Rev. Robert Kirk

1644 - 1692

The Fairy Minister. Born in Aberfoyle, the seventh son of the parish minister James Kirk, he was educated at the High School of Dundee, at the University of Edinburgh and then studied theology at the University of St. Andrews, graduating in 1664. He was appointed Minister at Balquhidder in the same year. Kirk was said to be the first to translate the Psalms into Gaelic, but is better known for his book The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies (written in 1691, but not published until 1815, with the help of Sir Walter Scott). Despite his position as the Minister of the Parish Church at Aberfoyle, a charge he accepted in 1685, Kirk was fascinated by the 'old ways', and his book collected several accounts of the fairies of Celtic superstition and mythology, together with the people who claimed to have encountered them.

It was his custom to walk regularly on Doon Hill, near the village, where he was convinced that fairies and other figures from the underworld would appear. It was here that he died in unusual circumstances. It was said that he disappeared, perhaps spirited away by fairies, but his body appears eventually to have been recovered and was buried in churchyard of the Old Kirk, although some suggest the grave is empty.

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