‘Highland Mary’ Campbell monument receives revamp

The momument as it was prior to the refurbishment. Picture: Geograph
The momument as it was prior to the refurbishment. Picture: Geograph
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THE burial place of ‘Highland Mary’ Campbell - one of the great loves of Robert Burns - has been refurbished.

Mary, from Campbeltown, died aged 23, at Greenock in October 1786 from a bout of typhoid fever, then plaguing the town.

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When her remains were re-interred in the town’s South Street cemetery in 1920, and an infant’s coffin board was found close to her grave, gossipers soon spread it around that she had died in childbirth, however there is no proof that Mary Campbell was pregnant when she died.

Burns enthusiast, Norrie Paton said: “My wife and I last visited Mary’s grave in May of last year but the monument had fallen into a real sad state over many years.

“Mary was originally buried in the Old West Kirkyard, in a plot belonging to her Greenock relatives.

“In 1920 the shipyard adjacent to the kirkyard was granted the right to expand and all the remains of those in the graves were reinterred in the main South Street cemetery.”

Burns dedicated three poems to Mary, whom he had met after she went to Ayrshire to work.

One poem, To Mary in Heaven, was written on the third anniversary of her death - emphasising the impact their brief love affair had on Burns.

Some Burns chroniclers speculate that their love had not faded and that the couple were secretly planning to emigrate to Jamaica until Mary’s untimely death.

Recently a gold and pearl locket holding hair belonging to Mary was sold at auction in Edinburgh, along with a letter from 1895 authenticating the hair, to an anonymous bidder for £1,895.

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