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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Burns, Colonel William Nicol (1791 — 1872)

Second surviving son of the poet, named after William Nicol, the schoolmaster of the Edinburgh High School. He was educated at Dumfries Grammar School, and in London. He married Catherine, daughter of R Crone, Esq of Dublin. They had no family. Having sailed to India as a young man, he ultimately became a Lieut-Colonel in the East India Company's service. He was made a Colonel at home in 1855. When he retired he returned to England to Cheltenham where he stayed with his younger brother. He is buried in the Mausoleum.

Writing to George Thomson in a letter dated by Ferguson May 1795, Burns explained why he had called his third son after the schoolmaster. It was because: 'of that propensity to witty wickedness and manfu' mischief, which even at twa days auld I foresaw would form the striking feature of his disposition.'

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Robert Burns Store

NEW!! robert burns store View our exclusive range of distinctive Robert Burns related products. Register with our Shopping Club for further offers and unique member offers.Click here...


Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

ScotwebThe finest Scottish shopping site in the world, with the world's largest choice of kilts and tartans, exclusive jewelry, Highland Dress, Bagpipes and piping supplies, cashmere, and much more. Buying from these sites helps pay for the upkeep of Burns Country! Click here...