Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origin: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey (Child #201)

DigiTrad:
BESSY BELL AND MARY GRAY
BESSY BELL AND MARY GRAY (3)
BESSY BELL AND MARY GRAY 2


FrankieB 28 Jan 01 - 03:45 PM
sadie damascus 28 Jan 01 - 04:08 PM
Jeri 28 Jan 01 - 04:13 PM
Abby Sale 28 Jan 01 - 05:05 PM
Jeri 28 Jan 01 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 28 Jan 01 - 05:21 PM
Rizla the Green 28 Jan 01 - 06:17 PM
Dave Wynn 28 Jan 01 - 06:18 PM
Garry Gillard 29 Jan 01 - 05:56 AM
Abby Sale 29 Jan 01 - 11:43 AM
Jeri 29 Jan 01 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,Brruce O. 29 Jan 01 - 06:06 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Jan 01 - 09:07 PM
Abby Sale 29 Jan 01 - 11:50 PM
Garry Gillard 30 Jan 01 - 10:00 AM
Llanfair 30 Jan 01 - 11:42 AM
Jeri 30 Jan 01 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 05 Feb 01 - 05:52 PM
cowboypoet 05 Feb 01 - 11:41 PM
cowboypoet 05 Feb 01 - 11:47 PM
Sorcha 06 Feb 01 - 12:57 AM
Garry Gillard 06 Feb 01 - 07:41 AM
Abby Sale 06 Feb 01 - 07:58 AM
Abby Sale 06 Feb 01 - 04:45 PM
Abby Sale 06 Feb 01 - 04:45 PM
MMario 06 Feb 01 - 04:59 PM
Jeri 06 Feb 01 - 05:24 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Feb 01 - 07:47 PM
Abby Sale 07 Feb 01 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 07 Feb 01 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 07 Feb 01 - 02:47 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Feb 01 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 08 Feb 01 - 01:43 AM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Feb 01 - 06:30 AM
Abby Sale 08 Feb 01 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,history, parlament 17 Jan 07 - 10:53 AM
DebC 17 Jan 07 - 12:34 PM
GUEST 17 Jan 07 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Debbie Barry 07 Jul 17 - 12:35 PM
Lighter 07 Jul 17 - 12:50 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: FrankieB
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 03:45 PM

I know a Scots song called "Betsy Bell and Mary Grey" by a woman called Janet Fenton (I think??)-- an eerie wee number about a couple of women who go out into the woods to live and get slain by men, for no apparent reason (as happens, I suppose, when you go out to live in the woods...there's a lesson in there somewhere but I can't think what it might be...). This is based on a fragment of an older song-- but I can't get hold of that-- does anyone out there know it?

Much obliged. B.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: sadie damascus
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 04:08 PM

This song was described by my father as the oldest lesbian song in English. The two women, shunned in the town, are obliged to build a cottage in the woods so they can live together. The boy who brings them their groceries bring them the plague. Forbidden the cemetery of their ancestors, their bones are tossed over the wall onto the heath, where they will "biek forenent the sin" (bake under the sun).

The song was revised during the 1500's so as to represent Queen Mary and Elizabeth Tudor:

Bessy kept the gairden gate, An Mary kept the pantry; Bessy Bell had aye tae wait, While Mary leeved in plenty.

(A sly reference to the years Elizabeth spent in seclusion or virtual imprisonment during the nervous Mary's reign).

and other verses were added at an unknown time (one states that the women refused to wear shoes of blue or yellow, but insisted on wearing the "shoes of green", a reference either to their older religion or to their alternate sexuality; does anyone know?) ____


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 04:13 PM

They weren't slain by men. If I recall correctly, they went out into the woods to escape the plague, but died of it anyway.

I think the lesson is that Plague needs only rats, fleas and people - not cities, although the rats and people are packed closer in cities.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Abby Sale
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 05:05 PM

Sadie: This is very interesting. Your description is more full than any other I've seen. What you are citing in the oral tradition that has been handed down with the song. Their graves are supposedly known near Perth. At least they are claimes in a 1781 letter. But there is no surviving documentation and scarce little internal evidence in the text. What we have is that they fled town to quaranteen themselves and avoid the plague. Nevertheless the plague came from the nearby town and killed them. Because of some sin, they could not be burried in the churchyard. Although lesbianism is a good guess, there's no evidence for it. Might be some other sin. Oral tradition gives mutual sexual contact with the delivery boy as the source or their plague. If he were married, that would be adultery and be a qualifying sin, too. The date is almost certainly 1645-7 when the plague devastated Perth (the local of the bower is said to be Lednock, 7 miles away.)

