> Shirley Collins > Songs > Glenlogie

Glenlogie / Jean of Bethelnie

[ Roud 101 ; Child 238 ; G/D 5:973 ; Ballad Index C238 ; Mudcat 111710 ; 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.

Mirk sang Glenlogie on their 1982 Springthyme album Tak a Dram Afore Ye Go. They noted:

Known also as Jean o Bethelnie, this ballad has long been popular in the North-East. The story is powerful but as Gavin Greig said, “Glenlogie has been greatly helped by its tune which is a very fine one with Celtic affinities.”

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

Old Blind Dogs sang Jean o’ Bethelnie in 1991 on their first and eponymous album, the cassette Old Blind Dogs, and in 1993 on their 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.

Jim Malcolm sang Glenlogie in a Glenfarg City Hall, Scotland, concert on 22-23 November 2003. This recording was included in 2004 on his album Live in Glenfarg. He noted:

This was my favourite Old Blind Dogs song before I joined the band—it’s so upfront and positive. The rhythm is a bit like that of a horse cantering along, although my own equestrian experience is strictly limited to donkeys on the beach.

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

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

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.

She called on his footboy that stood by his side,
“Now who is that young man and far 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.”

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

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

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

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

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

Shirley Collins sings Glenlogie

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

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

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 from home,
And he’s of the gay Gordons and his name is Lord John.”

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

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

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

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.

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

“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.

Mirk sing Glenlogie

There were nine and nine nobles rade through Banchory fair.
And bonnie Glenlogie wis the flouer that wis there.

There were nine and nine nobles sat at the King’s dine.
But bonnie Glenlogie wis the flouer o twice nine.

Doon cam Jeannie Gordon she cam trippin doon the stairs.
And she’s chosen Glenlogie mang aa that were there.

She called for his footboy wha ran by his side,
Sayin, “Wha is the young man. an whaur does he bide?”

“He’s styled Glenlogie when he is at hame,
And he’s o the noble Gordons and his name it’s Lord John.”

“Glenlogie, Glenlogie, gin ye’ll prove kind.
My love is laid on ye, noo I’ve told ye ma mind.”

The Gordon turned lichtly as Gordon does aa,
“I thank ye Jeannie Gordon but I’m promised awa.”

She called for her maidens tae mak her a bed,
Wi ribbons an napkins tae tie up her head.

“Oh lay me doon gently, ma face tae the wa;
Tak the rings fae ma fingers, ma jewels an aa.”

But her faither’s ain chaplain, bein a man o great skill;
Weel he wrote a braid letter and indited it weel.

“Glenlogie, Glenlogie when ye are at hame;
This lady’s love’s laid on ye, must she die in her prime?”

When Logie got the letter, he bein amang men,
It’s oot spake Glenlogie, “What’s this young woman mean?

Gae saddle me the black horse, gae saddle me the broon;
Bonnie Jean o Bethelnie will be deid ere I win.”

Noo pale and wan wis she when Logie cam in,
But reid and rosy grew she when she kent it wis him.

“Turn roon Jeannie Gordon, turn tae yer richt side.
For I’ll be yer bridegroom. and ye’ll be my bride.”

Noo Jeannie’s got mairrit and her tocher’s doon told;
Bonnie Jean o Bethelnie, scarce sixteen years old.

Bethelnie, Bethelnie, ye shine whaur ye stand,
May the heather bells roon ye shine o’er Fyvie’s land.