Sir Walter Scott Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1771 – 1832 *** Full Name: Walter Scott *** Occupation: Scottish Historical Novelist, Playwright and Poet *** Date of Birth: Sir Walter Scott was born on August 15th 1771 *** Place of Birth: Sir Walter Scott was born in Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland *** Family background: His father was a Writer to the Signet and his mother was the daughter of a physician *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in Scotland with his family *** Education: Sir Walter Scott was initially educated privately to get him ready to attend the Royal High School of Edinburgh and thereafter he attended a local grammar school in Kelso ***
Sir Walter Scott Fact 1: Sir Walter Scott was born on August 15th 1771 and during the 18th century period in history when many innovations were being made in science, medicine, technology and industry.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 2: As a young child Walter contracted polio which left him lame. He would be sent to live with his father’s parents on the Scottish Borders and he was tutored by his Aunt Jenny to read and also learned from her tales and legends that he later incorporated into his work as well as speech patterns.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 3: The following summer, in 1776, his Aunt Jenny took him to Bath for spa treatments before returning to his grandparent’s home and attending Prestonpans the following summer for another course of water treatment.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 4: After attending the Royal High School he was sent to stay with his Aunt Jenny who lived in Kelso where he attended the local grammar school and where he would also befriend John and James Ballantyne, two boys who would later become his partners in business.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 5: In 1783 he began attending the University of Edinburgh. He became friends with Adam Ferguson and through him made the acquaintance of Thomas Blacklock, a blind poet who was happy to lend him several books on poetry. Through Ferguson Scott also met Robert Burns.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 6: By 1786 he was apprenticed to his father and began learning to become a Writer of the Signet.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 7: By 1792 he would be admitted to the Faculty of Advocates and was employed as a lawyer.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 8: From an early age, Scott was fascinated with the Scottish Borders and their oral traditions and by the time he was twenty five he was writing professionally.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 9: In 1797 Sir Walter Scott met Charlotte Genevieve Charpentier in the Lake District, within a matter of weeks he had proposed and they married on Christmas Eve in St Mary’s Church, in Carlisle. Together they would have five children.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 10: Following again in his father’s footsteps he became a Freemason in the same lodge, Lodge St David, No. 36 (Edinburgh) in 1801.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 11: James Ballantyne, who Scott had known for many years, started a printing press in Kelso and with his assistance Scott was able to publish his first works which included Glenfinlas and The Eve of St John.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 12: By 1805 Sir Walter Scott was receiving public acclaim for The Lay of the Last Minstrel and thus he was propelled into a career as a writer.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 13: Over the coming decade Sir Walter Scott published many pieces of work including The Lady of the Lake.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 14: By 1809 Sir Walter Scott had persuaded the Ballantyne brothers to move their business from Kelso to Edinburgh and he would become a partner in their business at this time.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 15: Having a successful career in poetry writing he then turned his hand to novels again with an emphasis on Scottish Borders tales. His first novel Waverley was published in 1814, anonymously which would become the norm over the following novels for fear that his reputation for writing poetry would somehow become diminished or damaged.Sir Walter Scott Fact 17: The treasure was found in Edinburgh Castle by Scott and a small military team locked away in a chest. For his efforts he was given the title of Baronet and became Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet in March of 1820.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 16: With the main subject matter of his novels always being historical Scottish and his work coming to the attention of the Prince Regent, he gave Scott permission to mount an expedition to discover the lost treasures “Honours of Scotland” Scotland’s Crown Jewels not seen since the Treaty of Union in 1707.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 18: When George ascended the throne, he requested of the city council in Edinburgh that Scott should plan his visit to Scotland. With only three weeks to prepare, Scott set about planning a pageant worthy of not only a King but also a spectacular event that would see the rift between the Scottish and English laid to rest by the introduction of tartan to be work by the King as well as other participants in the celebrations which was a huge success.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 19: Unfortunately the Ballantyne printing business would fall foul of the banking crisis of 1825 leaving the company in debt to the tune of one hundred and thirty thousand pounds which proved ruinous for Scott. Sir Walter Scott refused to declare bankruptcy and also refused financial aid from any of his loyal supporters, among them the King himself, and pledged to write his way out of debt.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 20: Sir Walter Scott went on a tour of Europe in 1831 even though his health was deteriorating, but he continued to greet fans and was applauded where he appeared before finally returning to Scotland.
Sir Walter Scott Fact 21: Sir Walter Scott died on September 21st 1832 of unknown cause at his home, Abbotsford near Melrose, aged sixty one. His body laid to rest at Dryburgh Abbey, Scotland.
Influence & Legacy: Although his work became deemed more suitable for children he nevertheless has become recognized as the author of modern historical novels.