Captain Robert Riddell (1755 - 1794), was Laird of Friar's Carse, near Dumfries, and a friend of Robert Burns, who made him a collection of his poems which later became famous, and wrote a poem 'Sonnet On The Death Of Robert Riddell' in memory of him when he died.
The Glenriddell Manuscripts, were written for Riddell between 1791 and 1793.
It is known that the poet's friendship with the Riddell family came to an abrupt end in December 1793 as the result of a drunken or unseemly incident at Friar's Carse, the estate owned by Riddell in Nithsdale. The circumstances of this unfortunate incident are shrouded in mystery and uncertainty, but one of the results of the event was the return to the poet - at his own request - of the poetry volume which had already been presented to Riddell; the second had neither been completed nor sent.
In a letter, dated May 1794, to Riddell's sister in which Burns requests the return of the poetry volume, he refers to its contents as 'a collection of all my trifles in verse which I had ever written ... some of them puerile and silly ...'. This is somewhat insincere and in reality Burns was highly aware of the value of his poems, but it shows his keenness to have returned to him a volume he knew to contain a great compilation of some of his best work. After Burns's death the two volumes were sent to his biographer, Dr James Currie.
Tarquin: "I do rather fancy reading some exquisite poetry, dear Quentin."
Quentin: "Oh yes Tarquin, I could reccomend the poetry by the late Robert Burns, which he wrote for his dear friend the late Captain Robert Riddel, Laird of Friar's Carse!"