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Origins: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray

DigiTrad:
BONNY EARL OF MURRAY
THE BONNY EARL OF MURRAY (2)


Related thread:
Tune Req: Bonny Earl of Murray - 2nd tune recs? (9)


Uncle_DaveO 05 Jun 06 - 09:14 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Jun 06 - 10:05 PM
Charley Noble 05 Jun 06 - 10:08 PM
Folkiedave 06 Jun 06 - 02:07 AM
Little Robyn 06 Jun 06 - 02:36 AM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Jun 06 - 11:54 AM
IanC 06 Jun 06 - 12:06 PM
Effsee 06 Jun 06 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,J C 06 Jun 06 - 01:46 PM
Uncle_DaveO 06 Jun 06 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,DB 06 Jun 06 - 02:14 PM
Megan L 06 Jun 06 - 02:19 PM
Tootler 06 Jun 06 - 02:30 PM
Megan L 06 Jun 06 - 03:15 PM
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Subject: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Jun 06 - 09:14 PM

After some searching, I've not been able to learn the historical facts behind The Bonny Earl o' Moray.

I had wrongly assumed the incident to have happened in the reign of Mary, but I gather that it was already a ballad by that time.

Can someone enlighten (or correct) me?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Jun 06 - 10:05 PM

Look for Murray, not Moray, and you will probably find all the information you need. Child 181: the incident (1592) is quite well documented.


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Jun 06 - 10:08 PM

It's a "Murray" not a "Moray" which could be the basis for an entirely new ballad.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Folkiedave
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 02:07 AM

.......and Lady Mondegreen, don´t forget Lady Mondegreen.......


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Little Robyn
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 02:36 AM

I betcha there's more info here on the Lady than the Earl!
I just love Lady Mondegreen.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 11:54 AM

Until I looked in Mudcat search and read what I could find in the DT and various threads, I had NEVER heard this song quoted as referring to "Murray". Always "Moray".

What's more, having read a good deal about Scottish history, I find a good deal about "Moray" and various Earls thereof, but never a "Murray".
Most recently, reading a biography of Mary, her bastard half brother James was Earl of Moray, so spelled. But James is not the one this song is about, who was killed by a Huntley at some earlier time. And there were references to previous Earls of Moray. But which one? And in whose reign?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: IanC
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 12:06 PM

Dave

Until the C19th we didn't have regular spelling. People just spelt things as they said them. There's even good evidence that the same person would spell his or her name differently on different occasions as late as the 18th Century. Murray is Moray, so you have to look for both - or alternatively use SOUNDEX (which is what all the professional genealogical searches use).

;-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Effsee
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 01:43 PM

Uncle Dave O, you may get better results if you search under his name rather than his title, or a mixture of both name and title.
James Stewart, Second (Bonnie) Earl of Moray.
His murder took place in 1592 at Donniebristle Castle in Fife, the perpetrator being one of the Gordons of Huntly who was sent by James the sixth to arrest him on conspiracy charges.
A macabre painting of his slain body, commissioned by his mother, showing all the wounds he had suffered hangs in the Castle to this day.
Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: GUEST,J C
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 01:46 PM

Everything you wanted to know in Edward D Ives book The Bonny Earl of Murray - The Man, The Murder, The Ballad (Tuckwell Press 1997) Also article by Ian A Olsen entitled 'The Dreadful Death of The Bonny Earl of Murray' in 1997 Folk Music Journal.
MacColl wrote a fascinating piece on it, with a new insight into Murray's status back in the 1960s in Tradition magazine - probably unobtainable now.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 02:06 PM

Okay, in case you've been holding your breath for the answer to my original question about time and circumstances, I will say that I was surprised (details later) to find the following on Rampantscotland.com:

Traditional Scottish Songs
- The Bonnie Earl Of Moray

In 1592, during the reign of King James VI, the Earl of Huntly was given a commission by the king to hunt down the Earl of Moray (who was married to Elizabeth, the king's cousin). He tracked him down to a house in Donibristle in Fife but the Earl of Moray would not surrender. The house was set on fire and the Earl of Moray was killed. During the fracas, Huntly gashed his face. "You have spoiled a better face than your own," said the dying Earl of Moray. The Morays were the hereditary keepers of Doune castle in Perthshire.


I said I was surprised. Actually I was surprised on two counts.

First, I have been reading, as I mentioned, a book about Mary. I referred to it as a biography, but it's a biographical NOVEL, Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Outer Isles. The author had someone singing this song during Mary's reign, which turns out to be an anachronism, because it appears from the above to have happened in the reign of her son, James VI (and I of England).   

The second source of surprise to me is that I had always taken "his lady" to be looking down ("doon") from the castle. According to the above, however, it should be "the castle Doune", being a proper noun, not a direction.

All of which, of course, depends on the accuracy of the entry above from RampantScotland.Com.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 02:14 PM

I've cited this before, on another thread, but you might like to look for a book called, 'Blood Feud: The Stewarts & Gordons At war in the age of Mary Queen of Scots', by (would you believe?!) Harry Potter, pub. by Tempus Publishing Ltd. UK, 2002 (ISBN 1-888-313-2665). The paperback copy, in my possession, has a startling and rather gruesome cover which reproduces a contemporary picture of the dead Earl - complete with sword slashes and bullet wounds!

By the way, Potter uses the 'Moray' spelling throughout.


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Megan L
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 02:19 PM

The Bonny Earl was obviously a later relative of perhaps one of the finest women in Scottish history Black Agnes who routed the earl of salisbury in 1338.

The english earl thinking to make her surrender brought up her brother the earl of moray whom he had taken prisoner. the lady simply told him to go ahead and kill the earl as she would inherit the title . She held the castle from the 13th january till the 10th of june when the poor english earl gave up and went home.


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Subject: RE: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Tootler
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 02:30 PM

In fact there were two Earls of Moray murdered, which could account for some of the confusion. The first Earl of Moray was James Stewart, and illegitemate son of James V. He became regent of Scotland after Mary Stewart fled Scotland in 1568. He was murdered in 1570, shot by a Hamilton (my source does not say which) while riding through Linlithgow.

The second Earl of Moray, son in law of the first Earl was the one murdered in 1592 by the Earl of Huntly and is the subject of the ballad. As my source puts it "Moray won a literary immortality he personally did not merit".

Source:
A History of Scotland by Rosalind Mitchison, (1970)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Time & Circumstances,Bonny Earl o Moray
From: Megan L
Date: 06 Jun 06 - 03:15 PM

No wonder there is confusion there are two references to the 1st earl of moray. Thomas Randolph died 1332 and james Stewart died 1570.


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