John Barbour, a Scottish poet and historian, born in Aberdeen about 1320, died about 1396. Little is known of his early life. He was appointed archdeacon of Aberdeen by David II. in 1356. He made two visits to Oxford by royal permission for the purpose of studying, and in 1368 obtained a passport to France for a similar object. At one time he was one of the auditors of the exchequer for King Robert II. The work which has made his name famous is his poem of "The Bruce," a history of the life and deeds of Robert Bruce. He is known to have also written a metrical romance, now lost, called "The Brute," on the mythical Brutus the Trojan. Barbour received two pensions, one charged on the customs of Aberdeen for life, and another in perpetuity from the borough rents, recorded as a reward for the production of "The Brute." At his death he assigned the latter to the chapter of the cathedral church of Aberdeen, to pay for an annual mass for his soul. The first known printed edition of " The Bruce" is that of 1616 (Edinburgh), but there is believed to have been an earlier one.
The best of the later editions is that of Dr. Jamieson (4to, Edinburgh, 1820).