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Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland

DigiTrad:
BONNIE SUSIE CLELAND
LADY MARGRIE
THE GAIRDNER CHILD


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Gardner Lad (original) (2)
Lyr Req: Proud Maisrie/Bonny Maisrie/Lady Margaret (31)
Lyr Req: Bonny Suzie Clelland (41)
Tune Req: Bonnie Susie Clelland (18)
Lyr Req: Bonny Susie Clellan? (18) (closed)
Tune Req: Bonnie Susie Cleland -- Different Tune (8)
Lyr Req: The Gardener (from The House Band) (8)
Lyr Req: Bonny Susie Cleland (5)


emily rain 15 Jan 00 - 04:07 AM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 00 - 05:47 AM
emily rain 15 Jan 00 - 12:51 PM
Bruce O. 15 Jan 00 - 01:08 PM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 00 - 05:05 PM
emily rain 17 Jan 00 - 02:06 AM
Joe Offer 17 Jan 00 - 02:17 AM
emily rain 17 Jan 00 - 02:20 AM
GeorgeH 17 Jan 00 - 05:58 AM
Willie-O 17 Jan 00 - 11:42 PM
Abby Sale 18 Jan 00 - 10:14 AM
Willie-O 18 Jan 00 - 10:49 AM
Nancy 18 Jan 00 - 03:34 PM
sophocleese 18 Jan 00 - 04:17 PM
Ferrara 19 Jan 00 - 08:38 AM
GeorgeH 19 Jan 00 - 09:58 AM
Willie-O 19 Jan 00 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,live from the U Dub, it's emily rain! 19 Jan 00 - 01:23 PM
GeorgeH 19 Jan 00 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 19 Jan 00 - 03:08 PM
toadfrog 01 Jun 01 - 10:34 PM
8_Pints 10 Nov 06 - 10:46 AM
GUEST 10 Nov 06 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Vicky Clelland 18 Sep 14 - 08:14 PM
Jack Campin 18 Sep 14 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,guest 19 Sep 14 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,guest 19 Sep 14 - 03:31 PM
Jack Campin 19 Sep 14 - 03:38 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Sep 14 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Sep 14 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,gutcher 20 Sep 14 - 11:06 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Sep 14 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,guest 20 Sep 14 - 02:22 PM
GUEST 11 Mar 15 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,allan conn 11 Mar 15 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,allan conn 11 Mar 15 - 07:03 PM
doc.tom 12 Mar 15 - 07:46 AM
Lighter 12 Mar 15 - 08:30 AM
doc.tom 12 Mar 15 - 10:14 AM
Ian Burdon 08 Mar 16 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Rosa Alba 10 Aug 16 - 03:04 PM
Allan Conn 10 Aug 16 - 03:22 PM
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Subject: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: emily rain
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 04:07 AM

i thought i remembered someone asking about this before, but it didn't turn up in the Uber Search...

so does anyone know if "bonnie susie cleland" is based on a true/composite story, or if it was a work of pure fiction? a gentlewoman who visited my website wants to know.

i'm inclined to tell her i don't know, but since those were bloody times, i wouldn't be surprised if it was a true story. be grateful for any further intelligence on the matter.

thanks
emily


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 05:47 AM

Hi, Emily. Interesting song. For a start, I'll paste in the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index.
-Joe Offer-

Lady Maisry [Child 65]

DESCRIPTION: The Scottish heroine loves an English lord above all Scots. Her family, learning of her love and (in most versions) her pregnancy, prepare to burn her. She sends tokens to her love, but she has been burnt before he can arrive. (He takes bitter vengeance)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1822
KEYWORDS: love separation death hate hardheartedness family execution revenge
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South,West),Scotland) US(SE)
REFERENCES (11 citations):
Child 65, "Lady Maisry" (11 texts)
Bronson 65, "Lady Maisry" (13 versions)
Leach, pp. 208-213, "Lady Maisry" (2 texts)
Friedman, p. 74, "Lady Maisry" (1 text)
OBB 73, "Lady Maisry" (1 text)
PBB 40, "Janet (Lady Maisry)" (1 text)
Sharp-100E 10, "Lady Maisry" (1 text, 1 tune)
Niles 26, "Lady Maisry" (2 texts, 2 tunes; the second is short, and appears to be a mixed text)
Gummere, pp. 218-222+352, "Lady Maisry" (1 text)
DBuchan 11, "Lady Maisry", 29, "Lady Maisry" (2 texts, 1 tune in appendix)
DT 65, SCLELAND* LMAISRY*

