> Folk Music > Songs > Huntingtower

Huntingtower / Jeannie and Jamie / When Will Ye Gang Awa’?

[ Roud 345 ; Laws O23 ; G/D 5:1052 ; Ballad Index LO23 ; Bodleian Roud 345 ; GlosTrad Roud 345 ; Wiltshire 145 ; Mudcat 1838 ; trad.]

Mrs Russell of Tetbury, Gloucestershire, sang Jeannie and Jamie to Alfred Williams in ca 1915. He noted in his manuscript:

An old Scotch piece that somehow or other became established at the western end of the Thames vale. From the references to Germany it would appear to have been written about the time of Marlborough’s campaign in that country early in the eighteenth century. Obtained of Mrs Russell, Tetbury, late of Crudwell.

Belle Stewart sang Huntingtower in 1965 on the Topic album The Stewarts of Blair. Hamish Henderson noted:

Although popular all over Scotland for 150 years, Huntingtower is invariably associated with Perthshire. The first version on record, printed by Kinloch, is called The Duke of Athol. The poetess Lady Nairne produced an undistinguished rendering of her own, but the anonymous version sung by Belle is the one which is now universally popular. It was printed over and over again, in chapbooks and newspapers, and on broadsides, during the 19th century, and Scots singers have carried it round the world. Belle has of course seen it in print quite often, but she first heard it from her cousin Donald MacGregor, who died in 1926. The reference to Germany might suggest an approximate origin in the printed broadsides of the Seven Years War; however, it has been suggested (by Aytoun) that the song derives ultimately from the classic ballad Richie Storie (see Child’s appendix to No. 232 in English and Scottish Popular Ballads and Gavin Greig, Folk-Song of the North-East, xcv). The present text will be found in Robert Ford’s Harp of Perthshire 1893, page 121. It is often sung as a duet.

Rosemary Hardman sang Huntingtower on her 1969 Folk Heritage album Queen of Hearts, which was recorded live at the Bate Hall Hotel in Macclesfield on 29 December 1968. She noted:

There is little doubt that this song, also known as The Duke of Athol, is derived from a much older ballad, Richie Story (Child 232). One of the earliest printed versions of this ballad under the present title was in 1827 by Kinloch, the tune, however, is probably the one used for the original Riche Story, for it bears a close resemblance to one published by D’urfey in Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719). I was introduced to the song by Stan Fisher of Aberdeen.


Mrs Russell sings Jeannie and Jamie

“When ye gang awa’ Jamie,
Far across the sea, laddie;
When ye gang to Germany,
What will ye send to me, laddie?”

“I’ll send ye a braw new gown, Jeannie,
I’ll send ye a braw new gown, lassie;
And it shall be o’ silk and gowd,
With Valenciennes set around, lassie.”

“Tha’s nae gift ava’, Jamie,
That’s nae gift ava’ laddie;
There’s not a gown in a’ the town,
I like when ye’re awa’ laddie.”

“When I come back again, Jeannie,
When I come back again, lassie;
I’ll bring with me a gallant gay,
To be your ain guidman, lassie.”

“Be my guidman yerself, Jamie,
Be my guidman yersel, laddie;
An’ tak’ me o’er to Germany,
With you at hame to dwell, laddie.”

“I dinna ken how that would do, Jeannie,
I dinna ken how that can be, lassie;
For I’ve a wife and bairnies three,
An’ I’m nae sure how ye’d agree, lassie.”

“Ye should a telt me that in time, Jamie,
Ye should a telt me that lang syne, laddie;
For had I kent o’ your false heart,
Ye’d ne’er hae gotten mine, laddie.”

“Your e’en were like a spell, Jeannie,
Your e’en were like a spell, lassie;
That ilka day bewitched me sae,
I could na’ help myself, lassie.”

“Gae back to your wife an’ hame, Jamie,
Gae back to your bairnies three, laddie;
And I will pray they ne’er may know,
A broken heart like mine, laddie.”

“Dry that tearful e’e, Jeannie,
Dry that tearful e’e, lassie;
For I’ve neither wife nor bairnies three,
And I’ll wed nane but thee, lassie.”

“Think weel for fear ye rue, Jamie,
Think weel for fear ye rue, laddie;
For I have neither gold nor lands,
To be a match for you , laddie.”

“Blair in Atholl’s mine, Jeannie,
Little Dunkeld is mine, lassie;
St Johnstone’s bower and hunting tower,
An’ a’ tha’s mine is thine, lassie.”