Date January 1952
Track ID 2937
Part 1

Track Information

Original Track ID


Original Tape ID



In this version of 'Binnorie', two sisters are courted by a miller, with the younger winning his favour. The jealous older sister invites the younger to walk and view the swans by the miller's dam, and there pushes her into the water. The younger sister pleads to be saved, even promising to "mak ye heir o'er all I command", but the elder sister leaves her to drown. The miller's servant discovers the body and alerts the miller: "It's either a drooned lady, or else a silken swan." The miller recognises the young sister by her hair, and digs her a grave.

Item Notes

Text and music transcribed in School of Scottish Studies. 13 verses of 4 lines (couplets with an interlinear refrain). Last lines vary according to narrative. Tune very similar to 'The Bonny Lass o Fyvie' (Roud 545). The contributor learned the song via his second wife, from her grandfather Sandy Ross.

Willie Mathieson's MS I:117
Greig-Duncan vol. 2, pp. 76-92, no. 213
'Scottish Ballads' (E. Lyle, 1994) pp. 113-115
'Bothy Songs & Ballads' (J. Ord, 1930) pp. 430-432
'Singing Island' (E. MacColl & P. Seeger, 1960) p. 85
'Scottish Tragic Ballads' (J. Pinkerton, 1781) pp. 72-74
'Book of Scottish Ballads' (A. Whitelaw, 1845) pp. 260-261
'Vagabond Songs & Ballads' vol. 2 (R. Ford, 1901) pp. 189-194
'Ballads of Scotland' vol. 1 (W. E. Aytoun, 1858) pp. 194-199
'Ancient Ballads and Songs' vol. 2 (P. Buchan, 1828) pp. 122-125
'Everyman's Book of British Ballads' (R. Palmer, 1980) pp. 91-92
'The Scottish Folksinger' (N. Buchan and P. Hall, 1973) pp. 84-85
'A Collection of Scots Songs' (A. Munro & H. Henderson, 1972) p. 36
'Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads' (A. Keith, G. Greig, 1925) pp. 9-13
'Ancient & Modern Scottish Songs' vol. 2 (D. Herd, 1869/1973) pp. 306-307
'Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland' (E. MacColl & P. Seeger, 1977) pp. 51-53
'Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads' vol. 1 (B. H. Bronson, F. J. Child, 1959) pp. 143-184
'Andrew Crawfurd's Collection of Ballads & Songs' vol. 2 (E. Lyle, 1996) pp. 48-49 pp. 103-105

Recording Location

County - Aberdeenshire

Parish - Ellon

Village/Place - Ellon








R8 GD213 C10

Source Type

Reel to reel

Audio Quality