Johnie Armstrong [Child 169]

DESCRIPTION: Johnie Armstrong "had nither lands nor rents," but "kept eight score men in his hall" by raiding. The king summons Armstrong to court. Armstrong comes; the king orders his execution. Armstrong instead dies fighting. His young son vows revenge
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1658
KEYWORDS: outlaw royalty punishment execution battle death
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1530 - James V of Scotland puts down the Armstrongs
FOUND IN: Britain(England,Scotland(Aber,Hebr))
REFERENCES (17 citations):
Child 169, "Johnie Armstrong" (3 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #6, #7}
Bronson 169, "Johnie Armstrong" (10 versions)
BronsonSinging 169, "Jhnnie Armstong" (2 versions: #3, #7)
ChambersBallads, pp. 31-36, "Johnie Armstrang" (1 text)
HarrisLyleMcAlpineMcLucas, pp. 56-61, "Johnnie Armstrong" (2 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #7}
Leach, pp. 475-477, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
Friedman, p. 240, "Johnie Armstrong" (2 texts)
OBB 89, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
Gummere, pp. 127-129+329, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
Hodgart, p. 106, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
Flanders-Ancient3, pp. 153-158, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text, from "The Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
Whitelaw-Ballads, pp. 355-358, "Johnie Armstrang"; pp. 358-359, "Johnnie Armstrong's Last Goodnight" (2 texts)
TBB 22, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
HarvClass-EP1, pp. 101-103, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
BBI, ZN1503, "Is there never a man in all Scotland"
DT 169, JARMSTR1 JARMSTR2
ADDITIONAL: Michael Brander, _Scottish and Border Battles and Ballads_, 1975 (page references to the 1993 Barnes & Noble edition), pp. 74-78 "Johnnie Armstrong" (1 text, 1 tune) {the text is Child's C, which goes with Bronson's #3, but the tune looks more like Bronson's #2}

Roud #76
BROADSIDES:
NLScotland, S.302.b.2(064), "John Armstrong's Last Farewell," unknown, after 1700
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Parting Glass" (lyrics)
SAME TUNE:
Fare Thou Well Bonny Gilt Knock Hall (per broadside NLScotland, S.302.b.2(064))
NOTES: Several English texts claim that Armstrong lived in Westmoreland, and raided the Scots. This is, of course, not true; he was a Scot. But neither side had much use for such an outlaw.
Izaak Walton's Compeat Angler refers to this tune (Chapter II), although in a strange list mixing folk songs ("Johnny Armstrong," "Chevy Chase") and art songs ("As at Noon Dulcina Rested," "Phyllida Flouts Me"). According to E. K. Chambers, English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages, Oxford, 1945, 1947, p. 181, the 1549 Complaynt of Scotland mentions a "Ihonne ermstrangis dance," which might well refer to the same Johnie Armstrong but probably is not the same song.
Evelyn Kendrick Wells, The Ballad Tree, p. 205, points out that Wedderburn's 1549 Complaynt of Scotland mentions "Johny Ermistrangis daunce," but it is not clear that that is the same as this song. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.2
File: C169

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.