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16 thoughts on “Contact”

  1. I have a splendid, but somewhat battered, very old five volume “Family Edition” of “Wilson’s Tales of the Borders” that had been in my mother’s family for years. They were published by Willliam Mackenzie, but have no publication date. Would you have any idea when these volumes were published?

    By chance, my surname is Wilson, though the books were originally in my mother’s family.

    1. Thanks for your enquiry.
      Here’s what we currently have recorded in terms of editions Mackenzie probably puts them at about 1870 -ish.
      Hope that helps.
      Richard Wilson – also no relation to JMW!

      When were Wilson’s tales Published?
      The Original Tales were published from 8th November 1834 in weekly instalments through to 24th October 1840 , by which time 312 editions had been published containing 485 tales.
      There were various “reprints” as the ongoing publishing continued and they were subsequently available in 6 , 3 and 2 volume sets , of similar dimensions to a family bible.
      Smaller format versions subsequently became available in the late 1800’s , principally published by the Walter Scott Publishing Co., who’s edition extended to 24 Volumes.
      A one volume selection of The Tales were published in 1934 , the centenary of their first publication , which was released again in 1947.
      Publishing rights seem to have been owned by various companies over the years and indeed in different parts of the world. There were certainly American and Australian editions.
      Not all editions actually include the publication date, but research of copies in private ownership, public libraries and available through on line book sellers seem to suggest publications subsequent to the originals in:
      1830’s John Sutherland, Edinburgh
      1840’s Ainsworth, Manchester
      1848 Robert T Shannon, New York.
      1857-59 revised edition , edited by Alex Leighton. W P Nimmo.
      1857 Ward & Lock
      1857 William P Nimmo
      1857 Thomas & Niven (Australian editions)
      1860’s? Adam & Co
      1869 The Walter Scott publishing co
      1870’s (?) William Mackenzie
      1870 The Tyne Publishing Co
      1880 Gall & Inglis
      1881 The Edinburgh Publishing Co
      1881 edited with notes by James Tait. Joseph Irving

      1883 McCready.
      1889 Walter Scott.
      1892 Walter Scott.
      1895 Gall & Inglis
      1877 Ward Locke & Bowden
      1881 Edinburgh Publishing Co.
      1884 Cassell & Co ; Cassell’s “Red Library”
      1899 Ward, Locke & Bowden
      1907 Gall & Inglis
      1911 Gall & Inglis
      1934 The Moray Press
      1947 The Ettrick Press
      1991 edited by Michael Brander, Mainstream Publishing.
      “The Tales” were seldom out of print in the 1800’s and were still being given as school prizes in the early 19th century.

  2. Hi, I have volume 1 & 2 large leather bound copies. Both belonged to the same person, signatures on inside.
    Published by Adam & Co

    1. Hello, thanks for your message. The ‘original’ prints, as weekly editions, were in a large size, and subsequently reprinted from the original plates as a set, and bound together. It sounds as if you have something of that era. Adam & Company were circa 1860’s.
      Most of the editions from ‘the original’ were in 6 volumes, often bound into 3 books. Is your copy complete? Is there publishing date given? Address for the publisher?
      If it is a complete set, then if you were able to scan or copy the contents pages and send them we would like to document the contents, as the exact stories used often differed from one publisher to the next as they chose ‘the best’ or wanted to fit within a particular page count.

      Thanks for your interest.
      Wilson’s Tales

  3. I come to John Mackay Wilson via a tortuous route. I am the author of the ‘Botolph Trilogy’ – a set of historical novels based on the true life story of St Botolph (620-680). One authority says that he came from a Scottish noble family and Eugenius IV of Dalriada has been suggested as his father. Whilst researching this I have been listing the Ecclesiastical Kalendars where his name is mentioned and one of these is Hyrdmaniston (aka Herdmanston). This led me to Tim’s Travels (East Lothian Chronicle) and his story of Herdmanston Chapel as written by JMW. In short I would like to look at JMW’s original work from whence Tim’s story came. Can you help me please?

    1. Hello

      Thank you for enquiring, and apologies for the tardy reply.

      I have just searched the published texts of Wilson’s Tales, and there is no reference to Herdmanston nor Hyrdmaniston.

      JMW was editor of the Berwick Advertiser, and wrote material independently of the ‘Tales’ – activities we are now beginning to catalogue, beginning with his plays and poems.

      If you can suggest other key words which may be in a ‘Tale’ I’ll be happy to check them for you, or Project Gutenberg has a complete set of the Walter Scott edition on line for download.

      Thanks for your interest.
      Wilson’s Tales

  4. I have a set of 24 of the Wilson’s Tales – The Walter Scott Publishing Co. Ltd. (Not the 24 volumes in 12 books, 24 separate volumes). As we are downsizing, we would like to put these up for sale. I wondered if any of your subscribers would be interested in buying them? I would say the condition is Good/Acceptable, considering their age. The price is negotiable and photos can be uploaded for any interested parties.

    1. Hello Ann – happy to oblige. We have a newsletter coming up, if they remain unsold I’d be happy to make mention of them if it would help save them from the shredder.

  5. John MaKay Wilson is a distant relative. My fraternal grandmother is a Wilson with roots to him. She married a Dixon in Port Carling, Ontario, Canada. I will be in Scotland late September, 2022. I thought that there might be a statue or memorial to Wilson in Edinburgh ? Can you advise ? Many thanks. Chris Dixon

    1. Hello Chris,

      As far as I know, there is no statue. The nearest might be his tombstone in Spittal churchyard – which we are working to have preserved. It was ‘cared for’ in the past and is the worse for it.
      I’m passing your message along to others who may know more however.

      Wilsons Tales

  6. I’m in possession of an undamaged copy of Tales of the Borders Volume 1

    I have no wish to consign this treasure to the bin.

    Can anyone suggest an answer

    I live in Warrington, Cheshire .

    email address

    1. Hello Robin,
      Thanks for posting this. There were many editions published, meaning that volume 1 could be from a 3, a 6 or even the 22 volume edition. The bindings may be embossed, or could be 1/4 lather bound and so on. Ebay usually carries ‘some’ editions – you could try any second hand book shops in your area and see if they’d like to purchase it from you.

      Maybe you could donate it to a school? In the day, they were often read to classes, and we seek to re-engage young people by offering a writing prize for stories written ‘in the manner of’ or ‘inspired by’ Wilson’s Tales. Sadly, the virus stopped this for a time, but we hope to re-instate it shortly, and the WorldWide ‘100 Word tales’ prize competition for 2023 will probably start in March time – again a story in the manner of a Tale. Open to all, but a teacher may wish to leverage some writing from your volume.

      Wilson’s Tales

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