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Mother, Mother, Make My Bed"
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Bonnie Susie Cleland
Sweet Maisry
Lord Dillard and Lady Flora

We have previous threads on this song here and here and here and here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: emily rain
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 12:51 PM

thanks, Joe. saw those threads. however, none addresses the question of whether or not this sort of thing actually occurred.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Bruce O.
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 01:08 PM

Child says nothing about any historical incidents connected to the ballad. However, I just recently put together a 17th century broadside ballad and it's 18th century and traditional versions to show that "The Wexford/Oxford/Lexington/Knoxville Girl" (Laws P35) was originally Anne Nicols. The date of her murder is given with the text of "The bloody Miller" in Scarce Songs 2 on my website.


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Subject: ADD: Lord Dillard and Lady Flora
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 00 - 05:05 PM

Emily, I've looked through all the resources I've got, and I find precious little. On the links I posted, I should have noted that none furnish the historical information you're looking for. All I found was this passage on "Lady Maisry" in The Viking Book of Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World:
Burning, or hanging, was the prescribed penalty in medieval Scottish law for sexual indulgence by an unmarried woman - unless her family protected the offender or found a nominal father for her child. Doubtless the unnatural cruelty of the brother in the ballad explains why it has disappeared from modern tradition.
I think that in another thread on this song (links above) Bruce Olson provided the "Lady Maisry" text that the Viking book uses.

John Jacob Niles, whose scholarship seems to be almost universally questioned, says, "Ballads containing the story-line of 'Lady Maisry' have been encountered in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, the Baltic States, the Germanic countries, France, Spain, Portugal, and, of course, England, Scotland, and the North American continent. In almost every case, there is agreement on the important points. The heroine rejects all the local suitors. An employee on her father's estate, a kitchen worker, or a rejected suitor reports that the heroine is about to give birth to an illegitimate child. She loses her life at the stake or in some equally violent manner, her true lover arriving too late to save her but in time to avenge her death with sword and fire." This more-or-less agrees with a note on Ballad No. 65 in Child.
Niles has another version he calls "Lord Dillard and Lady Flora:"
LORD DILLARD AND LADY FLORA
(Source: Ballad Book of John Jacob Niles)

"Oh little boy, oh pretty boy,
I'll give you meat and fee,
If you will to Lord Dillard go
And fetch him quick to me."

"Go saddle up my bestest horse,
The one that foaled last spring,
And let me have my bugle horn,
And I'll make the bridle ring."

"Oh Mother, Father, Brother,
How hateful are you all!
I soon will die a-burning,
And be beyond recall."

Lord Dillard and his merry men
For help they came too late.
And how they'll swing their trusty swords
Because of all this hate.

Lord Dillard went into the blaze
And lifted up her head,
But nevermore a word said she,
'Cause she and her son were dead.
I'd recommend you read the great story Niles tells of how he collected "Sweet Maisry" and "Lord Dillard and Lady Flora." It's a bit too long to type. It's too bad that the inaccuracy of some of his work brings everything he did into question. It's kind of like the guy who wrote the semi-fictional biography of Ronald Reagan - you don't know what's true, and what's not.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: emily rain
Date: 17 Jan 00 - 02:06 AM

fascinating, joe. it looks like we can pretty much assume that there was some incident that resembled the song, or at least that it was a very very realistic fiction.

i don't know about you, but i feel pretty darned lucky to be living in twentieth/twenty-first century US.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jan 00 - 02:17 AM

Hi, Emily - there was a segment on the radio the other day about a Jordanian woman seeking asylum in the U.S. to escape the thread of "honor killing." She had sex with her future husband, and her family vowed to kill her. Seems like most "civilizations" have had this practice at one time or another. As a man, I feel ashamed that it always seems it's the woman who suffers most in such situations.
I think it's safe to say that while there may not be an actual Lady Maisry or a Susie Cleland, the song tells a universal story, and Susie and Maisry number in the tens of thousands.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: emily rain
Date: 17 Jan 00 - 02:20 AM

jesus.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GeorgeH
Date: 17 Jan 00 - 05:58 AM

And, remember, Jordan is one of the most liberal of Arab states (far more so than, say, Kuwait or - possibly worst of all - Saudi).

