Broom of Cowdenknows, The [Child 217]

DESCRIPTION: A gentleman sees a pretty (shepherdess), and lies with her (without her leave). She becomes pregnant. Some weeks or months later, the gentleman returns and claims her for his own
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1768 (Percy collection; tune mentioned 1632)
KEYWORDS: seduction pregnancy abandonment return marriage bastard
FOUND IN: Britain(England,Scotland(Aber)) US(NE,So)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Child 217, "The Broom of Cowdenknows" (15 texts)
Bronson 217, "The Broom of Cowdenknows" (21 versions+1 in addenda)
BronsonSinging 217, "The Boom of Cowdenknows" (3 versons: #6, #9, #17)
GreigDuncan4 838, "The Cowdenknowes" (10 texts, 10 tunes plus a single verse on p. 555)
Lyle-Crawfurd2 178, "The Tod Wi the Twinkland Ee" (1 text)
Lyle-Crawfurd1 32, "The Laird of Ochiltree Walls" (1 text, 1 tune); 49, "The Laird o' Ochiltree" (1 text)
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 293-295, "The Broom of Cowden-Knowes" (1 text plus an excerpt from "Broom (II)," 1 tune) {Bronson's #21}
Moore-Southwest 43, "The Bonny Broom" (1 text, 1 tune)
Whitelaw-Ballads, pp. 288-289, "The Broom of Cowdenknows" (1 text)

Roud #92
RECORDINGS:
Stanley Robertson, "The Ballad of the Ewe Buchts" (on Voice06)
BROADSIDES:
Murray, Mu23-y1:041, "Ewe Buchts," James Lindsay Jr. (Glasgow), 19C
NLScotland, L.C.1270(004), "Ewe Buchts," unknown, n.d. (the site says 1840-1850, but a second ballad on the sheet refers to [Charles Stewart] Parnell, which puts it least thirty years after that); also L.C.Fol.70(2b), "Ewe Buchts," unknown, n.d.

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Wylie Wife of the Hie Toun Hie" [Child 290] (plot)
cf. "The Dainty Doonby" (plot)
cf. "The Sleepy Merchant" (plot)
cf. "The Bonnie Parks o' Kilty" (plot)
cf. "A Nobleman" (plot)
cf. "The Broom o the Cowdenknowes (II - lyric)" (tune & meter)
SAME TUNE:
The New Way of the Broom of Cowden Knowes (Broadside NLScotland, Ry.III.a.10(007), "The New Way of the Broom of Cowden Knowes" ("Hard Fate that I should banisht be, And Rebell called with Scorn, for serving of a Lovely Prince, As e'er yet was born"), unknown, prob. 1716)
The Glasgow Factory Lass (per broadside Murray, Mu23-y1:010, "The Glasgow Factory Lass," unknown (Glasgow), no date)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Laird o Ociltree Wa's
Laird o Lochnie
Ewe Buchts
Bonnie Mary Is to the Ewe Buchts Gane
The Laird o' Youghal Tree Wells
NOTES: Note that this melody is used for two pieces, both called "Broom o' the Cowdenknow(e)s," and both Scottish: The ballad listed here, and a more lyric piece about a man who must leave home because he fell in love with a girl above his station.
Although the texts of this piece are generally quite late, the tune appears much older. BBI ZN2610, "Through Lidderdale as lately I went," registered in 1632, claims a "pleasant Scotch tune, called, The broom of Cowdenknowes" as its melody.
It's ironic to add that the tune you've almost certainly heard for this song (Bronson's #1) is from Playford, without lyrics -- and neither the Playford tune nor any of its immediate relatives in Bronson has a text (Bronson's group Aa includes six tunes; #4 has a single stanza of lyrics, the rest none -- and that stanza in #4 is the lyric version of the song, not the ballad!). - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: C217

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 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.