Anna Laurie, or as she is known to the world, Annie Laurie was the fourth daughter of Sir Robert Laurie and Jean Riddell. It was Annie's romance with William Douglas of Fingland, which made her famous throughout the world. Douglas had a small estate near Craigdarroch, up the valley of Craigdarroch Water. Annie's father was a Royalist and a persecutor of the Covenanters, so it meant she had to meet her lover secretly on Maxelton Braes. He was a hot-headed Jacobite and a supporter of the Stuarts.
The Poem below was written about her by William Douglas (1672?-1748) and adapted by Alicia Scott in 1824/5 and was a popular song in the Crimean war: Maxwelton's braes are bonnie, Where early fa's the dew, 'Twas there that Annie Laurie Gi'ed me her promise true. Gi'ed me her promise true - Which ne'er forgot will be, And for bonnie Annie Laurie I'd lay me down and dee.
Her brow is like the snaw-drift, Her neck is like the swan, Her face it is the fairest, That 'er the sun shone on. That 'er the sun shone on - And dark blue is her e'e, And for bonnie Annie Laurie I'd lay me down and dee.
Like dew on gowans lying, Is the fa' o' her fairy feet, And like winds, in simmer sighing, Her voice is low and sweet. Her voice is low and sweet - And she's a' the world to me; And for bonnie Annie Laurie I'd lay me down and dee.
Original The earliest known version which may be closest to what Douglas wrote is:
Maxwelton braes are bonnie, where early fa's the dew Where me and Annie Laurie made up the promise true Made up the promise true, and ne'er forget will I And for bonnie Annie Laurie I'd lay doun my head and die She's backit like the peacock, she's breistit like the swan She's jimp aboot the middle, her waist ye weel may span Her waist ye weel may span, and she has a rolling eye And for bonnie Annie Laurie I'd lay doun my head and die.
In Edinburgh in 1710 Anna married Alexander Fergusson, Laird of Craigdarroch. She lived at Craigdarroch for 33 years. Under her directions the present mansion of Craigdarroch was built, and a relic of her taste is still preserved in the formal Georgian gardens in the rear of the house. She died in 1764 and some sources say she was buried at Craigdarroch. Portraits of her exist at Maxwelton and at Mansfield, the seat of the Stuart-Monteiths. The portraits show that she had blue eyes.
Annie Laurie and Alexander Ferguson taken from portraits at Maxwelton