I believe the additional verses cited are written much later, by Alan Ramsey.

Good song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 05:21 PM

I think it's very interesting myself, Abby. I'd heard various things about the song and never knew where they came from. It's hard to tell sometimes whether a story has been passed down, or whether it just sounded like a good explanation to someone years later. (Hence the Ring Around the Rosie urban legend.)

Pedantic me wants to say you can get plague from someone with the pneumonic (pneumonia) form of it, but I don't think someone who had that would be delivering interested in sex, but I'll refrain. They may have been fooling around before the young man got sick, although it's not beyond the realm of possibility that people would have believed that regardless of the facts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 05:21 PM

The surving documents are noted by F. J. Child in ESPB, #201. They caught the plague from a young man who was bringing them provisions, and they died from it and were buried. 'The burial-place lies about a half mile west from the present house of Lednock'- letter of 1781.

The earliest tune for it is in the Guthrie MS, c 1675. A letter of 1781 placed the plague as that of 1666, but Prof. Child said it was probably the plague of 1644-5, since that of 1666 didn't get to Scotland. Allan Ramsay used a verse of it for a song of his own in his Poems of 1721, and Child (ESPB, #201) quoted a reference to the song in the late 17th century, but the earliest text of the ballad is that in C. K. Sharpe's 'Ballad Book' of 1823. Nothing known about them implies they were lesbians, or suggests any date prior to 1645.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Rizla the Green
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 06:17 PM

Steeleye Span do a great versio of this song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 06:18 PM

I liked this song from the singing of Steelye Span (Individually Collectively). But my interest was hightened some years ago while looking at an Ordinance Survey map of Northern Ireland. There are two hills (mountains)named Betsy Bell and Mary Grey.

I have not done any more research since finding them on the map but I really am curious if anyone knows them.

Spot


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 05:56 AM

The Watersons' and Martin Carthy's version is here, with a note by Bob Hudson.

Garry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Abby Sale
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 11:43 AM

Jeri: I'll leave you to be the pedant & look it up.

Pedantic me wants to say you can get plague from someone with the pneumonic (pneumonia) form of it, but I don't think someone who had that would be delivering interested in sex, but I'll refrain.

My recollection is that pneumonic form is the more virulent and deadly one. A person may have both p. and bubonic.

But the contageous stage, like most bacterial infections, begins well before the symptomatic one. Seven days, if I recall Bocaccio's scary-vivid description.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Jeri
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 05:28 PM

More than anyone wants to know:
Bubonic plague can get into the bloodstream (septicemic plague) and infect the lungs, causing pneumonia (pneumonic plague) which can then be transmitted person-to-person by "respiratory droplets" (coughing). Bubonic plague is transmitted by fleas feeding off infected rats (also any rodents such as ground squirrels, bunnies and cats) and then biting people. Overcrowding in cities contributes greatly to its spread, which is why moving to the country might have been a reasonable idea.

The incubation period is 1-7 days, but if a person with pneumonic plague isn't coughing, it doesn't seem too easy for them to transmit the disease, but I can see how it could be possible. The incubation period is the time between being infected and beginning to have symptoms - not when the person becomes infectious. It's possible they're infectious before they begin feeling sick. The book I have, Beneson's Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, doesn't say anything about this. I think pneumonic plague is so rare they may not have had a chance to study it much. There were only 12 cases of plague in the US from 1984-1983, and no cases of person-to-person transmission since 1925.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: GUEST,Brruce O.
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 06:06 PM

sadie damascus's verse is described in the Opies' 'The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes' as an adaptation of the ballad. Their history is close to that which I gave from Child above. The two lasses were both said to be in love with the young man that brought them provisions- so much for lesbians. They weren't buried in a churchyard because plague victims could not to be buried there, according to the Opies.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 09:07 PM

Plague victims in isolated places were simply left where they lay; there could be no question of a formal, churchyard interment.  In more heavily populated areas they were buried in mass graves ("plague pits") where there were enough people to do it; sometimes they were incinerated in their houses.  It has been suggested that the Fire of London might have been started deliberately to cleanse the city of plague, which it did indeed do.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Abby Sale
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 11:50 PM

But in the song and its oral tradition they a) were burried and b) committed. Are you suggesting the "sin" mentioned was having the plague at all?

