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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Burns Elizabeth (1784-1817)

'Dear-bought Bess', as Burns called his first illegitimate daughter, was born to the servant girl in the Burns household, Elizabeth Patton. Her birth was celebrated in 'A Poet's Welcome to his Love-Begotten Daughter' (or as the poet more pithily put it, 'his Bastart Wean'). The poet asked:
"Lord grant that thou may ay inherit
Thy mither's looks an' gracefu' merit;
An' thy poor, worthless daddy's spirit,
Without his failins,
'Twill please me mair to see thee heir it,
Than stocket mailens...'

'Dear-bought Bess' was baptised when two days old.

Burns meditated flight to Jamaica in July 1786, he made out a Deed of Assignment, binding Gilbert Burns to 'ailment, clothe and educate her.. as if she was his own... until she arrive at the age of fifteen years'. To enable his brother to honour this engagement, the poet left all his movable effects and the profits from 'the publication of my Poems presently in the Press'. When Elizabeth Paton reached the age of twenty-one, she received £200 from the fund which had been set up to support the poet's family.

She married John Bishop, factor to Baillie of Polkemmet, and had seven children. Some claim she died in childbirth. She is buried in Whitburn Churchyard.

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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
Search our huge CD and music store for any Burns-related phrase!
Hint: Type "lang syne" or "peck maut" etc. into the Search box there for all artists, titles, descriptions or track listings with the words entered.
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...