Mary Maxwell Campbell


Pitlour house, an old workplace of Mary Maxwell Campbell

  • BORN 19th November 1812, Riccarton, Ayrshire
  • DIED 15th Jan 1886, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland
  • WORKED Pitlour House, Strathmiglo, Fife, Scotland



There is very little about Mary Campbell that is easy to access, so we don’t know if she had any scientific connections. If you have access to materials, or know anyone researching her please contact us if you’d like to help us make this page more fully reflect this wonderful composer.


Title: The Mole and the Bat
Words by: Mary Maxwell Campbell
Arranged by: Frances M Lynch & Herbie Clarke
Written in: 1876, published 1881
For: Voice and piano
Performed by: Frances M Lynch 
Produced by: Herbie Clarke
Premiered: Birnam Studios, London on the occasion of Campbell’s birthday (19th November) 2020

Note from the composer:

Looking through the original words – it’s a rattle through journeys by this unusual pair of animals to lots of different countries – there are some “interesting” stereotypes reflecting the different attitudes of that time. I would not wish to imprint these on children’s minds today – so I’ve adapted them instead to create little vignettes of scientific women from these countries, and made slight alterations in the music – which was simply repeated in the original. It’s a fun song that can be sung by or for kids and adults alike – and might just prompt them to go and find out more about the scientists it celebrates.

Title:  The March of the Women of Science (originally The March of the Cameron Men)
Words by: Mary Maxwell Campbell
Arranged by:  Frances M Lynch & Herbie Clarke
Written in: 1829 (2018)
For: Voices and Drums
Performed by: Frances M Lynch 
Premiered: National Library of Scotland, Jan 18th 2018

Mary Campbell composed her song “March of the Cameron Men” when she was just 16.

“I composed this song when very young, after traveling from morning to night through Highland scenery with a member of the Lochiel family.”

It tells the story of the involvement of Cameron of Lochiel in Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rising in 1745. The ballad was set for voice and piano, but she created a famous version of solo bagpipes which has become embedded in the pipe band repertoire through it’s early use by the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders.

The words needed only tiny changes to become the March of the Women of Science, which has become the anthem of Minerva Scientifica and is performed at every event.

Bagpipes – the instrument that made her tune famous


Unknown – but most likely she was taught at home.


As far as we know Mary was primarily a composer. She wrote songs and music for piano and bagpipes. Our favourite song is “The Mole and the Bat” (1876)


When March of the Cameron Men was first published in England it was attributed “to a Lady” – it was later that they began to mention her name – mainly as others claimed it as theirs!