Drummond Castle Manuscript 1

Title: A Collection of Countrey Dances Written for the use of his Grace The Duke of Perth. By Dav. Young

Location: GB-CRIdc

Reference: GB-En Acc.7722 (photocopy)

Date: 1737

Extent: 49 folios


Manuscript collection of country dances, with both dance instructions and tunes, copied by the writing master and violinist David Young. The manuscript is bound together with Drummond Castle MS 2, the original still presumably held at Drummond Castle (Perthshire) in what was the private collection of the Earl of Ancaster. The manuscript was probably compiled for the Scottish landowner and Jacobite James Drummond, 3rd Duke of Perth (a Jacobite peerage not recognised by the British Crown). After being seized by the Crown in 1750 in the aftermath of the Jacobite uprising of 1745-6, the estate was purchased by Captain James Drummond (a descendent of the 3rd Duke’s younger brother) in 1784, and through him passed to the Willoughby de Eresby family, who in turn were made Earls of Ancaster. The latter title was made extinct upon the death of the third Earl in 1984, and the Drummond estate is now held by his daughter and heir Nancy Jane Marie Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 28th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby, who presumably still owns the manuscript. Photocopies of the manuscript are held in the National Library of Scotland and the University of Glasgow library, and digital copies have been made available on the website of Ross Anderson. The digital file contains a typed list of contents, togther with a letter from the dance expert Tom Flett to the musicologist Henry Farmer (presumably from the University of Glasgow copy). The letter notes that the manuscript was discovered by Farmer at Drummond Castle.

The manuscript features an ornate title page, with intricate calligraphy, and the title “A Collection of Countrey Dances Written for the use of his Grace The Duke of Perth. By Dav. Young.” The date “1737” has been written in small letters above Young’s name (this date has been frequently incorrectly transcribed as 1734). The writing master David Young was an amateur violinist and composer, and a professional music copyist, who was also responsible for compiling Drummond Castle MS 2, both surviving volumes of the McFarlane Manuscript, the Young-Bodleian MS, and the McGibbon MS. Though not entirely clear from the photocopy, it appears that the country dance instructions appear on the verso side of each folio, facing the corresponding tune on the recto side of the following folio. Both country dance instructions and music are copied by David Young throughout, with intricate calligraphy on the titles to tunes, and a clear, professional hand. The tunes are predominantly Scots airs and dance tunes, many referencing Scottish names and places, including a dance named “Drummond Castle” . The country dance instructions are similar in style to English country dance collections such as those by Playford and Walsh, though many conclude with a reel figure.


Coupe, Rosemary, "David Young: Copyist, Collector, and Composer," Scottish Country Dancer No 6 (2008), 22-23.

McGregor, Violinists and Violin Music in Scotland

Links: NLS Catalogue, Digital copy by Ross Anderson, Historical Environment Scotland page on Drummond Castle

View this manuscript's tunes in the full tune index