Robert Leighton

Scope and Content

Typescript copies of correspondence between Robert Leighton, Mrs Leighton, and Jeffrey Inglis, some of which are written in dialect describing scenes and events in Dundee and Liverpool and some containing poetry written by both men 1839-1875; letter from James Smith in Glasgow to Alexander Smith, teacher of music, Dundee concerning the death of his brother in the Napoleonic Wars, 1806.

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Leighton, Scottish poet, was born in Dundee on 20 February 1822. On the death of his mother in 1835 he settled with his brother William, a shipowner in Dundee, attending the Academy there until 1837 when he entered his brother's office. In 1842-1843 he went round the world as a supercargo in one of William Leighton's ships. On his return he entered the service of the London and North Western Railway at Preston. He married in 1850 and his wife is the 'Eliza' of his dramatic and reflective poems. From 1854 to 1858 he managed a branch business of a firm of Liverpool seed merchants at Ayr.

In 1849 he wrote for a Dundee pamphlet several poems and songs of which Jenny Marshall's Candy O proved instantly popular. In 1855 Poems by Robin was published and in 1861 and 1866 Poems by Robert Leighton. Leighton was famous for reciting one of his early compositions The Laddie's Lamentation on the Loss O' his Whittle and The Centenary of Robert Burns which he recited at the Ayr gathering in 1859. Leighton's complete works are included in the two volumes Reuben and other Poems (1875) and Records and other Poems (1880). In March 1867 Leighton met with an accident near Youghal and became a helpless invalid. He died at Liverpool 10 May 1869.


Records are arranged within series.

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation.

Acquisition Information

The records were deposited by Mrs J E Forsyth in 1978 (AccM/56).


Fonds level description compiled by Sarah Chubb, Archives Hub Project Archivist, November 2001.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.


None expected.

Location of Originals

The original letters are in the possession of Mrs J E Forsyth, Broughty Ferry, granddaughter of Jeffrey Inglis.