John Wilson, who was born in Paisley, was one of the greatest eccentrics to live in Cumbria. At seventeen he wrote to William Wordsworth, admiring his poetry, and this was thought to have influenced his move to the Lakes in 1807 to a cottage in Windermere by Horse Close Wood. He was the editor of Blackwood’s Magazine, critic, novelist of Scottish life, an essayist, humorist, sportsman, one of the minor Lake Poets and Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University.
He was, however, nationally well known under the pen name of Christopher North – he used this when writing articles for Blackwood’s Magazine. He rapidly became part of the local literary set and was popular with William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas De Quincey and Harriet Martineau.