Born in Duns in 1751, Abraham Robertson, was a most remarkable man, in that his talents came to light in a very unusual way.
One day, while working as a domestic servant in the household of a learned gentleman, he was taken to task by his master for not serving at table properly. He explained, as apology, that he had been listening to the discussion between his master and his guest about the solution of a mathematical problem. Both, he deigned to suggest, were in error, and he proceeded to offer the correct solution.
This episode led to his master arranging a 'poor student's' place for him at Oxford, and, as they say, the rest is history.
He graduated MA from Christ Church, Oxford in 1782 and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1795.
In 1797 he was appointed to the Savilian Chair of Geometry at Oxford, and in 1810 appointed to the Savilian Chair of Astronomy and the post of Radcliffe Observer, which he held until his death in 1826.