Buchan Turnpike, The
DESCRIPTION: In 1808 "a road thro' Buchan was made straucht And mony a Hielan' lad o' maucht Cam' owre the Buchan border ... To put the road in order" Some of the workers are named. "This turnpike it will be a boon"
AUTHOR: John Shirris (source: GreigDuncan3)
EARLIEST DATE: 1905 (Greig)
KEYWORDS: commerce technology
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig "Folk-Song in Buchan," pp. 27-28, ("'Twas in the year auchteen hun'er and aucht"); Greig #7, p. 1, "The Buchan Turnpike" (2 texts)
GreigDuncan3 460, "The Buchan Turnpike" (6 texts, 2 tunes)
cf. "Johnnie Cope" (tune, per GreigDuncan3)
cf. "Boyndlie Road" (subject: road building)
The Buchan Road
The New Turnpike
In the Year Auchteen Hunner an' Aucht
NOTES: Not all the singers are happy about the road. GreigDuncan3 460E: "The thieves into my hoose they cam', An' to my leathern bags they ran, An' oot o' them they filled their han', An' sert them oot o' order."
[I wonder if this mightn't be a memory of something older, having to do with government repression. Most of the earliest roads in northern Scotland were built by the government to watch the Jacobite clans and allow quick movements of military forces. Of course, it also made it possible for the glens to eventually join the British economy. After they had been cleared, to be sure.]
Greig: "The making of a turnpike road, however important an event in its own way, hardly looks a subject for verse; and nowadays one could scarcely imagine a bard condescending on such a prosaic theme.... Any number of people throughout Buchan know about the making of the Peterhead and Banff turnpike from this song and from no other source of information; and here in the year 1908 we print the song in honour of the event which it commemorates."
Greig's text concludes "The writer's name gin you should spier, I'm Jamie Shirran frae New Deer, A name weel kent baith far and near, I dwell near the road's border." GreigDuncan3 460C text has it as "I'm Jamie Shirris ...." GreigDuncan3 notes that Duncan "identified the author as John Shirran" and remembered three men who sang the name as "John Shirris, and all understood it to be the work of the well-known rhymer." - BS
Last updated in version 2.6
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.