Agnes Maclehose (1758-1841)

Agnes Maclehose (1758-1841)

Letter-writer and poet

Agnes Maclehose moved to Edinburgh where she met Robert Burns (1759-1796) at a tea party in 1787. The letters they wrote to each other as 'Clarinda' and 'Sylvander' are mentioned in the inventory (transcript and image below). Many of Burns' songs and poems were dedicated to her. 'Ae Fond Kiss' was sent by the poet as a parting gift in the winter of 1791. She left for Jamaica in an abortive attempt at rapprochement with her husband, but returned to Edinburgh, where she later died and is buried in the Canongate Kirkyard.

Birth in 1758

Agnes Craig was born on 26 April 1758, the daughter of Andrew Craig, surgeon and Christian McLaurin. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Glasgow includes two witnesses, William Craig and John Gillies, ministers.

Baptism entry for Agnes McLehose

Baptism entry for Agnes McLehose in the OPR for Glasgow (31 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 644-1, 26, page 103

Marriage in 1776

Agnes Craig married James McLhose, writer in Glasgow on 1 July 1776. The entry in the OPR for Glasgow shows she was residing there and that they were regularly married. They separated in 1780 due to his ill treatment of her.

Marriage entry for Agnes Maclehose

Marriage entry for Agnes Maclehose in the OPR for Glasgow (21 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 644-1/26, page 183

Death in 1841

Agnes Craig, widow of Mr McIlhose, died on 23 October 1841. There are two entries related to her death in the OPR for Canongate. The first in volume 34 gives the place of death as 14 Calton Place, Edinburgh, the date of burial as 27 October and the place as the north-east corner of Lord Craig's tomb, number 28, East Ground. She was 82 and the cause of death is given as old age.

Burial entry for Agnes McLehose - Edinburgh

Burial entry for Agnes McLehose in the OPR for Edinburgh (107 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-3/34

The second in volume 36 records the same details.

Burial entry for Agnes Maclehose - Canongate

Burial entry for Agnes Maclehose in the OPR for Canongate (5 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-3/36, page 392

Testament of Agnes Craig or McLehose

National Records of Scotland, SC70/1/62 p303

View transcript (71 KB PDF)

The image of the original document is in jpeg format (approximately 260 KB):

View page 1 of the actual document