Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Bonnie Charlie's Strathspey

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

BONNIE CHARLIE'S STRATHSPEY (S3x32) 4C set Clare Broome Silver Jubilee Miscellany

Fig 1
1- 8 All cross RH, all cross back RH
9-16 All circle 8H round to left
17-24 All turn partners 2H into Sq.Set (1s at top, 4s at bottom 2s on Ladies' side and 3s on Men's side Ladies on partner's right) and all dance ½ Grand Chain
25-32 1s+4s dance ½ R&L, 2s+4s dance ½ R&L

Fig 2
1- 8 All dance double reels of 4 (Ladies give LH in centre to start as Men set)
9-16 All set and turn corners 2H, set and turn partners 2H
17-32 All dance full Schiehallion Reel

Fig 3
1- 4 1s change places with 4s dancing under 4s arch and ½ turn corners with free hand
5- 8 1L+4M change places with 1M+4L dancing under 1M+4L arch and ½ turn corners with free hand
9-16 Repeat bars 1-8
17-24 All turn partners 2H approx. twice to original places and all advance and retire
25-32 All circle 8H round to left

(MINICRIB. Dance crib compiled by Charles Upton, Deeside Caledonian Society, and his successors)


Dance Information

This dance, Bonnie Charlie's Strathspey, is assumed to be an allusion to Bonnie Prince Charlie, in the absence of any deviser's notes saying otherwise.

Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart (Bonnie Charlie) (20 December 1720 – 30 January 1788) was the elder son of James Francis Edward Stuart, grandson of James II and VII, and the Stuart claimant to the throne of Great Britain after 1766 as "Charles III".

During his lifetime, he was also known as "the Young Pretender" and "the Young Chevalier"; in popular memory, he is "Bonnie Prince Charlie".

He is best remembered for his role in the 1745 rising; his defeat at Culloden in April 1746 effectively ended the Stuart cause, and subsequent attempts failed to materialise, such as a planned French invasion in 1759. His escape from Scotland after the uprising led to his portrayal as a romantic figure of heroic failure.

Bonnie Prince Charlie - Information Video


Bonnie Charlie, is also the subject of the famous Bonnie Charlie - Poem written by Perthshire-born Lady Nairne (1766-1845).

Bonnie Charlie's noo awa
Safely o'er the friendly main;
He'rts will a'most break in twa
Should he no' come back again.

The song, especially its melody, is widely and traditionally used as a song of farewell.

Bonnie Charlie Song - Information Video

Bonnie Charlie
"Portrait Of Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788)" Louis Gabriel Blanchet (1705-1772), Oil On Canvas, c. 1738


Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Charles Edward Stuart article on Wikipedia.
Text from this original Bonnie Charlie article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Louis Gabriel Blanchet (1705-1772) (National Portrait Gallery: NPG 5517) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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