Edward Bannerman Ramsay (1793– 1872), usually referred to simply as Dean Ramsay, was a clergyman of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and Dean of Edinburgh in that communion from 1841, has a place in literature through his Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character, which had gone through 22 editions at his death. It is a book full of the personality of the author, and preserves many traits and anecdotes.
He was born in Aberdeen but spent much of his early life in Yorkshire, attending the Cathedral Grammar School in Durham from 1806. He then attended St Johns College in Cambridge University, graduating in 1816. He was then appointed Curate of Redden, Somerset. In 1824 he came to Edinburgh to serve as Curate to St George's on York Place before being appointed minister of St. John's Episcopal Church on Princes Street in 1830, where he then remained until death. This appointment followed the death of Bishop Daniel Sandford, founder of the church.
In 1838 he formed a new branch of the church, thereafter known as the Scottish Episcopal Church. In 1841 he was elected Dean of the Diocese of Edinburgh.
Over and above his religious activity he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1828, and became Vice-President of the society in 1862.
His memorial, an imposing 7.3m high Celtic cross in Shep granite with bronze sculpted panels, is on Princes Street in the grounds of Church of St John the Evangelist, Edinburgh facing Castle Street. It was designed by the architect Rowand Anderson and built by Farmer and Brindley of London. The bronze panels are by F.A. Skedmore. It was erected in 1879.
The memorial is independent of his grave which lies in the eastern enclosure attached to the church.
The Episcopal Church still runs a charitable trust, The Dean Ramsay Fund, in his name.
- Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh, by Gifford McWilliam and Walker
- Works by Edward Bannerman Ramsay at Project Gutenberg
- Bibliographic directory from Project Canterbury
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource
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