There is an old ballad entitled ‘The Weary Coble o’ Cargill’ which relates the tragic love story of a young woman from the farm-toun of Ballathie on one side of the Tay who loved a young man who worked at Stobhall on the other side of the river. Stobhall was at this time the residence of the Drummonds who were directly related to the Stewart Kings. The two lovers had grown up together and for a period their courtship went smoothly. But near to Ballathie was another large house, Kercock Hall where lived another young woman of good family, and even more important, of considerable means. The young man met her, was suitably impressed and with an eye to the main chance transferred his affections. How the lass from Ballathie had her revenge is told in the ballad.


The Lass From Ballathie’s Revenge

She was the lass of Balathy toun,
And he the butler o’ Stobhall;
And mony a time she wauked late’
To bore the coble o’ cargill.
His bed was made in Kircock Ha’
Of guid clean sheets and of the hay;
He wouldna rest ae nicht therein,
But on the proud waters he wud gae.
His bed was made in Balathy toun,
Of the clean sheets and o’ the strae,
But I wat it was fae better made
Into the bottom o’ bonnie Tay.
She bored the coble in seven pairts,
I wat her hairt might he been sair,
For there she got the bonnie lad lost,
Wi the curly locks and the yellow hair.
He put his foot into the boat,
He little thocht of ony ill;
But before that he was mid waters
The weary coble began to fill.
‘Woe be to the lass o’ Balathie toun,
I wat an ill death she may dee.
For she bored the coble in seven pairts
And let the waters perish me.
‘Oh help! Oh help! I can get nane,
Nae help o’ man can to me come!’
This was about his dying words,
When he was choked up to the chin.
‘Gae tell my faither and my mither,
It was naebody did me this ill;
I was a-going my ain errands,
Lost at the coble o’ bonnie Cargill.
She bored the boat in seven pairts,
I wat she bored it wi’ gude will,
And there they got the bonnie lad’s corpse.
In the Kirk shot o’ bonnie Cargill
Oh a’ the keys o’ bonnie Stobhall
I wat they at his belt did hing,
But a’ the keys o’ bonnie Stobhall
They now ly low into the stream.
A braver page into his age,
Ne’r set a-foot upon the plain
His father to his mother said.
‘Oh! Sae sune as we’ve wanted him
‘I wat they had mair luve than this,
When they were young and at the scule;
But for his sake she wauked late,
And bored the coble o’ bonnie Cargill
‘There’s ne’er a clean sark gae on my back
Nor yet a kame gae in my hair
There’s neither coal nor candle light
Shall shine in my bower for ever mair.
At kirk nor market I’se ne’er be at,
Nor yet a blythe blink in my e’e,
There’s ne’er a ane shall say to anither,
Thats the lassie garr’d the young man dee.
Between the yetts o’ bonnie Stobha’
And the kirkside o’ bonnie Cargill;
There is mony a man and mother’s son,
That was at my luve’s burial’

  16th November 1650

Thanks to Gordon Howie for providing this