Lord Elpus on the Whisky Trail

Lefay's Regiment of Foot was raised during 1744 by Sir Morgan Lefay, Lord Elpus, at his own expense.  The officers generally came from his family or by purchase by the sons of nearby landowners.  The sergeants were drawn from his household retainers and those of his neighbours while men from these estates, ale houses, prisons and poorhouses made up the rank and file.  There were few former soldiers and fewer veterans and mostly these came from the prisons and ale houses.

Sir Morgan decided on the traditional colours of his coat of arms for the uniform; purple facings and gold lace.  And for the Regimental symbol at the centre of the colours he chose the family Fleur de Lys in gold.  

Sir Morgan was well known at court for telling everyone who would listen that he could trace the family tree back to Arthurian times and even claimed descent from an ancient legendary family from pre-history.  He is also known for despising anyone he did not deem to be English particularly the Irish, Welsh and Scots.  He just about tolerated Germans, at least in the hearing of the King and his advisers. 

The regiment formed quickly and their training was completed as they marched north to join Cumberland’s Army but arrived just too late for the battle at Drumossie Moor.  On arrival the regiment was assigned peace keeping duties on the West Coast and keeping Wade’s Military Roads open and free from trouble. 

Sir Morgan has received orders to escort the Excise Man, Clarence Sales, to Braevar in Glen Affahr to collect the taxes due from Clan MacItallop.  He decided to show the flag on this the first visit by the redcoats to the glen and sent the Colonel’s Company under the command of his nephew Captain Gideon Shandy.  Lt Courtleigh Manners carries the King’s Colour and Lt Fairleigh Lowe the purple Regimental Colour. He has Lieutenant Grant MacPhee with a small force of Government highlanders and Cornet Horace Cope’s troop of Dragoons. 

A highlander from the rival MacFauls clan has told him, “Aye, they’ve hi the still in glen.  It is well hid an’ it sits about a fermer’s but an ben (farm house) near a wee lochan (pond) an’ some stanin’ stanes.  Only wan wummin in the glen kens the hale recipe.  Mak sure yi git the richt wan.  So mind ye go careful fur the glen is hauntit an’ cursed wi’ gooliies, gaisties (night creatures) and bogles (ghosts) and ither weird beasties (creatures). Oh aye, dinnae upset the weird sisters or ye’ull git a curse on yer heid. An’ watch oot fur the White Lady o’ Braevar!”  Being a civilised man Lord Elpus listened politely and then dismissed the man and most of his story as the ravings of a whisky sotted, untrustworthy knave.  He did take note that he needed to search for a hiding place near a small house, that stands by a pond and some standing stones. 

 His plan is simple.  He will round up the clan, find the still and levy the taxes in silver or in kind.  He will lead the main assault party in person sailing up the Loch in full view to draw attention while the highland platoon, three platoons of musketeers and the dragoons circle round to attack from all sides and cut off any escaping highlanders.  His mission is not to kill the highlanders but to find the still and capture enough silver to pay the taxes and/or drive as many of the livestock as possible.  He would also like to find the woman with the recipe for the special whisky. Recently, whisky has become very popular with the aristocracy and he can see an opportunity to make a fortune from it.

 Clan MacItallop

Clan Banner Clan Battle Flag

Clan MacItallop have lived a fairly isolated life in their remote Glen Affahr for centuries.  They did not participate in the Jacobite Risings mainly because their remoteness meant that they were all over by the time that the Clan Chieftain Lachlan MacItallop of that Ilk heard of the raising of the standard,  So the clan continued  raising sheep, hunting haggis and drinking their own potent Glen Affahr Single Malt whisky (with the secret ingredient).  In fact they were largely forgotten, even by the Excise Men who always arrived to collect taxes but left empty handed the next day after a dram or two of Glen Affahr whisky having forgotten why they were in Glen Affahr.  They always remembered the hangover, though, and never came back.  It is now 1747 and a detachment of the English Lord Elpus Regiment has been sent to collect the taxes and whisky duties from the clan.

The distillery is set back in the glen near the foot of Ben Affahr with an ample supply of water and a small mineral mine for the special ingredient.  The settlement of Braevar is the home of a minor clan chief, Icann MacItallop.  The distillery itself, the storehouse, the distiller’s house and the Auld Hoose where the whisky is stored and the mine shaft to the secret ingredient along with a few cottages make up the settlement. 

The secret recipe is not written down but passed down through the female line of the MacItallop family.

Introduction page

Glen Affahr & Braevar

The History of Illegal Whisky


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