National Records of Scotland

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William Creech (1745-1815)

William Creech (1745-1815)

Bookseller and magistrate

William Creech started an apprenticeship with the royal printer for Scotland in 1764. He went on a Grand Tour in 1770 before joining the firm of Kincaid and Creech the following year. He published Scottish literature, notably the poetry of Robert Burns, several works by Adam Smith, periodicals and Sir John Sinclair’s ‘Statistical Account of Scotland’. His bookshop was located near St Giles in Edinburgh and he held regular gatherings of leading intellectuals in the rooms above. He was a member of the jury at Deacon Brodie's trial and published his own account soon afterwards. He co-founded the Society of Booksellers of Edinburgh and Leith as well as the Corporation of Booksellers. William Creech was elected as a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1783. He served as a magistrate between 1788 and 1792 and as Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1811 to 1813.

Birth in 1745

William Henry Creech was born on 21 April 1745, lawful son to the Reverend Mr William Creech, Minister of the Gospel in Newbattle and Mrs Mary Bulley. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Newbattle gives the date of baptism as 12 May and the witnesses as Archibald Cockburn of Cockburn Esquire and Mr William Douglas in Southside.

Birth and baptism entry for William Creech

Birth and baptism entry for William Creech (58 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 695/2

Death in 1815

William Creech Esquire, aged 69, late Lord Provost of this City, was buried on 18 January 1815. The Old Parish Register for Edinburgh gives the place of interment as Number 49, New burying ground.

Burial entry for William Creech

Burial entry for William Creech (26 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/99


The testament of William Creech was registered at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 19 July 1815. A marginal note on page 270 records that a trust disposition and additional instructions had been put forward on 22 August. The Old Parish Register entry above only gives the date of burial - the testament provides the date of death as 14 January 1815.

Most of the pages provide details of outstanding book debts due to the estate. At the start of this inventory the trustees note that they have divided it into columns of good, doubtful and desperate.

Testament of William Creech

Detail from page 270 of the testament of William Creech (42 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, SC70/1/13, pages 267-315