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George Bannatyne (1545-1608) - Poem Collector

He was born on 22nd February 1545, the son of an Edinburgh lawyer, James Bannatyne of the Kirktown of Newtyle in Forfarshire. He worked as a merchant in Edinburgh and owned considerable property in the city;
he was created a Burgess in October 1587. His chief claim to fame is his compilation of the 800-page manuscript collection of early Scottish poetry now known as the bannatyne Manuscript, which is in the possession of the National Library of Scotland. In September 1568, when plague struck Edinburgh, Bannatyne retired to his father's estate where he compiled the manuscript, styled by him 'Ane most godlie, mirrie and lustie Rapsodie maide be sundrie learned Scots poets and written be George Bannaryne in the tyme of his youth'. By his industry he collected together work that might have been lost, the poetry of William Dunbar, Robert Henryson, Sir David Lyndsay and Alexander Scott, as well as work by lesser-known and unknown makars of the 15th and 16th centuries. The manuscript was preserved in his daughter's family until the 18th century when parts of its contents were printed by Allan Ramsay in The Evergreen. It was edited more completely by David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes, in 1770. Bannatyne was adopted as patron of the Bannatyne Club, founded in 1823 under the presidency of Sir Walter Scott who also edited the Memorials of George Bannatyne (1829).

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