A tune of Scottish origin, based on lyrics that partly date to the 1600s. It remains popular in the 21st century. Cecil Sharp published the song in Folk Songs From Somerset (1906). It is related to Child Ballad 204 , Jamie Douglas, which in turn refers to the ostensibly unhappy first marriage of James Douglas, 2nd Marquis of Douglas to Lady Barbara Erskine.
Not many people may know, that THIS song, ("The Water Is Wide"), is a Spin-Off from "Carrickfergus".