15 August 2020
Scottish author, playwright and poet Sir Walter Scott was born on 15 August 1771. Find out more on our pages on this day in Scottish history.
Scottish author and poet Sir Walter Scott was born on 15 August 1771 at College Wynd, Edinburgh. Much of his childhood was marred by ill health, but it was ironically these periods of illness which were to provide him with the inspiration for his later writings.
Scott became lame after contracting polio at the age of two. He was sent to live with his grandparents in the Scottish Borders, where he would gain a love of the countryside and first become aware of a rich tradition of Scottish folk tales.
Scott travelled to various spas with his aunt Jenny, in the hope of curing his lameness and during their trips, absorbed her tales of the Borders. It was also whilst staying with his aunt as a teenager that Scott met James and John Ballantyne, who would later become his publishers.
Initially Scott faced disapproval from certain sectors of the Borders communities, who believed that local tales should be transmitted only by word of mouth and never written down. However, he went ahead and published 'The Minstelsy of the Scottish Borders', before moving on to a career producing works which would become world famous, including 'Waverley', 'The Bride of Lamermoor' and 'Tales of My Landlord'.