Strictly speaking, in more liberal Arab states, there is no legal justification for "honour" killings (i.e. they are still murder in legal terms) - but practice is that they would never be brought to court.

This is rather close to my heart . . but, as I have said before, do resist the temptation to raise UK or US society to a higher plane than Arab societies on the single basis of their treatment of women. And that's very much the view of our Arab women friends, including those living in the west.

G.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Willie-O
Date: 17 Jan 00 - 11:42 PM

Another song of very similar plot is "Andrew Lammie", aka "The Trumpeter o' Fyvie" or "Mill o' Tefty's Annie". Child 233. It was recorded by Dick Gaughan on the first Boys of the Lough album. Child notes that the Mill o' Tefty is a real farmhouse, so there must be some veracity to it. Unfortunately for both Andrew Lammie and Bonnie Annie.

Who me, I'm just...
Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Abby Sale
Date: 18 Jan 00 - 10:14 AM

Joe - I doubt it will be great consolation to your "shame" but under Jewish law, both man and woman are equally punished for the most severe offense of adultery. Of course adultery was defined as a man having sex with a woman married (or betrothed) to another man but still, both were punished.

In the Scottish "Gaberlunyie Man" the foolish mother says if the eloping lovers are caught '...she'll be burnt and he'll be slain' but I've never been clear if she's just threatening or if she might have had some legal basis.

Far as I know Scotland past or present had no particular stigma attached to pre-marital sex or even bastardy. Just a sign of foolishness, not evil.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Willie-O
Date: 18 Jan 00 - 10:49 AM

This is speculative, but:
What these songs all suggest to me is that the higher a young woman's social status, the less freedom she had to go her own way in these matters...if she was a peasant, nobody would care that much who she slept with, (or at least it would be considered in a more practical light) but if her family was the local gentry or higher, all the interesting young men in the neighbourhood, like Andrew Lammie the local trumpeter, would be off limits. What a lousy deal for all concerned.

Not to mention
Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Nancy
Date: 18 Jan 00 - 03:34 PM

Although this doesn't address the original question, since the replys have concerned virginity and chastity in the 18th and 19th century, I thought this might be of interest to some of you. I found this in a post from searching out my roots.

More on premarital pregnancy and unmarried mothers: There is overwhelming evidence that pre-marital chastity was not particularly important to farming and labouring families in rural Devon ( and UK) in the 18th and 19th century - it was not considered important until much later in the 19th century, by which time middle-class values and Evangelical mores had spread widely throughout urban and rural communities . Illegitimacy was unacceptable, but it was extremely common for a bride to be pregnant on her wedding day. Apparently historians have calculated (no doubt by collating dates of marriage and dates of baptism of first born children) that more than half the brides in some English West-country districts in the 1830's went to the altar pregnant. (Ref: "Australians: A Historical Library - Australians 1838", Fairfax, Syme and Weldon Assoc., Broadway, NSW, 1988). The actual church ceremony was at this time less important as a sign of marriage than the initial commitment in the form of a promise or betrothal, which was often performed at home, before family members or other witnesses. A gift often sealed the arrangement. Couples often effectively started living together after this, and married when a child was on the way. Illegitimacy was more commonly a result of the breakdown of this common arrangement, than of promiscuous behaviour. Thus an unmarried mother had usually been promised marriage, but then was let down, abandoned or her betrothed died. In earlier centuries, jilted brides regularly appeared before the ecclesiastical courts to accuse their betrothed of breach of promise - this is because the promise of marriage made in the presence of others, as described above, was considered a binding agreement. The reason that brides were in their twenties when they became pregnant and then married was that a marriage was an economic arrangement, and required a certain amount of financial stability before it was undertaken. Hence a woman from a labouring or farming background often worked on the family farm, or as a servant on another farm, or in the town, and saved up for a number of years in order to be able to bring money or goods to the marriage, before she considered finding a partner. Once she was "promised" she became pregnant quite quickly, and pregnancy was the stimulus to become legallymarried. Teenage brides would have been fairly unattractive, as not only would they bring less domestic and farming skills to the marriage, but they would have less money or belongings to offer, as well. Very wealthy girls could afford to marry younger, of course.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: sophocleese
Date: 18 Jan 00 - 04:17 PM

My mother used to tell stories of the village in England where she grew up. The church was at the top of the main street so every wedding party had to pass down it after the ceremony. There was no way any bride could win as far as all the gossips were concerned: "Oh the neve of her, she's actually wearing white!" "Not wearing white I see, well you know why."

