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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Fleming, Agnes (b. 1765)

The daughter of John Fleming, who, according to Cunningham, farmed Calcothill, half a mile north of Lochlea. She has been thought by some to be the heroine of the song 'My Nanie O', one of the few poems Burns's father knew and approved. Her surname was said by Burns's brother Gilbert, to be Fleming, but the Rev Hamilton Paul gave her name as Sheriff — perhaps her married name or the name of another possible subject of the song, Agnes Sheriff of Kilmarnock — when writing to Dr Robert Chambers. According to Cunningham 'Nannie Fleming' died unmarried at an advanced age. For reasons of euphony, Burns later changed 'Stinchar' to 'Lugar' in the first line of his song.

The words first appeared in the Edinburgh Edition of 1787; the song, with its tune, 'My Nanie O', in Thomson's Scootish Airs, 1793. Thomson wanted to change the air, but Burns disapproved, and had his own way. The song later appeared in the Museum in 1803, to an air by a Durham musician, Thomas Ebdon. But the title air, which goes back in origin to the Graham Manuscript, 1694, and was first published in Orpheus Caledonius, 1725, has always been the more popular version.

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

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Scotweb Store

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