Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 3 of 8 from 1860 edition -online book

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64           THE DOWIE DENS OF YARROW.
Oakwood is still their property, and has been so from time immemorial. The Editor was, therefore, led to suppose that the hero of the ballad might have been identified with John Scott, sixth son of the Laird of Harden, murdered in Ettrick Forest by his kinsmen, the Sootts of Gilmanseleugh. (See notes to Jamie Telfer.) This appeared the more probable, as the com­mon people always affirm that this young man was treacherously slain, and that, in evidence thereof, his body remained uncorrupted for many years; so that even the roses on his shoes seemed as fresh as when he was first laid in the family vault at Hassendean. But from a passage in Nisbet's Heraldry, he now believes the ballad refers to a duel fought at Deucharswyre, of which Annan's Treat is a part, betwixt John Scott of Tushielaw and his brother-in-law, Walter Scott, third son of Kobert of Thirlestane, in which the latter was slain.
" In ploughing Annan's Treat, a huge monumental stone, with an inscription, was discovered; but being rather scratched than engraved, and the lines being run through each other, it is only possible to read one or two Latin words. It probably records the event of the combat. The person slain was the male ancestor of the present Lord Napier.
" Tradition affirms, that the hero of the song (be he who he may) was murdered by the brother, either of his wife or betrothed bride. The alleged cause of malice was the lady's father having proposed to endow her with half of his property, upon her marriage with a warrior of such renown. The name of the murderer is said to have been Annan, and the place of combat is still called Annan's Treat. It is a low muir, on the