Dr. John Leyden

1775-1811, Poet and Linguist

Leyden was born in 1775 in a cottage on the north side of the Green. His father, a shepherd, was descended from a servant from the university town of Leiden in Holland brought back to Scotland in the 16th century by one of the Douglas family who had studied there.

Leyden's Monument

Leyden's Cottage


Even as a boy he had a great appetite for learning. At fifteen he set off for Edinburgh University, making most of the journey on foot. He qualified as both a Doctor and a Minister. Whilst there he collaborated with Sir Walter Scott in collecting ballads for the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders". His interest in travelling led him to take up a medical appointment in India, where he mastered many oriental languages. Leyden died in Java at the early age of 36.