Lecture: The Legacy of Eric Cregeen; A Treasury of Manx and Scottish Traditions by Margaret Bennett.
Dr Margaret Bennet's lecture on the legacy of Eric Cregeen. Recorded on 1st July 2019 for Manx National Heritage.
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals
This is part of a project inspired by the work of one of the most influential oral historians of the 20th century, Eric Radcliffe Cregeen (1921–83). He recorded people from many walks of life and made major contributions to the Manx Language and Folklife Surveys; the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, and to the Archives of the School of Scottish Studies (Special Collections at the University of Edinburgh). Meticulous in his methodology, Cregeen kept detailed fieldwork journals, which he anticipated using for further research and in preparation of publications. Sadly that was not to be, as he died in 1983 at the age of 61.
"Cregeen kept detailed fieldwork journals"
Eric R. Cregeen Interviewing Lachlan MacLeod, Grimsay
Eric R. Cregeen, Lachlan MacLeod, Grimsay
Sample Pages of April 1973 Fieldwork journal
Eric R. Cregeen, April 1973 Fieldwork journal
Collection of Cregeen Fieldwork Journals 1939-1982
Eric R. Cregeen, Journal Collection, 1939-1982
While most of the tape-recordings were made in Scotland, Cregeen’s roots were in the Isle of Man. He did not grow up there but was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, where his father was a Methodist clergyman. However, both parents were Manx; his mother’s people, the Radcliffes, were from Peel, where his grandfather had a smiddy, and his father’s family were from the south of the island.
Eric, Mother, Dad and Sheila, 1939 Summer
Eric R. Cregeen, Elizabeth (nee Radcliffe), Rev. James Pentland Cregeen, Sheila Cregeen
Eric with Grandad Radcliffe, Aunt Annie, Norman, Brenda and Keith, Summer 1939
Eric R. Cregeen, Grandad Radcliffe, Aunt Annie Radcliffe, Norman, Brenda and Keith, Summer 1939
Throughout childhood and adolescence, Eric and his siblings spent school holidays on the island, “at home” among their own people. During these formative years Eric developed a passion for the Manx language, social history and culture, and he began to write down information gleaned from local folk, particularly the older generation, and to make lists of Manx vocabulary. In 1935, he won a scholarship to the Leys School, Cambridge, and in 1939 went on to university. He studied History and Latin at Christ’s College and became an avid reader of Anthropology. With academic rigour he could combine all these disciplines while drawing from his own experience to practise and perfect the skills of an oral historian. His studies were interrupted by the war, however, and Eric (a conscientious objector) worked on farms. After the war he resumed university and during the holidays headed for the Isle of Man. As his journal of 1948 shows, ties to the island seemed stronger than ever:
Eric R. Cregeen Diary 1946
April 1: I walked along the quay and the shore road - black, cold night, pierced by a few stars, a brilliant planet, the light of the lighthouse and a few blueish lamps along the quay. The sea was thudding heavily on the shore – I cdnt. see it in the blackness. There wasn’t a person on the streets, but I felt as I walked that I was at home. Here my forebears farmed and fished, wrought iron and built houses, lived and died obscure but known in a small community. Here a man meant something. Here people live close to elemental things - winds, earth, the sea - and they become themselves elemental and simple and eternal by sharing in this life.
Project : The Eric R. cregeen Fieldwork journals 1939 to 1982
Mrs Lily Cregeen, custodian of her husband’s journals, initiated this project with Grace Notes Scotland, a Scottish charity “dedicated to handing on tradition”. Under the title ‘The Cregeen Journals: Sustainability, Land-use, Language and Culture’, the project has been led by folklorist Dr Margaret Bennett, former lecturer at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies.
Eric R. Cregeen’s journals, written between 1939 and 1982, kept a record of his ideas, travels, and fieldwork carried out in the Isle of Man and the West Highlands of Scotland. They include notes on local culture, social history, features of landscape and archaeology; his development of research methods; and accounts of visits made in the quest to document the way of life and traditions of people on the Isle of Man and the West Highlands who lived off the land and the sea.
As the journals collectively amount to almost 4,000 pages, it was essential to engage a team to digitize and transcribe them in order to conserve the collection for future generations and for further research. A bid to Heritage Lottery Fund secured 90% of the funding for the project, which was carried out over 20 months and, upon completion, achieved the following aims: • Page by page digital images of the unpublished fieldwork journals.
To date, 2019, the 9 volumes of the Cregeen Journals may be consulted via several libraries and other centres, including:
- Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford
- Cambridge University Library
- Harvard Library, Cambridge MA
- Manx National Heritage Library & Archive
- Department of Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, NL
- The Library of Trinity College, Dublin
- The National Library of Scotland
- The National Library of Wales
- The University of Edinburgh Library (Special Collections)
- The University of Glasgow Library
- The University of Newcastle Library
- The Grimsay Community Association, North Uist
- The Scottish Crofting Federation, Kyle of Lochalsh
- Tiree’s Historical Centre, An Iodhlann, Isle of Tiree
Complete set of The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals published by Grace Note Publications, Scotland.
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 1 Year 1939-1949
ISBN: 9781913162009, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals, Vol. 1, Year 1939-1949
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 2, Year: 1949-1957
ISBN: 9781913162016, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals, Vol. 2 , Year: 1949-1957
ISBN: 9781913162023, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals, Vol. 3, Year: 1955-1959
ISBN: 9781913162023, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals, Vol. 2, Year 1949-1957
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 4, Year: 1959-1968
ISBN: 9781913162030, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals, Vol. 4, Year: 1959-1968
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 5, Year: 1969-1972
ISBN: 9781913162047, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 5, Year: 1969-1972
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 6, Year: 1973-1974
ISBN: 9781913162054, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals, Vol. 6, Year: 1973-1974
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 7, Year: 1974-1978
ISBN: 9781913162061, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 7, Year: 1974-1978
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 8, Year: 1975-1976
ISBN: 9781913162078, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 8, Year: 1975-1976
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 9, Year: 1977-1982
ISBN: 9781913162085, Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals, Vol. 9, Year: 1977-1982
The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 10, INDEX, YEAR: 1939 to 1982
ISBN: 9781907676994, The Eric R. Cregeen Fieldwork Journals Vol. 10, INDEX, YEAR: 1939 to 1982.