Robert Burns

Prior to his death; Robert Burns had been misdiagnosed with gout, by his personal physician, Dr Maxwell.

On Dr Maxwell's recommendation Burns travelled to Brow Well, a mineral spring in the parish of Ruthwell, 10 miles from Dumfries where Burns lived at the time.

Burns was to taste the foul tasting spring water in the hope it would alleviate his symptoms. Part of the treatment involved wading neck deep into the cold waters of the Solway Firth.

Not the ideal therapy for a man actually suffering from a chronic heart complaint...

At the time Burns had alienated many of his friends including his Muse, Mrs Dunlop.

On Saturday 12 July 1796 Burns wrote her a letter from Brow Well.

"Madam I have written to you so often, without receiving an answer, that I would not trouble you again, but for the circumstances I am in

"An illness which has long hung about me, in all probability will speedily send me beyond that bourne whence no traveler returns...

"... Farewell!!"

Records show that during his stay at Brow Well Burns was so penniless that, in times of need, his Landlord would travel a full mile to replenish his exhausted stock of port wine, without payment.

The port was prescribed in evidently large quantities to improve Burns' ailing strength.

As his health deteriorated he began to age prematurely and fell into fits of despondency with only his pocket Bible for comfort.

The somewhat antiquated pocket Bible has been well-used, most noticeably during the last few days of his life.

Burns died four days after leaving Brow Well.


The Burns Bible is referenced in the famous 'Relics of Burns'* printed in 1880:

"It is a small pocket copy in an extremely dilapidated condition and according to tradition it is the one that was used by the Poet during the last weeks of his life: and may possibly have been the one to which reference is made in the following passage from "Burns in Dumfriesshire"*:

"One of the few things he took with him to Brow was an old pocket Bible, and who shall rashly venture to say that when studying it, as he did, he found 'no balm in Gilead' when all medicinal influences proved in vain."

*copies of both Burns in Dumfriesshire (printed 1870) and Relics of Burns (printed 1880) are included with the Bible as is an 1893 newspaper cutting stating:

"At the time Burns was staying at the Brow Well he used the Bible, which he took with him when he went there to recruit his health."

The famous 'Burns Bible'



The Burns Bible is an outstanding relic of Scottish heritage and was last seen in public at the Burns Exhibition in Glasgow in 1896.

It is preserved in a velvet-lined blue Moroccan box lettered in gilt with the words "Burns Bible."

Burns remains popular around the world and his literary influence is well documented.

John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel Of Mice and Men from a Burns Poem...

Even Bob Dylan highlighted Burns' 1794 song A Red Red Rose as the lyric that had the biggest effect on his life.

In Russia Burns was elected the 'people's poet' and a 1924 translation of his works sold over 600,000 copies, and his poetry continues to be taught in Russian schools.

In England Burns has been honoured on postage stamps three times, and is now portrayed on the reverse side of the £5 coin.

And at home in Scotland he is pictured on the £5 note of the Clydesdale Bank.

And then there is Burns Night, celebrated the world over, which is actually more widely observed than the official national day, St Andrew's Day.  

However there is little in the way of Burns memorabilia available.

The vast majority of items are held in Museums around the world and few pieces can offer such affinity as his personal Bible.

The Burns Bible is rightly acknowledged as one of the finest pieces of Burns History.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to purchase Burns' personal Bible and hold in your hands a book once owned by Scotland's most famous writer.

A book that would have been party to his innermost thoughts only days before his death...

Please contact us for further information.

For Sale: SOLD. Sorry, this item has already been sold. To be the first to receive news alerts for new stock items please sign up for your free newsletter at the top of the page.



For further information please contact Adrian Roose at or telephone  +44 (0) 117 933 9503 



Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock