Famous Scots

Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

Here are biographies of a growing selection of Scots who have had an influence on the world - ranging from saints in the 6th century to Billy Connolly in the 20th. There are already over 120 famous Scots in this index, in alphabetical order. But if you are looking for someone specific, you may find it faster to use the "search" or "find" function on your browser.

Adam - Robert (1728-1792) - Architect of Culzean Castle and many other fine buildings.

Alexander III - King (1241-1286) - A direct descendant of the first king of the Scots, Kenneth mac Alpin.

Allan - Robert (1774-1841) - Born in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, died in USA.

Asquith - Margot (1864-1945) - High society wit and non-conformist who married Prime Minister Herbert Asquith.

Baird - John Logie (1888-1946) - Started the first TV station in the world.

Barrie - Sir J M (1860-1937) - Author of "Peter Pan" and "The Admirable Crichton".

Barbour - John (1316-1395) - Father of Scottish vernacular poetry with his epic "The Brus".

Bell - Alexander Graham (1847-1922) - Inventor of the telephone and involved in genetics and phonetics.

Brewster - Sir David (1781-1868) - Invented the kaleidoscope and the lenticular stereoscope.

Brodie - Deacon William (? - 1788) - A colourful and successful thief and inspiration for "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde".

Bruce - James (1730-1794) - A giant of a man who found the source of the Nile in Abbysinia in 1770.

Buchan - John (1875-1940) - Governor General of Canada and an the author of "The Thirty-Nine Steps" etc.

Buchanan - George (1506-1582) - Moderator of the Church of Scotland in 1567.

Burns - Robert (1759-1796) - Scotland's most celebrated poet.

Burrell - Sir William (1861-1958) - A wealthy shipping magnate who gave his art collection to Glasgow.

Byron - George Gordon (Lord Byron) (1788-1824) - His Scottish childhood doubtless had an impact on the poet.

Campbell - Colin, 1st Baron Clyde (1792-1863) - His exploits at Balaclava gave rise to the "thin red line" legend.

Carlyle - Thomas (1795-1881) - An influential philosopher and historian of the Victorian age.

Carnegie - Andrew (1835-1919) - The railway, iron and steel tycoon who gave all his wealth away.

Chalmers - Thomas (1780-1847) - Led a third of the Church of Scotland ministers to form the Free Church.

Charles I - King (1600-1649) - Conflict with Parliament and the people led to Civil War - and his execution.

Charles II - King (1630-1685) - Charles II was determined to hold on to his throne - and succeeded.

Connery - Sir Sean (1930- ) - Regarded by some as the greatest president Scotland never had.

Connolly - Billy (1942 - ) - The shipyard worker who became an international actor and comedian.

Cranston - Kate (1850-1934) - An entrepreneur who encouraged the artistic talents of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Dale - David (1739-1806) - His mills in New Lanark were the largest cotton-spinning mills in Britain.

David I - King (1084-1153) - After 30 years at the English court he led many knights north when he became king.

David II - King (1324-1371) - Son of Robert the Bruce, King David II was a less successful monarch.

Dewar - Donald (1937-2000) - Architect of the new Scottish Parliament and its first First Minister.

Dewar - Sir James (1842-1923) - Inventor of the vacuum flask.

Douglas - David (1799-1834) - Botanist and explorer after whom the Douglas fir is named.

Doyle - Sir Arthur Conan (1859-1930) - Based his famous detective Sherlock Holmes on a forensic scientist.

Duncan - Adam, 1st Viscount Camperdown (1731-1804) - Defeated the Dutch navy at Camperdown.

Duncan - Rev Henry (1774-1846) - Founder of the mutual savings bank movement, restorer of the Ruthwell Cross.

Dunlop - John Boyd (1840-1921) - Established the Dunlop Rubber Company.

Ferguson - Sir Alex (1942 - ) - A football manager who has made two different teams European Champions.

Fleming - Sir Alexander (1881-1955) - Won the Nobel prize as discoverer of penicillin.

Forrest - George (1873-1932) - Brought back over 30,000 specimens of 10,000 plants from China.

Galgacus (Lived Around 80AD - Earliest recorded Scot, his Caledonii tribe were defeated by the Romans.

Geddes - Sir Patrick (1854-1932) - Chiefly known for his ideas on town planning.

Gladstone - William Ewart (1809-1898) - UK Prime Minister.

Glover - Sir Thomas Blake (1838 - 1911) - Responsible for the modern industrialisation of Japan.

Graham - James, 1st Marquess of Montrose (1612-50) - A brilliant soldier.

