Distinguished Lecturer in Medical Science (1786-1833)

Whilst not as famous as other sons of Kirkbean, Dr Edward Milligan was, nevertheless, a striking example of what can be achieved in the face of adversity.

Edward Milligan was born in the parish in 1786 and spent most of his working life in the humble occupation of shoemaking before gaining distinction as a lecturer of medical science in Edinburgh. A largely self-taught linguist and mathematician, he earned sufficient funds to pay his way through college and after much patient toil teaching himself and others, he acquired not only great eminence among the learned, but also a considerable fortune.

More remarkably, however, much of this was achieved whilst he was completely blind. Such was his strength of mind, his cheerfulness continued unimpaired and he continued his course of lectures with great success until his last illness claimed his life in 1833, aged just 47.

A large monument with an urn to his memory was erected in Kirkbean church yard with the inscription:


born in this parish 1786 and died 1st December 1833.
A Man of general erudition embracing even the abstrusest studies.
Remarkable for application, memory & classical taste;
An able Mathematician & a renowned Teacher of the theory of Medicine;
The Architect of his own status in society
Who left behind him fortune as well as fame;
one who, in short, opened for himself a path to distinction
amidst obstacles as formidable as the compact granite of his native Criffel.
Filio. Suos in parentes valde pio, Erga omnes benevolo, sed amicia amicissimo Artis.
Medicae aliarum que pertissimo pater moerens hoc monumentum posuit.