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Robert Burns

Ellisland Farm, near Dumfries, the rear of the farm, 1870

19th Century

A monochrome photographic print of the farmhouse where Robert Burns and his family lived.


Robert Burns took on the lease of Ellisland Farm from Patrick Miller of Dalswinton from Whitsunday 1788 for a rent of £50 per year. It was a small unimproved holding of 170 acres situated on the west bank of the River Nith about 5 miles north of the town of Dumfries. Miller gave Burns £300 with which to build a farm house and enclose the fields.


In January 1790 Burns wrote to his brother Gilbert, "it is a ruinous affair ... let it go to hell". By this time his career in the Excise was becoming established, and he finally quit the farm at the end of 1791, selling off  his farming stock by public roup, or auction.


The five-bedroomed farmhouse which was built to Burns' instructions was designed by Thomas Boyd, a Dumfries architect. It is still  as it was in Burns' time, although the steadings have been much remodelled. In 1929 the farm was presented to the nation by John Wilson Williamson. It is now a museum.

width: 207 mm, length: 155 mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Photograph, PEOPLE, Robert Burns / 4
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
Dumfries & Galloway Council