City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Funding made available to Restore Poets Grave

By Editor - Posted on 05 September 2009


The grave of one of Scotland's most inspirational poets is to be restored thanks to a 2,500 pounds grant from the Scottish Government.

The restoration work will be carried out on the grave of Robert Fergusson, the poet whose work most inspired Robert Burns and who was born on this day, 5 September 1750.

Jim Mather, Minister for Tourism, said the restoration work would rightly commemorate the man who inspired Scotland's national poet.

Mr Mather said:

"In this year of Homecoming, a year inspired by the 250th anniversary of Burns' birth on our culture, it is only fitting that we recognise the influence of Fergusson. Robert Burns acknowledged his debt to Fergusson by providing the gravestone which is still in place today. We are doing likewise by providing this funding to maintain it in good condition and in the hope future generations will continue to mark this influential poet's contribution to Scotland."

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture Convenor for the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

"We are hugely grateful to the Scottish Government for their support which will help to restore the grave of Robert Fergusson, one of our country's greatest poets. It is especially fitting given that the Council and Edinburgh World Heritage have just finished restoring the impressive Burns Monument on Regent Road to its former glory. Burns greatly admired Fergusson and acknowledged him as a source of inspiration for his work."

In a statement welcoming the news, Professor David Purdie, MD Secretary of the Edinburgh Burns Club, and John Macfie, chairman of the Robert Louis Stevenson Club, said:

"We are delighted to be partnering the Scottish Government in the restoration of the great stone - which is now 218 years old - to commemorate, in Burns's 250th anniversary year, the life of Robert Fergusson, the man who was his "elder brother in the Muse" - and his undying inspiration."

Fergusson was much admired amongst his contemporary 18th century writers but died tragically young at 24. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Canongate Kirkyard in Edinburgh and, on discovering this, Robert Burns commissioned and paid for a gravestone so there would be a permanent place to remember him. Later, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote from Samoa enquiring about the condition of the grave. Had it needed repaired, he said he would bear the cost, "as the gift of one Edinburgh lad to another".

In recent years, some of the grave's stonework, and its surrounding area, has fallen into disrepair and the money will be used to restore it.

St Andrew's House, Regent Road, Edinburgh EH1 3DG