Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

As Time Will Serve Her

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

As Time Will Serve Her (J64) Sq.Set Lewis N Derrick 1987
1-4 All couples set and link. Joining nearer hands with partners all set, then with two skip change of step all change places with partners, the women casting by the right while the men dance into their partners' places making a full polite turn
5-8 With women on their partners' left, all dance eight hands halfway round to the left
9-12 All set and link; the men casting and the women dancing across
13-16 With women on their partners' right, all dance eight hands halfway round to the left, to end in original places
17-18 Taking nearer hands and using skip change, the 1st man and 2nd woman, likewise the 3rd man and 4th woman advance towards the centre of the set, turning in towards one another to face out while the 1st woman and 2nd man, likewise the 3rd woman and 4th man, cast into their partners' places and take nearer hands facing in; all are now facing own partners in two diagonal lines
19-20 All set to partners
21-24 The 1st and 2nd couples, likewise the 3rd and 4th couples, dance four hands round to the left
25-26 Taking nearer hands and using skip change, the 1st woman and 2nd man, likewise the 3rd woman and 4th man advance towards the centre of the set, turning in towards one another to face out while the 1st man and 2nd woman, likewise the 3rd man and 4th woman, dance out to the corners of the set and turn to face in with nearer hands joined
27-28 All set to partners
29-32 The 1st and 2nd couples, likewise the 3rd and 4th couples, dance four hands round to the left all ending back in original places on the sidelines
33-48 All repeat bars 17-32 on the other diagonal. To begin, taking nearer hands and using skip change, the 1st woman and 4th man, likewise the 3rd woman and 2nd man, advance towards the centre of the set while the 2nd and 4th women, 3rd and 1st men cast into their partners' places, then all set, dance four hands round, change places, set and dance four hands round, ending back in original places on the sidelines
49-64 All repeat bars 1-16

(Dance crib compiled by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick 2020)


Dance Notes

Unlike set and link in Strathspey time, it is not advisable to attempt to hold hands as long as possible during bars 3-4 and 11-12.

(Dance notes by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick)


Dance Information

This dance, As Time Will Serve Her, was devised to commemorate Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587)

This dance echoes in SCD form the circular court dances (branles) of the sixteenth century, the title coming from John Knox's description of the Queen's love of riding in the fields.

Suggested tune: Norma's Tune.

Devised October 1987 and revised January 1988; first published 1988; republished electronically 2020.

Copyright 1987, 1988, 2020 Lewis N. Derrick.

(Dance information by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick)


Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 - 1587), also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland, reigned over Scotland from 14 December 1542 to 24 July 1567.

Mary, the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland, was six days old when her father died and she acceded to the throne. She spent most of her childhood in France while Scotland was ruled by regents, and in 1558, she married the Dauphin of France, Francis. Mary was queen consort of France from his accession in 1559 until his death in December 1560. Widowed, Mary returned to Scotland, arriving in Leith on 19 August 1561. Four years later, she married her half-cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and in June 1566 they had a son, James.

In February 1567, Darnley's residence was destroyed by an explosion, and he was found murdered in the garden. James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, was generally believed to have orchestrated Darnley's death, but he was acquitted of the charge in April 1567, and the following month he married Mary. Following an uprising against the couple, Mary was imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. On 24 July 1567, she was forced to abdicate in favour of her one-year-old son. After an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne, she fled southward seeking the protection of her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Mary had once claimed Elizabeth's throne as her own and was considered the legitimate sovereign of England by many English Catholics, including participants in a rebellion known as the Rising of the North. Perceiving Mary as a threat, Elizabeth had her confined in various castles and manor houses in the interior of England. After eighteen and a half years in custody, Mary was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth in 1586, and was beheaded the following year at Fotheringhay Castle.

Mary, Queen of Scots, as time will serve her
As Time Will Serve Her
"Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87)" Fran├žois Clouet (1510-1572), Watercolour And Bodycolour On Vellum Rebacked With Card, c. 1558 - 1560


Dance information from The McGhie Scottish Country Dance Books, Volume 3, Peggy Mcghie's Reel And Other Scottish Country Dances, reproduced here with the kind permission of the deviser, Lewis N Derrick.
Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Mary Queen Of Scots article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Fran├žois Clouet / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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