Robert Kirk

From Kook Science

Robert Kirk
Born 9 December 1644(1644-12-09) [M]
Aberfoyle, Stirling, Scotland
Died 14 May 1692 (47) [M]
Doon Hill, Aberfoyle, Stirling, Scotland
Religion Scottish Episcopal Church
Alma mater University of St Andrews; Edinburgh University (M.A., 1661)
Workplace(s) Balquhidder Church; Aberfoyle Church
Known for Translation of the Bible into Scottish Gaelic; fairy folklore

Robert Kirk (December 9, 1644 - May 14, 1692) was a Scottish Episcopalian minister, Gaelic scholar, and folklorist noted for his The Secret Commonwealth, a work on fairy lore that was unpublished during his lifetime, being first published some 123 years after his death in 1815 by Walter Scott.

Selected Bibliography



Kirk in Fairy-land

  • Graham, Patrick (1812), Sketches of Perthshire (2nd ed.), Edinburgh: Printed by J. Ballantyne and Co. for P. Hill, p. 253-255 

    The Reverend Robert Kirk, the first translator of the Psalms into Gaelic verse, had formerly been minister at Balquidder; and died minister of Aberfoyle in 1688, at the early age of 42. His grave-stone, which may be seen near the east end of the church of Aberfoyle, bears this inscription:

    Robertus Kirk, A. M. Linguæ Hibernii, (c) œ bumen, obiit, &c.

    He was walking, it is said, one evening in his night-gown, upon the little eminence to the west of the present manse, which is reckoned a Dun shi’. He fell down dead, as was believed; but this was not his fate:

    “It was between the night and day,
     When the fairy king has power,
      That he sunk down (but not) in sinful fray,
       And, 'twixt life and death, was snatched away,
        To the joyless Elfin bower.”

    Mr Kirk was the near relation of Graham of Duchray, the ancestor of the present General Graham Stirling. Shortly after his funeral, he appeared in the dress in which he had sunk down, to the mutual relation of his own and of Duchray. "Go," said he to him, "to my cousin Duchray, and tell him that I am not dead; I fell down in a swoon, and was carried into Fairy-land, where I now am. Tell him, that when he and my friends are assembled at the baptism of my child, (for he had left his wife pregnant) I will appear in the room, and that if he throws the knife which he holds in his hand over my head, I will be released, and restored to human society." The man, it seems, neglected, for some time, to deliver the message. Mr Kirk appeared to him a second time, threatening to haunt him night and day till he executed his commission, which, at length, he did. The time of the baptism arrived. They were seated at table; Mr Kirk entered, but the laird of Duchray, by some unaccountable fatality, neglected to perform the prescribed ceremony. Mr Kirk retired by another door, and was seen no more. It is firmly believed that he is, at this day, in Fairy-land.