Also, just because they (it is said) were having sex with the delivery boy, mightn't they have been having sex with each other? I have heard vague rumors that such ghastly things have occured.

Ok, ok. I've got a Merck right here at my desk but I was too lazy to stand all the way up. Quoting...

Man-to-man transmission occurs from inhalation of droplet nuclei spread by caughing patients with bubonic or septicemic plague who have developed pulmonary lesions; primary pneumonic plague is the result. A number of cases have been associated with household pets, especially cats. Transmission from cats can be by bite or, if the cat has pneumonic plague, by inhalation of infected droplets.

Bubonic is most common form...incubation from a few hours to 12 days...usually 1-5 days. There follows a description of symptoms nowhere near as graphic or specific as Bocaccio's. Primary pneumonic plague has 2-3 day incubation. Most untreated patients die within 48 hours after symptoms begin. With antibiotic treatment, mortality less than 5%.

As Jeri found, the actual contageous period is not clearly given. Bubonic is far less dangerous. Caughing seems to start well into the symptoms when you'd think Delivery Boy wouldn't want to be driving around with the grocery order. Still, if it were deliver or lose his job and in the early stages...and just maybe plague was trasmissable earlier in the incubation period through other bodily fluids than cough drops. WhatdoI know?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 10:00 AM

Ppl who say "I've got a Merck right here at my desk" suck. Unless I've got a Merck right here at _my_ desk.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Llanfair
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 11:42 AM

I was under the impression that lesbianism was never a sin, because "ladies don't do that kind of thing"
It's never been illegal, so these two would not have been ostracised because of it.
Spinster ladies often lived together, and were accepted by their community.
Cheers, Bron.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Jeri
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 05:29 PM

Garry, you've got a Merck right there at your desk. WARNING: the infectious, cookie infested site, swarming with virulent java script micro orgi-nasties locked up my poor, non-immune computer. It's a great site, other than that.

Before my computer got sick, I found Plague in Infections/Bacillary Infections.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 05:52 PM

I've started and new file of ABCs on my website, T2.HTM, and the first two tunes are "Bessie Bell" from the Guthrie MS, c 1675, (much the earliest tune for the song) and that from "Orpheus Caledonius", I, 1733. In addition there's given a mid=18th century Scots reel, "Mary Gray". .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: cowboypoet
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 11:41 PM

There are two hills called Betsy Bell and Mary Gray near the little town in Virginia where I was born and raised (dunno where I'll be when I grow up, but that's not germaine to this discussion). As I recall the local folklore said they were named after two girls who went berry-picking in the woods and were killed by Indians. What an amazing coincidence!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: cowboypoet
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 11:47 PM

I mean "germane" of course. I've got to stop punching the "Submit Message" button so quickly. It's just that there's *so* much fascinating stuff to read in here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 12:57 AM

I have no idea how germane this idea/comment is to the ballad, but 2 women living together have always been more acceptable to society than 2 men living together.....One of the women could be said to be chaperoning the other....and that could not be said of men.

A woman living alone with a cat would be more suspect that 2 women living together...especially without a cat.

From personal experience: I was a Ward Clerk in a New Mexico hospital when a young man with the Bubonic form of plague was admitted, about 1976/77. You would have thought the world was ending with all the precautions taken, but the buboes are not that infectious if you do not live with the rats/fleas that are infected.

It is difficult for a bubo infected human to infect another human, not so for a pnuemonic human. The pnuemonic form will spread like wildfire among humans.

I forget just what this has to do with Bessy Bell.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 07:41 AM

Many thanks, Jeri. I look forward to a geometric progression in the incidence of my hypochondria.

Garry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 07:58 AM

Of course Delivery Boy might have been in the early stages of bubonic form and non-symptomatic. BUT, he might not have been to the laundromat and still wearing flea-ridden clothing. I think that's a highly probable vector. I've been trying to find out from the county center for disease control 1) how early after infection a person in contageous [I feel it may be very] and 2) If it's ever transmissable as an STD.

But this is Orange County, FL and they don't know diddley. Actually, I'm 1/2 quite pleased the local health people have no experience with this particular problem.

