Volume entitled 'Scotch Ballads. Materials for Border Minstrelsy', chiefly containing ballads sent to Sir Walter Scott when he was collecting material for his ‘Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border’, but with, in addition, many other poems and songs, ancient and modern, English and Gaelic. Edit


Component Unique Identifier
Level of Description


  • 1800-[1832]. (Creation)


  • 279 Leaves (Whole)



  • Conditions Governing Access

    Normal access conditions apply.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    Normal reproduction conditions apply, subject to any copyright restrictions.

  • Arrangement

    viii + 271 folios. The volume was received bound. Rebound with slight corrections and the addition of a typescript list of contents.

  • Scope and Contents

    Many of the ballads are accompanied by letters or notes regarding the source and other matters, ranging chiefly from 1800 to 1815. Among those who send ballads or information are James Hogg, William Laidlaw and his family, James Skene, Joseph Ritson, John Leyden, and David Herd. A large number of ballads appear to have been collected between 1813 and 1815 by Thomas Wilkie, Bowden. The letter-writers include the Reverend George Paxton, 1804 (folio 171A), and Dr Mackintosh Mackay, 1831 (folio 265).

    The poems other than ballads include satires by John Skinner, author of ‘Tullochgorum’ (folio 100), poems in the autograph of John Richardson (folio 27), ‘Rorie Gill’, attributed to Joseph Train (folio 190), and a song by James Hogg (folio 243 verso), all of which appear to be unpublished, and the following:

    ‘The Battle of Sempach’ [?1818], in Scott’s autograph, differing from the published version (folio 200);

    Lines written by Scott [1832] to the Countess [? Walonieff] in Naples, in his autograph (folio 203);

    ‘The Lawyer and the Bishop’ [1806], in Scott’s autograph, differing slightly from the copy in MS.855;

    Scott's Epilogues to the play of “St. Ronan's Well”, 1824, and to a play about Queen Mary, undated, with a letter of Scott of 1824 (copies) (folios 267-269).

  • Bibliography

    Scott, Walter. 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' (Edinburgh, 1802).

    The ballad material was used by Francis J Child for his ‘English and Scottish popular ballads’ (New York, 1882-1898), which gives further information about the individual manuscripts in this volume. The pencilled numbers on these papers are those to which he refers in his work.

  • Separated Materials

    For similar papers, see see MS.893.