Memorial marks national poet’s connection with Angus

Poet Robert Burns. PIC: (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)Poet Robert Burns. PIC: (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Poet Robert Burns. PIC: (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) | Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Montrose’s strong connection with Scotland’s national poet has been marked with two new permanent features in the area.

A memorial to Robert Burns was officially unveiled at Hillside on Friday, marking where The Bard and his friend Willie Nicol stopped in 1787, to water their horses on the drove road at Rosemount.

The poet had been visiting the ancestral home of his father and family at Clochnahill in the Mearns.

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More than 50 people attended the ceremony, including Lord-Lieutenant Patricia Sawers and Provost Brian Boyd, which saw the ribbon cut by Neil McNair, president of Robert Burns World Federation

Designed by David Paton of Crawford Architecture in Montrose, the monument is shaped like a horseshoe and was built by Arbroath stonemason Brian Doig Arbroath from stone from the former Sunnyside Hospital building.

The project was co-ordinated by the Montrose Burns Club, who incorporated into the new design the Burns plaque which which was previously set into the hospital’s wall.

Montrose Museum, meanwhile, has unveiled a new permanent display on Robert Burns and his legacy in Angus, which can be viewed by the public from Friday (March 29).

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The Burnes family was well-known in the town and included lawyers, teachers, and a provost. Their house can still be seen in Bow Butts.

Despite living in Ayrshire and Dumfries, Burns corresponded regularly with his cousin James Burnes until his death in 1796.

Objects which have been incorporated into the display include a new sculpture of Burns. Created by local artist Brian Wyllie, this stone sculpture was auctioned in February to support the new memorial cairn.

Dave Ramsay from Montrose Burns Club said: “The sculpture was put up for auction, with the goodwill of Taylor’s Auction Rooms, Montrose, and supported by the Robert Burns World Federation.

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"The sculpture was secured locally in Montrose, and donated to Montrose Burns Club and now on display at Montrose Museum. A perfect ending.”

Also on display from the collection is a wooden piece said to have formed part of Burns’s cutty stool, an Imperial Measure Tankard he drank from at the Turks Head Inn when he visited Montrose, and even his autograph!

Emma Gilliland, AngusAlive’s museums & galleries collections lead, said, ‘We are delighted to have this new display for visitors and to care for Brian Wyllie’s fantastic new sculpture. Burns had family connections in Montrose and it has been fascinating to research these and bring out some unusual objects that aren’t normally on display.’

Museums in Angus will move to their summer opening hours from Monday, April 1 – 10.30am – 4pm, Wednesday to Monday.