John Lapraik 1727 - 1807
John Lapraik was a land-owner and farmer who lived near Muirkirk, Ayrshire in the south west of Scotland during the 18th Century.
He had a long and eventful life, starting as a relatively wealthy land-owner, marrying (and having at least 13 children), losing his money following a Bank crash, enduring a spell in a debtor's prison and ultimately in his old age running the village post office and public house.
He is principally known as a friend of Robert Burns, Scotland's most famous poet and for the fact that Burns published three Epistles addressed to John Lapraik.
Lapraik was an amateur poet in his own right and his book of poems, whilst they cast light on what it was like to live in Ayrshire in the 18th Century, never enjoyed any widespread acclaim or commercial success.
James Maxwell - another amateur poet who did not approve of either Burns or Lapraik - described, with some delight, the fate of Lapraik's books in the following terms:
For some devoted theirs unto the flame;
Bumfodder also others made of them.
Some turn’d to dung, and others they were burn’d,
And so to dirt and ashes all were turn’d.
In fact, a small number of copies of John Lapraik's book "Poems on Several Occasions" have survived...
- 1780 Petition to appoint a Factor to administer his estate given Lapraik's inability to pay his creditors
- Nightlife in Ayrshire - how the "unmarried youth" partied in 1790..
©John Lapraik www.lapraik.com