“Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch”


"Roy's wife of Aldivalloch (x2), Wat ye how she cheated me As I came owre the Braes o' Balloch?" Singer complains that Roy's wife has cheated him; she has sworn she loves him and will be his, but instead she has robbed him and left him


According to Lomax, this was originally a bawdy song in folk tradition; the words were sanitized by, "Mrs. Grant of Carron" [in the eighteenth century], and the song then drifted back into tradition. - PJS

According to the notes in MacColl, _Folk Songs and Ballads of Scotland_, "John Roy of Aldivalloch was married to Isabel Stewart [on February 21, 1727). Roy was considerably older than his wife [who ran away with] David Gordon of Kirktown. She was pursued by Roy and brought back after a chase over the Braes of Balloch....

"Margaret Roy... said that the song had been made by a shoemaker living in the neighbourhood of Aldivalloch. The tune was first pubished in Walsh's 'Twenty-Four Country Dances' (1724) as Lady Frances Wemy's Reel, but is almost certainly considerably older." - RBW

Same tune

  • Know Ye Not That Lovely River (by Gerald Griffin) (Kathleen Hoagland, editor, One Thousand Years of Irish Poetry (New York, 1947), p. 422)


  • Ewan MacColl, "Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch" (on Lomax43, LomaxCD1743)


  1. BrownII 125, "Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch" (1 text, with dialect retained; one suspects print influence)
  2. Roud #5137
  3. BI, RcRWOA


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1791 (Herd)
Found in: Britain(Scotland) US(SE)