S. R. Crockett
|S. R. Crockett|
Samuel Rutherford Crockett, by Elliott & Fry
|Born||24 September 1859|
Duchrae, Balmaghie, Kirkcudbrightshire
|Died||16 April 1914 (aged 54)|
Samuel Rutherford Crockett (24 September 1859 – 16 April 1914), who published under the name "S. R. Crockett", was a Scottish novelist.
He was born at Duchrae, Balmaghie, Kirkcudbrightshire, on 24 September 1859, the illegitimate son of dairymaid Annie Crocket. He was raised on his grandfather's Galloway farm, won a bursary to Edinburgh University in 1876, and graduated from there during 1879.
After some years of travel, he became in 1886 minister of Penicuik. During that year he produced his first publication, Dulce Cor (Latin: Sweet Heart), a collection of verse under the pseudonym Ford Brereton. He eventually abandoned the Free Church ministry for full-time novel-writing in 1895.
The success of J. M. Barrie and the Kailyard school of sentimental, homey writing had already created a demand for stories in Lowland Scots, when Crockett published his successful story of The Stickit Minister in 1893. It was followed by a rapidly produced series of popular novels frequently featuring the history of Scotland or his native Galloway. Crockett made considerable sums of money from his writing and was a friend and correspondent of R. L. Stevenson.
Crockett's connection with Kailyard is now beginning to be acknowledged as nebulous at best, as evidenced by a re-appraisal of the whole Kailyard concept by writers such as Andrew Nash.
In 1900, Crockett wrote a booklet published by the London camera manufacturer, Newman & Guardia, comparing cameras favourably to pen and pencil and explaining how he encountered the N and G advertisement.
Crockett was well travelled in Europe and beyond, spending time in most European countries and he wrote several novels of European history including The Red Axe (1898), A Tatter of Scarlet (1913), and the non fiction The Adventurer in Spain (1903).
His later work has been criticised as being over-prolific and feebly sentimental.
He died in France on 16 April 1914. The subsequent outbreak of the First World War meant a delay in his remains being buried in his home kirkyard at Balmaghie. A memorial to him was erected in Laurieston by public subscription in 1932. There is inconclusive but suggestive evidence that in the final dozen or so years of his life he cohabited with Scottish actress, Evelyn Campbell, spending winter months with her in southern France.
Legacy and influence
- A monument to Crockett can be seen at Laurieston, near Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire. His papers are held by Edinburgh University. A biography of S.R. Crockett was published in 1991, by Dr. Islay Donaldson.
- In 2014 The Galloway Raiders  was set up as a literary society and online presence to explore his life and work and restore his credibility as one of Scotland's great writers. The Galloway Raiders also holds two archives of Crockett material; that of his biographer Dr Islay Donaldson, 'The Donaldson Archive' and Crockett scholar Richard D. Jackston 'The Jackson archive'.
- J. R. R. Tolkien credits him as an influence on his wolf-fight scenes: "the episode of the 'wargs' (I believe) is in part derived from a scene in S. R. Crockett's The Black Douglas, probably his best romance and anyway one that deeply impressed me in school-days".
A full list of Crockett's published works (67 volumes) is published online by The Galloway Raiders  A substantial number of his works have been republished since the 100th anniversary of his death and are available as print or digital versions. The list below is not comprehensive:
- The Stickit Minister: And Some Common Men. New York: Macmillan. 1894.
- The Raiders: Being Some Passages in the Life of John Faa, Lord and Earl of Little Egypt. London: T. Fisher Unwin. 1894.[a]
- The Lilac Sunbonnet: A Love Story. D. Appleton. 1895.
- Mad Sir Uchtred of the Hills. New York: Macmillan & Company. 1894.
- The Men of the Moss-hags: Being a History of Adventure Taken from the Papers of William Gordon of Earlstoun in Galloway and. New York: Macmillan and Company. 1895.
- Sweetheart Travellers: A Child's Book for Children, for Women, and for Men. London: F. A. Stokes. 1895.
- Cleg Kelly, Arab of the City. In two volumes. Leipzig: B. Tauchnitz. 1896.
- The Gray Man, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1896; The Grey Man, Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1896
- The Surprising Adventures of Sir Toady Lion: With Those of General Napoleon Smith : an Improving History for Old Boys, Young Boys, Good Boys, Bad Boys, Big Boys, Little Boys, Cow Boys, and Tom-boys. New York: Frederick A. Stokes. 1897.
- Lochinvar, Copyright 1897, Published (1898) by Harper and Brothers
- The Standard Bearer, London: Methuen, 1898; New York, D. Appleton & Co, 1898
- The Red Axe, London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1898; New York: Harper & Bros, 1898
- The Black Douglas. HarperCollins Canada. 2012 . ISBN 978-1-4434-1463-0.[b]
- Kit Kennedy, London: T. F. Unwin, 1899; Toronto: W. Briggs, 1899
- Joan of the Sword Hand. Toronto: Copp, Clark. 1900.
- Little Anna Mark, London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1900
- Cinderella: A Novel. London: J. Clarke. 1901.
- The Silver Skull. London: Smith, Elder. 1901.
- The firebrand, London: Macmillan, 1901
- Flower o' the Corn, London: James Clarke, 1902
- Red Cap Tales: Stolen from the Treasure Chest of the Wizard of the North. London: Adam and Charles Black. 1904.
- Raiderland, Dodd, Mead and Company, 1904
- The Loves of Miss Anne, Macmillan, 1904
- Maid Margaret, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1905
- The Adventurer in Spain. Isbister. 1903.
- The White Plumes of Navarre: A Romance of the Wars of Religion. Religious Tract Society. 1906.
- Red Cap Tales, stolen from the treasure chest of the Wizard of the North, which theft is humbly acknowledge by S.R. Crockett, New York: Macmillan, 1906
- Little Esson, London: London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1907
- Red Cap Adventures: being the second series of Red Cap tales stolen from the treasure chest of the Wizard of the North, which theft is humbly acknowledge by S.R. Crockett, New York: Macmillan, 1908
- Silver Sand, London & New York: Hodder & Stoughton, 1914
- The Azure Hand, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1917 (posthumous)
Notes and references
- Daiches 1971, p. 127.
- Chisholm 1911.
- Ousby 1995, p. 503.
- Nash 2007, Ch 3. S.R. Crockett Romancing Galloway.
- "Ex Cathedra". British Journal of Photography. XLVII (2098): 450. 20 July 1900.
- Rex 2016, p. 80-84.
- "The papers of Samuel Rutherford Crockett". Edinburgh University. Archived from the original on 5 August 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- Rateliff & Tolkien 2007, p. 216.
- Rateliff & Tolkien 2007, pp. 216, 224.
- Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. p. 88.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Crockett, Samuel Rutherford". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- Daiches, David, ed. (1971). The Penguin companion to English literature. Vol. 1. McGraw-Hill.
- Nash, Andrew (2007). Kailyard and Scottish Literature. Rodopi. ISBN 90-420-2203-5.
- Ousby, I., ed. (1995). The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English. Cambridge University Press.
- Rateliff, John D.; Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel (2007). Mr. Baggins a History of Hobbit. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-261-10291-0.
- Rex, Richard E. (2016). Alice Muriel Williamson: The Secret History of an American-English Author. Mill City Press. ISBN 978-1-63505-309-8.
- Harper, Malcolm M'Lachlan (1907). Crockett with Grey Galloway: The Novelist and His Works. Hodder and Stoughton.
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