The following is from a Clan Cleland Society Newsletter dated March 1990

PAST:

 

Well the past has a habit of popping up in the most unexpected areas.    One of my loves is Scottish music. Everything from the bagpipes, fiddle and harp to the latest rock music sung in Gaelic.   As the presenter of a radio programme on our local community radio station (Ethnic music and song from Scotland) I have made contact with some of the smaller record companies in Scotland.   Imagine my surprise when I played a track called Bonnie Susie Clelland. It is 4 min 48sec of very beautiful melody.  Sung by Cilla Fisher with ‘famish Moore on small pipes and Alan Reid helping with vocals.

 

The record notes are as follows –

 

This song is a version of “Lady Maisry” (Child 65) first published in Motherwell’s Collection “Minstrelsy Ancient And Modern” (1827).  It may seem a little extreme for a lady to be burned at the stake for loving an Englishman but maybe there was more to it than that. In Lady Maisry we find the girl is pregnant and is called a “vile whore” so perhaps there are also elements of a witch-hunt in the whole affair.   Cilla learned the song from a fine singer from Glasgow, Gordeanna McCulloch

 

The words of the song are –

 

THERE LIVED A LADY IN SCOTLAND

AE MY LOVE AND OH MY JOY

THERE LIVED A LADY IN SCOTLAND

WHA DEARLY LOVED ME

THERE LIVED A LADY IN SCOTLAND AND

SHE’S FALLEN IN LOVE WITH AN ENGLISHMAN

AND BONNIE SUSIE CLELLAND’S TO BE BURNED IN DUNDEE

THE FATHER TO THE DAUGHTER CAME, AE MY LOVE AND OH MY JOY

THE FATHER TO THE DAUGHTER CAME WHA DEARLY LOVES ME

THE FATHER TO THE DAUGHTER CAME

SAYING WILL YE FORSAKE YON ENGLISHMAN

AND BONNIE SUSIE CLELLAND’S TO BE BURNED IN DUNDEE

 

I ‘LL NO THAT ENGLISHMAN FORSAKE AE MY LOVE AND OH MY JOY

I ‘LL NO THAT ENGLISHMAN FORSAKE, WHA DEARLY LOVES ME

I WILL NO THAT ENGLISHMAN FORSAKE,

THOU YOU WILL BURN ME AT THE STAKE

AND BONNIE SUSIE CLELLAND’S TAE BE BURNED IN DUNDEE.

 

SO WHERE WILL I FIND A BONNIE WEE BOY

AE MY LOVE AND OH MY JOY

THEN WHERE WILL I FIND  A BONNIE WEE BOY WHO DEARLY LOVES ME

WELL HERE AM I A BONNIE WEE BOY

I’LL  CARRY THE TIDINGS TAE YER  JOY,

THAT BONNIE SUSIE CLELLAND’S TO BE BURNED IN DUNDEE

 

THEN GIVE TO HIM THIS GOOD GOLD RING

AE MY LOVE AND OH MY JOY

THEN GIVE TO HIM THIS GOOD GOLD RING WHA DEARLY LOVES ME

THEN GIVE TO HIM THIS GOOD GOLD RING

TELL HIM THAT WE’LL NO MEET AGAIN

FOR BONNIE SUSIE CLELLAND’S TAE BE BURNED IN DUNDEE.

 

HER FATHER’S HE’S ERECTED THE STAKE AE MY LOVE AND OH MY JOY

HER FATHER HE’S ERECTED THE STAKE WHA DEARLY LOVES ME

HER FATHER HE’S ERECTED THE STAKE

AND HER BROTHER HE THE FIRE DID MAKE

AND BONNIE SUSIE CLELLAND WAS BURNED IN DUNDEE

 

If you wish to purchase the record it is from an album titled “A Celebration of Scottish Music” on the Temple Records label TPO28, cassette CTPO28 and compact disc COMD2OOS, from –

 

        Temple Records,

        Shillinghill,

        Temple, Midlothian EH2S 45H

        Scotland

 

        Flying Fish Records,

        1304 West Schubert,

        Chicago 60614,

        Illinois USA

 

The following version of Bonnie Susie Cleland was song at the      Opening of the Scottish Parliament by Sheena Wellington.

 

Bonnie Susie Cleland

Sheena Wellington (vocals)

Trad. Arr S Wellington/Pub Grian Music

 

There lived a lady in Scotland, hey my love and ho my joy

There lived a lady in Scotland, wha dearly loes me       (loves)

There lived a lady in Scotland,

she’s fa’n in love wi an Englishman                             (fallen)

An bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

 

The faither tae the dochter tam,

hey my love and ho my joy                                (father, daughter)

The faither tae the dochter tam, wha dearly loes me

The faither tae the dochter tam, ‘Will ye forsake yer Englishman?

Or bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.’

 

I’ll no my Englishman forsake, hey my love and ho my joy,

I’ll no my Englishman forsake, wha dearly loes me,

I’ll no my Englishman forsake,

though ye micht burn me at the stake                             (might)

An bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

 

Oh whaur will get a little wee boy,

hey my love and ho my joy                                                  (where)

Oh whaur will get a little wee boy, wha dearly loes me

Oh whaur will get a little wee boy,

tae cerry tidins tae my joy                                 (carry the message)

That bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

 

0 here am I, a little wee boy, hey my love and ho my joy

0 here am I, a little wee boy, wha dearly loes ye

0 here am I, a little wee boy, I’ll cerry tidings tae yer joy

That bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

 

Gae gie tae him my richt hand glove,

hey my love and ho my joy                                         (Go give, right)

Gae gie tae him my richt hand glove, wha dearly loes me

Gae gie tae him my richt hand glove, tell him tae find another love

That bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

 

Gae gie tae him my guid gowd ring,

hey my love and ho my joy                                         (good gold)

Gae gie tae him my guid gowd ring, wha dearly loes me

Gae gie tae him my guid gowd ring,

tell him I’m gaun tae my burning                                 (gone)

An bonnie Susie Cleland’s tae be burnt in Dundee.

 

Her faither he ca’d up the stake,

hey my love and ho my joy                                 (put/hammered in)

Her faither he ca’d up the stake, wha dearly loes me

Her faither he ca’d up the stake, her brither he the fire did make

An bonnie Susie Cleland was burnt in Dundee.

 

 

This ballad, which appears to be a variant of Lady Maisry (Child 65), first appears in William Motherwell’s collection.

It is unlikely that the ballad is an historic record but there were a number of witch burnings in Dundee, the last being that of Grissell Jaffray in November 1669. Local tradition holds that a number of women were killed for consorting with English soldiers in the years after the Siege of Dundee in 1651 when General Monk’s troops sacked the city.

There is no trace of a Cleland in any spelling (a Lanarkshire name, it was not common in the Dundee area) but the names of those burned were not always noted in Presbytery records. A spine-chilling manuscript in Dundee’s archives, available online at http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/archives/official.htm, carefully records sums spent on rope, coal, tar and the executioner’s travel for the 1590 burning of a woman whose name doesn’t merit a mention!

I am very grateful to City of Dundee Senior Librarian David Kett, City Archivist lain Flett and Maureen Reid of the Local Studies department for responding with enthusiasm, skill and precision to my request for information.

 

This version is available from Greentrax records at greentrax@aol.com or through their web site at www.greentrax.com

Please quote CDTRAX240.