> Shirley Collins > Songs > Glenlogie

Glenlogie / Jean of Bethelnie

[ Roud 101 ; Child 238 ; G/D 5:973 ; Ballad Index C238 ; trad.]

John Strachan of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, sang the Scottish ballad Glenlogie on 16 July 1951 to Alan Lomax and Hamish Henderson. This recording was included on the Columbia anthology, The World Library of Folk and Primitive Music: Scotland, on The Child Ballads 2 (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 5; Caedmon 1961; Topic 1968; Rounder 2000), and in 2002 on Strachan's Rounder anthology Songs from Aberdeenshire.

Ewan MacColl sang Glenlogie in 1964 on his Folkways album The English and Scottish Popular Ballads: Vol. 3—Child Ballads. the album's booklet commented:

The earliest extant form of this ballad was sent to Percy by Robert Lambe of Norham; it was called Jean of Bethelnie and is dated 1768. The song is still fairly popular with country singers in N.E. Scotland. Learned from Greig and Keith.

John Adams sang Glenlogie on the anthology The Muckle Sangs (Scottish Tradition 5; Tangent 1975; Greentrax 1992).

Shirley Collins sang Glenlogie in 1970 on her and her sister Dolly's album Love, Death & the Lady. She commented in the album's notes:

One of the classic Scots ballads printed in the The Oxford Book of Ballads. Because there was no tune, I wrote my own. The ballad appealed to me at the time because of the triumph of love over all—even indifference.

Dick Gaughan sang this ballad as Bonnie Jeannie o' Bethelnie in 1978 on his eponymous Topic album Gaughan and as Glenlogie on his 1985 album Live in Edinburgh. He commented in the first album's liner notes:

The words of this version are a mixture of the version sung by John Strachan on [The Child Ballads 2] and that in Greig's Folk-Song of the North-East.

Lizzie Higgins sang Glenlogie on her 1985 Lismor album What a Voice.

Old Blind Dogs sang Jean of Bethelnie (Glenlogie) on their 1993 album Close to the Bone. Ian Benzie noted:

A song from “the verdant plains o' Buchan”. We recorded this song for demo purposes two years ago, and it has stayed in the band's repertoire ever since. Bethelnie lies north west of Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire.

Back of the Moon's Glenlogie is one of Iona Fyfe's “desert island choices” in Living Tradition 127 (2019). They sang it on their 2005 album Luminosity. They noted:

One of Scotland's few ballads with a happy ending! Findlay [Napier] learned Glenlogie from Andy Hunter.

Ron Taylor and Jeff Gillett sang Glenlogie in 2013 on their WildGoose CD Buy It, Try It (and Never Repent You). Jeff Gillett noted:

Ron worked with Shirley Collins in the 1970's, and he pinched this song from her! It is a Scots ballad which Shirley anglicised and the wonderful tune is of her own making. The story involves no deaths, no violence and no illicit sexual relationships. What it does feature is the rather successful use of emotional blackmail.

Iona Fyfe sang Glenlogie on her 2018 CD Away from My Window. She noted:

Over the years, I've had the privilege of hearing Peter Shepheard, Tom Spiers and Arthur Watson sing both individually and together. They recorded Glenlogie in their 2005 album They Smiled As We Cam In. I decided to put this version of Glenlogie to a melody similar to that of the ballad Annachie Gordon (Child 239). Otherwise known as Bonnie Jean o' Bethelnie, Glenlogie is one of the happier songs on this album! Lassie falls in love with a man above her station, man has got another lover. Jean claims she will die of a broken heart and has her father's chaplain write a letter. “Lord John” receives letter, finds girl and offers to marry her. She does not die, and they live happily ever after in Fyvie! Bethelnie lies north west of Oldmeldrum. Gavin Greig commented that Glenlogie was one of the most popular North East ballads. The earliest form of the song is titled Jean of Bethelnie and is dated 1768.

Glenlogie is found in Gavin Greig's Last Leaves of Traditional Ballads and Ballad Airs, Greig-Duncan 5:973, Child 238, Roud 101.

This video shows Iona Fyfe singing Glenlogie at Haddo House in 2017, accompanied by Luc McNally:


John Strachan sings Glenlogie Shirley Collins sings Glenlogie

There were four and twenty nobles stood at the king's ha'.
And bonny Glenlogie was floor o' them a'.

There were four and twenty nobles rode to the king's hall,
And bonny Glenlogie was the flow'r of them all.

There were nine and nine nobles rode roon' Banchory Fair
And bonny Glenlogie was floor o' them there.

Doon come Jeannie Gordon, she come trippin' doonstairs.
And she's fa'en in love with Glenlogie over a' that was there.

And bonnie Jean Gordon came running downstairs
And fell in love with Glenlogie above all that was there.

She called on his footboy that stood by his side,
“Now who is that young man and far does he bide?”

She sent for the footman that run by his side,
Saying, “Who is that young man and where does he bide?”

“His name is Glenlogie when he is at hame,
And he's o' the Gay Gordons, and his name is Lord John.”

“His name is Glenlogie when he is from home,
And he's of the gay Gordons and his name is Lord John.”

“Glenlogie, Glenlogie, you'll be constant and kind,
I've laid my love on you and you're aye in my mind.”

“Glenlogie, Glenlogie, and you will prove kind,
I have laid my love on you until in my mind.”

He turned him roon' quickly as the Gordons do a',
Says, “I thank you, Jeannie Gordon, but your tocher's ower sma'.”

He turned around lightly as the Gordons do all
Says, “I thank you, Lady Jeannie, but I'm promised away.”

Her father was a chaplain and a man o' great skill.
And he penned a brave letter and he penned it richt weel.

She sends for her ladies a bed for to make,
And the rings from off her finger she did them all break.

“So it is there a bonny boy who would won a gold band,
Who would rode to Glenlogie and bid my love come?”

When he looked on the letter a light laugh laughed he,
But when he read the letter the tear blind his e'e.

When Glenlogie got the letter, a loud laugh laughed he,
But when he had read it the tears blinded his eye.

“Go saddle the black horse and saddle the broon.
Bonny Jean o' Bethalnie'll be dead ere I win.”

Saying, “What is my lineage or what is my make,
That such a bonnie lady should die for my sake?”

When he came to her castle, no mirth there was there
But was weeping and wailing and tearing the hair.

An' pale and wan was she when Glenlogie come in,
But reid and rosy grew she when she kent it was him.

And pale and wan was she when Glenlogie came in
But red and rose grew she when she saw it was him.

Oh, Bethalnie, oh, Bethalnie, it shines where it stands;
And the heather bells o'er it shines o'er Fyvie's land.

“Turn around, bonnie Jeannie, turn around on your side,
And I'll be the bridegroom and you'll be the bride.”

And it was a merry wedding and a fortune done told,
And bonnie Jean Gordon scarce sixteen years old.