Burns experts hail discovery of poet's letter in Borders castle

An unpublished letter by Scotland's national poet Robert Burns has been found at a castle.

The 222-year-old letter, which has been hailed as a "remarkable literary discovery" by Burns experts, was unearthed in Floors Castle in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders.

Dated May 13 1789, it is addressed to James Gregory, the then-professor of medicine at Edinburgh University and head of the city's medical school.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Burns sent the letter from Ellisland, his farm in Lower Nithsdale, north of Dumfries, enclosing an early version of his poem On Seeing a Wounded Hare.

He thanks Gregory for his support and invites his comments and criticism of the poem, asking him to "mark the faulty lines with your pencil".

The letter was found in an autograph book belonging to the 6th Duke of Roxburghe, and was initially spotted by a member of staff at the castle.

The letter will go on display at the castle when it opens to the public later this year.