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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Glover, Jean (1758 — 1811)

Born at Kilmarnock, the daughter of a weaver, she developed uncommon good looks and a fine singing voice. She became stage-struck at an early age, and eloped from her parents' home with a sleight of hand performer called Richard. Thereafter she performed with him at public houses and other small places of entertainment up and down the country. There is a record of her having performed at a public house in Muirkirk, where her brother worked in the iron-works, in 1795, and soon after at Irvine. A correspondent of James Paterson, author of The Contemporaries of Burns (1840) told him that she had seen Jean Glover 'playing on a tambourine at the mouth of a close, in which was the exhibition room of her husband the conjurer', and thought her 'the bravest woman I had ever seen step in leather shoon.' A final reference to her performing at Letterkenny, in Ireland, a few months before her death, was also noted by Paterson.

Burns, who printed her song 'O'er the moor amang the heather' in the Scots Musical Museum in 1792, to a tune which first appeared in Bremner's Reels, 1760, and was republished in several later 18th Century collections, took a less kindly view of Jean Glover, explaining how he came to collect the piece.

'This song is the composition of a Jean Glover, a girl who was not only a w--- but also a thief; and in one or other character has visited most of the correction houses in the west. She was born, I believe, in Kilmarnock. I took the song down from her singing as she was strolling the country with a slight of hand blackguard'.

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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

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

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