Two stories about Travellers escaping from burkers.

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Title - Two stories about Travellers escaping from burkers.
Contributors - Stanley Robertson
Reporters - Barbara McDermitt

Summary - Two stories about Travellers escaping from burkers.

Two spinsters, Mall and Kistie, who were related to Stanley Robertson, were lacemakers who travelled around selling their work. One of them had an adopted baby. One summer evening they got lodgings in a barn on Speyside, but something made them suspicious that it was a burkers' ken [house]. They used a rope to lower the baby out of a high window and escaped. They hid in the cornfield for five or six hours until the burkers' coach went away. The baby was crying so Kistie gave it her breast.

Another story concerns a Traveller girl who went down to a burn [stream] on Donside to wash her clothes, and was chased by two men with cudgels. She warned her father that there were burkers and he was ready for them with a whip. He whipped the ear off one of the men - or perhaps it was Burke himself, with his missing ear. This story was told to Stanley by Lizzy Mary Hutchison. The burker tales go back to the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:05:59
Date Recorded - 1979.03.17
Date of Content - 1800 to 1850
Language - English, Scots
Genre - Story, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 65217
Original Tape ID - SA1979.030
Original Track ID - SA1979.30.A3; SA1979.30.A4
Audio Quality - Good
Audio Format - R2R

Recording Location:
  County - Aberdeenshire
  Parish - Aberdeen
  Village - Aberdeen

Item Notes - 'Burkers' were named after the notorious Wiliam Burke, of Burke and Hare, hanged in 1828. 'Mall' is a Scots form of 'Molly'.

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