Archibald Constable (1774-1827)

Archibald Constable (1774-1827)

Publisher

Archibald Constable was apprenticed to a bookseller and set up on his own in 1795. His specialisation in Scottish historical and literary books drew the attention of many in Edinburgh society. He bought 'The Scots Magazine' in 1801 and published 'The Edinburgh Review' the following year. He was very forward thinking in providing large sums for his authors and even advances for work that was still to be produced. One of his greatest selling authors was Sir Walter Scott. Following a financial crash in 1826 Scott's attempts to pay off his huge debts through his own literary efforts was detrimental to his health. Archibald Constable was relatively unperturbed and started to publish his Constable's Miscellany in 1827. More cheaply produced and moderately priced than his former publications, the Miscellany brought literature to a wider reading public.

Birth in 1774

Archibald Constable was born on 24 February 1774, the son of Thomas Constable and Elizabeth Myles. The Old Parish Register (OPR) for Carnbee in Fife gives his date of baptism as 27 February and his name as Archbald. 

Birth entry for Archibald Constable

Birth entry for Archibald Constable in the OPRegister for Carnbee (18 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 413/2

Marriage in 1795

Archibald Constable, book seller, married Margaret Willison, daughter of David Willison, printer in Edinburgh. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Canongate shows they 'gave up their names for marriage' on 16 January 1795.

Marriage entry for Archibald

Marriage entry for Archibald Constable in the OPR for Canongate (19 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 685-3/16, page 54

Death in 1827

Archibald Constable, bookseller and freeman, from 3 Park Place died on 21 July 1827 of a dropsy. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Leith South gives the date of burial as 26 July 1827 and the place as 'within the centre of his own ground'. He was aged 52.

Death entry for Archibald Constable

Death entry for Archibald Constable from the OPR for Leith South (21 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 692-2/33

Testament of Archibald Constable

National Records of Scotland, SC70/1/38 pp 672-675

View transcript (75 KB PDF)

The images of the original document are in jpeg format (approximately 270 KB):

View page 1 of the actual document
View page 2 of the actual document