“Bessie of Ballington Brae”


Bessie appears to her former lover as he lies sleeping, saying that she is dead and he has led her astray. He goes to her home and learns that she is indeed dead. He admits to the betrayal, says he intended to marry her, and stabs himself to death


Mackenzie's notes to "Bessie of Ballington Brae" include the first verse from a broadside that is "quite certainly" connected to his ballad. Laws, having as an example, a broadside entitled "Answer to Betsy of Ballantown Bray" concludes that P28 is the sequel to Mackenzie's broadside. That prequel is indexed here as "Ballan Doune Braes." The Bodleian broadsides noted here, which are examples of Laws P28, are likewise entitled "Answer to ...." - BS

Cross references


  • Bodleian, 2806 b.11(245), "Answer to Betsy of Ballantown Bray," J.O. Bebbington (Manchester), 1855-1858; also 2806 c.15(155), 2806 b.9(233), "Answer to Ballindown Brae"


  1. Laws P28, "Bessie of Ballington Brae"
  2. SHenry H73, pp. 412-413, "Ballindown Braes" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. McBride 3, "Ballintown Brae" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Gardner/Chickering 31, "Jessie of Ballington Brae" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Dean, pp. 44-45, "Ballentown Brae" (1 text)
  6. Mackenzie 31, "Bessie of Ballington Brae" (1 text)
  7. DT 596, BESSBAL
  8. Roud #566
  9. BI, LP28


Alternate titles: “Bessie of Ballydubray”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1859 (broadside, Bodleian 2806 b.11(245)); before 1845 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(677) if the broadside is this ballad; see notes)
Found in: US(MW,NE) Canada(Mar) Ireland