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Lady Johanna "Jean" De Roddam

Johanna De Roddam who was born about 1328 in Roddam, Northumberland, Johanna "Jean" De Roddam is the daughter of Adam De Rodham. She married Sir Thomas The Elder De Umfreville who was born 1329 in Castle Prudhoe, Northumberland, England and died May 21, 1378 in Castle Harbottle, Northumberland, England. He was the last Northumbrian Umfrevilles. A ballad called 'Lady Jean' by Robert White is said to commemorate the love of Thomas and Joanna. It tells the tale of a poor noblewoman betrothed to someone she doesn't care for (Lord Dacre) as she loves 'Umfreville of Otterburn'.

I never lov'd Lord Dacre yet; I dinna like him still -

He kens, though oft he sued for love, Upon his bended knee,

Ae tender word, ae kinder look, He never gat frae me

(She has sent word to her lover Umfreville to rescue her and is sure he will come to Bothal, despite the warnings of her cousin)

Ah! weel I ken his heart is true; He will, he must be here;

A boon the garden wa's he'll wave, The pennon o' his spear.

(Lord Dacre arrives, and the lady turns pale, and "totters like to fa'" when "List!" exclaims her cousin -)

A bugle note! It sounds not loud but clear.

Up! up! I see aboon the wa' ,Your true love's pennon'd spear!

An' up fu' quick gat Lady Jean, nae ailment had she mair;

Blythe was her look and firm her step, As she ran down the stair.

An' thro' amang the apple-trees, An' up the walk she flew;

Until she reached her true love's side, Her breath she scarcely drew.

Lord Dacre fain would see the bride; He sought her bower alane;

But dowf and blunkit grew his look, When Lady Jean was gane.

Sair did her father stamp an' rage, Sair did her mother mourn;

She's up and off wi' Umfreville, To bonnie Otterburne.


It must have been quite a scandal at the time to be commemorated by a ballad! It is very romantic that she spurned the rich and powerful.