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Prof. William Tennant


1784 - 1848

Poet and linguist. Born in the High Street, Anstruther (Fife), the son of a merchant and farmer, Tennant was educated at the University of St Andrews. He was lame and used crutches throughout his life, but became schoolmaster at Dunino (1812), then Lasswade (1816) and the Dollar Academy (1819) before accepting the Chair in Oriental Languages at St. Andrews in 1834. He was a noted authority on Greek, Latin and Hebrew. However, Tennant is perhaps better known as a poet, publishing The Anster Concert (1811) and his epic Anster Fair (1812) based on the folk-song Maggie Lauder. He published a collection of Allan Ramsay's works in 1819, wrote the historical poems The Thane of Fife (1822), Cardinal Beaton (1823), John Balliol (1825) and Papistry Stormed (or The Dingin Doon o' the Cathedral, 1827), and also produced translations of the works of several Oriental poets.

Tennant never married and died in Dollar (Clackmannanshire). He was buried in Anstruther, where an obelisk stands in his memory.


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