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Lord Provost hails historic manuscript as a ‘fabulous addition’ to Aberdeen’s archives

The 350-year-old manuscript has been described as a "significant" addition to Aberdeen's archives
The 350-year-old manuscript has been described as a "significant" addition to Aberdeen's archives

A “rare and important” manuscript detailing life and religious persecution in Aberdeen 350 years ago has been added to the city’s archives.

Aberdeen City Council’s archivists have acquired the 17th Century manuscript that relates to former politician and Provost of Aberdeen Alexander Jaffray.

Mr Jaffray, born in 1614 to a prominent Aberdeen family, served as provost of the city twice between 1649 and 1650, and again between 1651 and 1652.

He also represented the Granite City in the Scottish Parliament between 1644 and 1650.

Now current lord provost and keen historian Barney Crockett has welcomed the latest addition to the city’s archives, which he says provides insight into Mr Jaffray’s life and faith, as well as Aberdeen’s rich history.

He said: “Aberdeen is steeped in history, and this is a fabulous addition to Aberdeen’s Unesco-recognised archive, the oldest and most complete collection of civic records in Scotland.

“The manuscript is thought to have been transcribed in 1673 shortly after the death of Alexander Jaffray and it provides a fantastic insight into his faith following his conversion to Quakerism, at a time when being a Quaker inevitably meant persecution.”

£15,000 to acquire ‘unique’ manuscript

The 350-year-old manuscript was purchased for the city’s archives for £15,000.

The National Fund for Acquisitions (NFA) and Friends of the National Libraries (FNL) each contributed £5,000 to the purchase.

The Niven Bequest, which was left to the council’s archive several years ago, was used for the remaining £5,000 required.

Hazel Williamson, NFA manager, said: “We are delighted to support the purchase of this unique manuscript testament of Alexander Jaffray.

“The acquisition is particularly significant in the context of Jaffray’s important role in the civic and religious life of Aberdeen at a time of political upheaval and religious persecution.”

Geordie Greig, chairman of FNL, said they are “delighted” to support Aberdeen City Archives’ acquisition of the manuscript.

He agreed that the “rare and important” document sheds light on religious belief in the 17th Century.

Mr Crockett added: “We are grateful for the support provided by the NFA and FNL in acquiring this important document for the city of Aberdeen.”

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