In 1837 a song was written by a famous songwriter,William Cameron, who used to be the Schoolmaster at Armadale, and it became a global hit in the concert halls at that time. He had unrequited affection for some of the Harvey sisters who lived at Barbauchlaw Mill, and especially Jessie Harvey.

Victorian illustrated cover of Jessie o' the Dell song

Victorian illustrated cover of Jessie o’ the Dell song

Jessie Harvey's House

Jessie Harvey’s House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The song was called, Jessie o’ the Dell.

Older residents of Armadale think of this as the town’s own song, “One that every Armadale bairn would sing lustily as they tramped roun the toun on Gala-days, behind the Brass Band, to the Public Park … and everyone knew the chorus, if not all of the verses.”

The brass band used to play ‘Jessie o the Dell’  before all of Armadale’s Football matches, but when our local team went through a spate of losing, it was suggested the anthem was ‘jinxing’ the team, and the band discontinued.

Listen to ‘Jessie o the Dell’ played by Armadale Concert Ensemble, and sung by Lawrence Fitzpatrick

Jessie o the Dell

O bright the beaming queen o night
Shines in yon flowery vale,
and softly sheds her silver light
O’er mountain-path and dale:
Short is the way when light’s the heart
That’s bound in loves soft spell;
Sae I’ll awa to Armadale,
To Jessie o the Dell.
To Jessie o the Dell,
Sweet Jessie o the Dell,
The bonnie lass o Armadale,
Sweet Jessie o the Dell.

We’ve pu’d the primrose on the braes
Beside my Jessie’s cot;
We’ve gathered nuts, we’ve gathered slaes
In that sweet rural spot.
The wee short hours danced merrily,
Like lambkins on the fell,
As if they joined in joy wi me
And Jessie o the Dell
To Jessie o the Dell
Sweet Jessie o the Dell,
The bonnie lass o Armadale,
Sweet Jessie o the Dell.
There’s nane to me wi her can vie,
I’ll love her till I dee;
For she’s sae sweet an bonnie aye,
And kind as kind can be.
This night in mutual kind embrace,
O wha our joys can tell!
Then I’ll awa to Armadale
To Jessie o the Dell.
To Jessie o the Dell,
The bonnie lass o Armadale,
Sweet Jessie o the Dell.