The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women: From the Earliest Times to 2004

By Elizabeth Ewan; Sue Innes et al. | Go to book overview

L

LAIDLAW, Margaret, m. Hogg, born Ettrick 1730, died Ettrick 1813. Tradition-bearer. Daughter of Bessie Scott, and William Laidlaw, tenant farmer.

Margaret Laidlaw is remembered through the writing of her son, James Hogg (1770–1835). She was the eldest daughter of William Laidlaw ('Will o' Phaup'), an authority on traditional culture (as was her brother William), who was the tenant of Old Upper Phawhope, in Ettrick. In 1765, she married Robert Hogg (c. 1729–92), the tenant farmer of Ettrick House and Ettrick Hall, and they had four sons.

Her most famous appearance is in James Hogg's Familiar Anecdotes of Sir Walter Scott (1834), as a commentator on Scott's editing of her songs in The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802–3): 'they war made for singing, an' no for reading; and they're nouther right spelled nor right setten down' (Bold 2000, pp. 116–17). Scott wrote that Margaret Laidlaw, 'sings, or rather chants … with great animation' (ibid., p. 122). James Hogg was surprised at the extent of his mother's repertoire, leading Elaine Petrie to argue that her passive repertoire was activated by the Minstrelsy collection (Petrie 1983, pp. 34–8).

James Hogg's brother William, in the New Monthly Magazine of 1836, says their mother was a skilled narrator of 'tales and songs of spectres, ghosts, fairies, brownies, voices, &c. These had been both seen and heard in her time in the Glen of Phaup'. She was a deeply religious woman, and made sure her children knew their psalms.

There are tantalising glimpses of Margaret Laidlaw in James Hogg's work, in the spirited mother of 'The Marvellous Doctor' in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 21 (1827) and the reductive Scots-speaker of 'The Love Adventures of George Cochrane' in Winter Evening Tales (1820) vol. 1. She instructed him to set Athol Cummers' in Songs (1831): 'O man, it's a shame to hear sic a good tune an' nae words till't. Gae away ben the house, like a good lad, and mak' me a verse till't' (p. 191). In 1813, Hogg described his mother as 'the best friend that ever I had' (Miller 2003, p. 15) and his affection is reflected in A Last Adieu', in Blackwood's 1 (1817). Margaret Laidlaw was a profound influence on the writer of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824). VB

• Bold, V. (2000) ' “Nouther right spelled nor right setten down”: Scott, Child and the Hogg Family Ballads' in E. J. Cowan (ed.) The Ballad in Scottish History, Hogg, J. (1827) 'The shepherd's calendar', Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 21, pp. 440–5; [1834] (1972) Memoir of the Author's Life and Familiar Anecdotes of Sir Walter Scott, D. S. Mack, ed.; Miller, K. (2003) The Electric Shepherd; Petrie, E. (1983) 'Odd characters: traditional informants in James Hogg's family', Scottish Literary Journal 10,1.

LAIDLAW, Roberta Anna (later Anna Robena), m. Thomson, born Bretton, Yorkshire, 30 April 1819, died London 29 May 1901. Pianist. Daughter of Ann Keddy and Alexander Laidlaw, merchant. Robena Laidlaw was born into a well-placed Borders family, intimate with Sir Walter Scott. In 1827 they moved to Edinburgh where she studied with Robert Miiller, continuing her studies in Konigsberg in 1830. In her teens she performed in Berlin, Leipzig and, in 1832, at Paganini's farewell concert in London: he wrote of the 'prodigious effect she produced', professing 'never to have heard [the piano] treated so magnificently' (Patterson 1903, p. 91). Further study followed in London. In 1837, she became intimate with Schumann, who suggested she transpose her first names as being 'more

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The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women: From the Earliest Times to 2004
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Advisers to the Project viii
  • Contributors ix
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Readers' Guide xxiii
  • Introduction xxv
  • The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women 1
  • A 3
  • B 21
  • C 56
  • D 90
  • E 109
  • F 115
  • G 130
  • H 153
  • I 177
  • J 181
  • K 188
  • L 200
  • M 214
  • N 280
  • O 285
  • P 289
  • Q 294
  • R 295
  • S 310
  • T 350
  • U 358
  • V 359
  • W 361
  • Y 383
  • Z 384
  • Thematic Index 386
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