367 – The Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor by Archibald Campbell

An update by Geoff Hore 2008-2015.  The writing in black font is from A Bibliography of Bagpipe Music. The update comments are in blue font.


In the original edition of this Bibliography Cannon identified three (or possibly four) editions of this book. In 2002 he acquired further information and has compiled a more up to date publishing history and has given the present writer permission to include it in this update. Much of the new information has been obtained from the Piobaireachd Society’s archives now held in the National Library of Scotland, ACC9103/28.

The edition numbering has now been changed from Roman numbering to Arabic numerals.

1      1948

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.47.38 PM

On reverse of title page Copyright and at bottom of page Engraved and Printed for the Piobaireachd Society by / Aird & Coghill, Ltd. / 24 Douglas Street, Glasgow, C. 2

p [1], title; p [2], colophon; pp [3-5], index; pp 6-19, introduction; pp 2-119, pibrochs 1-114.

  • National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh.* Boards. One fly-leaf at the front, two at the back. 14.9 x 10.2″. Received 17 March 1949.
  • University Library, Cambridge.
  • Central Public Library, Edinburgh.
  • Mitchell Library, Glasgow.
  • British Library, London.
  • Bodleian Library, Oxford.
  • The Author’s Collection.

Page 2 of the main text is the reverse side of p 19 of the introduction.

The introduction (which has no footnotes) is signed: Archibald Campbell. Cambridge 1948. This edition first came on sale towards the end of December 1948, as noted in the Piping Times for that month. It was reviewed by R. L. C. Lorimer in The Scotsman, April 1949, and by M. I. Maclnnes in the Oban Times, 26 March 1949.

Biographical notes on the compiler appear in the Piping Times, June 1963 and May 1968.

A two-page typescript proposal for this publication, evidently submitted to the Piobaireachd Society, and signed A.C., 1/1/47 is in the Society’s archives. It refers to a quotation for printing, from Aird and Coghill, dated 27/08[?]/46. The story of the production of the book is told in a lecture by James Campbell, in Proceedings of the Piobaireachd Society Conference, March 2000.

2      1953

Title and imprint as 1. Below the title: Second edition / revised and enlarged.

p [1], title; p [2], note to 2nd edition; pp [3-5], index; pp 6-19, introduction; pp 20-119, pibrochs 1-114; pp [120-122], supplement, pibrochs 1-4.

Roderick Cannon’s Collection.*
Boards, gilt. Fly-leaves at front and back. 13.9 x 10.4.

This edition contains a “Note to the Second edition”, a supplement of four extra tunes at the end, and some new footnotes in the introduction.

The quotation for printing, from John Smith & Son, 57-61 and 66 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow C.2., dated 8 January 1953, is included in the Piobaireachd Society’s archives.

In the Piping Times, April 1953, it was announced that a new edition would be available in two months’ time, containing four additional tunes and extra footnotes in the introduction, price 45s. Publication must have been delayed, however, since it was not advertised for sale until February 1956. It remains to be confirmed that the 1953 and 1956 announcements refer to the same edition.

2a     1959 or later

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.51.14 PM

Contents the same as edition 2 except as noted below.

  • Private Collection. Roy Gunn, Queensland, Australia.

This edition has all the appearances of being identical to that described by Cannon as edition 2 except for the following. A note at the bottom of page 12 has:

‘The original MS is now (1959) on loan deposit in the National Library, where it was placed by a daughter of the late Duke and Duchess of Montrose.’

The MS referred to above is that of Angus MacKay. Page 11 has a similar comment and date. The price 55/- is hand written at the bottom of the flyleaf.

If we accept the date 1959 is accurate and not a typographical error then there is little doubt that this edition was published in or after 1959 but no later than 1969 when edition 3 was published.

Cannon points out that edition 2 was intended for 1953 but in fact it was not advertised for sale until 1956. In edition 4 (1973) it is stated that the three previous editions had been published in 1948 (edition 1), 1953 (edition 2) and 1969 (edition 3). It does not reveal any information about an edition being published in 1959 and it may be that it was not a new edition and merely a reprint, albeit with the amended editorial comments.

3      1969

Title and imprint as 1. Above the imprint Third Edition 1969 / (First Edition 1948) / (Second edition 1953). On the last music page, bottom right: Reproduced and printed by Lowe and Brydone (Printers) Limited, London.

Private Collection.
Dugald MacNeill. Glasgow, Scotland. With bookseller’s label, Highland House / 328 Lawnmarket / Edinburgh. Loaned for the purpose of making the latest reprint (see 8 below).

