Robert Burns

“There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing”

Interesting facts

1. While working the plough on his family farm Robert accidently turned over a mouse’s nest, which inspired him to write the deep and empathetic poem To a Mouse, 1785. The poem speaks directly to the mouse but the gravity of its empathy of the mouse’s plight, suggests a more philosophical undertone, about the struggles and hierarchy of mankind.

2. Robert was inspired by a poorly educated engraver and music seller named James Johnson, who had set himself the largely unprofitable task of putting music to Scottish songs and poems to publish a complete work of Scottish poetry – ‘Scots Musical Museum’. Robert became James’s editor, publishing hundreds of his own poems and songs using this method including Auld Lang Syne, 1788, to the tune of a traditional folk song. This can often be heard at New Year gatherings in Scotland and throughout the world.

3. Although his works were popular, the money earned from Robert’s published poetry did not go far enough, so in 1789 he took a job as an Excise Officer (Customs Officer).

4. Jean Armour fathered 9 of Robert’s children between 1776 and 1796, however he continued to enjoy relationships with other women and bore 3 illegitimate children. By 2012 it was documented that he had over 600 living descendants from his 12 children.

5. Robert’s life and poetry is celebrated annually with Burn’s Suppers on or near his day of birth – known as Burn’s Night. 

Connections to Places

Dalhousie Castle

Dalhousie Castle - Home of Mary Queen of Scots transformed into a majestic spa hotel. Edinburgh, Scotland.

Home of Mary Queen of Scots transformed into a majestic spa hotel. Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Nanteos Mansion

Nanteos Mansion - Exceptionally restored Georgian mansion in one of Britain' most romantic areas. Aberystwyth, Wales.

Exceptionally restored Georgian mansion in one of Britain' most romantic areas. Aberystwyth, Wales.

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Abbotsford - Hope Scott Wing

Abbotsford - Hope Scott Wing - Melrose, Scottish Borders. Sir Walter Scott’s private home is now available for private use of groups of 14.

Melrose, Scottish Borders. Sir Walter Scott’s private home is now available for private use of groups of 14.

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Aikwood Tower

Aikwood Tower - Selkirk, Scottish Borders. Aikwood - an impressive 16th century borders tower lovingly restored to its former majesty.

Selkirk, Scottish Borders. Aikwood - an impressive 16th century borders tower lovingly restored to its former majesty.

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Glenapp Castle

Glenapp Castle - Ayrshire, Scotland. A truly spectacular Michelin starred Scottish Baronial castle with service that is second to none.

Ayrshire, Scotland. A truly spectacular Michelin starred Scottish Baronial castle with service that is second to none.

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Peckforton Castle

Peckforton Castle - Cheshire, England. The last fortified castle built in England and now a magnificently restored castle hotel

Cheshire, England. The last fortified castle built in England and now a magnificently restored castle hotel

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Blairquhan Castle

Blairquhan Castle - Ayrshire, Scotland. Home to some of Scotland's most influential families and nestled in a wooded estate in 'Burns' country'

Ayrshire, Scotland. Home to some of Scotland's most influential families and nestled in a wooded estate in 'Burns' country'

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Connections to Events

Scottish Enlightenment

Scottish Enlightenment - The act of Union of 1707 that made England and Scotland part of a United Kingdom created a period of political stability

The act of Union of 1707 that made England and Scotland part of a United Kingdom created a period of political stability

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