Joanna Baillie was born of an ancient Scottish family that claimed descent from the nationalist hero Sir William Wallace. During her youth, she moved to Hampstead in London with her sister Agnes, and the two lived there for the rest of their lives. She became a cornerstone of literary society in that part of London. Her first literary work Fugitive Verses, appeared anonymously in 1790. This book was followed by numerous plays. Her play De Montfort (1809) was produced on the London stage with John Kemble and Sarah Siddons performing the main roles. Despite this dramatic output, Joanna Baillie was better remembered for her Scottish songs, such as Woo’d and Married an’a, of which there are many adaptations.