|Forum Home > WHO WAS THIS LEGEND - ROBERT BURNS > He was much more than a great poet.|
His father William, was an extremely poor man and in 1750 had moved to the area in search of work, which he found at Doonholm market garden. (pronounced Doon-Home)
William Burnes, (note the original spelling, pronounced Burn-iss & later changed by Robert Burns himself) was then granted a tenancy or lease over a small area of farmland which he worked whilst continuing in his position as Head Gardener at Doonholm. He met and married Agnes Broun, (pronounced Broon, the old Scots for Brown) a local girl, and built a small cottage at the farm.
(The cottage, now renamed "Burns Cottage", still stands to this day and is a key focal point for Burnsians, tourists & visitors from all over the world)
Robert Burns (often now referred to as "Rabbie") was born in this sparse little cottage, the eldest son of a poor peasant farmer. Life was extremely harsh and the farm was not succeeding. Even as a small child he was to work long hours with his father, and many evenings were spent huddled round the fire listening to his mother's stories and his father reading from the bible.
The little cottage was twice extended to accommodate a growing family, (eventually 4 boys & 3 girls) but in 1765 William Burnes was granted a lease over the nearby farm at Mount Oliphant. Later, in 1777, the family finally moved a few miles to Lochlie farm (pronounced Lochlee) near Tarbolton.
William Burnes recognised the importance of Education and together with other friends, contracted the services of a local teacher, John Murdoch. At an early age, it was apparent to Murdoch that the young Robert showed the potential of a gifted scholar, ………but to what extent?
For Robert, the combination of poverty, hard work on the farm, story telling, the influence of the Kirk (or Church), his studies, and a tremendous ability to observe life in general, was the making of The Man. He would develop a wicked sense of humour, a controversial frankness decrying hypocrisy, a tender & thoughtful creativity, an alleged thirst for drink, a deep Nationalist pride in his beloved Scotland, and an insatiable passion for Women.
Burns died on 21st July, 1796 aged 37 at Dumfries in the South of Scotland. During his short life he would aspire to great things. After his death, he would become legendary, or as some would say, immortal. His immortality runs deep in the veins of all Scots, perhaps unknowingly, and he has evolved from mere man to being symbolic of all things Scottish. He is now one of the great cornerstones of modern Scottish History and the significance of his memory is celebrated throughout the world.