Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Patriots and rogues: some Scottish lairds and their libraries.

Reid, Peter H.



This article examines some of the lesser known libraries of Scottish lairds and gentry. The research here formed the basis of the keynote paper delivered at the Library and Information History Group’s annual conference 2017 which was held in Dundee, focusing on the theme ‘the information landscape in Scotland, 1600-1900. The article draws on archival research, focusing on a number of Scottish lairds and gentry families who developed significant libraries. Some such as William Drummond of Hawthornden and Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun are well-remembered but others such as William Forbes of Tolquhon or the Earls of Seafield have had more modest attention in the scholarly record. The place of the library in the smaller Scottish country house is also addressed from social, cultural as well as architectural terms. Reference is also made to links which existed between Scotland and the Scottish gentry and continental Europe. The article also highlights distinctive differences in approach observed in the Scottish gentry compared with their English counterparts.


REID, P.H. 2019. Patriots and rogues: some Scottish lairds and their libraries. Library and information history [online], 35(1), pages 1-20. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 14, 2018
Online Publication Date Jun 18, 2019
Publication Date Mar 31, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 11, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 1, 2020
Journal Library and information history
Print ISSN 1758-3489
Electronic ISSN 1758-3497
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 1
Pages 1-20
Keywords Scotland; Private libraries; Gentry; Lairds; Country houses
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations