A Kincardine kirkyard has staged a special commemoration of the area’s connection to Robert Burns as a new project gathers pace to celebrate the area’s important link to the Bard.
In the cold, crisp quietness of Glenbervie kirkyard, the world president of the Robert Burns Federation, Bobby Kane, led tributes to the poet’s ancestors, in particular William Burnes, the father of the Bard, who was born at Clochnahill in the parish of Dunnottar 295 years ago.
The deputy Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, Henry Irvine-Fortescue read the epitaph carved on the gravestone of Burns in Ayrshire during the ceremony, as a piper’s pibroch rang out in an Armistice Day tribute to the Burnes men of Glenbervie.
As a young man, William Burnes left Kincardineshire and made his way to Edinburgh, then on to Alloway, where he leased a few acres of land and built a house with his own hands.
After marrying Agnes Brown their son, Robert, was born on January 25 1759 and the Ayrshire property is now known across the globe as Burns’ cottage.
The World President also met pupils and staff of Glenbervie school and presented the primary with The Father of the Bard trophy, an engraved silver Quaich which will be awarded for the best recitation during the forthcoming Burns school event in January.
Pupils laid four roses at the grave, to the memory of Burns, his father and Mearns ancestors including Lawrence Burness, who produced the definitive genealogical charts of the descendants of the family of the Bard..
Glenbervie pupils, along with Inverbervie and Auchenblae primaries are currently working on a major Cutty Sark museum project, which includes researching and developing material to link the themes of Burns, Tam o’ Shanter, Cutty Sark designer Hercules Linton and William Burnes.
Acting head teacher, Jenny Glennie said: “It is a wonderful opportunity for the children of Glenbervie to realise the significant links that Robert Burns has within their local area and by taking part in the project the children have become more engaged in their learning and have been keen to trace the wider local connections with the Burns family.
“The children are looking forward to sharing their knowledge within the school and wider community.”
The project is being managed across the three schools by Mearns Heritage Services, and project director Dave Ramsay said: “Staff, pupils and myself were delighted to welcome the World President to Glenbervie to make this an occasion to celebrate the real Kincardineshire connections with Robert Burns, and the date was chosen specifically to commemorate the birth of William Burnes on November 11 1721.
“The date is also significant for Robert Burns, as November 11 1780 was the inaugural meeting of the Tarbolton Bachelor’s Club which he founded as “a forum for lively debate”
“This is the second occasion I have worked with Glenbervie school, the first being the filming of the Father of the Bard documentary in the 2009 Year of Homecoming.
“The enthusiasm which staff and pupils have brought to this project is quite remarkable,” added Mr Ramsay.
An evening dinner involving the presidents of Burns clubs across the area and into Angus was also organised to discuss how to promote a Burns Heritage Trail as a tourist attraction throughout the Mearns.