Graham - John, Viscount Dundee (1648-1689) - "Bonnie Dundee" came from Sir Walter Scott's song.

Grierson - John (1898-1972) - "Father of the documentary".

Haig - Earl of Bemersyde (1861-1928) - Commander-in-chief of British forces in France in the 1914-18 War.

Hall of the Heroes - Sixteen famous Scots highlighted in the William Wallace National Monument.

Hepburn - James (1536-1578) - 4th Earl of Bothwell, he abducted Mary Queen of Scots and married her.

Hill - David Octavius (1802 - 1870) - Produced some of the finest photographic portraits of the 19th century

Hogg - James (1770-1835) - The "Ettrick Shepherd" poet wrote often about his native Borders.

Hume - David (1711-1776) - Voted recently as the Scot who had made the greatest impact in the last 1,000 years.

Inglis - Elsie (1864-1917) - Winston Churchill wrote that Inglis and her nurses "would shine in history".

Jackson - Gordon (1923-1990) - Actor remembered for "Tunes of Glory" and "Upstairs and Downstairs".

James I - King (1394-1437) - Became a prisoner of the English King Henry IV at age 12.

James II - King (1430-1460) - A violent reign, full of murders and intrigue.

James III - King (1451-1488) - Reigned for 28 years but was overthrown by his son, James IV.

James IV - King (1473-1513) - As penance for the death of his father, he wore an iron chain for the rest of his life.

James V - King (1512 to 1542) - Died only days after the birth of his daughter, Mary Queen of Scots.

James VI - King (1566-1625) - The first king of both Scotland and England.

Jones - John Paul (1747-1792) - America's first naval hero.

Kelvin - Lord (1824-1907) - University at age 10, professor at 22, prolific inventor and publisher of scientific papers.

Kenneth mac Alpin (? - 858AD) - First King of Alba, uniting the Picts and Scots.

Kidd - Captain William (1645-1701) - The treasure of this famous pirate, hanged in 1701, has never been found.

Knox - John (1513-1572) - Leader of the Reformation of the church in Scotland.

Lauder - Sir Harry (1870-1950) - Entertainer and song writer whose caricatures influenced Scotland's image.

Liddell - Eric Henry (1902-1945) - A great athlete, he became the subject of the film "Chariots of Fire".

Lister - Lord Joseph (1827-1912) - Pioneer of modern surgery and antiseptics.

Liston - Robert (1794-1847) - A brilliant surgeon before the days of anaesthetics.

Livingstone - Dr David (1813-1873) - African missionary and explorer.

Lyon - Elizabeth Bowes (1900-2002) - Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the world's favourite gran.

McAdam - John Loudon (1756-1836) - Improved a tar-based road surface which became known as "tarmac".

Macbeth - King (1005- 1057) - Shakespeare based his tragedy on selected facts about this Scottish king.

MacDonald - Flora (1725-1790) - Her bravery helped save Bonnie Prince Charlie after the defeat at Culloden.

MacDonald - James Ramsay (1866-1937) - Became the first Labour Prime Minister in Britain in 1924.

Macdonald - Sir John A (1815-1891) - First Prime Minister of Canada in 1867-1873 and again from 1878 to 1891.

McGonagall - William (1830-1902) - Considered by many to be the "worst poet in the world".

MacGregor - Rob Roy (1671-1734) - The larger than life Highland Rogue.

MacInnes - Hamish (1930 - ) - Father of mountain rescue in Scotland.

Macintosh - Charles (1766-1843) - His invention of waterproof clothing added his name to the English dictionary.

McKellar - Kenneth (1927- ) - This popular tenor toured the world with Scottish songs.

Mackenzie - Sir Alexander (1764-1820) - Explored Canada and reached the Pacific Ocean in 1793.

Mackenzie - Sir Compton (1883-1972) - Author of books such as "Whisky Galore" and a staunch nationalist.

Maclean - Alistair (1922-1987) - Author of books such as "HMS Ulysses" and "The Guns of Navaronne".

Macquarrie - Lachlan (1762-1824) - "Father of Australia".

Malcolm 'Canmore' (1031-1093) - King Malcolm killed Macbeth and Macbeth's stepson, Lulach.

Mary - Queen of Scots (1542-1587) - Her life was full of tragedy, violence and love.

Maxwell - James Clerk (1831-1879) - Crerated a profound change in the conception of reality in physics.

Miller - Hugh (1802-1856) - A pioneer of the science of geology.

Muir - John (1834-1914) - One of the founders of United States Conservation.

Murdoch - William (1754-1839) - Inventor who is best known for his manufacture of gas lighting.

