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George Bannatyne


1545 - 1608

Merchant, author and collector of poems. Born in Edinburgh, the son of James Bannatyne a writer and legal officer with an estate at Newtyle (Angus). Bannatyne became a wealthy and successful merchant. Bannatyne operated as a merchant in Leith for a time from 1572 and by the mid-1580s was a Burgess of Edinburgh.

On the outbreak of plague in Edinburgh in 1568, he withdrew to his family estates and began compiling a folio of early Scottish poetry. It is thanks to the Bannatyne Manuscript that many poems from the 15th and 16th centuries have survived.

Many details of Bannatyne's life were researched by a grateful Sir Walter Scott who, in 1823, founded the Bannatyne Club in his honour, to promote the study of Scottish literature and history.


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