Rev John Jamieson by John Kay
|Born||3 March 1759|
|Died||12 July 1838 (aged 79)|
|Resting place||St. Cuthbert's Cemetery, Edinburgh|
|Education||Glasgow Grammar School|
|Alma mater||Glasgow University (1768-71)|
Edinburgh University (1775-6)
College of New Jersey (DD 1795)
|Occupation||Licensed minister (1781)|
Minister of secessionist congregation Forfar, Angus
Minister of the Nicolson Street Antiburgher Church, Edinburgh (1797-1830)
|"Etymological Dictionary of The Scottish Language" (1808)|
"History of the Culdees" (1811)
"Views of the Royal Palaces of Scotland" (1828)
|Charlotte Watson (died 1837)|
Rev Dr John Jamieson DD FRSE FSAs FRSL (5 March 1759 - 12 July 1838) was a Scottish minister of religion, lexicographer, philologist and antiquary. His most important work is the Dictionary of the Scottish Language.
He was educated at the University of Glasgow 1768 to 1771, and subsequently attended classes at the University of Edinburgh, 1775-6. After six years' theological study, Jamieson was licensed to preach in 1781 and became pastor of an Anti-burgher congregation in Forfar, Angus. In 1797 he was called to the Anti-burgher church in Nicolson Street, Edinburgh. The union of the Burgher and Anti-burgher sections of the Secession Church in 1820 was largely due to his exertions.
He retired from the ministry in 1830, spending the rest of his life in Edinburgh. In the 1830s he is listed as living at 4 George Square on the south side of the city.
Jamieson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1803. His proposers were James Bonar, Alexander Fraser Tytler, and William Moodie. He was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1816.
He died at home, 4 George Square in Edinburgh on 12 July 1838 and is buried in St Cuthbert's churchyard. He was buried with his son Robert (who pre-deceased him) in a large and elaborate grave in the southern section. His inscription is on the rear of the monument.
Jamieson's major work, the Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language appeared in 2 vols. in 1808. A meeting the Danish scholar Grim Thorkelin had suggested this work, and, working with Thomas Ruddiman's glossary to Gavin Douglas's version of the Aeneid, Jamieson completed the work almost alone. He prepared an abridgment in 1818 (reissued in 1846 with a memoir by John Johnstone), and aided by numerous others, he added two supplementary volumes in 1825. The work drew on folklore and provincialisms. The introductory antiquarian dissertation supported a theory on the Pictish influence on the Scots language. A revised edition by John Longmuir and David Donaldson was issued in 1879-87. These volumes remained the standard reference work for the Scots language until the publication of the Scottish National Dictionary in 1931.
Jamieson's other works included:
Jamieson wrote on other themes: rhetoric, cremation, and the royal palaces of Scotland, besides publishing occasional sermons. In 1820 he issued edited versions of John Barbour's Bruce and Blind Harry's Wallace. Posthumous was Dissertations on the Reality of the Spirit's Influence (1844).
In 1781, Jamieson married Charlotte Watson (died 1837), daughter of Robert Watson, Esq., of Easter Rhind, Perthshire, and had seventeen children, of whom only two daughters and one son survived. His son, Robert Jameson (died 1834) advocate, became a distinguished member of the Faculty of Advocates.