Daisy Chapman

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Daisy Chapman: was the eldest daughter of Mary (née Gill) and John Birnie, was born on the 12th of May 1912, in the same bedroom in which her mother had been born, in the farm croft of Broadleys o’ New Pitsligo.  It had been her grandparents’ place and, when they moved on, her parents took it over.  Later they moved to the small croft of Quarry Head where Daisy was brought up.  Quarry Head is a few miles inland from the small fishing village of Rosehearty on the northernmost tip of north east Scotland - the Buchan area of Aberdeenshire.  Her given name was Maggie Birnie but she was always known as Daisy.

Her mother and grandmother were both good singers and she inherited many of her older songs from them.  Singing and making music were a normal part of life on the croft at Quarry Head and there would often be musical gatherings with neighbours.  Daisy started singing at a young age and also played piano, and her father and elder brother Charlie played fiddle; they had a family band that played for local barn dances around Rosehearty.

When she was 17 she married William Chapman, a farmer’s son from the neighbouring farm of Ironhill.  They took on a small farm in North Ladiesford near Boyndlie, south of Rosehearty, for a number of years and later they moved to North Broadleys, but Daisy’s health deteriorated after nearly three decades of farm work, and they moved to Aberdeen in the early 1950s where William took a job working for Wm Wiseley, who operated steam lorries in the city.  He later worked on the railways.  They had no surviving children, but had “a happy married life ... a few years in Aberdeen together” before William died, quite young, in 1959.

As seems to be so frequently the case, she had learned her songs from her mother and grandmother as a girl, but more or less stopped once she was married.  She began singing again after her husband’s death - at Kirk functions, pensioners’ concerts and the like.  In the early 1970s she suffered a heart attack, followed by a heart bypass operation in 1976, and from that time on she never again sang in public.

--RodStradling 18:11, 26 March 2007 (BST)