Wardlaw, Elizabeth (1677-1727)

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Wardlaw, Elizabeth (1677–1727)

Scottish poet . Name variations: Elizabeth Halket. Born in April 1677; died in 1727; daughter of Janet (Murray) Halket and Sir Charles Halket; married Sir Henry Wardlaw, on June 13, 1696.

Lady Elizabeth Wardlaw was born Elizabeth Halket in April 1677 in Fife, the daughter of Janet Murray Halket and Sir Charles Halket of Pitfarraine. In 1696, she married Sir Henry Wardlaw of Pitcruivie. Lady Wardlaw is best remembered as the supposed author of the ballad "Hardyknute," which she claimed to have discovered as a fragment in a vault in Dunfermline. It was published in 1719 as an example of an ancient Scottish epic, and in 1724 Allan Ramsay published it in The Ever Green. The authenticity of the ballad was called into question in 1765 when it appeared in Reliques of Ancient English Poetry by Bishop Thomas Percy, and the controversy gave rise to false speculation that Lady Wardlaw might also have reworked the ballad "Sir Patrick Spens."

Judith C. Reveal , freelance writer, Greensboro, Maryland