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Death of George Heriot

Posted in Anniversary, History on Tuesday, 1 February 2011

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12 February marks the anniversary of the death of George Heriot in 1624. Heriot, born in East Lothian in 1563, was a Scottish goldsmith and philanthropist. He became a wealthy man during his time as court goldsmith to Anne of Denmark and her husband, King James VI of Scotland, who was also King James I of England. Heriot moved to London when James inherited the crown of England in 1603.

picture, George Heriot, King James I, King James IV of Scotland, IOU, fire

Heriot burned an IOU from King James worth £2,000. Illustration by C. L. Doughty

Anne’s love of jewellery meant that both she and her husband took out expensive loans to support their spending and Heriot earned a sizeable income from the interest. On one occasion he even burned an I.O.U. for £2,000 from the king. Despite this largess, Heriot died a very wealthy man , leaving a legacy to Edinburgh which was used to establish a hospital in Lauriston Place. He also founded the school which bears his name.

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