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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Cleghorn, Robert (d 1798)

Born at Costorphine, near Edinburgh, Cleghorn came of an Episcopalian family, whose birth and death dates therefore do not appear in the register of the Parish Kirk.

He farmed at Saughton Mills, near Edinburgh, and was a keen supporter of the 'Crochallan Fencibles'. He married a widow named Allen. Their son, John, was a friend of Byron, and upset the puritanical streak in the make-up of the rakish 'Milord' by showing him Burns's letters to his grandfather.

When he was in Edinburgh, Burns was a frequent visitor to Suaghton Mills. Besides being a skilful farmer, Cleghorn had a good voice, and Burns sent him songs on several occasions, including his 'Chevalier's Lament' to the air 'Captain O'Kean'. In August 1795, Cleghorn and his brother-in-law and stepson visited Burns at Dumfries. After the poet's death, Cleghorn was a handsome contributor to the Subscription raised for his widow and family.

It is quite clear from the surviving letters between Burns and Cleghorn that the poet regarded him as the most appreciative recipient of his bawdy verse, some of it original, some of it traditional, passed down verbally from one male generation to another. These pieces eventually appeared in the collection known as The Merry Muses of Caledonia (see Merry Muses).

Writing to Cleghorn on 25th October 1793, Burns says: 'There is, there must be, some truth in original sin. My violent propensity to B---dy convinces me of it. Lack a day! If that species of Composition be the Sin against the Holy Ghaist, I am the most offending soul alive.'

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Robert Burns Store

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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...