The Bonny Hoose O Airlie
Text from Robert Taylor of Spey Cottage, Inchberry

Carpenter recorded this ballad several times in the North

In this ballad, the Earl of Argyll attacks Airlie Castle while Ogivlie (the Earl of Airlie) is away. Argyll demands that Lady Airlie come down and kiss him, threatening to destroy the castle if she refuses. She will not come down, and Argyll burns the castle. Ogilvy sees the smoke and discerns what has befallen. His comrade Lochiel vows to avenge their deaths by burning Argyll's castle.

Belle Stewart learned the song both from her cousin Donald MacGregor, and from a book. She recalls that not one, but three of Ogilvy's castles were burned on the same day, namely Forter, Cortachy, and Airlie.Item Notes8 verses of 4 lines.

The actual incident behind this song took place on 7th July 1640, when the Earl of Argyll, Archibald Campbell (1607-1661), destroyed Airlie Castle, belonging to James Ogilvie (1593-1666), the 1st Earl of Airlie. The two were on opposing sides of the conflict involving the National Covenant. Ogilvy had left with a force of men to aid Charles I, and the anti-royalist Campbell seized the opportunity to attack. Confusion surrounding the 'Charlie' referenced in the song has led to inclusions of verses linking the ballad with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite conflict of 1745-46, including a last verse in which Cameron of Lochiel (an eminent Jacobite) swears revenge for the crime.

Card image and 1931 recordings are used courtesy of the James Madison Carpenter Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.