Mary "The Flower of Yarrow" Scott

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Marion Scott

Birthplace: Dryhope, Selkirkshire, Scotland
Death: before April 09, 1598
Selkirkshire, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Scott, 2nd of Dryhope and wife of John Scott
Wife of Walter "Auld Wat" Scott of Harden, 2nd Laird
Mother of Sir William Scott of Harden, 3rd Laird; Hugh Scott, 1st of Gala; Walter Scott; Francis Scott, Earl of Buccleuch; Margaret “Maggie Fendy” Scott and 5 others

Marriage: at Selkirk 21 March 1567 (contract)
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Mary "The Flower of Yarrow" Scott

William Scott took for his first wife Mary Scott, daughter of John Scott, 2nd of Dryhope. By her he had daughters and four sons.

"He married (contract dated at Selkirk 21 March 1567) Mary or Marion, called ' The flower of Yarrow,' daughter of John Scott of Dryhope," (From Children's births are estimated based on the marriage date.

the legend

Sir Walter Scott writes in a note to the ballad of “Jamie Telfer”, that Walter Scott of Harden (Auld Wat) was married to Mary Scott, celebrated in song by the title of the “Flower of Yarrow”, and reputed to be the most beautiful woman of her time. (Mary Scott, The Flower Of Yarrow, on the mountain dulcimer)

Another of the many interesting stories of this redoubtable man which, like so many others has been passed down and preserved in tradition, tells of yet another of the forays made across the border into Cumberland by Harden retainers. Upon their return laden with spoil, which lay scattered in heaps around the hall, the beautiful lady of the mansion heard a wailing sound from one of the bundles, and upon unwrapping it Found an infant, who flung his arms around her neck, and clung to her breast. She subsequently took charge of the little captive, and brought him up as her foster-child. Although he spent his life at Harden, he had no taste for the wild and adventurous enterprises of its marauding inmates, and spent his life in the quiet scenes of pastoral pursuits. He is said to have been the author of some of the most beautiful songs and ballads on the Borders. (link 1)

marriage contract

By their marriage contract the father of that lady was to supply Sir Walter with horse meat and mans meat for a year and a day at his tower of Dryhope; but five barons pledged themselves that at the end of that period the son-in-law should remove without attempting to continue in possession by force--- a strange condition which was referred to as a curious illustration of the unsettled character of that age. According to another traditionary account, sir Walter, for his part agreed to give Dryhope the profits of the first Michaelmas moon. In his writings Sir Walter adds that the original contract is in the charter-chest of the present Mr Scott of Harden, and that a notary-public signed for all the parties to the deed as none of them could write their names.

It is evident that Sir Walter had never examined the document in question, but had described it from common report. Mr. Fraser, who takes nothing for granted, was induced, by the peculiarity of these ante-nuptial conditions, to examine the original contract for the marriage, which bears date at Selkirk, 21st March, 1576, and the parties to it are Walter Scott of Harden, and John Scott of Dryhope, for his daughter, Marion Scott. Walter and Marion became bound to celebrate their marriage before Lammas then next; and Walter obliges himself to infeft Marion in life-rent in the lands of Mabynlaw, as a part of Harden. The father of Marion Scott becomes bound to pay to Harden four hundred merks Scots, at the times specified, the balance being to be paid ‘at the said Walter and Marion’s passing to their awin hous.’ For observing the contract faithfully, the parties to the contract obliged them, by the faith and truth of their bodies, and by the ‘ostentioun’ of their right hands. The contract, however, contains nothing about providing meat for man and horse, or the five guaranteeing barons, and the profits of the Michaelmas moon.


By the “Flower of Yarrow” the laird of Harden had six sons, five of whom survived him, and his extensive estates were divided among them. It is said that the sixth son was slain, at a fray in a hunting match, by the Scotts of Gilmanscleugh, and that his Brothers “flew to arms”, but the old laird afraid for their lives and also wishing to stop a feud from starting, locked them all in the dungeon of his tower, he then rode post haste to Edinburgh, reported the crime, and as compensation received a gift of the lands of the offenders from the crown. Upon his return to Harden with equal speed, he released his sons from their confinement and showed them the charter, the old savage worrier then cried “To horse lads and let us take possession, the lands of Gilmanscleugh are well worth a dead son”. Once obtained, the lands remained in the family until the beginning of the last century, when they were sold by John Scott of Harden to Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch.

  • Father: John SCOTT , of Dryhope


  1. AFT 21 MAR 1567 in date of contract 1 to Walter SCOTT , of Harden b: in Scotland

Children (4 sons, 3 daughters) all born in Scotland

  1. Hugh of Greenshead. Scotts of Gala.
  2. Walter in Essinside. Married a daughter of John Hay of Houstoun in Peebles. Killed in a raid.
  3. Francis of Howfuird. Scotts of Sinton.
  4. Margaret. Married Gilbert Elliot of Stobs, who for some unknown reason was called ‘Gibby with the Gowden [golden] Garters.
  5. Esther
  6. Janet
  7. William (Sir) , of Harden. Married Agnes Murray. Heir - 3rd laird of Harden. Scotts of Harden.

“He is also said to have had three other daughters, married to Geddes of Kirkurd, Scott of Tushielaw, and Porteous of Headschaw [sic: Hawkshaw].”


view all 14

Mary "The Flower of Yarrow" Scott's Timeline

Dryhope, Selkirkshire, Scotland
April 9, 1598
Age 50
Selkirkshire, Scotland
Harden, Scotland
Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, England
Harden, Selkirkshire, Scotland