16. Lady Nairne

Born in 1766 in Gask, Perthshire, Carolina Oliphant was the great- granddaughter of the exiled Jacobite, Lord Nairne.

Known as ‘Lady Nairne, the Flower of Strathearn,’ she had a colourful upbringing, surrounded by a family who loved music and who were staunch Jacobite supporters.

She took to writing songs at a young age, and is responsible for many Scots folk songs including ‘Charlie is Ma Darlin’’ – although many are often mistakenly attributed to Robert Burns. Most of her work was written before her marriage to William Murray Nairne, a distant cousin, in 1806, but popular as her songs were, she felt it necessary to conceal her achievements.

She believed her songs’ popularity would be jeopardised if it became known they were written by a woman, and she switched from her original penname, Mrs Bogan of Bogan, to the gender-neutral BB when submitting her contributions to The Scottish Minstrel. Her achievements only became known in the posthumous publication of ‘Lays from Strathearn.’