When The Bard Visited Dunfermline

When The Bard Visited Dunfermline

A royal burgh in Fife, 16 miles northwest of Edinburgh, and once a Royal seat. In its Abbey, founded in 1072 by Queen Margaret, wife of King Malcolm Ceannmor, Robert the Bruce lies buried. It was at Dunfermline in 1581 that James VI signed the first National Convenant, and where, in 1650, Charles II signed the Dunfermline Declaration, reaffirming his oath to adhere to the Covenant. The town was the birth-place of the American railroad millionaire, Andrew Carnegie. It possesses the Murison Collection of Burns’s books and manuscripts, presented to the Carnegie library by Sir Alexander Gibb. Its main industry today is the making of damask linen.

Burns visited Dunfermline with Dr Adair during his tour of Clackmannanshire in October 1787, adair recorded: ‘At Dunfermline we visited the Abbey Church now consecrated to Presbyterian Worship. Here I mounted the cutty stool, or stool of repentance, while Burns addressed to me a ludicrous reproof and exhortation, parodied from one that had been delivered at one time in Ayrshire. In the church, 2 broad flagstones marked the grave of Robert Bruce, for whose memory Burns had more than common veneration. He knelt and kissed the stone with sacred fervour, and heartily execrated the worse than Gothic neglect of the first of Scottish heroes.’