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Robert Burns

Postcard of a photograph of Brow Well, Dumfriesshire

20th Century

"Brow Well, Dumfriesshire".  A monochrome photographic postcard of the well near the village of Ruthwell.


Brow Well is a spring containing the mineral chalybeate which was believed to have healing properties. Townspeople of Dumfries would go there to drink the water and for sea bathing in the Solway, which was also believed to improve the health.


In the last year of his life, as his health continued to deteriorate, Robert Burns was advised to take this cure by his doctor, William Maxwell. Burns drank the foul tasting water from the iron cup attached by a chain to the well and waded chest deep into the cold tidal waters.


He died on 21 July 1796 within days of this experience. The pathos of Burns' last days spent in hope of a recovery that was not to be lend this rather bleak place a special atmosphere. Burns admirers have visited here to honour his memory and a church service is held at the well on the anniversary of his death each year.

width: 138 mm, length: 88 mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Postcard, BUR / 174
Digital Number:
Creation Date:
c 1930
Dumfries & Galloway Council