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Kirk, Robert, 1644-1692 (Folklorist and Church minister)



  • Existence: 1644-1692

The Gaelic scholar Robert Kirk was born, probably in Aberfoyle, Perthshire, in 1641. He studied at Edinburgh University graduating with an MA in 1661, and then at St. Andrews. In 1664 he became the Minister at Balquhidder, Perthshire, and then Minister at Aberfoyle in 1685. Kirk was the author of the first complete translation of the Scottish metrical Psalms into Gaelic. These were published as Psalma Dhaibhidh an Meadrachd, Edinburgh (1684). In 1689 he went to London to supervise the printing of the Gaelic Bible prepared under the direction of Bishop Bedell. This was published in 1690. Kirk was a believer in fairy superstitions and wrote The secret commonwealth; or an essay on the nature and actions of the subterranean (and for the most part) invisible people heretofoir going under the name of faunes and fairies, or the lyke, among the low country Scots, as they are described by those who have the second sight (1691). Robert Kirk died at Aberfoyle on 14 May 1692 and is buried in the churchyard there.

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