Jock Tamson's Bairns Lyrics Follow
Jock Tamson's Bairns is a Lowland Scots (and Northumbrian English) dialect version of Jack (John) Thomson's children but both Jock and Tamson in this context take on the connotation of Everyman. The Dictionary of the Scots Language gives the following definitions:
Jock: (1) A generic term for a man, a male person. (34) Jock Tamson's bairns: the human race, common humanity; also, with less universal force, a group of people united by a common sentiment, interest or purpose.
Tamson: a Scottish form of the surname Thomson. In phrases Tamson stands for the ordinary representative man in the street: Jock Tamson's bairns, common humanity.
The phrase is used in common speech in Scotland and it also occurs in general culture. Some examples are: the play of that name by Liz Lochhead; a folk music group of that name; the title of a book describing the official records of the Scottish nation; a report of a speech in parliament by Winnie Ewing; and Morag Alexander, the Scottish Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The phrase more often occurs in an extended form: We're a' Jock Tamson's bairns. This is interpreted in a metaphorical sense as a statement of egalitarian sentiments equivalent to "we're all the same under the skin" or "we are all God's children".
The origin of the phrase is uncertain. The earliest reference quoted in the Dictionary of the Scots Language is from 1847 where it describes the phrase as "an expression of mutual good fellowship very frequently heard in Scotland." One suggestion is that it was simply common usage in the Fife town of Buckhaven which had 70 Thomson families out of a total of 160 families in 1833.. Another is that the Reverend John Thomson, minister of Duddingston Kirk, Edinburgh, from 1805 to 1840, called the members of his congregation (and his many children) "ma bairns". The latter saying may well be the reason for the location of the plaque illustrated above.
The equivalent phrase in the Scottish Gaelic is "Clann MhicTamhais".
- Baba Mo Leonabh
- The Bogend Hairst
- Aye Waukin' O
- The Fause Knicht on the Road
- Coire Mhic Fhearchair / The Fishertown Jig / The Iona Hop / The Iona Shuffle
- The Grave of the Unknown Clansman / The Highlands of Banffshire / Trip to Skye / Logie Bridge
- Da Grocer / Pottinger's Compliments to Ronnie Cooper / The Marquis of Huntly's Reel
- The Mull Waltz / Castle Stalker
- The Soor Milk Cairt
- The Bonnie Earl O' Moray
- Scotch Cap / The Faerie Boys of Leith / The New Way To Edinburgh / The Leith Scots Measure
- Blythe Blythe and Merry Was She
- Duncan McNeill's Farewell to Melfort/ Boc Liath Nan Gobhar
- Trois Grands Luthiers
- MacGregor of Ruara/ The King's House
- Dusty Miller/ Wee Willie Gray
- Back of the Change House/ Miss Girdle/ The Bristly Beard/ Barney's ...
- Woo'd and Married and A'
- Johnny Sangster
- Donal Don/ Piper's Cave
- Loch Etive/ South Uist Golf Club/ The Country Girl and the ...
- Bogie's Bonnie Belle
- Braes O' Gleniffer
- Prince Charlie's March/ Joy Gae Wi' My Love/ Ho Mo Chaileagan
- Gude Claret/ Wee Hieland Laddie