- Does anybody on the list know the history behind the song "Lock the Door Lariston"? It appears to be a Border Ballad and if it's based on a real incident I would like to know what one.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- From _Scottish & Border Battles & Ballads_ by Michael Brander:
Elliot of Larriston: Musselburgh Field
The first half of the sixteenth century saw a number of English invasions of
Scotland. In 1523, after offering his daughter Mary in marriage to the
young James V and being rejected, Henry VIII sent the Duke of Norfolk
(Thomas Howard of Flodden) to invade Scotland. He laid waste and burned
both Jedburgh and Kelso. In 1542, angered at James V's adherence to the old
religion, Henry VIII sent the Duke of Norfolk once again to burn Jedburgh
and Kelso. In retaliation James led a counter-invasion, the first time the
Scots had crossed the border in force since Flodden, and was decisively
defeated at Solway Moss in November. In the following month Mary of Guise,
James' French queen, gave birth to a daughter, Mary, and seven days later
Henry VIII, ever hopeful, promptly tried to secure the marriage of the
infant Mary to his son Edward, who was to become Edward VI. Although this
was at first agreed by a treaty of 1543, it was immediately annulled by the
Scots. Thereupon Henry decided on his notorious policy of 'rough wooing'
and sent the Early of Hertofrd to invade Scotland both in 1544 and again in
1545, during which occasions he burned Edinburgh, Holyrood and Leith, as
well as Dryburgh, Melrose and Kelso, succeeding merely in turning the Scots
even more strongly against the proposed marriage.
Accustomed to border warfare since the days of Edward I, the Borderers had
acquired their own rough philosophy on the subject. Their survival
techniques had become finely adjusted over the centuries, for only the
hardiest and most alert remained alive. Accustomed to raids from infancy
they had acquired a facility for foretelling danger well in advance and
avoiding it. The 'early warning system' of bale fires on the hill tops and
mounted messengers was very effective in time of trouble. Then the ordinary
Borderer would either scatter to the hills, or seek saftey in the nearest
castle or peel tower, those tall catellated strongholds of defence with
which the border was freely sprinkled on both sides. With the doors bolted
and barred and the defenders on the alert these were impregnable defences
against the ordinary raids, though naturally not able to hold out against an
army with seige cannon. From these fastnesses the ordinary Borderers had
long grown used to seeing their wooden houses burning and their cattle
driven off over the border, comforting themselves with the thought that it
would be their turn next. Just now and again a full-scale battle took place
and these could be fierce affairs.
Such an occasion is conjured up in James Hogg's famous ballad, 'Lock the
door, Larriston'. Written in 1797, it is perhaps one of the finest modern
ballads and perfectly captures the spirit of the border raids. Inspired no
doubt by the constant repetitions of ballads he had heard in his youth, Hogg
produced a border epic eminently suited to the countryside and its history.
How well the scene is set with the opening verse, 'The Armstrongs are
flying, The widows are crying'. After the roll-call of the English comes
that magnificent line 'Why does the joy-candle gleam in thine eyes?'
Finally comes the roll-call of the Scots and then the wild climax 'Elliot
for aye'. This, one feels, is surely what border warfare was really like.
Get the new book, Early Highland Dress
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael England" <england@...>
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2003 11:58 AM
Subject: [albanach] music history
> Does anybody on the list know the history behind the song "Lock the Door
Lariston"? It appears to be a Border Ballad and if it's based on a real
incident I would like to know what one.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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Good history lesson. and you did me in when you said the first line. Do you
know where I could get a copy of the song (lyrics & sheet music if available)
so I can learn to play it. Thanks.
Gavine Armestrang (Armstrong)