New Zealand and Scots - From the first recorded settler to Governor General and three Prime Ministers.

Oliphant - Carolina (Lady Nairne) (1766-1845) - Carolina Oliphant's songs are second only in popularity to Burns.

Paolozzi - Eduardo (1924 - 2005) - An international painter and sculptor, born in Leith.

Paterson - William (1658-1719) - Founder of the Bank of England and organiser of the ill-fated Darien Scheme.

Pinkerton - Allan (1819-1884) - Founded the Pinkerton Detective Agency in Chicago in 1850.

Portrait of a Nation - 155 men and women from Scottish history recorded on a frieze in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Raeburn - Sir Henry (1756-1823) - One of Scotland's most famous portrait painters.

Ramensky - Johnny (1905-1972) - Criminal and a war hero, this master of escape became a legendary folk hero.

Ramsay - Allan Snr 1686-1758 - Started as a wigmaker and became a poet.

Ramsay - Allan Jnr 1713-1784 - Accomplished portrait painter of the rich and famous.

Robert I - King (1274-1329) - Robert the Bruce achieved Scotland's freedom.

Robert II - King (1316-90) King in Waiting for 53 Years.

Robert III - King (1337-1406) - Described himself as "the worst of kings and the most miserable of men."

Rowling - J. K. (1965 - ) - The author of the "Harry Potter" books has made Scotland her adopted home.

St Columba (521 - 597) - His abbey on Iona has had an influence on Scotland for over 1400 years.

St Kentigern/St Mungo (520-612) - Patron Saint of Glasgow.

St Margaret (1046-1093) - Descended from the Saxon King Alfred, born in Hungary and wife of King Malcolm III.

Scientific Terms and Scots - Scots who gave their names to scientific terms.

Scott - Sir Walter (1771-1832) - Author of novels such as "Ivanhoe" who also "invented" modern tartans.

Simpson - Sir James Y (1811-1870) - Pioneer of the medical use of chloroform.

Scott - Michael (? - 1236?) - Philospher, translator, alchemist, astrologer and legendary "wizard".

Scotus - John Duns (1265-1308) - One of the greatest of medieval thinkers, he gave his name to the word "dunce".

Slessor - Mary (1848-1915) - Missionary in Calabar, West Africa who transformed the treatment of women there.

Smith - Adam (1723-1790) - Wrote the first "modern" book on economics, advocating free trade to increase wealth.

Smith - Madeleine (1835-1928) - Her murder trial in 1855 was the most sensational ever heard in a Scottish court.

Smollet - Tobias George (1721- 1771) - Regarded as a founder of the modern novel.

Spence - Catherine (1826-1910) - Australia's first female political candidate and a campaigner for women's suffrage.

Stein - Jock (1922 - 1985) - One of the most successful football managers ever produced in Scotland.

Stevenson - Robert Louis (1850-1894) - Author of such classics as "Treasure Island" and "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde".

Stewart - Sir Jackie (1939 - ?) - Formula 1 Racing World Champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973.

Stuart - Prince Charles Edward (1720-1788) - Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Uprising of 1745/46.

Tannahill - Robert (1774-1810) - Paisley's most famous poet wrote in a similar style to Burns.

Telford - Thomas (1757-1834) - The "Colossus of Roads" earned a reputation as the finest civil engineer of his day.

Thomas the Rhymer (c1210-c1294) - Legend says he lived with the Queen of the Fairies under the Eildon Hills.

Thomson - Alexander "Greek" (1817-1875) - Architect whose admiration for Grecian forms bcame a trademark.

Transport and the Scots - Scots inventors from railways to steamboats and two-stroke engines.

Tranter - Nigel (1909-2000) - A celebrated novelist who revived interest in Scottish history.

UK Run by Scots - From the Prime Minister to the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party.

United States First Governors - Nine of the first governors of the 13 states were of Scottish ancestry.

Wallace - Sir William (?- 1305) - The freedom fighter who inspired a nation to fight back.

Watson-Watt - Sir Robert (1892-1973) - Developed radar which helped to win the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Watt - James (1736-1819) - His development of the steam engine was the springboard for the Industrial Revolution.

William I - King ("The Lion") (1143-1214) - His heraldic lion rampant symbol gave him his nickname "The Lion".

Wilson - Alexander (1766-1813) - He published nine volumes of his illustrations of North American birds.

Wingate - Walter (1865-1918) - A schoolmaster whose poems have been taught to generations of schoolchildren.

Witherspoon - John (1723-1794) - Scottish minister urged the signing of the American Declaration of Independence.

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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