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Robert Coltard


(Robert Coltart)

1832 - 1880

Confectionery manufacturer who penned a popular song. Born in Galloway, Coltard came to Galashiels in the Scottish Borders as a teenager to work as a weaver. He moved the Melrose, where he made boiled sweets flavoured with aniseed to augment his income. However, he is best remembered for the song he wrote to advertise his confectionery, which he sold at fairs and festivals across the Borders. This song has become a traditional lullaby and begins:

Ally bally, ally bally bee,
Sittin' on yer mammy's knee,
Greetin' for a wee bawbee,
Tae buy some Coulter's candy.

Coltard died of a brain tumour and was buried in an unmarked grave in Eastlands Cemetery in Galashiels. His song gained a wider audience in 1961 when it was recorded by the folk duo Robin Hall (1936-98) and Jimmie Macgregor (b.1930). A £60,000 bronze statue was unvelied in Galashiels in 2019 in Coltard's memory.


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