Robert Burns has remained a favourite of the
Scottish people, as his life saw him stay in many
parts of the country. This means there are buildings
and monuments throughout Scotland that have been
preserved in his name and become part of
Scotland’s history. Also, he was the father of
12 children to 4 different women; this also adds
interest to his life.
The Burness family left the cottage in 1765 to
take up a 12-year lease of the nearby farm named
Mount Oliphant. From there, Robert attended a small
school in Alloway.
By 1777, the family had leased Lochlea farm in the
parish of Tarbolton, about 8 miles north of Alloway.
William Burness died at Lochlea in February 1784,
leaving Robert as head of the family.The Bachelors'
Club in the village of Tarbolton has been
preserved by the National Trust as it was where
Robert took dancing lessons and formed a debating
club in the upper room.
Robert and his brother Gilbert then rented
Mossgiel farm at Mauchline, about 4 miles north of
Tarbnolton. Robert met his future wife Jean Armour at
Mauchline in 1785. He wrote some of his finest works
at that time and began to earn a small income from
their sales. It is thought he changed his name to
Burns during that period.
In about 1786, Robert fell in love with Highland Mary who
worked at Coilsfield Castle & Estate, situated on
the outskirts of Tarbolton. Burns referred to
Coilsfield Castle as Montgomery Castle, the name of
Robert and Mary intended to emigrate to the West
Indies around that time. Mary died soon after from a
fever, this seeing Robert decide to remain in
Scotland. Robert returned to Jean
Armour with them getting married in Mauchline in
Coilsfield Castle was replaced by Coilsfield House in about 1804, that house
was destroyed by fire in 1969. The walled garden of
the estate now serves as a holiday park under the
In 1788, Robert Burns and Jean Armour moved to the
farm of Ellisland in the parish of Dumfries about 50 miles southeast of
Mauchline. By 1791, he had taken up residence in
Dumfries itself and lived there until his death on
the 21st July 1796, aged 37.
His death was atrributed to either Rheumatic Heart
Disease or alcoholism. He was buried in St
Michael’s Churchyard Dumfries on the day
his wife Jean was giving birth to their ninth
Burns Night is an annual celebration held
throughout Scotland on the 25th January, the
anniversary of his birth.
Many Robert Burns descendants can be seen on
photograph at: sites.scran.ac.uk/robertburns/descendants/
or in the Burns Museum in Alloway.