To the Editor of the
SIR,-In the October issue of your journal I had hoped to find a
biographical article on the late Walter Cecil MacFarren, but I observe
there is only a paragraph in which the reader is referred to a
biographical sketch which appeared in your issue of January 1898. In
that article there is a paragraph which reads as follows: 'The subject
of our sketch is often taken to be a Scotchman by reason of the "Mac" in
his name; but he can lay no claim to that nationality. Once, at a Scotch
banquet, he felt much aggrieved at finding his "Highland War Song," for
male voices, set down in the programmes "Traditional". Permit me to say
that the writer of that biographical sketch was not well-informed. Not
only was Walter Macfarren connected with Scotland, but he and his
brothers George, John, and probably Basil, owed everything to their
grandfather, John Jackson, son of William Jackson, a farmer living at
the 'Barns of Clyde,' New Kilpatrick, Glasgow. This John Jackson would
have been born about 1750 to 1755. He learned the trade of a bookbinder
in Glasgow about the year 1780. He removed to London, and became so
successful that he bought the house, No. 24, Villiers Street, Strand,
for something over £836, and in which Sir George and Walter Macfarren
were both born. He had a son and a daughter. The son, a distinguished
artist, died in 1874, and the daughter, Susannah, married George
The Jackson family had many distinguished members. In the parish church
burying-ground of Eastwood, near Glasgow, there is a stone to the memory
of Andrew Jackson, dated 1663. This was just before the outbreak of the
Covenanting persecution of Claverhouse when many ancestors of the
Macfarren fought at Bothwells ridge, and many were martyred. George
Jackson was executed in Edinburgh in 1684 for fighting at Bothwell
Bridge. Thomas Jackson was despatched to plantations in Virginia, but
was done to death on the passage. John and Annatella Jackson were sent
to the same place, but perished by shipwreck on the voyage.
William Jackson refused
to take the oath of abjuration and, upon being banished from Scotland,
he settled near Londonderry. President Andrew Jackson and General
Stonewall Jackson were his descendants; so that the Macfarren came of
people of talent.
I could enlarge upon the Jackson branch of the family, but I have said
enough to clearly show that it was the Scottish blood in the Macfarrens'
veins which raised them to the position they occupied.
Yours very truly,
JOHN H. JACKSON.
167, West Regent Street, Glasgow.
October 28, 1905.
[So far as the Macfarrens are concerned, the above interesting
information-with its patriotic ring of 'Scotland for ever' - is for the
most part confirmed in H. C. Banister's 'George
Alexander Macfarren, his life, works, and influence' (1892); at the
same time it is only fair to this Journal to say that the material for
the biographical sketch of the late Mr. Walter Macfarren was obtained
from that gentleman's own lips, and that he read and corrected a proof
of the article. Doubtless he should have qualified the ancestry
statement to the effect that he could not claim Scotch nationality on
his father's side, despite his northern patronymic.-ED. M. T.]