Robert Burns Commemorative Service Held at Brow Well

Robert Burns enthusiasts from all over Scotland gathered at Ruthwell, Dumfries and Galloway on 18th July to commemorate the visit of the poet to the nearby Brow Well in July 1796.  Burns was in the last stages of emaciation and debility caused by bacterial endocarditis. Curable now with penicillin, it was untreatable in Burns’ days but his physician, Dr. William Maxwell, recommended drinking the spa water from the chalybeate well, rich in iron salts, and to wade in the Solway, daily, up to the armpits.


The ceremony, organised by Dumfries & Galloway Burns Association, was held in Ruthwell Church where President Russell Williamson welcomed the company and invited the Locum Minister of Cummertrees, Mouswald and Ruthwell Congregation, the Rev. Gerald Moule, to lead the devotions.  Ian McIntyre, President of the Robert Burns World Federation delivered an oration touching on the poet’s last days and the visit to the well. He concluded with a poem published a century ago in the Gallovidian magazine by “Heston”, the last verse reading, “Back to Dumfries! Whaur Bonnie Jean awaits my coming sair; And let me lie whaur Nith lilts by, Sae sweetly, evermair.”  A lament on the pipes was played by Gregor Grierson, Junior Burnsian of the Year, 2018- 2019. before the company made its way to the Well where a commemorative wreath was laid by Mr. McIntyre.


Later, a social evening was held at the Cairndale Hotel, Dumfries when the entertainment was MC’d by Association junior vice president Colin Gibson with a Vote of Thanks at the conclusion proposed by senior vice president Fiona Evans.