Forgotten poet’s story

pen and paper
pen and paper

Two Scots ‘labour of love’ mission will revive the story of a St Cyrus and Montrose poet who has been forgotten for 150 years.

Two men are launching a book about the life of poet George Beattie, to coincide with the 190th anniversary of the writer’s death by pistol at a St Cyrus churchyard.

Barry Graham, from Arbroath, and John Molloy, from Glasgow, have researched, updated and corrected the biography of Beattie,

The book, ‘George Beattie: A Poet Lost in Time’, will be launched later this month.

Mr Graham said: “I can only hope that the efforts of John and I on our labour of love mission, which have been extensive to say the least, will be extremely welcome.

“The mission is not only to revive the story of someone who was regarded at the time, in a Montrose Review memorial in 1823, as one of the most admired of any Montrose residents ever.”

He added: “As his memory and legacy has all but been forgotten, we are striving towards at least a Montrose plaque to be dedicated to him, as currently nothing exists of this nature anywhere.”

There will be a presentation about his life at Arbroath’s Signal Tower Museum on September 26 at 7 p.m. and at the Montrose Library on September 27 at 2 p.m.

George Beattie was at born at Whitehill, near St Cyrus, in 1786 to William Beattie and Elizabeth Scott.

He attended a parish school in St Cyrus. When he was about 13 years old, Beattie and his family moved to Montrose. He went to Edinburgh to study law and returned to Montrose as a writer or attorney.

In 1815, he contributed a poem, “John o’ Arnha”, to the Montrose Review, which bared a resemblance to Robert Burns’ ‘Tam o’ Shanter’. The satire was about a town officer, John Findlay, who boasted about extraordinary imagined places he had visited. Beattie had several other poems published in the Review.

The poet met a young girl, oddly named William Gibson, in 1821, and soon the two were engaged. Miss Gibson, however, called off the engagement after receiving a small fortune from a wealthy uncle. She then became engaged to a wealthy corn merchant.

Inconsolable, Beattie shot himself with a pistol beside his sister Mary’s grave in a St Cyrus churchyard at the of 38.

‘George Beattie: A Poet Lost in Time’ is available as an e-book on Amazon.