In other classes where there was a fair bit of wealth and influence to be inherited illegitimacy became a greater concern. Therefore women were expected to be virgins before marriage to ensure the existence of a proper heir. Lady Diana's father publicly proclaimed her virginity in the press before she was married to Prince Charles.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Ferrara
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 08:38 AM

This is a very powerful thread. I can barely stand to hear "Bonnie Susie Cleland," it moves me too much. In Helen Schneyer's version, she doesn't die because she's pregnant, but because she's just as bloody stubborn and fierce as her family and they hold the power. So when she won't give in, in effect she chooses to die rather than let them control the rest of her life.

But this thread makes the song even more poignant because of all that it says about parental and societal abuse of women or [of anyone who happens to be in a situation where they're powerless against an outside controlling force.]

I won't mention any of the other examples in today's world. "Too fierce to mention".... but it's nice to see other people being moved by the bigger picture behind the song. ... I may even be able to learn it now.... - Rita Ferrara


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GeorgeH
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 09:58 AM

Abby, re: '...she'll be burnt and he'll be slain' I'm fairly sure I've heard MacColl suggest this had some force in law in Scotland at some point. Also I've a tape of a broadcast of his with a song "The [something] stool" where he talks talks about the power of the "kirk" over poor people's lives, although I'm not sure exactly when this was; the girl who, in MacColl's words, had "loved well rather than wisely" sings very approximately:

"so I must mount the [something] stool and ye must mount the pillar [something about this being the lot of the poor] because we have no silver"

G.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Willie-O
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 10:22 AM

That's "Fisher Row" aka "Upstairs, Downstairs":

Now she maun mount the cutty stool,
And I maun pay the pillar
That's the way the poor folks dae
Because they hae nae siller

She gets to sit on the Stool of Repentance (whatever that is)--he gets put in the stocks. Clearly an unpleasant public consequence for getting caught out, but not in the same league as being murdered by your own family.

And there's a clear suggestion that they could buy their way out of the predicament--which also suggests that the real problem, as illuminated in Nancy's interesting post, is that they can't afford to get married and set up housekeeping. (And a lack of birth control options--the song also pointedly remarks:

"Had her apron bidden doon, the kirk would ne'er ha kent it
Noo the word's gang roond the toon, I fear I canna mend it.

One of my favorites to sing, as is "Gaberlunzie Man" for three reasons:

  1. they don't get caught
  2. I just love singing the phrase "Gaberlunzie Man"
  3. I am

    Willie-O


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,live from the U Dub, it's emily rain!
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 01:23 PM

Ferrara -- i used to think of this as "the obstinence song" for that very reason. i was attracted to the song for its melody and the beautiful refrain lines ("hey my love and ho my joy; wha dearly looves me"), so the first time i listened to/decoded the words i was dismayed! dear lord, can it possibly just _end_ like that? jean redpath says in her liner notes she gets that reaction from audiences all the time, and now that i've performed it a time or two i know she's not kidding.

to this day, i don't sing the song for its lesson, but for its aesthetic value. i don't like to lecture my audiences; if they learn something from the song, it gladdens me, but i don't really need it to change their lives. at least not today. : )


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GeorgeH
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 01:33 PM

Willie-O: Thanks for a much better recollection than mine, and improving on my text entry (aren't line breaks wonderful). And sorry, I wasn't suggesting it was in the same league as burning at the stake; just pointing out that at this particular level it was the poor that got clobbered by the church whereas the rich could buy their way out of it.

G.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 19 Jan 00 - 03:08 PM

"Fisheraw" and an extended rare early version from a manuscript, "Bogi-Don" are in the Scarce Songs 1 file on my website.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: toadfrog
Date: 01 Jun 01 - 10:34 PM

I suggest that it is a mistake to connect Susie Cleland, who was burned, or Bonnie Annie, whose back was broken, with "adultery." This is so for two reasons.

