Tam's Tall Tales

- Sir Walter Scott Letter Under the Hammer

Sir Walter Scott Statue Edinburgh

Sir Walter Scott letter under the hammer
Jeanie Deans, the central character in Sir Walter Scott's "The Heart of Midlothian" was always thought to be based on the true story of Helen Walker, who walked barefoot from Edinburgh to London to plead for her sister's life.

A handwritten letter by the author confirms that Scott received an anonymous letter informing him of the story of Helen Walker who walked barefoot to London to plead with the Duke of Argyll for her sister's life after she was accused of murdering her own infant.

Helen Walker died in 1791 and, as a gesture of gratitude Scott paid for the production of a memorial alongside her grave in Irongray churchyard.

The letter provided the inspiration for the plot of the Heart of Midlothian, perhaps Scott's most famous best seller and one that is generally regarded as the finest of Scott's Waverley Novels.

The letter, dated March 5, 1830, was written to the Rev Dr David Dow, of Irongray in Dumfries and Scott talks about the construction of “a simple monument” to Helen Walker. The letter is valued at between £200 and £300 and is being auctioned on November 26. The graphic on the right is of Sir Walter Scott's Library.

Sir Walter Scott is credited as the first historical novelist and the first English-language author to have a truly international career - known around the world, even in the early 19th century.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2014

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