The Shepherd of Ettrick Vale

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According to the Cape Argus of 15 September 1863 (as cited by F.C.L. Bosman, 1980: p. 298), The Shepherd of Ettrick Vale (unattributed) is the name given to a performance of some kind by the officers of the 10th Regiment in King Williams Town on the Eastern Cape border during September of 1863.

One could perhaps assume that the title is a reference to the Scottish poet, novelist and essayist James Hogg (1770–1835)[1], widely known as "The Ettrick Shepherd" of "The Shepherd of Ettrick Vale". However, no play by this specific name can be traced.

The performance may thus have been either a reading of the poems and/or stories of "The Ettrick Shepherd", or it was a performance of one of two plays, i.e.:

The Rose of Ettrick Vale by by Thomas J. Lynch (fl. 1820-1830s), which was popular among the British militia in the Cape Colony in the 1860s (and is therefore the most likely candidate)


The Shepherd of Derwent Vale[2], a drama in two acts by Joseph Lunn (1784-1863)[3], a work that does not seem to have been performed in South Africa before then.


Charles Rogers. 1809. Ettrick Forest, the Ettrick Shepherd, and his monument. John Menzies, Ediburgh [4]

Edinburgh Dramatic Review, Volumes 3-5[5]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p. 298

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