Allan Ramsay- A Famous Scottish Poet
Allan Ramsay (c.1685-1758). His father, John Ramsay, was superintendent of the lead mines at Leadhills, Lanarkshire, and Allan Ramsay was educated at the parish of Crawfordmuir. Around 1700 he went to Edinburgh as an apprentice wig-maker. He was admitted a burgess in 1710 and opened his own journeyman wig-maker's shop in 1712. In the same year he married Christian Ross and by her had six children, including Allan Ramsay, the painter. He had dabbled as a poet for some time when his first published work, 'A Poem to the Memory of the Famous Archibald Pitcairn MD', appeared. A frequent contributor to Scots Songs, an anthology of his poetry appeared in 1721.
By 1722 Ramsay had set himself up as a book-seller in Edinburgh's High Street, later adding a circulating library, apparently the first in Britain. His pastoral opera, The Gentle Shepherd, was published in 1725 and his The Tea-Table Miscellany was published in four volumes, from 1724 to 1737, add to Ramsay's contribution to the spirit of the 18th-century revival of Scots literature. His work influenced Robert Burns. In 1736 Ramsay opened a theatre at his own expense at Carruber's Close, Edinburgh, but it was closed in 1737 as a consequence of Sir Robert Walpole's Licensing Act. In later years Ramsay built himself a house called 'Goose Dub' (ie Goose Pie) on Castle Hill, Edinburgh, the roof of which was used by the Jacobites as a launchpad for a cannonade attack on the castle during the 1745 rebellion. Ramsay is buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh.