CLACKMANNANSHIRE has had many notable poets and one of these is David Taylor of Dollar.

His work was influenced by the local area and local events and he came known as The St Ninians Poet, or Bard.

On April 4, 1817, David was born in the village of Dollar. His father, also David, was a builder from Auchtermuchty in Fife.

He had married a woman in Cupar and they had two children, but the marriage failed, and he ran away with their servant Janet Eadie.

The couple settled in Dollar and were presumed to be husband and wife by the locals. After a few years in the village, and while David was still a young boy, his father found work repairing dykes in St Ninian’s near Stirling, so the family moved there.

As time went on two other children were born to the couple, Mary and Jean; however, the parents rarely mixed with the locals, and in later years, David’s friends reported they were shrouded in mystery.

David was schooled locally, and when he left, he began an apprenticeship as a weaver.

The Hillfoots woollen trade was booming and it is known that when he completed his apprenticeship, he worked in Alva for a time, then Alloa and eventually returned to St Ninians.

He spent any spare time writing poems and verses and found an outlet with the Clackmannanshire Advertiser, where he had some of his work published.

When he lived in St Ninians, he also submitted poetry to the Stirling Observer and the Stirling Journal and Advertiser.

During his 12 years in Alloa, his work gained attention when it was published in the Alloa Advertiser. His poems were very much local in content and included satirical verses of men he met.

On one occasion he wrote about charges brought against Johnnie McNair, a publican and toll-keeper, who was found to be selling alcohol on the Sabbath.

A man by the name of ‘Windy’ had reported him and he was found guilty and fined.

Many of McNair’s acquaintances were unhappy and decided to hold a concert to raise the funds to pay the fine, and amongst these was David.

He was not only a prolific poet, but also wrote songs. His best-known works were ‘Proof o’ the Puddin’s the Preein’ o’t,’ written in Doric, and ‘Oor ain Mither Tongue.’

Lesser known was ‘The Alloa Ghost,’ a humorous song about wicked deeds done by a sheeted spectre with horns on its head and a tail, running down Broad Street, scaring the townsfolk.