The Black Bull is not only the oldest hostelry in Moffat, but one of the oldest in Scotland.
Established in 1568 the ancient inn boasts a rich and interesting history.
In its infancy, The Black Bull Inn was commandeered by the Earl Of Dundee as the Headquarters from which he and and his company of Dragoons – nicknamed ‘Bloody Cleavers’ due to their persecution of Scottish Presbyterians oversaw many dark and deathly incidents. Keeping with the gruesome theme, the infamous grave robber and murderer, William Hare is believed to have stayed within the walls of the old Inn during his escape to Ireland after turning Kings evidence against his former partner in crime, William Burke.
But the most famous story and the one we love the most, stars Scotlands great Bard, Robert Burns who enjoyed many a riotous visit to the old inn when passing through to Dumfries. Burns hung out in what we today call The Burns Room or Poets Corner after he made the hostelry infamous across the world by engraving a window pane with a verse inspired by a lady love who was passing by the window as he revelled inside with his cohorts.
Sadly, the pane of glass no longer exists within The Black Bull – after being presented many years ago to visiting Russian dignitaries. Despite the pane being long lost, the words the poet wrote are today displayed on the exterior wall for all to see – ensuring the intrinsic links to the hotel’s most famous and most notorious patron endure.
If you love the Bard, if you love history and if you want to soak up the essence of our wonderful old inn and all its secrets, when visiting Scotland, make sure you visit The Black Bull Inn, Moffat.
Scotland’s greatest poet Robert Burns was born in Ayr in 1759 and lived much of his life in nearby Dumfries, Burns often visited Moffat and it is well documented that the Black Bull Inn was a favourite haunt. The daughter of a local farmer was the ‘Chloris’ of his poems and The Black Bull once had a window pane on which Burns had inscribed a short poem, when Miss Deborah Davies, a beautiful but petite lady much admired by Burns, rode past along with her portly companion.
Burns wrote The Epigram to a Scrimpit Nature
Ask why God made the Gem so small
and why so huge the Granite?
Because God meant mankind to set the higher value on it.
The original window is now in St. Petersburg in Russia after being gifted to Tsar Nicholas 1st who visited Moffat as a young man of 20 in 1816 when he was still a mere Grand Duke, accompanied by the general who defeated Napoleon at Borodino outside Moscow, Field Marshal Kutusov.