Description: Gravestone of John MacKay Wilson, Churchyard
Date Listed: 8 December 2009
English Heritage Building ID: 506548
OS Grid Reference: NT9954052262
OS Grid Coordinates: 399540, 652262
Latitude/Longitude: 55.7637, -2.0089
BERWICK UPON TWEED
622/0/10056 CHURCH ROAD
GRAVESTONE OF JOHN MACKAY WILSON, CHUR
Headstone erected 1835 to John Mackay Wilson (1804-1835)
MATERIALS: sandstone, now painted
A tall rectangular monument situated in Tweedmouth Cemetery, with fluted pilasters flanking the epitaph, carrying an entablature with a frieze of floral motifs. The stone has a stepped parapet, formerly surmounted by a stone urn, now missing. The rear is of similar form but largely plain. The inscription reads: Erected/to the Memory/of/JOHN MACKAY/ WILSON/who died 2nd. October 1835, /in the 31st. year of his age. / This Stone Erected to his/ Memory by his Widow/SARAH WILSON. / The above/JOHN MACKAY WILSON/poet & author of /'The Tales of the Borders',/Born at Tweedmouth on 15, August. /1804.
HISTORY: John Mackay Wilson was born in Tweedmouth in August 1804 and died at the age of 31 in October 1835. He worked, with varying degrees of success, as a printer, lecturer in literature and as editor of the Berwick Advertiser. Towards the end of his life in 1834, Wilson published on a weekly basis `The Tales of The Borders', popular in Britain and America and which capitalised on the current taste for the traditional-looking Scottish stories created by Sir Walter Scott. Weekly circulation rose steadily from 2000 to 16000-17000. In all 48 numbers were published, comprising 73 tales including the part autobiographical 'The Poor Scholar'. The series was continued after Wilson's death by his brother and then extended by Alexander Leighton a contemporary Scottish literary figure of national significance.
SOURCES: ET. W. Bayne, `Wilson, John Mackay (bap. 1804, d. 1835), rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29673, accessed 8 March 2009
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: This head stone to John Mackay Wilson of 1835, is designated for the following principal reasons:
* Its imposing scale and well-executed neo-classical decoration
* Mackay Wilson is a figure of national significance for his `Tales of the Borders' volumes
* It has Group Value with the adjacent listed church, in whose graveyard it is located
* It is unusual to see an epitaph refer to published works in this period
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.