“Rob Roy”


Rob Roy comes to the lowlands and captures a wealthy lady. He orders her to marry him; she refuses. He prepares to kidnap her, and allows no delay. They are married without her consent. He describes his valor and bids her be content


This song is accurate enough as far as it goes, but far from complete. Rob Oig ("Young") was the fifth son of Walter Scott's Rob Roy, and a real desperado. In 1736 (when he was perhaps no older than twelve), he shot a trespasser and was outlawed when he refused to appear in court.

After spending time in the British army, he returned to England and married for the first time (despite still being outlawed). When this wife died, he and his brothers determined to marry him to Jean Key, a wealthy widow of nineteen. This rough wooing took place as described in the ballad.

In the sequel, the MacGregors were forced to release Jean Key (who died within a year), and both James MacGregor (who organized the plot) and Robert MacGregor were eventually brought to trial; James escaped, but Robert was executed in 1754. - RBW

Historical references

  • Dec 8-9, 1750 - Abduction of Jean Key by Robert MacGregor


  1. Child 225, "Rob Roy" (12 texts)
  2. Bronson 225, "Rob Roy" (3 versions)
  3. BarryEckstormSmyth p. 296, "Rob Roy" (1 text, possiby derived from print)
  4. Leach, pp. 583-585, "Rob Roy" (1 text)
  5. DT 225, ROBROY
  6. Roud #340
  7. BI, C225


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1803
Found in: Britain(Scotland(High)) US(NE)