The Burry Man – South Queensferry

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The Burry Man is an extraordinary survival of a very ancient custom in the town of South Queensferry. First recorded in 1687 I think only maybe one year during withe WW1or 2 it has missed. Luckily I have a friend living in the Ferry who alerted me to it and kindly worked out the route so we could catch up with him just about to enter the South Queensferry Rugby Club. After being dressed early in the morning entirely in burrs from the burdock the Burry Man walks a route around the town having a whisky in certain spots (drinking through a straw because of the burrs on his face). Supported by the two helpers with the sticks as its quite had to walk in the suit or see.  Its a great honour to be the Burry Man and one did it for 25 years! The current one has written about it here. The Burry Man also has a man dressed in normal clothes ringing a bell and warning of his coming and a gaggle of children with buckets collecting money and handing out sweeties to other children. Several times we stopped tiny babies and tots were brought out to be photographed with the Burry Man – it wasn’t clear if people thought it good luck or of some special significance.*

* My South Queensferry friend Rhiannon Connelly just messaged me to say that the Burry Man is considered to be good luck for babies!



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