English Literature

The Sir David Lyndsay Society

The Sir David Lyndsay Society was established in 2007 as a friendly group of those interested in exchanging ideas and information about Lyndsay’s writing, life, and times.

Coat of arms for Sir David Lyndsay

There is no subscription required for membership; all interested are welcome to join. The President of the society is Dr Janet Hadley Williams.

An email circulation list for members’ use is maintained by Dr Sarah Carpenter, University of Edinburgh. To join the Society and be added to the list, please contact Dr Carpenter (or another member of the current committee):

email Dr Sarah Carpenter

email Dr Janet Hadley Williams (President)

The Lord Lyon unveils the stone, assisted by the President of the Society
Lord Lyon unveils the stone with the President of the Society. (Picture used by kind permission of Eila Williamson)

email Dr Eila Williamson

email Professor John MacGavin

email Professor Greg Walker

Lyndsay Paving Stone

We are delighted to announce the success of the Society’s appeal to sponsor a paving stone to commemorate Sir David Lyndsay at Makars’ Court, Edinburgh. Grateful thanks for all the generous support and donations from members and beyond, from individuals and societies from across the world in the fields of literature, heraldry and history. A list of donors with some brief information about Lyndsay for visitors will be lodged in the Writers’ Museum.

The stone was dedicated on 14 July 2011. Councillor Steve Cardownie introduced the ceremony for the City of Edinburgh, the President of the Sir David Lyndsay Society, Janet Hadley Williams, celebrated Lyndsay’s life and work, and the Lord Lyon, King of Arms, David Sellar removed the saltire from the stone in memory of his most distinguished predecessor.

Sir David’s stone joins an eminent company of Scottish writers honoured in Makars’ Court at the Writers’ Museum, including John Barbour, Robert Henryson, William Dunbar, Robert Fergusson, Neil Gunn, Hugh McDiarmid, Tom Scott, Violet Jacob, John Buchan, J. K. Annand and Dorothy Dunnett.

Lyndsay Paving Stone
(Picture used by kind permission of Marjory Williamson)

The stone carries Lyndsay’s name with birth and death dates, his coat of arms and a quotation chosen from one of his most popular works, Ane Dialog betwix Experience and ane Courteour:

Lat us haif the bukis necessare To commoun weill.

(Let us have the books necessary for our common good.)

The quotation sums up Lyndsay’s commitment to accessible education, literature, social and religious reform. See below for a fuller extract from the poem.

Ane Diolog betwix Experience and ane Courteour

Quhowbeit that divers devote cunnyng clerkis
In Latyne toung hes wryttin syndrie bukis,
Our unlernit knawis lytill of thare werkis
More than thay do the ravyng of the rukis.
Quharefore, to colyearis, cairtaris and to cukis,
To Jok and Thome my ryme sall be diractit,
With cunnyng men quhowbeit it wylbe lactit.
. . .
Prudent Sanct Paull doith mak narratioun
Tuycheyng the divers leid of every land,
Sayand thare bene more edificatioun
In fyve wordis that folk doith understand,
Nor to pronunce of wordis ten thousand
In strange langage, sine wait not quhat it menis.
I thynk sic pattryng is not worth two prenis.
. . .
Bot lat us haif the bukis necessare
To commoun weill and our salvatioun,
Justlye translatit in our toung vulgare.