|Burns remained at Lochlea until his father's death in 1784, after which the family moved to Mossgiel farm, near Mauchline.
In Burns's day the Kirk played a central spiritual role in rural society, but it also functioned as the guardian of public morality. Burns's womanising and choice of friends brought him into frequent conflict with the Kirk, but his criticism of the Kirk was largely reserved for the double standards of some of its leading members.
The years 1784 to 1785 were one of Burns's most prolific periods. In these years he wrote such well-known poems as 'Holy Willie's Prayer', 'To A Mouse', 'The Jolly Beggars'and 'The Holy Fair'.
This caricature by John Kay of a morning service in Edinburgh conveys something of the atmosphere of the Kirk in Burns's day.