Ridpath, George (1717?-1772) (DNB00)


RIDPATH or REDPATH, GEORGE (1717?–1772), historian of the Scottish border, born about 1717, was the eldest son of George Ridpath, minister of Ladykirk, Berwickshire. The elder George Ridpath studied theology under Professor Campbell at Edinburgh, where he graduated on 26 June 1699. He was licensed by the presbytery of Dunse on 23 April 1706, and ordained on 19 June 1712 and presented to the parish of Upsetlington, now Ladykirk. He died on 31 Aug. 1740, aged about 62, leaving three sons, George, Philip, and William (1731–1797), who all became ministers.

George Ridpath, the younger, was licensed by the presbytery of Chirnside on 27 May 1740, and ordained 16 Feb. 1742, when he was presented by George II and William, earl of Home, to the parish of Stitchell in Roxburghshire. In 1764 he published proposals for printing by subscription the ‘History and Antiquities of Berwick and part of Roxburghshire, as well as Northumberland and Durham, as far as Bamborough and Alnwick.’ He afterwards enlarged his plan, and at his death left in manuscript ‘The Border History of England and Scotland deduced from the earliest Times to the Union of the two Crowns, comprehending a particular Detail of the Transactions of the two Nations with one another.’ It appeared after the author's death, in 1776, and was reissued in 1808, 1810, and 1848. The work, which is accurate and impartial, contains exact references and a good index. Dibdin (Lib. Comp. p. 270) calls it a good introduction to the history of Scotland. Ridpath died on 31 Jan. 1772, leaving the reputation of a ‘judicious and learned man.’ He married, on 6 Sept. 1764, Wilhelmina Dawson, who survived till 16 April 1810. A daughter named Christian was issue of the marriage.

Philip Ridpath (1721–1788), the historian's next brother, was presented by George II in August 1759 to the parish of Hutton, Berwickshire, where he procured in 1765 the erection of a new church. In 1776 he took charge of the publication of his brother's ‘Border History;’ and in 1785 published, on his own account, a good edition of ‘Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy’ (translation, notes, and illustrations). He married, on 13 Oct. 1768, Alison Hume, who died in 1790 of ‘spontaneous combustion’ (Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. viii. 227).

[Hew Scott's Fasti Eccles. Scoticanæ, ii. 436, 441, 443, 475; Scots Mag. 1772, p. 51; Jeffrey's Roxburghshire, iii. 127; Preface to Ridpath's Border History; New Statistical Account of Scotland. vol. ii. pt. iii. p. 152; Watt's Bibl. Brit. i. 127; Allibone's Dict. Engl. Lit. ii. 1806.]

G. Le G. N.