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Blair's house, 12 Clarendon Crescent, Edinburgh

Rev Robert Blair's grave, Dean Cemetery

The Rev. Dr. Robert Blair DD VD (3 May 1837 – 4 November 1907) was a Scottish minister and a Gaelic scholar.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Blair was born in Bullwood, Dunoon, Scotland, the son of Duncan Blair and Margaret Campbell.[1] He was educated at Bowmore School, Islay, then Glasgow University where he gained an M.A. in 1863.[1]

He was licensed by the Presbytery of Kintyre on 29 November 1865 when he was assistant at Saddell.[1] He was ordained to Tarbert, Loch Fyne on 19 September 1867.[1]

On 6 May 1869 he moved to St Columba's Church, Glasgow,[1] a Gaelic Church. He then went to Cambuslang on 23 May 1882, where he succeeded the Rev. Dr. James S. Johnstone.[1] Blair was followed at Cambuslang by the Rev. James Edward Houston (1892-1908). Blair moved to St John’s parish church, Edinburgh on 20 July 1892. He was awarded a Doctorate of Divinity by Glasgow University in 1891.[1] He served as chaplain to the Glasgow Highlanders and to H.M. Prison, Edinburgh,[1] and was awarded the Volunteer Officers' Decoration (VD) on 15 August 1902.[2]

Blair married Flora Anne Cameron, daughter of Duncan Cameron, inventor of the "Waverley" pen nib, on 29 October 1889.[1] Flora's mother - Mary Brown Small - and her family were members of the Smalls of Dirnanean in Perthshire, Scotland.

In 1905 he is listed as living at 12 Clarendon Crescent, close to Dean Bridge in Edinburgh.[3]

Blair died on 4 November 1907 in Edinburgh and was buried near his home, in Dean Cemetery. His gravestone is a huge (6m) pale granite Celtic cross, facing the central path of the north section of the main cemetery.

Memorials[edit | edit source]

A baptismal font honoring Blair was installed by the parishioners in the church at Cambuslang in 1908.[4] Blair was also memorialized by a bust in St. Columba's Church, Glasgow and a window in Iona Abbey.[4]

Scholarly contributions[edit | edit source]

Blair edited the Gaelic poems (with Memoir) of William Livingstone, (1808-1870), the Islay Bard (Glasgow, 1882).[1] He also translated a number of hymns into Gaelic, and wrote Gaelic articles for The Gael, (Glasgow, 1873–1876).[1]

Blair was one of the translators of the Revised Version of the Bible into Gaelic.[1][5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 "Fasti Ecclesiæ Scoticanæ: The Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation". http://www.dwalker.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Fasti%20Web%20pages/p.%20109%20St%20John,s.htm. Retrieved 15 February 2013. "St. John's, Page 109" 
  2. "No. 27465". 15 August 1902. p. 5329. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27465/page/5329 
  3. Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory 1905-6
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Ecclesiastical, Memorial to Rev. Dr. Blair". 3 December 1908. p. 9. 
  5. "Mrs. Flora Macaulay (Death)". 1 February 1958. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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