Rampant Scotland Directory!

Famous Scots

For a country with a resident population of only five million, Scotland has produced a surprisingly large number of people who have made a significant contribution to science, exploration, development of ideas and inventions. Of course, some of the Scots listed below are only famous in Scotland but equally you will be surprised by some of the people who have given their names to inventions, parts of the world - and made a contribution to many countries around the globe. There is a separate page of further links to Scots who were important in Scottish History

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Famous Scots

This site has an ever growing section of biographies of many of the Scots who have had an influence on the world - from saints in the 6th century to Billy Connolly in the 20th. There are over 120 biographies so far available.

Significant Scots

A large collection of short biographies of Scots who have made a difference to the world from Electric Scotland. There is also a separate section on Scots Women in History and Scots Pioneers in Medicine .

The Glasgow Guide

Provides notes on Famous Glaswegians and people who have done famous things in the city.

The Write Stuff

This National Library of Scotland feature has a selection of leading Scottish writers, photographed over the last thirty years by Edinburgh publisher and photographer Gordon Wright, with a short biographical note on each. The writers covered include:

The National Library of Scotland also has some longer features on aspects of a few famous Scots, including:

Glasgow Sculptors

Not just sculptors but the work and biographies of over 220 sculptors and architects connected with Glasgow, covering over four centuries, with a wealth of material from the 'golden years' of the Victorian era. The pages covering the biographies of individual sculptors (and there are a lot of them) are particularly rich in illustrations.

Famous Dundonians

Articles on local worthies from the city such as Admiral Adam Duncan, who defeated Dutch fleet at Camperdown in 1797 and Dr James McIntosh Patrick whose landscapes of the local countryside are enjoyed by many.

Dumfries and Galloway Virtual Region

Their Hall of Fame has good biographies of a number of people connected with the region including:

John Paul Jones

A very large site dedicated to the life and times of the man who put the fledgling US Navy on the map during the War of Independence. There is a biography and chronology, why he took the name "Jones" (he was born in Scotland as John Paul), details of his ship the "Ranger", background to a 1959 film on Jones, the raid which he carried out on Britain (including landing back in Scotland), the John Paul Jones House Museum and links to other sites.

The VC Gallery

A Web site dedicated to Lanarkshire's Victoria Cross heroes - the stories of the lives before and after their award to 13 men who earned the UK's highest medal for bravery. There is also a background to the medal itself.

Gateway to Scottish Authors

The Gateway contains quality internet links for about eighty Scottish authors from the past and also has a page of biographical information taken from the Scottish Library Association publication "Discovering Scottish Writers". There is also a Timeline which arranges all the authors in chronological sequence of their year of birth. All the major Scottish writers are covered, including:

Historical Figures in Mathematics

Scots who have made a contribution to the subject, include James Napier, inventor of logarithms, Thomas Carlyle, more famous for his historical writings, plus Colin Maclaurin and Joseph Wedderburn

Historical Figures

There is more factual information about another historical figure in a Rob Roy McGregor FAQ.

Information about the Reformation includes details of John Knox (1505-1572)

The genealogical Web site Scotland's people has a Famoos Scots Archive recorded in the registers.

The Sierra Club has a biography of John MUir and includes links to the full texts of two of Muir's books, "My First Summer in the Sierra" and "Our National Parks".

The Andrew Carnegie Foundation has a history of the industrialist and philanthropist as well as links to various Carnegie organisations in USA and Europe (including Carnegie Mellon University ) Elsewhere, there is a Tribute to Andrew Carnegie which includes a sound file of Carnegie's voice.

The Brahan Seer or "Coinneach Odhar" was Scotland's "Nostradamus" who has gained a reputation for being able to predict the future. He first came to the public notice in 1877 when Alexander Mackenzie published a book about him - earlier historical references are scant. His predictions are said to include steam trains and the North Sea oil industry in Aberdeen.

John Hunter who was born in Leith, later became the second Governor of New South Wales.

A museum to John Paul Jones has been set up at his birthplace in Arbigland, Dumfries. The Web site (watch out for the ship's bell if you have a sound card!) has information and biographical details of the founder of the US Navy. 1997 was the 250th anniversary of his birth.

One of the most famous murder trials ever to take place in Scotland was that of Madeleine Smith, 140 years ago. The jury found the case "not proven" ( a result which is unique to Scots law). And debate still rages as to whether or not she was guilty. This extensive web site sets out the historical and social background as well as the facts and the testimonies of the witnesses.

The Clan Duffus pages include a review of both Duffuses in the Military and Duffuses in Academia around the world.

1st Marquis of Montrose Society

The object of this website is to inform those who are relatively unaware of the history of the 1st Marquis of Montrose, his life and deeds. You can also join the Society from this site.

Hugh Miller

This Web site is designed as source of reference and information about the life and work of geologist Hugh Miller (1802-1856) who pioneered research into fossils and the relationship between the different geological ages. There is a selection of Miller's writing and a bibliography.