Sorcha: That would agree with the Merck note that only good sterile technique is required, not isolation, if it's the bubonic form. (I remembered this - I didn't have to stand all the way up & reach it down again.)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 04:45 PM

OK. Good as I'm likely to find out. Infected fleas jumping off Delivery Boy is the best guess. As has been said way above. True, Delivery Boy might have been in the early stages of bubonic form and non-ill-appearing. He might have had a groin-area (external) bubo which ruptured and spread during a sexual contact - but this is a low-probability vector. I don't know if you would call that an STD or not. As to the other two forms, they are less likely as the severe illness would have been present before he'd be sneezing/caughing. Ie, he wouldn't have been tromping around the countryside by that time, according to the local head of epidemiology.

What "sin" would have kept them out of hallowed ground is another story. Anyone know any scholars of Church legal history?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Abby Sale
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 04:45 PM

OK. Good as I'm likely to find out. Infected fleas jumping off Delivery Boy is the best guess. As has been said way above. True, Delivery Boy might have been in the early stages of bubonic form and non-ill-appearing. He might have had a groin-area (external) bubo which ruptured and spread during a sexual contact - but this is a low-probability vector. I don't know if you would call that an STD or not. As to the other two forms, they are less likely as the severe illness would have been present before he'd be sneezing/caughing. Ie, he wouldn't have been tromping around the countryside by that time, according to the local head of epidemiology.

What "sin" would have kept them out of hallowed ground is another story. Anyone know any scholars of Church legal history?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: MMario
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 04:59 PM

From various things learned over the years - I gather that plague victims were considered to have died of the plague because of their sins (generic unspecified) - a good catchall; and were forbidden sanctified burial. I suspect it may have been one more way to collect fees and indulgances - "Oh - you just donated those lovely candlesticks to the church? This man obviously did not die of the plague!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 05:24 PM

Fleas don't generally munch on humans - they prefer small furry creatures. But if the rats were abundant and dying, the fleas would have been desperate, and delivery boy for lunch is better than starving.

Seeing as they didn't have grocery sacks back then, the fellow could have delivered them in a wagon or something, and the rats themselves could have stowed away.

I'm not sure about the sexual transmissability of exploding groinal buboes. Seeing a sizable supporating lesion would have a tendency to turn one off. Of course, people might have been less squeamish about such things back then.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 07:47 PM

I still don't think that there was any sin preventing normal christian burial, just practical considerations; in such areas, contact with dead Plague victims was simply avoided so far as was possible.  They didn't get a formal funeral because they were living in an isolated place and were probably not discovered until they were well past dead.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Abby Sale
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 12:25 PM

Malcolm: That's logical but I'm going by Child (A) here:

They thought to lye in Methven kirk yard,
Amang their noble kin;
But they maun lye in Stronach haugh,
To biek forenent the sin. [bask; in the face of]



Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 01:55 PM

'Sin' it is in C. K. Sharpe's 'A Ballad Book', 1823, but suspect that's a mistake for 'syne'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 02:47 PM

I should have added that it was C. K. Sharpe in 'A Ballad Book', that identified the plague as that of 1645.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Feb 01 - 03:02 PM

"To bake in the sun", surely?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 01:43 AM

See the glossary of Scots words in the Newcomers Permathread. Sin and syne are both Scots forms of 'since', and the line in question in "Bessie Bell and Mary Gray, just says their grave has been there ever since.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 06:30 AM

Sin is also a common Scottish form of "Sun".  John's glossary is good, but not so comprehensive as Warrack's Chambers Scots Dictionary and his Scots Dialect Dictionary, to which I refer in such matters.  Biek is not given, but would seem to be the same as Beik, which is defined under Beek, "to warm before the fire; to make warm; to bask in the sun or warmth of a fire; of the sun: to shine brightly; to add fuel to fire."  Also, "to bathe, foment".  Forenent: "opposite, facing, over against, in opposition to".  Hence, "To bake/bask in front of (beneath) the sun."  I think that this is the obvious interpretation of the line; no other had even occurred to me until Abby mentioned it.  Bruce's reading may be equally justified, but I do feel that mine makes better narrative sense given the context.  I don't have Child's notes at present, so I don't know if he expressed an opinion.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: Abby Sale
Date: 08 Feb 01 - 10:39 AM

Well, it's all speculation at best. Child helps little except to slightly upgrade the lesbian theory a bit. He cites the local tradition about the song (again, the only chance of making sense to to refer back to this as much as the text.)

