Dr David Rorie

1867 - 18 February 1946

  • Doctor - as colliery medical officer in Fife did much to improve medical provision. Became an authority on Public Health. General Practitioner in Cults
  • Folklorist - wrote scholarly and scientific articles on local customs and beliefs especially of Fife mining communities. He developed a particular interest in ancient and contemporary traditional Scottish Medicine.
  • Poet and songwriter - wrote in Scottish vernacular.  His songs such as The Lum Hat were popular among the Scottish regiments in the first world war.  Published collections of verse as  The Auld Doctor (1920) and The Lum Hat Wantin’ a Croon’ (1935)  - republished many times since and remain in print today.
  • Author of prose works in both scientific and popular journals. Published his experiences in World War 1 as A Medico’s Luck in the War (1929).

David Rorie was born in Edinburgh in 1867, the son of a bank manager.  The family moved to Aberdeen where Rorie was educated. He entered King’s College in 1882, but left without graduating and moved to Edinburgh University.  He was very undecided about his future and first studied in the Arts and Law Faculties before changing to Medicine. As a student he began writing verse. He graduated in MB CM (1890) and MD (1908).  He was resident at Dundee Royal Asylum for a time, then a ship’s doctor before entering general practice. 

In 1894, he became medical officer to a group of collieries in Fife, where he did much to improve medical care of miners and instituted first aid training.  He also became involved in public affairs as parish councillor and Justice of the Peace. At this time, he began to collect and write scholarly articles on local traditions and beliefs particularly of the mining community.  He wrote Folklore of the Mining Folk of Fife (1912).  For a time he edited the Caledonian Medical Journal, contributing numerous articles to that journal as well as to the Edinburgh Medical Journal and the British Medical Journal. He also wrote on ancient and contemporary traditional Scottish medicine in both medical journals and popular magazines.

In 1905, he moved to Cults where he spent the rest on his life, apart from service in the First World War in France. He attained the rank of Colonel, was twice mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the DSO and the French Legion of Honour.  After the war, he returned to Cults as general practitioner until retiring due to ill health in 1933.

image at https://www.thedoric.scot/david-rorie.html

Biography prepared from the nomination made to the University of Aberdeen 525 Alumni project.