Bagpipe Society Logo
Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

Guide to the Pastoral or Union Bagpipes

Pastoral Pipes in D. Bellows blown. Folded bass drone

Pastoral Bagpipes were played all over Britain during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, mostly by the gentry with too much time on their hands, and are the direct ancestor of the Uilleann Pipes.

Many surviving instruments exist in museums and private collections but attempts to make working copies have achieved mixed results, owing to the difficulty of setting the reeds correctly.

Pastoral Bagpipes are bellows blown, fully chromatic over a two octave range and use open fingering. There is a small but dedicated group of enthusiasts attempting to revive the Pastoral Pipes.

Countries and Places