A few weeks ago, I was invited to go and look at an eighteenth century fiddle manuscript that had turned up in Greenock Archives. It belonged to one 'Hugh Cameron' in the early 18th century. Someone - presumably Hugh - listed his books inside the front, over several pages. It covered a wide range of subjects - philosophy, maths and theology to name but three. The rest of the book contains fiddle tunes. There were no accompaniments, just the tunes; the repertoire was considerably later than the dates of the listed books; and quite a few of them had been copied, directly or indirectly, from a late 18th century printed collection.
Had Hugh copied them out, or was it someone else, perhaps a relative? Who knows.
And who was Hugh? I have a very, very tentative identification. There's not enough to identify him with any degree of certainty. My hypothesis fits in with the kind of person who'd have owned those books, and would mean the fiddle tunes were collected when the owner of the book was an old man. But how do we know that the book hadn't already fallen into someone else's hands? We don't!
I hope I'm going to talk about this with interested parties in Inverclyde, so I won't say any more for now. But watch this space. It's all rather exciting.