“The Gallant Grahams”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1930 (Ord)
Keywords: homicide home exile prison escape
Found in: Britain(Scotland)


"As I was crossing ower Boyne Water... For the killin' o' an English lord My gude braid sword they've ta'en frae me." The singer complains of being abandoned by the Grahams. He escapes and flees from his home in Carrickfergus


This is clearly related to "Hughie Grame"; about half the material in Ord's text, for instance, is standard in "Hughie." The perspective is different, though: The setting seems to be Ulster (where many Scots emigrated, both before and after Culloden). Only one girl would laments the hero's fate, and she makes no attempt to save him. The hero lives. And it is told in first person throughout.

Clearly the relation between the two songs needs more study. Without it, I follow standard Ballad Index policy and split the two. But my initial inclination was to lump; they have that much in common. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Ord, pp. 441-442, "The Galland Grahams" (1 text)
  2. Roud #5618
  3. BI, Ord441