'"Annie Laurie" is an old Scottish song based on a poem said to have been written by William Douglas about his romance with Annie Laurie (1682—1764). The words were modified and the tune was added by Alicia Scott in 1834/5. The song is also known as "Maxwelton Braes".
'There has been some doubt that Douglas composed the poem. The words of the second verse of the song may be based on an old version of John Anderson My Jo, to the tune of which song Annie Laurie was sometimes sung. The words were first recorded in 1823 in Sharpe's "Ballad Book", quite a long time after 1700. The song therefore may have been written by Allan Cunningham, who invented contributions to Sharpe's book. However Douglas is known to have written other verses and he also knew an Anna Laurie of Maxwelton. This seems to indicate he was the originator of some of the first verse at least.'
'In February 1890 Lady John Scott (1810–1900) (née Alicia Ann Spottiswoode) wrote to the editor of the Dumfries Standard, claiming that she had composed the tune and had written most of the modern words. She said that around 1834-5 she encountered the words in collection of the Songs of Scotland (1825) by Allan Cunningham in a library. She adapted the music she had composed for another old Scottish poem, "Kempye Kaye". She also amended the first verse slightly, the second verse greatly, which she thought was unsuitable, and wrote a new third verse. In the 1850s Lady John published the song with some other songs of hers for the benefit of the widows and orphans of the soldiers killed in the Crimean War.'