The Word on the Street
home | background | illustrations | distribution | highlights | search & browse | resources | contact us

Broadside ballad entitled 'Heather Jock'


This ballad begins with the chorus: 'Heather Jock's noo awa, / Heather Jock's noo awa, / The muircock noo may crousely craw, / Since Heather Jock's noo awa.' The opening line of verse one reads: 'Heather Jock was stark and grim'.

Unlike many broadside ballads, this song starts with the chorus rather than verse one. The ballad appears to be dedicated to a young man called Heather Jock, who, judging from various episodes listed by the narrator, seems to have indulged in poaching and a little pilfering. Certainly, the ballad depicts him as a bit of a rogue. However, Heather Jock meets his nemesis in the shape of a stern judge, who punishes his poaching by sentencing him to transportation to Botany Bay, Australia.

Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

previous pageprevious          
Probable period of publication: 1880-1900   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.70(132b)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Heather Jock'
View larger image

NLS home page   |   Digital gallery   |   Credits

National Library of Scotland © 2004

National Library of Scotland