Alison Cockburn (1717-1794)

Alison Cockburn (1717-1794)

Writer and literary hostess

Alison Rutherford was born in Selkirkshire in the Scottish Borders. She was widowed in 1753 and left with a small income but never lost her liveliness, her insatiable love of mischief, mockery and match-making (Graham, HG, The Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century, p.331). She was acquainted with many notable Enlightenment figures. In 1777 she remarked of a young Walter Scott that he was 'the most extraordinary genius of a boy'. She befriended Robert Burns in 1786. She was a poet as well as a wit and a socialite and wrote lyrics to the Border ballad 'The Flowers of the Forest'.

Marriage in 1731

Alison Rutherford, parish of Galashiels and Patrick Cockburn, advocate were 'contracted in order to marriage and after due proclamation were married'. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Ormiston (his parish) is dated 12 March 1731.

Proclamation and marriage entry for Alison Cockburn

Proclamation and marriage entry for Alison Cockburn (43 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 715/1 

Testament of Alison Cockburn

National Records of Scotland, CC8/8/130 pp 8-16

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