Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No 2

William Dunbar d1807

Senior Warden & Writer to the Signet

William Dunbar was a Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh, and 'Colonel' of the Crochallan Fencibles, a convivial club which he helped to found, each of whose members assumed a military title. He was Senior Warden of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge at the time Burns visited, and Dunbar presented the poet with an edition of Spenser's works, which Burns much appreciated. Writing from his lodgings in the Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, on 30th April 1787, Burns told Dunbar: 'The time is approaching when i shal return to my shades; and I am afraid my numerous Edinburgh friendships are of so tender a construction that they will not bear carriage with me, Yours is one of the few that i could wish of a more robust constitution.'  Burns celebrated Dunbar's rumbustious good humour by adapting the Border Ballad 'Rattling, Roarin' Willie';


"As I cam by Crochallan
I cannilie keekit ben,
Rattlin', roarin' Willie
Was sittin' at yon boord-en';
And amang gude companie;
Rattlin', roarin' Willie,
You're welcome hame to me."