1. There is nothing in Susie Cleland about sex.

2. In Bonnie Annie, neither party was married, so, no adultery.

3. There are lots of references, from several cultures, to the practice of killing women for failing to marry as their famly wishes, conduct which has much more serious consequences than mere adultery. I believe it was Dante (possibly Macciavelli) and I regret not having a citation, who deplored the widespread practice of poisoning "our sisters and daughters" who refused to marry as directed.

4. It is prettiy well established that in contemporary Rajastan to burn women who fail to bring an adequate dowry. I wouldn't be surprised if something like that applied in mediaeval Scotland, especially to the upper classes.

5. If someone actually knows the answer, it would be interesting to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: 8_Pints
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 10:46 AM

Our dear friend Terry Whelan who died last month, told me after I had sung an English version of Lady Maisry, that he believed the song had been created by the English to put the "evil" Scots in a bad light! (Look what those nasty northen savages did to their daughters!)The version I have came from the singing of Chris Foster who got it from the Baring Gould collection. It was collected from a gentleman called Sam Gregory who lived in Beaminster. Apparently he only had about three songs, but each was a corker - I haven't managed to get hold of the other two yet!
By pure coincidence, Terry suggested to me, a few weeks before he died, that I should learn Susie Cleland.
Thanks all for an interesting thread
Sue vG


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 04:25 PM

Bonnie Susie Cleland, as spectacular as it is, is just one of many songs in the tradition dealing with parental opposition to their childrens' choice of a partner.
It's very easy to be smug and point the finger at those living in earlier times or of different cultures and beliefs.
The last Magdalene Laundry, where young Irish women were sent to be treated like slaves, beaten and abused (physically and sexually) for breaking the conventions of a Catholic society and not "honouring thy father and thy mother" only closed in the 1970s.
Jim Carroll
PS Hi Sue v


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,Vicky Clelland
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 08:14 PM

I really can't make a comment on the origin of Bonnie Susie Cleland but to say I'm glad I didn't live in that era !


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Sep 14 - 09:10 PM

The Edinburgh singer Jack Rutherford once told me that he had spent quite a lot of time and effort trying to trace a historical incident behind "Bonnie Susie Cleland" and came up with a complete blank. As far as he could tell, nothing like it ever happened.

The ballad suggests it was significant that Susie's intended was English. Not simply lower-class. Which fits with "8_Pints"'s suggestion.

Incidentally there's a beautiful tune "Born in St Johnstone and burn'd in Dundee" in the Blaikie Manuscript (on my website) which doesn't fit any version of this ballad I've seen - it needs shorter lines. So some significant alternative version has gone missing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 01:22 PM

Was Bonnie Susie Cleland present at the vote count in Dundee on 18th September?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 03:31 PM

At one stage it was illegal for a Scot to marry an English person. Cross border unions were not tolerated. I always assumed that this was the crux of the matter even although Dundee is a fair distance from the border.The river Dee which has a large population of Cleland's is however on or near the border and I have often wondered if we have a mondegreen situation here. There is no direct historical evidence of Susie Cleland being burned in Dundee but the victims name was not always recorded even although the amount of tar and wood is noted in surviving documents.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 03:38 PM

At one stage it was illegal for a Scot to marry an English person.

I don't believe you. I don't believe this either:

the victims name was not always recorded even although the amount of tar and wood is noted in surviving documents.

Who ever got burnt except for witches and a couple of victims of religious persecution?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Sep 14 - 03:41 PM

As others have already pointed out BSC Child 65 has actually no text in common with Lady Maisry other than the commonplace little boy who runs an errand which is present in many ballads. It has its own intro with no mention of being pregnant and the burning episode has significant differences. BSC, only collected by Motherwell, was found only in the Glasgow area. The likelihood is that it is a late ballad based loosely on the plot of Lady Maisry. It's not beyond Motherwell's own pen despite the fact that he claimed to collect several versions.

Significantly Child makes no mention of BSC in his headnotes.

As for JJN, well..... I think that's been adequately dealt with elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 10:28 AM

Thanks, Jack and Steve. It's important that people new to folk music be told that many of these heart-sickening tales never happened. Probably we should say 'almost none of these heart-sickening tales ever happened.'

I think such ballads were the equivalent of today's horror films, or possibly they were propaganda in some little-understood class conflict.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,gutcher
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 11:06 AM

An old marriage custom in Scotland under the name of "hand fasting".