John Logie Baird

Not just a biography of the inventor who obtained the world's first real television picture in his laboratory in October, 1925, and demonstrated it to the British public on January 26, 1926. There are illustrations of some of his original equipment.

Scottish Composers

The Classical Composers Database has pages on over 30 composers who were born in Scotland or gained the Scottish nationality.

Robert Napier (1791-1876)

This Web page is an extensive biography of the man described as the "Father of Clyde Shipbuilding". He was an eminent Victorian industrialist who did more than any other man of his age to make the Clyde the world’s pre-eminent shipbuilding river.

Founders of Coutts Bank

The banking company of Coutts, now the international private banking arm of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, was established by a number of Scotsmen. In 1692, a young Scot, John Campbell of Lundie, set up business as a goldsmith-banker in London. He also offered a comprehensive banking service and many of his customers were his fellow countrymen, including his clan chief, the powerful Duke of Argyll. Campbell took another Scottish goldsmith, George Middleton, as partner and Middleton later married the founder’s daughter, Mary. In 1755. James Coutts, a Scottish banker, was taken into partnership by Campbell (on his marriage to a granddaughter of the founder) and the bank became Coutts & Co in 1822.

Waltzing Matilda Story

So what has Australia's Unofficial National Anthem to do with Scotland? Well, in 1894 Christina Macpherson played what she could remember of a Scottish march "Craigielee" for A B "Banjo" Paterson and subsequently sent him a handwritten version. The song was published by Paterson in a book of bush ballads and the rest, as they say, is history. This site tells the full story with illustrations of Christina and her manuscript.

The official Australian National Anthem "Advance Australia Fair" was also written by a Scot - Peter Dodds McCormack (1834/1916).

James MacPherson - the "Wild Scotchman"

Australian Dictionary of Biography describes "Queensland's Only Authentic Bushranger", James MacPherson who was born in Duthil, Inverness, Scotland, on 27th August, 1841. After emigrating to Australia with his family, MacPherson drifted into a life of crime as a bushranger. He was eventually captured and imprisoned and while serving his sentence he wrote a number of poems, some of which were printed in a newspaper.

Catherine Spence

Born in Melrose in the Scottish Borders, Catherine Spence emigrated to Adelaide in 1839. During her career in Australia she became Australia's first female political candidate, first woman journalist and novelist and a lifelong campaigner for women's suffrage and proportional representation. She wrote the first legal studies textbooks published in Australia and her novels were laced with social comment. Her name became a household word and during her lifetime she was often referred to as 'Australia's Greatest Woman.' There is a statue to her in Adelaide.

Robert William Service

Son of English and Scottish parents, Service was educated in Scotland and emigrated to Canada in 1896. While working in the Yukon he became a writer, his most famous work being the poem to "Dangerous Dan McGrew" though he wrote many other poems and stories, mainly about the Yukon and Klondike.

Tribute to Jimmy Logan

This is a BBC obituary on the theatrical legend.

Hamish MacInnes

The world famous mountaineer Dr. Hamish MacInnes has climbed and explored the highest mountain regions of the world, and has also contributed greatly to safety on mountains by his major involvement in mountain rescue and equipment design. The MacInnes Stretcher saves lives and is used around the world and his International Mountain Rescue Handbook covers every aspect of search and rescue. Hamish has also created highly acclaimed DVDs on Scotland as well as books of fiction and non-fiction with a mountaineering theme. This Web site gives a definitive biography on this leading Scottish winter mountaineer of his generation and information on the equipment, DVDs and books available for purchase via the site.

Chic Murray

This site has a brief biography and a good sample of Chic's unique humour, which speaks volumes about the man himself.

Evelyn Glennie

An official site, there is a biography, concert schedule, photo gallery, press cuttings, awards and charity involvement and scholarships available to children with hearing loss, residing in the USA

In Celebration of Sir Harry Lauder"

Extensive biography of this popular entertainer of yester year, still keeping right on to the end of the road. There is a large selection of his songs and also a good number of graphics on display.

Another Sir Harry Lauder site not only has biographical details but Real Audio samples of a number of his famous songs including "Stop your tickling Jock" and "Roamin in the Gloamin" plus "I love a Lassie" and, of course, "A Wee Deoch an Doris".

Another site has Biographical Notes on Sir Harry Lauder by Gregory Lauder-Frost (a great-nephew of Sir Harry).

Bill Shankly

It was Bill Shankly who said "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that". This Web site is dedicated to his life and times both as a player and as a manager. Shankly was also famous for other classic quotes and random samples are displayed on the home page - it is worth going back to see such gems as "The trouble with referees is that they know the rules but they don't know the game"


This is a is a vast archive of over 25,000 brief biographies of people from around the world. If you are looking for biographical details of any well known (or not so well known) person, you are likely to find them here. Unfortunately the search engine is based on names only so it is not possible to abstract all the Scots included in the database. However, Rampant Scotland Index has found over 200 famous Scots for you to browse through.

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Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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