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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Murray, John, fourth Duke of Athole (1755-1830)

Succeeded his father in the dukedom in 1774. Burns visited the family seat at Blair when he was on his Highland tour. The Duke was absent at the time, but, according to Josiah Walker, the Duchess invited Burns to dinner and to stay at Blair, which he did. The Athole family urged Burns to stay longer, but Nicol, his travelling companion, was anxious to press on. On the Duke's return, he advised the poet to visit the Falls of Bruar. This resulted in the poem 'The Humble Petition of Bruar Water'. Burns met Graham of Fintry at Blair. Had the poet been able to stay a little longer, he would also have met Henry Dundas, 'the uncrowned King of Scotland', a meeting which might have considerably altered Burns's prospects.

The Duke's first wife, whom Burns met, was Jane, daughter of Charles, ninth Lord Cathcart. Burns also met her two sisters at Athole House - Mrs Graham and Miss Cathcart. He described the three of them in a letter to Josiah Walker, from Inverness, 5th September 1787, as: 'the amiable, truly noble Duchess... the beautiful Mrs Graham; the lovely, sweet Miss Cathcart'.

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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

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