The Society was founded in March 1984 by our Founder
President Mr James M Duncan, in order to keep alive in a fast changing
world all the old and true traditions of Buchan in Music, Song, Verse,
Drama and Olde Tyme Dance.
With this in mind, Mr Duncan initiated monthly concerts
every third Wednesday throughout the year. These concerts were, and
continue to be, very popular. They consist mainly of performances
and appearances of some of the most talented people from Buchan and
this North East corner of Britain.
With a view to involving the younger people in these
old traditions, the Society decided to hold an Annual Festival of
Music, Song, Verse and Drama with competitions in different sections,
for all age groups. Strichen, with its large public hall was found
to be the perfect venue. To produce a Festival on this scale by a
handful of people was a big step. It was after all just a small society
of some 130 members with hardly any funds. However, with a lot of
determination and hard work it was a complete success and continues
still to be so.
After the re introduction of the Old Tyme Dance at
our Festival, the Old Tyme Dancing flourished in the area and a number
of groups started up and have continued to be very popular.
Mr James Duncan was instrumental in initiating the
production of the Society's Annual Magazine called 'Heirskip'. 'Heirskip'
is an old Scottish word for heritage or inheritance. This is an excellent
magazine unique of its kind and much sought after by the folk of the
North East, lovers of the Doric Language, and those who enjoy reading
about the "old days" . The aim of 'Heirskip' is to reflect in print
the aims of the Society and to preserve the heritage which is ours,
a heritage which will be lost without some expenditure of effort on
It has always been the aim of the Society to keep ever
fresh the memory of those who were greatly talented and highly acclaimed
in the area in the past. From time to time a special concert is held
featuring many of our best musicians, entertainers, scholars, members
and supporters to commemorate these people. Our first special evening
was for John M Henderson - Fiddler, New Deer, and was followed by
similar evenings to commemorate the memories of Gavin Greig Collector
of Folk Song and Music, Whitehills, J C Milne Poet, Memsie, Peter
Buchan - Poet, Peterhead, Charles Roy Skinner Life Member, Fraserburgh.
The Society erected a small plaque in memory of the
late Hector MacAndrew in the grounds of Fyvie Castle, where for so
many years he was the gardener.
We also established a Gavin Greig Memorial Competition
Fund, which awards prizes to schoolchildren. This award is usually
made at the Festival in May.
In September 1997 a Rowan tree was planted in the
grounds of Aden Country Park Mintlaw in memory of our Founder President
James M Duncan.
In September 1999 a Young Entertainer of the Year Competition
was introduced to promote and encourage our younger generations and
has proved very successful. The aim of the competition has its emphasis
more on entertainment value than perfect performance but proficiency
obviously plays a large part.
In April 2002 Ian Middleton of Arradoul was the subject
of our next special evening which was held in Longside Parish Church
Hall where compere Robert Lovie performed some of Ian's poems to perfection.
In October 2003 the society presented a complete set
of "The Greig Duncan Folk Song Collection " to Aberdeenshire Schools
Library Service for the use of youngster all over the north east.
The presentation was made by Mrs E Watt, Gavin Greig's last surviving
grandchild, at a special concert held in New Deer.
In November 2005 Rev. Charles Birnie, founder member,
past chairman and society chaplain was presented with a CD and framed
score of a tune entitled "Rev Charles John Birnie which was specially
composed and played by James Alexander at a tribute concert held in
the Ritchie Hall Strichen in his honour.
On 1st March 2009, along with the parishioners of Tyrie
Parish a memorial stone was placed in Tyrie Kirk Yard to the memory
of Rev Charles J. Birnie.
On 12th August 2009 "The Buchan Heritage Society" launched
its first CD. This is a compilation of the poetry of John C Milne
of Memsie from his books "The Orra Loon" and "Poems by John C Milne"
narrated or sung in the Doric.