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Robert Burns

Aloa Church Airshire

18th Century
An image of the old church at Alloway, the village where Robert Burns was born.


Robert Burns was born at Alloway near Ayr on the 25th January 1759, the eldest of seven children of Agnes and William Burnes. His father was a market gardener, who having acquired a small holding of land, had built a cottage in the village.


Burns wrote the poem, "Tam O'Shanter" as a "witch story" to accompany this illustration of Alloway Kirk which was published by his friend, Captain Francis Grose in his "Antiquities of Scotland". Robert Burns and Francis Grose met and became friends whilst Grose was researching his book. They were both impressed by the atmosphere of the old church.


"This church is also famous for being the place wherein witches and warlocks used to hold their infernal meetings. Diverse stories of these horrid rites are still current; one of which my worthy friend Mr. Burns has here favoured me with in verse." This copper plate engraving of the old village church was printed by S Hooper of London and published in Captain Francis Grose's two volume, "Antiquities of Scotland" .

width: 174 mm, length: 124 mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
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Dumfries & Galloway Council