Farquhar Beaton.

JM, September 2010
-with thanks to Mr. Crawford’s book and to Iain Lang, Pipe Major, 48th Highlanders of Canada. Photo courtesy of the 48th Highlanders of Canada.


  • Fiona Jane Macswayed

    Interesting as my maiden name is MacSwayed and my grandfather was Norman and his father was Donald. Just trying to piece it altogether.

  • Norman MacSwayed was my great grandfather, his son John Burgess MacSwayde (local registries weren’t always reliable when it came to spelling) married my grandmother, Johanna O’Keeffe and as she was an Irish Catholic he was disowned (so I was told) by his family….

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