Robert Burns Edinburgh

Robert Burns Edinburgh began in 1786 with an invitation fro Dr T Blacklock. The connections he had mad through the Freemasons and the success of the Kilmarnock edition of poems gave him instant popularity. On the publication of his Edinburgh book of poems he became a person to be seen with. There are many connections to Edinburgh with Robert Burns below are the majority of things to see.

Robert Burns Edinburgh| First Edinburgh Lodging

On arrival in Edinburgh the actual close Robert Burns Lived in was called Baxter’s Close, but has not survived. This was where Dr Thomas Blacklock (The Blind Poet) brought Burns from Ayrshire.  The first edition of his poems being reviewed by Henry Mackenzie. Blacklock and Mackenzie were taken by his poems, the invitation was sent for him to come to Edinburgh. Robert Burns came to Edinburgh and was introduced to the wealthy and prominent merchants of Edinburgh which began his success as a poet.

   Robert Burns Edinburgh first place to stay in Edinburgh   Robert Burns Edinburgh first place to stay in Edinburgh

Robert Burns Edinburgh | Henry MacKenzie

Henry MacKenzie was a literary giant in Edinburgh and being an author and in the circle of people like Hume, Scott, Blacklock and Adam he was educated in Edinburgh briefly went to London and returned to become a lawyer. Best known as a writer and editor. His office was in Anchor Close where Robert Burns would frequent and no doubt call in Dawney Douglas’s Tavern in the close for food and drink. Editor of Robert Burns first Edinburgh Poems.

Henry McKenzie Author, Editor and Lawyer 

Robert Burns Edinburgh | Writers’ Museum

The Writers’ Museum is situated in Lady Stair’s House in Lady Stair’s Close Lawnmarket Royal Mile Edinburgh. Where you can see Burns’ writing desk, plaster cast of Robert Burns’ skull, A Manuscript of Robert Burns’ draft of “Scots Wha Hae” (Robert the Bruce’s Address to his troops at Bannockburn). Also the chair Robert Burns would use when checking over his work in the office of William Smellie. The number one editor of the time, before being printed in William Creech printing office in the High street Edinburgh. William Creech published Robert Burns first Edinburgh edition of poems. Robert Burns being introduced by fellow Freemasons and members of the Scottish Enlightenment.

  Robert Burns Edinburgh Writers' Museum

Robert Burns Edinburgh | Makars’ Court

The Makars are the award winning writers and Poets of Scotland. Each award winner has a paving slab inscribed with their name and a short paragraph of their work.Robert Burns Slab inscription reads;  Robert Burns 1759 – 1796  | Man to Man the world o’er shall brithers be for a’ that.

 Robert Burns Edinburgh Makars' Court Robert Burns 1759 – 1796 Poet Born in Alloway Inscription on slab Man to Man the world o’er shall brithers be for a’ that    Robert Burns Edinburgh Makars' Court Inscription on slab Robert Burns 1759 – 1796 Man to Man the world o’er shall brithers be for a’ that   

Robert Burns Edinburgh | Freemasons

Young Robert Burns was initiated an apprentice in Lodge St. David, Tarbolton on 4 July 1781. He became a master mason on 1st October 1781 of the same lodge. He was made an honorary member of Lodge Kilmarnock Kilwinning St. John October 1786. Inaugurated Poet Laureate Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, 1 March 1787. Robert Burns was exalted a companion in the Holy Royal Arch Degree in May 1787 and Knights Templar at St. Ebbe’s Lodge, Eyemouth.  On the 24th June 1788 he joined Lodge St. Andrew, In Dumfries. In 1792, he was elected Senior Warden his last position.

  Robert Burns Edinburgh Saint John's Lodge St John's Land Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh  Robert Burns Edinburgh Saint John's Lodge St John's Land Canongate Royal Mile Edinburgh  Robert Burns Edinburgh Lodge Canongate Kilwinning

 Robert Burns Edinburgh | Sir Walter Scott 

The one and only time Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott met was in the house of Professor Adam Ferguson in Sciennes House Place, also present were Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart and Joseph Black. This was a meeting place of the hierarchy of Edinburgh society. Inscription reads, ”This tablet commemorates | The meeting | of Robert Burns and | Sir Walter Scott | which took place here | In the winter of 1786”.

