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In Freenship’s Name

[ Roud 21761 ; Ballad Index McSc144 ; Mudcat 77191 ; trad.]

In Freenship’s Name is a song from the repertoire of the Border shepherd Willie Scott (1897-1989), though I don’t know of an actual recording of this song from him.

Gordeanna McCulloch learned In Freenship’s Name for Herd Laddie o’ the Glen and recorded it as the title track of her 1997 Greentrax CD In Freenship’s Name. This track was also included in 2014 on the Greentrax anthology Favourite Scottish Songs. McCulloch noted:

Although I never had the pleasure of actually hearing Willie Scott sing this particular song, it seems to me in its sentiments to generate the kind of good fellowship that Willie created effortlessly.

And good fellowship is what singing has been for me over the years—from the friends who gave me songs to the songs which have become friends. May it long continue.

Tom and Barbara Brown sang In Friendship’s Name on their 2005 WildGoose CD Tide of Change. They noted:

In Friendships Name is another song with a true sentiment but no sentimentality. What is more valuable than friendship—especially when further enhanced by the social adjuncts recommended here?

In Friendships Name has been translated from the Border Scots. We don’t do other regions’ accents, even though Tom’s father was a Scot, and this song in its original state needs both dialect and accent. We first came across it at a festival in Crawfordjohn, Lanarkshire, sung in the bar by Kirsten Easdale from the magnificent Scottish group Calasaig. Subsequently we discovered it in the repertoire of Willie Scott—it’s disconcerting how you miss things sometimes! Having said how much we loved it, we were persuaded by Kirsten, after some debate about texts and integrity, that as the song would suit us well we should translate it. Tom still gets nervous about it, although several choir friends in Cornwall want to sing it—maybe something to do with the ‘One and All’ in the chorus!

Alison McMorland sang In Freenship’s Name in 2007 on her and Geordie McIntyre’s Greentrax CD White Wings.

Lori Watson sang In Freenship’s Name, a “traditional, from Willie Scott” in 2006 on her and Rule of Three’s CD Pleasure’s Coin. She also sang it in 2017 on the CD celebrating the life of Fraser Shaw, Mac Ìle: The Music of Fraser Shaw.

Hannah Rarity and Catherine Tinney sang In Freenship’s Name on the TMSA Young Trad Tour 2019.


Alison McMorland sings In Freenship’s Name

Here aroon the ingle blazing,
Whae sae happy and sae free;
Though the northern winds blaw freezy,
Freenship warms baith you and me.

Chorus (after each verse):
Happy we’ve been a’ thegither,
Canty we’ve been yin and a’,
Time shall see us a’ mair blyther
Ere we rise tae gang awa.

See the miser ower his treisure
Glutton wi’ a greedy ee!
Wha can fill his woes wi’ pleisure
As aroon us here we see?

Can the peer, in silk and ermine,
Ca’ his conscience half his ain:
His claes are edged and spun wi’ vermin
Though he sits upon a throne!

Thus then let us a’ be tassin
Though ower the stowps o generous fame;
And while roon the board is passin’,
Raise a sang in freenship’s name.

Freenship makes us a’ mair happy,
Freenship gies us a’ delight,
Freenship consecrates the drappy,
Freenship brocht us here the night.


See also The Book of Scottish Song/Happy Friendship on Wikisource.