Stott, Thomas (1755–1829), linen-bleacher and poet, was born 21 April 1755 at Hillsborough, Co. Down, son of William Stott, a prosperous quaker linen merchant, and Sarah Stott (née Thompson). In 1777 Thomas Stott ceased to have a connection with the Society of Friends as a result of his marriage with Mary Ann Gardner (related to Alan, Lord Gardner (1742–1809)) in Dromore Church of Ireland cathedral, where he afterwards worshipped. In 1778 he opened a grocery shop in Waringstown, Co. Down, and by at latest 1783 he was engaged in linen bleaching there. He moved soon afterwards to premises near Dromore; in 1789 he allowed the Dromore Volunteers to use his grounds. Stott found time to write poetry, claiming that ‘literary recreation is not altogether incompatible with the pursuits of commerce’, and he published in the Northern Star, the Belfast News Letter, the London Morning Post, and Walker's Hibernian Magazine, in 1779–80 and in 1801, sometimes over the pen-names ‘Hafiz’ and ‘Banks of Banna’ (he is said to have been interested in fishing along the River Bann, and certainly had a knowledge of wildlife and gardening). He apparently at first supported the radical views of the United Irishmen; however, middle age and the friendship of such establishment figures as Bishop Thomas Percy (qv) caused him to abandon his earlier political standpoint.
Stott retained an interest in Irish antiquity, shared with his friends Percy and William Neilson (qv); in 1825 his only volume of poems (The songs of Deardra) included a number of pieces that he had versified from translations, provided by Neilson, of Irish poems about the mythological Deirdre. In 1818 Lord Byron immortalised the Co. Down linen-bleacher by including Stott in his verse diatribe against poetasters and reviewers, ‘English bards and Scotch reviewers’. Stott seems to have philosophically accepted Byron's jibes at ‘grovelling Stott’ and ‘silly Hafiz’, and Byron wrote a letter of apology when he realised that Stott did not write for money. In an 1824 poem Stott lamented Byron's death in the struggle for Greek independence. Stott was popular locally, and supported a Sunday School in Dromore; he erected a monument to Thomas Percy, and helped Thomas Romney Robinson (qv) and also some of the local weaver poets. His own poems include a few in Ulster-Scots, and an ironic ‘Humble appeal of Dromore pigs’ for greater liberty. Stott died 22 April 1829 in Dromore, and is buried in Dromore cathedral. He had nine daughters and two sons, one of whom (a doctor who married a sister of Sir Richard Griffith (qv)), died in 1819; in 1933 Stott's great-grandson still bore the name Percy as a middle name. In 1921 there was a group portrait at Castleward, Co. Down, showing the coterie round Percy, and including Stott and Henry Boyd (qv). Stott also had a portrait painted by Thomas Robinson (qv).