The earliest letter from L & B which I have seen is 24 September 1969, to Lt. J. A. Maclellan. It refers to a copy of the Kilberry book “which was used as a photo original for the reprint now in hand”. L and B propose to store this “photo copy”, as they term it, in their fireproof cellar “for use in the event of corrections being required or negatives getting accidentally damaged”, but they agree to return it if required “and trust that it will be kept intact for any future contingency that may possibly arise”. On 6 January 1970 they confirm an instruction to send 100 copies to J. Smith & Son (Glasgow) Ltd., and the balance to John MacLellan at the Army School of Piping, Edinburgh Castle. On 12 January John MacLellan writes to L & B asking for “the cost of this whole project” so the price can be decided. He mentions that “as the book is long awaited we must have it priced for when it is available”.

On 8/4//70 John Smith & Son ordered 120 copies from John MacLellan.

4  1973

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.53.16 PM

Contents as 3.

  • The Author’s Collection. From Angus A MacIntyre’s Collection.

Printing was reported to be complete in February 1974, the total being 2026 copies (letters, 27 February and 7 March 1974).

Stock totals at 30/11/74 and 28/2/75 were 1896 and 1832; by 31/5/79 and 31/8/79 they were down to 334 and 206 respectively. (Reports from Grainger and Campbell).

5      1980

Title as in 3.

Fifth Edition 1980. Distributed on behalf of the Piobaireachd Society by Grainger & Campbell, 1103 Argyle Street, Glasgow

Private Collection.
Dr A. Frater.

In the course of preparation of this edition, John MacLellan wrote to Lowe & Brydone noting that they had made new negatives for their reprint and authorising them to transfer these to West Central Printing, Lowe & Brydone having given up music printing. I have not noted any record of whether this transfer was made, and the whereabouts of the negatives is not known. It was reported to the Music Committee, 28 February 1980, that “the reprint of the Kilberry Book has been completed and is in the hands of the distributors”.

6     1989

Screen Shot 2015-08-30 at 12.54.55 PM

On the last music page, bottom right Printed in Great Britain / West Central Printing Co. Ltd., London and Suffolk.
Contents as I.

  • The Author’s Collection.

The statement on the last music page is incorrect. It was presumably carried over accidentally from a previous edition.

Extracts from Piobaireachd Society records (files borrowed from Malcolm McRae): Quotation from Printaway Ltd., addressed to Capt. John MacLellan, 19 July 1985; Music Committee, March 1989, the Kilberry Book “due once again, for the fourth [sic] time, to reprint”. Quotation from Hugh K Clarkson & Sons Ltd., 3 April 1989; quotation from Printaway Ltd., undated but filed with the preceding. General Committee, 9 November 1989, Kilberry book “now reprinted in slightly smaller format than previously”. Report of Music Committee to General Committee, 31 March 1990, the reprint “in the hands of the distributors”.

This edition is in a smaller page size than the preceding ones, approximately A4 but actually about 6 mm deeper.

7      Mid 1990s

It is thought that a further reprint was ordered in the mid 1990s. If so, this also would have been in the reduced, approximately A4 page size. Confirmed by Dugald MacNeill, from inspection of stock lists.

8     2002

Imprint: Distributed on behalf of the Piobaireachd Society / By / THE COLLEGE OF PIPING / 24 Otago Street, Glasgow G12 8JH. Above the imprint: First Edition 1948 / Second edition 1953 / (Third Edition 1969) / Reprinted 2002 / Below the imprint: ISBN 1-898405-22-0. On the last music page, bottom right: Reproduced by digital scanning / by Sarah Cannon Publishing Services, Oxford / Printed by Information Press, Eynsham, Oxford.

Page size A4. bound in cloth, boards, dark wine-red colour. This edition was reproduced from 3 above, because the most recent reprints 6 and 7 were considered to be too poor in quality to reproduce again, and copies of 4 or 5 were not readily available at the time. A fresh search was made for misprints and as far as possible all those that had been corrected in 4 or 5 were corrected again. Three others that had escaped previously were also corrected – page 6, line 1, bar 3; page 98, line 2, bar 3; page 63, line 9, last bar. They had been discovered, respectively, by James Campbell, Chris Terry and the present writer (ie Roderick Cannon).

1000 copies were made.


  • Rev 00 (24 September 2008)
  • Rev 01 (19 July 2009). This revision is a complete re-write of Rev 00 and includes research carried out by Cannon in 2002.
  • Rev 02 (12 October 2011). Adds information about a previously unknown edition (Edition 2a).

© Geoff Hore