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 Tarbolton. 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
In about 1786, Robert fell in love
Mary who worked at Coilsfield
Castle & Estate, situated on the
outskirts of Tarbolton. Burns referred
to Coilsfield Castle as Montgomery
Castle, the name of the owners.
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 1788.
Coilsfield Castle was replaced by
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 name Middlemuir Heights.
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 child.
Burns Night is an annual celebration
held throughout Scotland on the 25th
January, the anniversary of his
Many Robert Burns descendants can be
seen on photograph at: sites.scran.ac.uk/robertburns/descendants/
or in the Burns Museum in Alloway.