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Sovereign's Piper


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ance of 5 p.a. for the upkeep of his pipe. This, in addition to his keep and having annually

1  Morning Suit
2  Dinner dresses of highland clothing
3  Bonnets
3  Pairs of Brogues,

amounted to a fair remuneration for his post in those years, and in 1883 he was getting 90 p.a. for his employment as Piper. He retired from active duty in 1883 and was appointed Head Piper. This extract shows his appointment, duties and wages.
Vic P.P. 16911   Note by Sir H. Ponsonby on a letter dated 19th April 1883. "Ross to be Head Piper.

To receive wages 80
House Allowance 30
For Pipes 10
Clothing 20"

and  in the  Letter book of the  Master of Horse-Accountant.    Jan   1881-Mar  1897   page   26  the memo is confirmed as follows:
"Mr William Ross on being promoted from 1st July next to the place of head piper to Her Majesty will receive

Salary 80
Alice, for Aparts  30
Alice, for Clothing 20
Alice, for Pipes 10
making 140 p.a.

He will not be required to be in constant duty or will he receive Board Wages. He will have to play at State Balls and if required he will have to play during dinner at Windsor Castle. He will have leave to play at the public places he has usually played at.

4 June 1883
Sgd G. A. Maude, Crown Equerry

Ross to have his state clothes renewed every twelve years."
It would appear that the State was more generous in the allowance for upkeep of the Bagpipe in those days than they are at present, as the present allowance for Army pipes is 2 p.a. When William Ross died in 1891 the Queen deplored his death.
In 1881 James Campbell was engaged as 2nd Piper to the Queen at a salary of 55 p.a. and he was able to have the same clothing as was granted to Ross. He also got 5 p.a. for ". . . Keeping his pipes ribbons etc in repair . . ." !! His duties required him to take charge of the Gun Room at all the Queen's palaces and to keep the Guns, Fishing Rods, Skates, etc., in good order. He was to take his orders from Mr Brown and to make himself generally useful. Campbell was a native of Kintail and had served seven years in the 42nd which had also been William Ross' regiment. In 1883 he took over Ross' duties as Gentleman Porter and his salary was raised

to 80 p.a. He was to rank next to and after the Sergeant Footman and it was in 1891 when Ross died that Campbell was appointed 1st Piper to the Queen so that he carried out all the duties of 1st Piper from 1883 until 1891 although officially 2nd Piper, but was paid as if he was 1st Piper. When Edward VII came to the throne on Victoria's death in 1901, Campbell continued as Piper to the Sovereign until 1910 when he retired. He lived the last years of his life in Fort Augustus where he died about 1930.
William Campbell, nephew of James was appointed in 1891 as 2nd Piper to Queen Victoria and assistant to his Uncle. The circumstances of his appointment are noted as under by Sir Fleetwood Edwards at Balmoral Castle.
"Campbell (James knows of no soldier piper that he thinks would do, but no doubt he says there are plenty of good men in the various regiments - but it appears that he has a nephew, an excellent piper who took the prize at Inverness - he is a teetotaller and at present with a Major Allenby at Ardrishaig as a piper. Campbell on hearing a soldier was required was reluctant to mention him: but Sir Fleetwood thinks Your Majesty may wish to know of him: he is 20 years old unmarried.
13 June 1891"
(The prize won by WiJIiam Campbell was 2nd in the Gold Medal 1890.) His clothing allowance was to be the same as the others and his salary 55 p.a. plus the handsome allowance of 10 p.a. for "Repairing the Pipes and keeping them in order". His duties were to assist James Campbell - now 1st Piper, wait at Her Majesty's table, and to play Pipes at all times when required. He too, was "required to make himself generally useful". He won the Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting in 1897. On the Queen's death in 1901 it seems that the post of 2nd Piper was done away with as it was in that year that William Campbell left the Royal Service. He went to Canada in 1913 and died after a distinguished piping career on November 1st 1960.
When King George V came to the throne in 1910 he already had a personal piper. Henry Forsyth had been in his service since 1905 thus presumably James Campbell (who would be aged 59 in 1910) was compulsorily retired to make way for Forsyth who was an ex Scots Guardsman and had been Pipe Major from 1899 until 1905 when he retired and became Piper to George, Duke of York, later Prince of Wales and George V. Pipe Major Forsyth continued in his position as Piper to the Sovereign with Edward VIM and George VI and it was during his tenure of office that King George V engaged Robert Brown and Robert Nico! as Pipers at Balmoral and it is well known how these distinguished players who are still in Royal employment, have enhanced the art of piping.
When the post of Sovereign's Piper became vacant in 1941 (presumably on Forsyth's death) the post

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