  Robert Burns Edinburgh plaque first and only meeting with Sir Walter Scott

 Robert Burns Edinburgh| Poetry Library

The Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh can be found in Crichton’s Close in the Canongate Royal Mile on the south side of the street. In the poetry library can be found many poems of Robert Burns. Some of the Titles are below

Poems by Robert Burns

“A Poet’s Welcome to his Love-Begotten Daughter” “Here’s a health to them that’s awa” “Address to a Haggis” “O, Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast” “The Cotter’s Saturday Night” “Epistle to Davie, a Brother Poet” “Epitaph on my own Friend” “Afton Water”  “The Silver Tassie”  “A Man’s a Man for a’ That”  “Address of Beelzebub” “Up in the Morning Early” “To a Louse, On Seeing one on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church” “Tam o’ Shanter”  “Scots Wha Hae,”  “Poor Mailie’s Elegy” “Mary Morison” “John Anderson my Jo” “Holy Willie’s Prayer” “Epistle to a Young Friend. May, 1786” “Address to the Deil” “A Red, Red Rose” “To a Mouse” “A Sonnet upon Sonnets”. and other interesting facts about the man and his work. 


Robert Burns Edinburgh |Burns Monument

The Burns Monument can be found in Regent Road Edinburgh across from the Old Royal High School and Calton Hill. The Burn’s Monument was built in 1831 and erected in 1839 to house a marble statue of Robert Burns. Also to hold artifacts of his life. The statue is now in the National Portrait Gallery in Queen Street. and artifacts are in the Writers’ Museum Royal Mile.

   Robert Burns Edinburgh Burns Monument  Robert

Robert Burns Stone



Robert Burns Edinburgh | Grassmarket

The White Hart Inn Edinburgh was established in 1516, The White Hart Inn is one of the oldest and most historic pubs in Edinburgh. Past visitors have included the poets Robert Burns and William Wordsworth. Inscription on plaque reads; In the White Hart Inn Robert Burns stayed during his last visit to Edinburgh in 1791.

  Robert Burns Edinburgh Whitehart Inn Robert Burns Plaque  Robert Burns Edinburgh Whitehart where Robert Burns once lived

 Robert Burns Edinburgh | Robert Fergusson

Robert Fergusson was the inspiration to Robert Burns to make him the poet he turned out to be. Sadly Robert Fergusson died at the age of 24 in 1774. To show how much respect Robert Burns had for his inspiration. He had for his fellow artist, he paid for his headstone and wrote the inscription that can be seen on the headstone. 

 Robert Burns Edinburgh Robert Fergusson Canongate Edinburgh   Robert Burns Edinburgh Robert Fergusson's Grave Stone erected and inscribed by Robert Burns

The inscription reads; 

No sculptur’d marble here, nor pompus lay

No story’d urn nor animated bust;

This simple stone directs pale Scotia’s way

To pour her sorrows o’er her poet’s dust.

 Robert Burns Edinburgh | Clarinda

Clarinda (Agnes “Nancy” McLehose) Jamaica or Poetry. The question that was given to Robert Burns after buying a ticket on a boat to Jamaica to follow his true love. He stayed and became a poet.

  Robert Burns Clarinda plaque Marshall Street Edinburgh   Robert Burns Clarinda's Grave Canongate Kirk

Robert Burns Edinburgh | Agnes McLehose

Agnes McLehose (CRAIG) (1759-1841) was known as Nancy. Nancy first came to Edinburgh to live in Potterrow near the corner with Marshall Street after her husband left her to make his fortune in Jamaica. Robert Burns first meet with Nancy on the 4th December 1787 at afternoon tea and the assignation started. Mishap and misfortune stopped them from meeting for some time but they wrote to each other regularly. The love affair was to last until their death but their last meeting was in December of 1791 when Nancy left for Jamaica to be with her now wealthy husband. Read the famous letters written with code names Nancy being (Clarinda), Rabbie being (Sylvander) and not to forget the love song to Nancy `Ae Fond Kiss’.

Robert Burns Edinburgh | Burns Statue Leith

Robert Burns statue in Leith was erected on the 15 October 1898. The statue stands on a sandstone pedestal which is placed on a granite base at the junction of Constitution Street and Bernard Street Leith.  On each side of the pedestal is a bronze panel depicting one of Burns’ poems. Front is “The Cottar’s Saturday Night” (placed on the pedestal in 1898), on the back is “Death and Dr Hornbrook” (placed on the pedestal in 1898), and the right side is “The Smiddy” (placed on the pedestal in 1901). Left side is “Hallow’een” (placed on the pedestal in 1901).

 Robert Burns Edinburgh Statue Leith

          Inscriptions: On Front of Sandstone Pedestal. Below the four bronze plaques and inscriptions    

Burns 1759 – 1796

Robert Burns Statue Leith Plaque

“The priest-like father reads the sacred page –

from scenes like these old Scotia’s grandeur springs,

that makes her loved at home, revered abroad:”

“When Vulcan gies his bellows breath

an plowmen gather wi’ their graith”


“In order, on the clean hearth-stane

the luggies three are ranged:”


Presented by William Tulloch


“I there wi something did forgather,

that pat me in an eerie swither:”

Presented by Robert Meikle




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