rymour books independent scottish publisher About Rymour Books






RYMOUR BOOKS was founded in 2020 by Ian Spring and Ruby McCann. It incorporates books published earlier under the imprint Hog's Back Press, originally set up to publish books on the Scottish folk tradition (the imprint is still used for certain academic titles). Our intention is to publish quality Scottish books by current authors and reprints of works of Scottish substance worthy of further attention.

The name RYMOUR comes from Thomas the Rymour. More commonly known as Thomas the Rhymer or Thomas of Ercildoune, Thomas was a legendary Scottish poet and prophet who, according to tradition, owed his gift to being carried of by the Queen of the Elves and spending seven years in Fairyland.

The less common spelling was adopted by the RYMOUR CLUB, an organisation at the beginning of the last century dedicated to preserving Scottish songs, folklore and tradition. They met at John Knox's House in the Canongate, Edinburgh. Their Miscellanea, along with other books dedicated to Scottish history and tradition, was published by William J Hay, who was a curator of the museum at John Knox's House. Hay also published The Old Houses of Edinburgh, a series of pen drawings by Bruce James Home. Home was the first curator of Huntly House Museum, also in the Canongate, and a member of the Rymour Club. His logo for the Rymour Club has been adapted as the logo for Rymour Books. He was an enthusiastic preserver of history and the past and his inscription for the Rymour Club reads (simply) 'gather the relics that are left that they perish not'.

The first published volume of the Hog's Back Press was an edition of a manuscript collection of songs by Peter Buchan. Best known as one of the nineteenth century's premier ballad collectors, Buchan, from Peterhead, was the first printer in the North-east of Scotland, producing several books (most of which are now very scarce or have been entirely lost). He designed his own treadle-based press and wrote many of the works himself (it is said whilst actually setting the type) illustrating them with his own engravings.

The logo for the Hog's Back Press features an engraving by Buchan entitled 'The Learned Pig'. A secondary logo is based on an engraving by John Kay, who, during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, produced and published, from his barber's shop in the Royal Mile, drawings of Edinburgh society.

The enthusiasm of the the members of the Rymour Club and the spirit of small publishers such as Hay, Buchan and Kay (and others, such as William Kydd of Dundee) is the inspiration for Rymour Books.