Walter Scott

Portrait of Walter Scott

Walter Scott was a Scottish historian, novelist, poet, and playwright. He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 15th August 1771 and died at Abbotsford, Melrose, Scotland on 21st September 1832 aged 61.

Major Works

“Marmion”. (1808)
“The Lady of the Lake”. (1812) 
“Waverley.” (1814) 
“Rob Roy”. (1817) 
“The Heart of Midlothian”. (1818)
“Ivanhoe”. (1819) 
“The Fair Maid of Perth”. (1828) 

Biography Timeline

Walter Scott was born on15th August 1771 in the Old Town, of Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the son of a Solicitor. He was educated at the High School in Edinburgh and at Kelso Grammar School. He then went on o Edinburgh University.

1773: He contracts polio and goes to recuperate at his Grandfather’s farm at Sandyknowe in Roxburghshire and he is so impressed by the beauty of the Borders country that it inspires him to start writing.

1775: He returns to Edinburgh.

1785: He begins a five-year apprenticeship in his father’s legal practice.

1792: He is admitted to the Bar on 11th July and spends the summer in the Borders.

1797: He marries Charlotte Carpenter on 24th December and goes to live in Edinburgh with his new wife.

1799: He is appointed Sheriff Substitute of Selkirkshire.

1803: Dorothy and William Wordsworth are travelling around Scotland and they meet Scott in Melrose on 19th September, who takes them on a tour of the Abbey.

1805: He joins in a partnership with the printer James Ballantyne. He visits the Wordsworth’s in Grasmere in the English Lake District and climbs out of the window of Dove Cottage several times to visit the nearby Swan Inn until the landlord lets the cat out of the bag in front of the poet himself.

1806: He becomes Principal Clerk in the Court of Session.

1809: He founds the firm of John Ballantyne and Company, booksellers and publishers. He helps to found the “Quarterly Review” magazine after a disagreement with the pro-Whig “Edinburgh Review”.

1811: He moves to Abbottsford after the lease on Ashetiel expires. He spends a great deal of money on improvements to the house and garden.

1813: John Ballantyne and Company collapse financially but is rescued by the publishers Constable. He refuses the title of Poet Laureate and recommends Robert Southey instead.

1814: The novel “Waverley” is published anonymously as he is by now a prominent public figure.

1815: He visits London and the continent and embarks on a productive period of novel writing after the successes of “Waverley” and “Guy Mannering”.

1818: He is made a Baronet.

1821: Heattends the Coronation of King George the Fourth in Westminster Abbey.

1822: He supervises King George’s official visit to Scotland.

1825: He visits Ireland. He begins a biography of Napoleon. On 20th November he begins his Journal.

1826: He faces bankruptcy after the failure of the publishers Constable, Hurst and Robinson and the printers James Ballantyne. Death of his wife. He continues writing in an effort to clear his debts.

1831: He embarks on a Mediterranean cruise on the Frigate Borham with his daughter and Lockhart.

1832: He finally returns to Abbotsford

Walter Scott died at home on 21st September 1832 after a final stroke. He was buried at Dryburgh Abbey in Melrose, Scotland.

Further Information

For more information see Britain Unlimited’s page on Walter Scott here.

Complete list of works by Scott.