“Johnie Armstrong”


Johnie Armstrong "had nither lands nor rents," but "kept eight score men in his hall" by raiding. The king summons Armstrong to court. Armstrong comes; the king orders his execution. Armstrong instead dies fighting. His young son vows revenge


Several English texts claim that Armstrong lived in Westmoreland, and raided the Scots. This is, of course, not true; he was a Scot. But neither side had much use for such an outlaw. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1530 - James V of Scotland puts down the Armstrongs

Same tune

  • Fare Thou Well Bonny Gilt Knock Hall (per broadside NLScotland, S.302.b.2(064))


  • NLScotland, S.302.b.2(064), "John Armstrong's Last Farewell," unknown, after 1700


  1. Child 169, "Johnie Armstrong" (3 texts, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #6, #7}
  2. Bronson 169, "Johnie Armstrong" (10 versions)
  3. Leach, pp. 475-477, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
  4. Friedman, p. 240, "Johnie Armstrong" (2 texts)
  5. OBB 89, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
  6. Gummere, pp. 127-129+329, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
  7. Hodgart, p. 106, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
  8. Flanders-Ancient3, pp. 153-158, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text, from "The Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
  9. TBB 22, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
  10. HarvClass-EP1, pp. 101-103, "Johnie Armstrong" (1 text)
  11. BBI, ZN1503, "Is there never a man in all Scotland"
  13. Roud #76
  14. BI, C169


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1658
Found in: Britain(England,Scotland(Aber,Hebr))