In the decade before the outbreak of the First World War, Gavin Greig, schoolmaster at Whitehill, New Deer, and the Reverend James Bruce Duncan of the United Free Church at Lynturk, near Alford, collected over 1900 folk songs and ballads from the North East of Scotland.It wasn’t until the 1980s that the University of Aberdeen and the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh joined forces to begin the Herculean task of editing and publishing the collection. The 8th volume in this monumental set was finally released in 2002, one hundred years after the New Spalding Club (an antiquarian society in Aberdeen) first suggested the idea to Gavin Greig.
The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection is a jewel in the cultural heritage of the North East and a lasting monument to these two remarkable Aberdeenshire figures. To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the Rev James Bruce Duncan, Aberdeenshire Council has created an interactive map of the placenames mentioned in the songs and ballads in the collection which can be viewed HERE
You can view copies of the Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection at several Aberdeenshire Libraries. Have a look at the online Aberdeenshire Libraries Catalogue at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/libraries to find your nearest library and check which volumes they hold.