Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Pearl Of Scotland

Scottish Country Dance Instruction

The Pearl Of Scotland (S4x32) 4C set Lewis N Derrick 1987
2 chords. On the second chord the 3rd and 4th couples cross over

1-2 Giving right hands, the 1st man and 2nd woman and the 3rd woman and 4th man, cross over and retain hold
3-6 The 1st and 2nd couples and the 3rd and 4th couples dance right hands across once round
7-8 Retaining right hands at the end of the wheel, the 1st woman and 2nd man and the 3rd man and 4th woman cross over
9-10 Giving left hands, the 1st and 4th women cross over and retain hold
11-14 The 1st and 4th couples dance left hands across once round
15-16 Retaining left hands at the end of the wheel, the 1st and 4th men cross over
17-18 Giving both hands, the 2nd and 4th couples and the 1st and 3rd couples turn the person they're facing on the sidelines once round to the left
19-20 Giving both hands, the 2nd and 3rd couples (across the dance) and the 1st and 4th couples (on the sidelines) turn the person they're now facing once round to the right
21-24 All repeat bars 17-20, ending on the sidelines in the order 2413
25-28 Crossing out at the ends to begin, the 4th couple around the 2nd couple and the 1st couple around the 3rd couple dance half a figure of eight across
29-32 Crossing in towards the centre of the set to begin, the 2nd couple around the 4th couple and the 3rd couple around the 1st couple dance half a figure of eight across. The 2nd and 3rd couples give nearer hands as they dance out between the standing couples to end 2413, with the 1st and 3rd couples on opposite sides

Repeat three more times from new positions each time

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


Dance Notes

On bars 15-16 to ensure the flow of the wheels it is important for dancers entering and leaving them to dance in and out along a spiral path, phrasing their entry and departure appropriately.

The String of Pearls. In order to phrase bars 17-24 correctly dancers must give both hands for one step only when turning; the second travelling step of each pair should be used by all dancers to position themselves ready for the next turn (which is in the opposite direction each time).

(Dance Notes by the deviser, Lewis N Derrick)


Dance Information

This dance, The Pearl Of Scotland, was devised to commemorate Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm III of Scotland, c. 1047-1093.

Suggested tune: Parks of Kilburnie.

Devised December 1987; first published 1992; republished electronically 2020.

Copyright 1987, 1992, 2020 Lewis N. Derrick.


Saint Margaret of Scotland (c. 1045 - 1093), also known as Margaret of Wessex, was an English princess and a Scottish queen. Margaret was sometimes called "The Pearl of Scotland".

Born in exile in the Kingdom of Hungary, she was the sister of Edgar Ætheling, the short reigned and uncrowned Anglo-Saxon King of England. Margaret and her family returned to the Kingdom of England in 1057, but fled to the Kingdom of Scotland following the Norman conquest of England in 1066. By the end of 1070, Margaret had married King Malcolm III of Scotland, becoming Queen of Scots.

She was a very pious Roman Catholic, and among many charitable works she established a ferry across the Firth of Forth in Scotland for pilgrims travelling to St Andrews in Fife, which gave the towns of South Queensferry and North Queensferry their names.

Margaret was the mother of three kings of Scotland, or four, if Edmund of Scotland is counted, and of a queen consort of England. According to the Vita S. Margaritae Reginae, attributed to Turgot of Durham, she died at Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1093, merely days after receiving the news of her husband's death in battle.

In 1250, Pope Innocent IV canonized her, and her remains were reinterred in a shrine in Dunfermline Abbey in Fife, Scotland.

St Margaret Of Scotland - Information Video

The Pearl Of Scotland
The Pearl Of Scotland - Saint Margaret Of Scotland
Stained Glass Window, St Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh Castle


Dance information from The McGhie Scottish Country Dance Books, Volume 5, The Real McGhie 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 Saint Margaret Of Scotland article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright Alan Findlay under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

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