In 1584 the Spanish captured Ghent, and Captain Mary Ambree, along with several other Dutch and English volunteers, fought to liberate the city. It was said that she was avenging her lover, a sergeant major who died during the siege.
She was a popular subject of ballads during the 17th-century from 1620s onwards. Ambree was the subject of the English ballad that provided the title for Rudyard Kipling's well-known novel, Captains Courageous. The ballad was preserved by Thomas Percy in the Pepys Collection.
- Commire, Anne, ed. (2002). "Ambree, Mary (fl. 1584)". Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Waterford, Connecticut: Yorkin Publications. ISBN 0-7876-4074-3. (Subscription required (. ))
- Black-letter copy in the Pepys Collection, from Mary Ambree, in Reliques Of Ancient English Poetry, Edited By THOMAS PERCY.
-  from text notes on kipling.org, based on those written by Leonee Ormond for the OXFORD WORLD'S CLASSICS edition of Captains Courageous
- Full text of the ballad may be found on this site, which notes that it is taken by Percy from a piece in the Pepys Collection.
- Dianne Dugaw: Warrior Women and Popular Balladry, 1650-1850
- Reliques of Ancient English Poetry: Consisting of Old Heroic Ballads, Songs, and Other Pieces of Our Earlier Poets, Together with Some Few of Later Date, and a Copious Glossary
- English Historical Ballads. No. V – Mary Ambree: Siege of Cadiz
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