Malsite
Bio
Photos
Bands
Gigs
Songs
Cds
Contact
Home 

There's Never Been a Saint Kilda

There's never been a Saint Kilda
  That suburb by the bay was named for a sailing ship named after a lady
Jailed on an island by her husband... way west of Scotland

  And the St Kilda archipelago's dodgy etymology may well well involve a two tongue tautology
Doubly dubbed in Gaelic and Norse, Tobar Childer, is what Martin Martin thought was the source
But the main island and another further afield were named in Scots and Viking meaning Shepherd and Shield  
That's Hirta and Skildar, which led, for sure, to a helter skelter of nomenclature
Through decades of maps, names morphed and swapped spot, Skildar lost an R but it gained a dot
After the S and thence folks must've surmised that someone called Kilda had been canonized
Beatified with the power to bewilder, 'cos...
[Chorus...]
Rachel Chiesley was ten years old when she saw her father hung
Hanged for the murder of the judge who has settled his divorce, thus Rachel, too, was highly strung
But she found a beau in James, Lord Grange and their marriage produced nine kids
But as her looming gloom consumed her groom their doomed union was soon on the skids
But James was Jacobite rebel and Rachel had threatened to expose his sympathies
So he faked her death and had her forcibly transported westerly through the Hebrides
  Eight years she languished, she didn't speak the language, the arctic gales they chilled her
Then she was moved to Skye, again to falsely die, another three years mustn't've thrilled her
Til her third death sadly stilled her heart...
[Chorus...] [with "grotty husband"]
Sir Thomas Acland's wife was touched by Lady Grange's tragic tale
So Thom named his schooner the Lady of St Kilda and soon for Melbourne it set sail
And there on the north east Port Phillip shore it was moored for more than a year
So rather than Punk Town, Green Knoll or Fareham, the faux holy handle did indelibly adhere
Indeed, on the whim of the wife of a boat builder
[Chorus...]
  But was the lady, in truth, Hirta's Female Warrior, and what of the monk and the spring?
  Forsooth, the mystery history of the moniker donned upon this Hobson Bay forshore's a convoluted thing
  And the city name blame game aim of this little ditty's now pretty fairly fulfilled, aahh..

...but if there were a Saint Kilda
Then maybe they'd be named the patron saint of hardy hot headed women
Hard done by cagey cold hearted men, of crazy etymology crossing geography and canonizing cartography, then again...
[Chorus...]

İMal Webb 2019

I did rather a lot of research into this one! The History of St Kilda 1840-1930 by John Butler Cooper was very informative, but also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_of_St_Kilda and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Kilda,_Scotland#Origin_of_names have the guts of it.