Poet. Born in Leadhills, Lanarkshire. His father was manager of Lord Hopetoun's mines there, and his mother, Alice Bower, was the daughter of a Derbyshire mining expert. In 1704 he was apprenticed for five years to a wigmaker in Edinburgh. By 1718 he had become known as a poet, having issued several short humorous satires printed as broadsides. He had also written (l7l6-18) two additional cantos to the old Scots poem of "Christ's Kirk on the Green" that were cheerful pictures of rustic life and broad humor. He then started business as bookseller, later adding a circulating library (1725), apparently the first in Britain. Known as "Honest Allan", his career was eminently prosperous, although the theatre built in Edinburgh at his own expense (1736) was soon closed down by the magistrates. In 1740 he built a small house (the "Goose-Pie") on the Castle Hill, where he spent his last years in retirement. He was the father of the artist Allan Ramsay, his namesake.
Bio by: JK Gillon