A couple would agree to live together for a year and a day, if at the end of that period either rued the bargain they separated with no stain on the character of either, with the proviso that the one who rued would be solely responsible for any children begotten of the union.
If they remained together after the stipulated period the marriage was recognized as a legal marriage.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 12:56 PM

leeneia,
There are 2 main sections the big ballads are divided into (but there are others); one is romantic ballads which usually have no historical base, and the historical ballads which are actually based on real events, but in most cases even these ballads were romanticised to some degree and composed long after the event.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 20 Sep 14 - 02:22 PM

In both the English and Scottish Border Marches in 16th cent.marriage across the border was illegal except under license by the Warden. However like all March law it was difficult to enforce.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 15 - 04:02 PM

Based on the history of oppression and bloody violence between England and Scotland during this time, (remember Braveheart?) I would suggest that Susie Cleland could easily have been viewed as a traitor for daring to fall in love with an Englishman.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,allan conn
Date: 11 Mar 15 - 06:59 PM

What River Dee is on the border or near it? I'm maybe having a mental block here! I think the marriage rule was more trying to stop all the Borderers marrying across the frontier and building alliances and also England worried about the high levels of Scottish Borderers living in England. All a long way from Dundee though and at a much later date than Wallace's time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,allan conn
Date: 11 Mar 15 - 07:03 PM

Ah The Dee in Galloway I presume! Not on the border or even in the Borders though and nowhere near Dundee


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: doc.tom
Date: 12 Mar 15 - 07:46 AM

"BSC, only collected by Motherwell, was found only in the Glasgow area." However Palmer publishes BSC in 'Folk Songs Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams' (no.3 p4.) and says it is the only version 'which has turned up in England'. Orignal text was 'fragmentary'so no idea how much RVW 'completed' it from Motherwell. The RVW/Palmer was the version recorded by Oyster Band which is where I first came across it - as, I suspect, did most others!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Mar 15 - 08:30 AM

> the version recorded by Oyster Band

Hi, Tom. Didn't Jean Redpath record it before that?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: doc.tom
Date: 12 Mar 15 - 10:14 AM

Hi Jon. You may well be right - I wasn't aware.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Ian Burdon
Date: 08 Mar 16 - 03:12 PM

To the best of my knowledge Bonnie Susie Cleland, in the form usually sung, first appeared in Motherwell's Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern in 1827. Certainly that volume states Never Before Published" under the title. Whether it existed in that form prior to publication is a moot point.

And yes, Jean Redpath recorded a lovely version accompanied by Abby Newton on cello. It's on YouTube I think.

Jack C, as well as witchcraft, strangling and burning was the standard punishment in medieval/early modern Scots law for bestiality too. This was a crime against Natural Law and the animal was usually killed at the same time and its body burnt as well. There is a case in Inveraray where the local magistrates express sorrow that the animal is already dead so they can't judicially kill it. Buggery/Sodomy was likely to lead to burning too. Drop me an email for references if you want.

Re discussion of "adultery" above: in medieval/early modern Scots law, together with the catch-all "fornication", it was indeed a capital offence, especially post-Reformation when Leviticus Ch. 22 was incorporated into the criminal law for a while. However it would normally lead to hanging rather than burning. By 1660, although still capital, sentence for adultery was more commonly commuted to whipping/scourging (for both man and/or woman) and banishment unless there were other aggravating factors, it being a civilised age...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: GUEST,Rosa Alba
Date: 10 Aug 16 - 03:04 PM

1) Cleland is not a Dundee name, but a Lanarkshire name;
2) During some period of time around 1651, women who consorted w English soldiers were killed;
3) Marriage to English was only illegal during some period of time around the death of MQS, so 1582, briefly;
4) Witches were burnt in Dundee and elsewhere;
5) Illicit sexual union could be punished, sometimes by death (but usually not;
6) If pregnant and known to be pregnant, however, a woman would not be killed at least till after the birth.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Bonnie Susie Cleland
From: Allan Conn
Date: 10 Aug 16 - 03:22 PM

The name Cleland supposedly originated in Lanarkshire but of course it is not restricted to Lanarkshire. Black's "Surnames Of Scotland" gives some of the very early examples of the name in Linlithgow and Edinburgh!


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