Published: April 30, 2010

Last supper for Little Supper castle?

The castle that is the legendary scene of the inspiration for the piobaireachd, “Lament for the Little Supper,” may meet its end if something isn’t done soon to preserve it. Rait Castle, near Nairn, Scotland, is owned by the family of the Earl of Cawdor and needs restoration work to prevent it from crumbling completely.

Erected in the 13th century, Rait Castle was the location of a large dinner in 1442 organized for the clan MacKintosh by the chief of Clan Cumming, to which the castle was a fortress. The Cummings plotted to massacre the MacKintoshes, but the plan was foiled when the daughter of the Cumming chieftain, who was romantically involved with a MacKintosh, gave it away.

With the MacKintoshes ready, they killed all of the Cummings but the chief, who then, as legend has it, chased his daughter and chopped off her hands with a broadsword as she fled from a window. Since the massacre, the castle has not been lived in, but the event was commemorated with the short but beautiful piobaireachd, “Lament for the Little Supper.”

Like most Scottish tales, a ghost of the Cummings girl reportedly haunts the ruins.

Locals are asking the Earl of Cawdor’s family to conserve the ruin, but the family maintains that the property should be maintained by Historic Scotland.

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