“Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead”


The Captain of Bewcastle raids the Fair Dodhead. Jamie Telfer, the victim, races about the countryside in search of assistance. Some refuse, but he gathers enough friends to fight the raiders. The avengers suffer casualties, but Bewcastle is defeated


Child lists several speculations about this song (derived mostly from Scott, who is the only source for this piece). These tie it, very tentatively, to an event of 1582, at which time Bewcastle was a well-known haunt of robbers and sundry criminals. All of this, however, must be treated as little more than speculation. Nor is there any real evidence that the piece is traditional. - RBW


  1. Child 190, "Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead" (1 text)
  2. OBB 141, "Jamie Telfer in the Fair Dodhead" (1 text)
  3. PBB 67, "Jamie Telfer of the Fair Dodhead" (1 text)
  4. Roud #3364
  5. BI, C190


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1802 (Scott)
Found in: Britain