A Brief Tour of Dumfries


Robert Burns final days were spent in the town of Dumfries. After his work had brought him fame, Robert Burns had moved to Edinburgh where he socialized with the literati. He moved back to Ayrshire in 1788.


While he initially leased a farm near Dumfries, he also trained to be an exciseman. The following year he was appointed to Duties and Excise and by 1791 he gave up farming entirely. He frequented the Globe Inn, which he announced to be his favourite "howff" (Inn).


Globe Inn

Burns wrote his great poem "Tam O'Shanter" during his stay in Dumfries and composed over 100 songs. He also collected existing Scottish music.


The Globe Inn was founded in 1610 and still operates today as a tavern on High Street.


The first Burns supper was held here in 1819 and the Burns Howff Club has met on the site for 120 years.

Burns' chair

Burns was reported to have suffered the effects of rheumatic fever. He became ill after a dental extraction in the winter of 1795 and his health declined further. He died, age 37, on July 21, 1796.


He was initially buried in a corner of St. Michael's Churchyard. On a visit to pay respects a few years later, William Wordsworth could barely find the grave. In 1815 a mausoleum was constructed and Burns' remains were moved there.


The town of Dumfries committed to creating a statue of Burns in 1877. They hired Amelia Paton Hill for the work. The piece was carved in Italy based on Hill's model.


The statue was unveiled in 1882 in Church Place, at the junction of High Street, Castle Street and Buccleuch Street. It has been moved on a few occasions because of roadwork but has been relocated each time.

Burns statue
A statue to Jean Armour was erected in 2004 by the Burns Howff Club. It was placed near St. Michael's Church and one of the houses the family occupied in Dumfries. That building, the second home the family had in the town, is currently a museum. Armour









HBC member Richard McNair and his wife Alison visited Dumfries in 2006.


Alison is a native of the town in southwestern Scotland.


During their visit, the McNairs were gven a tour of the Globe Inn by Maureen McKerrow, the owner at the time. It included the upstairs units where Burns had worked.


All photos by Richard and Alison McNair.