Robert Riddell of Glenriddell. From a
frontispiece drawing in one of the manuscript volumes in library of
the Society of Antiquaries, London.
Robert Burns's close neighbour at Ellisland was Captain Robert Riddell of Glenriddell.
He lived at the house of Friars' Carse, spending his time on antiquarian and literary pursuits.
Burns struck up a friendship with Riddell, and latterly with his younger brother, Walter, and Walter's wife, Maria.
Despite their position among the landed gentry the Riddells appreciated the company of the tenant farmer Burns and his literary talents. The poet visited Friars' Carse frequently, describing the estate as 'positively the most beautiful spot in the lowlands of Scotland'.
In the spirit of their friendship Robert Riddell presented Burns with two blank, leather bound volumes for Burns to fill with his poetry and prose and return to Riddell. These volumes became the Glenriddell Manuscripts.
See also: Glenriddell arms
This book features the Robert Burns's Glenriddell Manuscripts display at the National Library of Scotland from 23 January to 30 March.