National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Nan Shepherd (1893–1981)

Nan Shepherd (1893–1981)

Author and College Teacher

Nan Shepherd was educated at Aberdeen High School for Girls and the University of Aberdeen. There she published her first poems in the university magazine. After graduation she taught English at the Aberdeen College of Education until her retirement. She produced three novels - 'The Quarry Wood' (1928), 'The Weatherhouse' (1930) and 'A Pass in the Grampians' (1933) - and a volume of poems in 1934. All reflected her love of Aberdeenshire, its land and people. A memoir, 'The Living Mountain' about the Cairngorms, was started during the Second World War but not published until the 1970s. She lived in the family home throughout her life. Nan Shepherd features on the Royal Bank of Scotland £5 note introduced in 2016 as part of a 'Fabric of Nature' series. Her archive is held by the National Library of Scotland.

Birth in 1893

Anna Shepherd was born at 9:00 am on 11 February 1893, the daughter of John Shepherd, engineer (mechanical) and Jane Smith Kelly. The entry in the statutory register of births for the district of East Peterculter in the county of Aberdeen gives her place of birth as Westerton Cottage.

Birth entry for Nan Shepherd

Birth entry for Anna Shepherd (46 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1893/231-1/8

1901 Census

In 1901, Anna Shepherd, 8, scholar was enumerated at Dunvegan in the parish of Cults. The census return for the enumeration district of East Peterculter shows the household included her parents, brother, Francis John, grandmother, Ann, a widow (W) and Isabella Gordon, a servant. Her father and grandmother were born in Echt and her mother in Aberdeen.

1901 Census return for Nan Shepherd

1901 census return for Anna Shepherd (36 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1901/231-1/2, page 14

1911 Census

In 1911, Anna Shepherd, 18 and at school, was enumerated at the same address. The census return for the district of East Peterculter gives her father's occupation as Manager Iron Foundry (connected with the general engineering industry) and her brother's as engineer (apprentice) at the Iron Foundry. It also records that her parents had been married for 25 years, and they had two children 'born alive' and two 'still living'.

1911 Census return for Nan Shepherd

1911 census return for Anna Shepherd (24 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1911/231-1/2, page 11

1940 Valuation Roll

In 1940, Anna Shepherd, spinster, lecturer, appears as proprietrix for Jane S Shepherd, widow. The valuation roll for the parish of Peterculter describes the property as house and garden, Dunvegan, Deeside Road, West Cults.

1940 valuation roll for Nan Shepherd

1940 valuation roll for Anna Shepherd (8 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland VR1940/87/140, page 956

Death in 1981

Nan Shepherd died in Aberdeen aged 88 years (National Records of Scotland, 1981/300/133).