William Creech

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Not to be confused with William Creech, Sr..
William Creech by Sir Henry Raeburn 1806
William Creech (1745-1815) (attributed to William Beechey)
Detail from James Gordon of Rothiemay's map of Edinburgh 1647. Creech's Land was the eastmost shop immediately behind St Giles Cathedral, facing the Market Cross

William Creech FRSE (12 May 1745 – 14 January 1815[1]) was a Scottish publisher, printer, bookseller and politician. For 40 years Creech was the chief publisher in Edinburgh. He published the first Edinburgh edition of Robert Burns' poems.


William was the son of a minister in Newbattle, Midlothian. He was educated at Dalkeith Grammar School then at Edinburgh University.

In 1771 he went into partnership with Alexander Kincaid, a publisher (and later Lord Provost of Edinburgh) who had purchased Allan Ramsay's bookshop in the Luckenbooths next to St. Giles Cathedral. The partnership dissolved in 1773 but Creech kept the shop which soon thereafter became known as "Creech's Land". Burn's poems were published from this building.[2]

Creech is one of the very small and elite group to have had a poem written about him by Robert Burns: "Willie's Awa'", marking Creech's absence from Edinburgh to visit London.

In 1788 he was a member of the jury in Deacon William Brodie's trial for robbery. Within days, his account of the trial and execution was for sale in his High Street bookshop.

He served as Edinburgh's Lord Provost from 1811 to 1813.

Creech never married and had no children. He is buried at Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh in the western extension, midway along the western path.

A plaque to his, and his father's, memory can be seen at Newbattle Kirk.

Creech's land was demolished in 1817 to widen the street.

William Creech's grave, Greyfriars Kirkyard


  1. ^ ODNB; Annual Register, 1815. Joel Munsell (1858). The Every Day Book of History and Chronology. D. Appleton & co.  gives the death date as 1 January 1815.
  2. ^ Grant's Old and New Edinburgh, Cassels


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.