Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

Jenny's Bawbee

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

JENNY'S BAWBEE (S8x24) 2C (4C set) Thomas Wilson RSCDS Book 5

1- 8 1s+2s set, dance ½ R&L (1 bar per hand), set and dance ½ R&L (1 bar per hand) back to places
9-16 1s lead down the middle and back to top
17-24 1s+2s dance Allemande

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


Keith Rose's Crib Diagrams


Dance Information

The title of this dance, Jenny's Bawbee, comes from the Jenny's Bawbee - Song a Scottish song telling the story of the various men who try to woo Jenny and her bawbee.

... Quo' he, ilk cream-faced pawky chiel,
Thought he was cunning as the deil,
And here they cam', awa' to steal
Jenny's bawbee.

A bawbee was a Scottish halfpenny. The word means a debased copper coin, valued at six pence Scots (equal at the time to an English half-penny), issued from around 1542, the reign of James V of Scotland to the reign of William II of Scotland.

This song is a comment on the nature of love, telling the story of a succession of upper-class men who all want to marry Jenny, mainly for her Bawbee. Jenny is not so easily fooled by these gentlemen who wish to marry her and instead, Jenny falls for the very last man in this line of suitors, Johnny, who wins her affection despite being poor in material terms because he is rich in other respects.

The song Jenny's Bawbee appears in at least 3 different forms, most notably as Jenny's Baubee in Thomas Wilson's 19th century publication "The Treasures of Terpsichore" (an alphabetical listing of country dances and their figures).
Thomas Wilson was dancing master to the King's Theatre. Despairing the state of country dancing, the author fears "it [will] be perverted into a chaos of riot and confusion".
Wilson produced other manuals on country dancing with detailed text, tables, and diagrams to explain the figures.


Jenny's Bawbee Song Video

Jenny's Bawbee Song - YouTube Video

Jenny's Bawbee, Coin Image
Bawbee - Scotland. Mary, Queen Of Scots. 1542-1567.


Dance Information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence.
Text from this original A 'Bawbee' article on Traditional Tune Archive.
Text from this original Jenny's Bawbee article on Wikisource.
Image Copyright Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. http://www.cngcoins.com, via Wikimedia Commons.
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