The Bonnie Hoose o Airlie

Date 1952
Track ID 49656
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Argyll and his men come to take the House of Airlie but are defied by Lady Margaret [Ogilvie] whose husband is away fighting alongside Charles [the First]. She says she will not come down though he destroys the house and if she had more sons they would all fight for Chairlie.

Jeannie Robertson learnt this from old people 35 years previously. She had other verses but has forgotten them. She relates the end in prose, quoting some lines about the Earl of Airlie weeping for his smothered wife and children.

Item Notes

Text transcribed in School of Scottish Studies. 6 verses. Tune also used for 'Loch Lomond'. The ending given is not in Child.

The actual incident behind this song took place on 7th July 1640, when the Earl of Argyll, Archibald Campbell (1607-1661), destroyed Airlie Castle, belonging to James Ogilvie (1593-1666), the 1st Earl of Airlie. The two were on opposing sides of the conflict involving the National Covenant. Ogilvy had left with a force of men to aid Charles I, and the anti-royalist Campbell seized the opportunity to attack. Confusion surrounding the 'Charlie' referenced in the song has led to inclusions of verses linking the ballad with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite conflict of 1745-46, including a last verse in which Cameron of Lochiel (an eminent Jacobite) swears revenge for the crime.

Greig-Duncan vol. 2, pp. 170-175
'Tocher' 21 (1976) pp. 174-175
'Scottish Ballads' (E. Lyle, 1994) pp. 59-60
'Scottish Studies' 14 (1970) pp. 176-178
'Bothy Songs & Ballads' (J. Ord, 1930) p. 470
'Scotland Sings' (E. MacColl, 1953) pp. 18-19
'Come Gie's a Sang' (S. Douglas, 1995) pp. 12-13
'The Scottish Ballads' (R. Chambers, 1829) pp. 92-95
'Book of Scottish Song' (A. Whitelaw, 1845) pp. 545-546
'Ballads of Scotland' vol. 2 (W. E. Aytoun, 1858) pp. 265-268
'Vagabond Songs & Ballads' vol. 2 (R. Ford, 1901) pp. 167-169
'Traditional Ballad Airs' vol. 2 (W. Christie, 1881) pp. 276-277
'Ancient Scottish Ballads' (G. R. Kinloch, 1827) pp. 100-108, 273
'Till Doomsday in the Afternoon' (E. MacColl & P. Seeger, 1986) pp. 175-176
'Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads' (A. Keith & G. Greig, 1925) pp. 123-125
'Andrew Crawfurd's Collection of Ballads & Songs' vol. 1 (E. Lyle, 1975) p. 161
'Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland' (E. MacColl & P. Seeger, 1977) pp. 89-91
'Folk-Song of the North-East' (G. Greig, K. Goldstein & A. Argo, 1963 reprint) art. no. LVIII

Item Subject/Person

Campbell, Archibald (1st Marquess of Argyll); Ogilvie, James (1st Earl of Airlie)

Item Location

County - Angus

Village/Place - Airlie Castle








R794; GD233; C199;