ELLON & DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOCIETY

LEWIS COUTTS - DORIC POET


Lewis Coutts was born in 1896 and brought up in Ellon where his father was the town sanitary inspector. They lived in 35 The Square - a house which was until recently a Hairdressers and is currently a Photographic Studio. Lewis was an able pupil at school and in due course went to University. However, the Great War from 1914-1918 intervened and Lewis joined up like many young men including his older brother who was killed in action. Lewis survived the war but was left with mental scars which are reflected in his poetry. After the death of his wife in 1934, Lewis returned to Ellon with his family and worked as a market gardener.

LEWIS COUTTS’S DISPUTE WITH ABERDEEN UNIVERSITY


After leaving the army at the end of the war, Lewis enrolled at Aberdeen University. He was an able student and participated fully in the student life and in local and national politics. He was an activist with the emerging Labour party and active in the national strike. However, it was as a result of the fact that the University refused him the right to answer his exam papers in Doric that brought Lewis into conflict with the University authorities. The records show that he brought his grievance before the University authorities but actually lost his case. Recently a student pursued the same route of insisting in writing his thesis in Scots. After a considerable struggle he won the case.

LEAFLET

A short leaflet outlining Lewis’s life and work can be purchased at Ellon Library or at Better Read Books on Ythan Terrace. The leaflet which has been compiled by Alan Cameron costs £2.50. It tells how Lewis’s early life and wartime experience affected his outlook on life and his poetry. The leaflet also gives details of where more information about Lewis can be found and where you can read all of his published poetry.