Martin Martin


Martin Martin

Martin Martin (Scottish Gaelic: Màrtainn MacGilleMhàrtainn, ?-1719) was a Scottish writer best known for his work A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland (1703). This book is particularly noted for its information on the St Kilda archipelago. Martin's description of St Kilda, which he visited in 1697, had also been published some years earlier as A Late Voyage to St Kilda (1698).

A native of Bealach, near Duntulm, Skye, his work has some authenticity thanks to the fact that he was raised in Gaeldom. Dr Johnson, however, believed him to be credulous, and indeed, some of his descriptions of second sight and other superstitions appear to be this way.

He appears to have come from the Highland middle class, the tacksmen, who were factors on lairds' estates. His brother may have been tacksman at Flodigarry on Skye.

Martin graduated MA from the University of Edinburgh in 1681. Nothing seems to be known of him in his later years, except that he entered Leiden University in 1710, and there graduated as MD, afterwards residing in London until his death, unmarried, in 1719.

Both Johnson and Boswell read his book and took a copy of it along with them on their famous tour in 1773. Johnson felt Martin had failed to record the more interesting aspects of life at the time, and suggested that this was because Martin was unaware of just how different the social structure of the Western Isles was in comparison to the modern world.

See also

External links


[[Category:St Kilda, Scotland]


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