Kirkcaldy man credited for bringing Christmas carol to the masses

Lachlan translated the carol into English
Lachlan translated the carol into English

A Kirkcaldy man has been credited for bringing one of the world’s most popular Christmas carols to the masses.

Lachlan MacBean, a former editor of the Kirkcaldy-based newspaper The Fifeshire Advertiser, translated the words of Child in the Manger from Gaelic, which it was originally written in, into English.

From there, it became one of the best loved festive hymns.

Mary Macdonald, from the Isle of Mull, created the words of the song in Gaelic. She loved the tune named Bunessan and made the words to fit the music.

Lachlan MacBean, was born on November 6, 1853, and brought up in the village of Kiltarlity in Invernessshire, after his parents travelled from the Isle of Lewis.

He spoke nothing but Gaelic until he went to school where he had to learn English.

Lachlan was a bright lad and became a journalist, going on to become editor of the Fifeshire Advertiser, a weekly newspaper produced in Kirkcaldy.

He lived in Kirkcaldy for more than half of his life, dying on January 24, 1931, at the ripe old age of 78.

Lachlan was an elder at St Brycedale Church, and translated Mary Macdonald’s carol into the English language.

His gravestone is in Bennochy Cemetery in Balsusney Road.

So Kirkcaldy gave the English translation of Child in the Manger to the whole of the UK – as well as the Republic of Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the other English-speaking nations.

Child in the Manger

Child in the manger, Infant of Mary;

outcast and stranger, Lord of all!

Child who inherits all our transgressions,

all our demerits on him fall.