Carolina Nairne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Carolina Nairne
Born (1766-08-16)16 August 1766
Gask, Perthshire, Scotland
Died 26 October 1845(1845-10-26) (aged 79)
Gask, Perthshire, Scotland
Occupation(s) Songwriter, song collector
"Baroness Nairne" redirects here; see also Margaret Mercer Elphinstone.

Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne, (16 August 1766 – 26 October 1845) was a Scottish songwriter and song collector.


Carolina Oliphant was born in the auld hoose (English: old house) of Gask, Perthshire. She was descended from Clan Oliphant, an old family which had settled in Perthshire in the 12th century,[1] and could boast of kinship with the royal family of Scotland. Her father, Laurence Oliphant, was one of the foremost supporters of the Jacobite cause, and she was named Carolina in memory of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. In the schoolroom she was known as pretty Miss Car, and afterwards her striking beauty and pleasing manners earned for her the name of the Flower of Strathearn.[2]

In 1806 she married William Murray Nairne, who became the 5th Lord Nairne in 1824. They had one son, also named William Murray Nairne (1808 - 1837), who became the 6th Lord on his father's death in 1830.[3]

After her husband's death in 1830 Lady Nairne took up her residence at Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, but she spent much time abroad. She died at Gask on 26 October 1845.[2]


Following the example set by Robert Burns in the Scots Musical Museum, Lady Nairne undertook to bring out a collection of national airs set to appropriate words. To the collection she contributed a large number of original songs, adopting the signature BB - Mrs Bogan of Bogan.[4] The music was edited by Robert Archibald Smith, and the collection was published at Edinburgh under the name of the Scottish Minstrel (1821–1824).[5] According to the Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen, Carolina Nairne's first composition in Scottish verse to obtain publicity was The Pleughman [the Scots language spelling for ploughman].[6]

Her songs may be classed under three headings:[2]

  1. Those illustrative of the characters and manners of the old Scottish gentry, such as "The Laird o' Cockpen," "The Fife Laird," and "John Tod"
  2. Jacobite songs, composed for the most part to gratify her kinsman Robertson, the aged chief of Strowan, among the best known of which are perhaps "Wha'll be King but Charlie?" "Charlie is my darling," "The Hundred Pipers," "He's owre the Hills," and "Will ye no' come back again?"
  3. Songs not included under the above heads, ranging over a variety of subjects from "Caller Herrin'" to the "Land o' the Leal."


  1. ^ The Oliphants in Scotland, page vi. vide "Strageath" - exchanged ten years later for Aberdalgie in 1183 [1]
  2. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911, p. 154.
  3. ^ "Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne, 1766 - 1845. Songwriter". National Galleries Scotland. 
  4. ^ "Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne, 1766 - 1845. Songwriter". National Galleries Scotland. 
  5. ^ Chisholm 1911, pp. 154–155.
  6. ^ "Nairn, Carolina". Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen Volume 2. Glasgow: Blackie & Sons, 1875. p. 190. Accessed on 2013/08/20.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Nairne, Carolina, Baroness". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 154–155.  Endnotes: "For Lady Nairne's songs, see":
    • Lays from Strathearn, arranged with Symphonies and Accompaniments for the Pianoforte by Finlay Dun (1846);
    • vol. i. of the Modern Scottish Minstrel (1857);
    • Life and Songs of the Baroness Nairne, with a Memoir and Poems of Caroline Oliphant the Younger, edited by Charles Rogers (1869).
    • See also TL Kington-Oliphant, Jacobite Lairds of Gash (1870).

External links[edit]