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Broadside ballad entitled 'Jamie Foyers'


Verse 1: 'Far distant, far distant, lies Scotia the brave, / No tombstone memorial to hallow his grave; / His bones now scattered on the rude soil of Spain, / And young Jamie Foyers in battle was slain.' There is a woodcut depiction of a rather spruce looking soldier above the title.

This song is based on an old traditional Perthshire bothy song, which was especially popular amongst travellers. This version was inspired by the storming of Fort St Michael at Burgos, during the Peninsular War of 1811. At this time, Britain was fighting the French for control over various parts of Spain. Ironically, taking the King's shilling or joining up was an attractive offer at this time, as many of the Highland tenants were being cleared from their land to make way for sheep farming. The song went on to be rewritten again by Ewan McColl, and his version remains very popular. Jamie Foyers is thought to have been a generic Perthshire term for a soldier.

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.

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Probable period of publication: 1860-1880   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(080)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Jamie Foyers'
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