Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

James Crichton Of Eliock's Strathspey

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

James Crichton Of Eliock's Strathspey (S96) Sq.Set Lewis N Derrick 1992

1-4 The 1st and 3rd couples dance half rights and lefts to end aligned with the standing couples
5-12 Giving left hands briefly as they pass one another in the middle of the reels, the 1st couple with the 2nd man and 4th woman and the 3rd couple with the 2nd woman and 4th man dances reels of four across the dance
13-16 The 1st and 3rd couples dance half rights and lefts back to original places, ending facing corners
17-24 Giving right hands to corners to begin, all four couples dance a grand chain, on the last left hand all turn partners into promenade hold facing anticlockwise
25-32 All promenade anticlockwise round the set
33-36 With the men passing left shoulders in the centre, the 1st and 3rd couples continue to promenade around one another
37-40 The 1st and 4th couples and the 3rd and 2nd couples dance right hands across, dancing out to original places at the end
41-48 All dance eight hands round and back
49-52 The 2nd and 4th couples dance half rights and lefts to end aligned with the standing couples
53-60 Giving left hands briefly as they pass one another in the middle of the reels, the 2nd couple with the 3rd man and 1st woman and the 4th couple with the 3rd woman and 1st man dances reel of four up and down the dance
61-64 The 2nd and 4th couples dance half rights and lefts back to original places, ending facing corners
65-72 Giving right hands to corners to begin, all four couples dance a grand chain, on the last left hand all turn partners into promenade hold facing anticlockwise
73-80 All promenade anticlockwise around the set
81-84 With the men passing left shoulders in the centre, the 2nd and 4th couples continue to promenade around one another
85-88 The 2nd and 1st couples and the 4th and 3rd couples, dance right hands across, dancing out to original places at the end
89-96 All dance eight hands round and back

(Dance Crib compiled by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick 2020)


Dance Information

This dance, James Crichton Of Eliock's Strathspey, was devised to commemorate the Admirable Crichton (1560-1582).

Suggested tune: The Rothiemurchus Rant.

Devised March 1992; first published 1992; republished electronically 2020.

Copyright 1992, 2020 Lewis N. Derrick.


James Crichton, known as the Admirable Crichton (1560 - 1582), was a Scottish polymath noted for his extraordinary accomplishments in languages, the arts, and sciences before he was murdered at the age of 21.

James Crichton was from Clunie, in Perthshire, although some sources maintain his birthplace was Dumfries. He was the son of Robert Crichton of Eliok, Lord Advocate of Scotland, and Elizabeth Stewart, from whose line James could claim Royal descent.

One of the most gifted individuals of the 16th century, Crichton was educated at St Andrews University between the ages of ten and fourteen, during which time he completed requirements for both his bachelor's and master's degrees. James was taught by the celebrated Scottish scholar, politician and poet George Buchanan (1506-1582). It was apparent from his earliest days that James was an unusually gifted prodigy, which may have been associated with a gift for perfect recall.

By the age of twenty, he was not only fluent in, but could discourse in (both prose and verse) no fewer than twelve languages, as well as being an accomplished horseman, fencer, singer, musician, orator, and debater. Noted for his good looks as well as his refined social graces, he was considered to have come closest to the ideal of the complete man.

James Crichton Of Eliock's Strathspey Engraving
"Portrait Of James Crichton (1560-1582)" John Hall (1739-1797), Line Engraving, c. 1774


Dance information from The McGhie Scottish Country Dance Books, Volume 5, The Real McGhie And Other Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Lewis N Derrick.
Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original James Crichton article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright John Hall / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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