He cites a letter of June, 1781 by Major Barry, the proprietor of Lednock... "When I came first to Lednock," says Major Barry, "I was shewn in a part of my ground (called the Dranoch-haugh) an heap of stones almost covered briers, thorns and fern, which they assured me was the burial place of Bessie Bell and Mary Gray. The tradition of the country relating to these ladys is, that Mary Gray's father was laird of Lednock and Bessie Bell's of Kinvaid, a place in this neighborhood: that they were both very handsome, and an intimate freindship subsisted between them; that while Miss Bell was on a visit to Miss Grey, the plague broke out in the year 1666; in order to avoid which they built themselves a bower about three quarters of a mile west from Lednock House, in a very retired and romantic place called Burn-Braes, on the side of Beauchieburn. Here they lived for some time; but the plague raging with great fury, they caught the infection, it is said, from a young gentleman who was in love with them both. He used to bring them their provision. They died in this bower, and were buried in the Dranoch-haugh, at the foot of a brae of the same name and near to the bank of the river Almond" (He note the Major's date is certainly 20 years late.

OK. Two probs still with this. I've never come across "sin" as 'syne' or as 'since' used as a verb. "Syne" is used very liberally with restect to time functions but I can't fit 'syne' into this sentence in any comfortable grammer.

Further, to bask in the sun troubles me, too, as they clearly have been burried, both in the song and the oral tradition. "Fornent" is an odd word - I glossed as you found, it's most common usage "in the face of, in opposition to" but I think this can extend to "in spite of," & thus even "on account of." "Bake" in this context clearly implies hell. (Both of these only work if "sin" means 'sin' in the first place.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: HistParl.Com - History of Parliament
From: GUEST,history, parlament
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 10:53 AM

The History of Parliament is a major academic project to create a scholarly reference work describing the members, constituencies and activities of the Parliament of England and the United Kingdom.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: DebC
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 12:34 PM

I don't know who the above guest is or the purpose of their post, but I want to thank them. I have just spent the last 20 minutes reading this fascinating thread!

Thank you, Guest,history,parliament.

Deb Cowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jan 07 - 02:44 PM

The 2 hills which lie close together near Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone, in Northern Ireland are Bessy (not Betsy) Bell and Mary Gray (not Grey). I seem to recall hearing from a man who lived not too far away that they were named after 2 sisters who had died of the plague (I had previously heard the Steeleye Span song).

I suspect that they were not from the area (ie Co. Tyrone) but that the name was given to the 2 nearby hills, probably by settlers of Scottish origin, in memory of an earlier event in Scotland, and I suspect also that, though possibly 2 women were indeed killed by Indians in Virgnia, USA, as referred to above it would be stretching coincidence too much for these 2 woman to also be called BB & MG. Many Scots-Irish settled in Virginia and they may have brought the story with them and used it to name the area.

Just to confuse things further, there was I think a real Betsy Gray (from Co. Down) associated with the 1798 rebellion there. The term "Hearts of Down" springs to mind here.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey (Child #201)
From: GUEST,Debbie Barry
Date: 07 Jul 17 - 12:35 PM

Bruce O.: I know the conversation is old now, but please clarify for me: what is ESPB, #2101, and what is the Guthrie MS? I'm studying nursery rhymes, but I'm still new to it, and my seach skills seem not to be up to the challenge of tracking down the answers. Thanks! Debbie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origin: Betsy Bell and Mary Grey (Child #201)
From: Lighter
Date: 07 Jul 17 - 12:50 PM

ESPB #201 means the song is No. 201 in Francis James Child's _The English and Scottish Popular Ballads_ (1882-1898). The indispensable reference!

The Guthrie Manuscript is a collection of tablatures found bound together with sermon manuscripts of James Laing, a Covenanter executed in 1661. The ms., app. not written by Laing, seems to date from about 1675-1680. It is in the Library of Edinburgh University.

Mudcat lost a great scholar when Bruce Olson Passed away some years ago. But his incredible website is still available, with all the links, through Mudcat:

http://www.mudcat.org/olson/viewpage.cfm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 16 December 5:50 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.