Robert Burns, the ploughman poet and Scotland’s national bard, had strong connections to Montrose and Angus. His first cousin, James Burness, lived and worked in Montrose, where he made a living as a solicitor.
Nine years Robert’s senior, James helped out his cousin financially, chiefly in the promotion of the First Edinburgh Edition of his work, and the two men corresponded over many years.
The cousins’ mutual grandfather, Robert Burness, worked in the gardens of Dunnottar Castle and Burns’ father, William, and uncle Robert were brought up in the Mearns area, before William sought his fortune further south, eventually settling in Ayrshire.
The poet himself changed his name from the family spelling Burness to Burns in 1786, when he was 27 years old. The following year, accompanied by friend William Nicol, Burns visited the ancestral lands of his family and described the Mearns of Kincardineshire area as: “A rich and cultivated but still unenclosed country.”
Famously, Rabbie stopped to water his horse in Hillside and there is a sculpted plaque on Rosemount Road to commemorate this. The plaque was created by Adam Christie, who was for 50 years a patient at Sunnyside, and placed in position in 1930.
With all this in mind, and many Burns Nights taking place in the area, we thought we’d ask Review readers which of Burns’ works they consider to be the best. We will print the popular favourite in its entirety. Here are a few suggestions: Holy Willie’s Prayer; Scots Wha’ Hae; To a Mouse; Tam O’Shanter; The Twa Dugs; To a Louse; Auld Lang Syne; A Man’s a Man for A’ That; Ae Fond Kiss; My Luve’s Like a Red, Red, Rose; Green Grow the Rashes.
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