This is one of several articles written by Louis Stott who generously offered local aspects of his scholarship to the archive of Loch Ard Local History Group–our thanks to Louis and his family for this material.
Robert Kirk was born in 1644, the seventh son of James Kirk, minister to Aberfoyle. Robert followed his father into the ministry and after his ordination he became minister to Balquidder. He married Isobel Campbell in 1678. They had a son called Colin. Isobel died in 1680. Robert married again, to Isobel’s cousin, Margaret. They had a son called Robert. After serving the Parish of Balquidder for twenty years he moved to Aberfoyle in 1685.
Here he began his daily visits to Doon Hill and told people he had seen and spoken to the faery folk who lived there. He published a manuscript called “The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies”. He described them as peaceful people who spoke little but communicated to each other by whistling. He stated they could appear and disappear at will. He explained their habits and way of life.
It is said that the Faery Folk took exception to this and spirited him away into Faeryland. He was found “dead” on the Faery Hill. A funeral did take place but his body had been replaced by stones in his coffin.
A few days later Kirk was said to appear before the laird, Graham of Duchray, and ask him to tell his cousin that he wasn’t really dead but lost in Faeryland. He would appear in The Old Manse at the baptism of his child. To free him from his capture Graham of Duchray was to throw a dagger over his head to secure his freedom. Unfortunately Graham was so stunned by his appearance that he forgot to throw the dagger. Kirk is said to look at him in a forlorn way before leaving The Manse through another door. He was never seen again.
There is a gravestone to mark his passing in the old graveyard. The style of the lettering is much later than his death. No one really knows where the original grave really is.