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A view of the south-western corner of the Kirkyard, showing graves and mortsafes (the spaces along the wall on the left hand side)

Greyfriars Kirkyard is the graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located at the southern edge of the Old Town, adjacent to George Heriot's School. Burials have been taking place simce the late 16th century, and a number of notable Edinburgh residents are interred at Greyfriars. The Kirkyard is operated by City of Edinburgh Council in liaison with a charitable trust, which is linked to but separate from the church. The Kirkyard and its monuments are protected as a category A listed building.[1]

Contents

History

Greyfriars takes its name from the Franciscan friary on the site, which was dissolved in 1559. The churchyard was founded in 1561/2, to replace the churchyard at St Giles, which was considered full. A record from the Town Council records for 23 April 1561 reads:

Because it is thoct gude that thair be na buriall within the Kirk , and that the kirk-zaird is nocht of sufficient rowme for bureing of the deid, and for esdrewing of the savour and inconvenientis that may follow thairupon in the heit of somer , it would be providit that ane buriall place be maid farrer from the myddis of the town , sic as in the Greyfreir zaird and the somyn biggit and maid close.[citation needed]
Because it is thought correct that there should be no more burials within St Giles, and because that kirkyard is not thought to have sufficient room for burying the dead, and taking into consideration the smell and inconvenience in the heat of summer, it would be provided ( by the council ) that a burial place be made further from the middle of town, such as in Greyfriars yard/ garden and the same ( should be ) built up and made secure.

The Kirkyard was involved in the history of the Covenanters. The Covenanting movement began with signing of the National Covenant in Greyfriars Kirk on 28 February 1638. Following the defeat of the militant Covenanters at Bothwell Brig in 1679, some 1200 Covenanters were imprisoned in a field to the south of the churchyard. When, in the 18th century, part of this field was amalgamated into the churchyard as vaulted tombs the area became known as the "Covenanters' Prison".

Photograph dated 1848 by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, showing D O Hill sketching at the Dennystoun Monument, watched by the Misses Morris.

During the early days of photography in the 1840s the kirkyard was used by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson as a setting for several portraits and tableaux such as The Artist and The Gravedigger.

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Greyfriars Bobby

The graveyard is associated with Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal dog who guarded his master's grave. Though Bobby's headstone is at the entrance to the Kirkyard, he is actually buried nearby, as the Kirk authorities would not allow his burial on consecrated ground. The dog's statue is opposite the graveyard's gate, at the junction of George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row. The grave of auld "Jock" Gray, where the dog famously slept for 13 years, lies on the eastern path, some 30m north of the entrance. The stone is modern, the grave originally being unmarked.

Tomb of Sir George Mackenzie

Monuments

Enclosed vaults are found mainly on the south edge of the graveyard and in the "Covenanters' Prison". These either have solid stone walls or iron railings and were created as a deterrent to graverobbing, which had become problematic in the 18th century. Greyfriars also has two low ironwork cages, called mortsafes. These were leased, and protected bodies for long enough to deter the attentions of the early 19th century resurrection men who supplied Edinburgh Medical College with corpses for dissection.

Notable monuments include the Martyr's Monument, which remembers executed Covenanters. The Italianate monument to Sir George Mackenzie was designed by the architect James Smith, and modelled on the Tempietto di San Pietro, designed by Donato Bramante.[2] Duncan Ban MacIntyre's memorial was renovated in 2005, at a cost of about £3,000, raised by a fundraising campaign of over a year.[3]

Haunting

The Greyfriars Cemetery is reputedly haunted. One such haunt is attributed to the restless spirit of the infamous 'Bloody' George Mackenzie buried there in 1691. The 'Mackenzie Poltergeist' is said to cause bruising, bites and cuts on those who come into contact with it and many visitors have reported feeling strange sensations. A schoolboy, hiding in the vault to escape a beating from a master at George Heriot's School, supposedly got trapped here and lost his mind on being confronted by the ghost. Visitors who take the City of the Dead ghost tour, which has access to the Covenanters' Prison, have indeed emerged with injuries they have no recollection of sustaining. Even more interestingly, a number of deaths have taken place in the Kirkyard itself. The television show Scariest Places on Earth featured Greyfriars Cemetery.

Notable burials

Monument to John Mylne, erected by his nephew Robert

References

  1. ^ "Greyfriars Churchyard". Historic Scotland. http://hsewsf.sedsh.gov.uk/hslive/hsstart?P_HBNUM=27029. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  2. ^ Gifford, John (1989) William Adam 1689–1748, Mainstream Publishing / RIAS. pp.62–67
  3. ^ http://www.spl.org.uk/news/2004_2308.html

External links

Coordinates: 55°56′48″N 3°11′32″W / 55.94667°N 3.19222°W / 55.94667; -3.19222



Greyfriars Kirkyard is the graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located at the southern edge of the Old Town, adjacent to George Heriot's School. Burials have been taking place since the late 16th century, and a number of notable Edinburgh residents are interred at Greyfriars. The Kirkyard is operated by City of Edinburgh Council in liaison with a charitable trust, which is linked to but separate from the church. The Kirkyard and its monuments are protected as a category A listed building.[1]

Contents

History

Greyfriars takes its name from the Franciscan friary on the site, which was dissolved in 1559. The churchyard was founded in 1561/2, to replace the churchyard at St Giles, which was considered full. A record from the Town Council records for 23 April 1561 reads:

{{quote|Because it is thoct gude that thair be na buriall within the Kirk , and that the kirk-zaird is nocht of sufficient rowme for bureing of the deid, and for esdrewing of the savour and inconvenientis that may follow thairupon in the heit of somer , it would be providit that ane buriall place be maid farrer from the myddis of the town , sic as in the Greyfreir zaird and the somyn biggit and maid close.[2]

Because it is thought correct that there should be no more burials within St Giles, and because that kirkyard is not thought to have sufficient room for burying the dead, and taking into consideration the smell and inconvenience in the heat of summer, it would be provided ( by the council ) that a burial place be made further from the middle of town, such as in Greyfriars yard/ garden and the same ( should be ) built up and made secure.

The Kirkyard was involved in the history of the Covenanters. The Covenanting movement began with signing of the National Covenant in Greyfriars Kirk on 28 February 1638. Following the defeat of the militant Covenanters at Bothwell Brig in 1679, some 1200 Covenanters were imprisoned in a field to the south of the churchyard. When, in the 18th century, part of this field was amalgamated into the churchyard as vaulted tombs the area became known as the "Covenanters' Prison".

and Robert Adamson, showing D O Hill sketching at the Dennystoun Monument, watched by the Misses Morris.]]

During the early days of photography in the 1840s the kirkyard was used by David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson as a setting for several portraits and tableaux such as The Artist and The Gravedigger.

Greyfriars Bobby

The graveyard is associated with Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal dog who guarded his master's grave. Bobby's headstone at the entrance to the Kirkyard, erected by the Dog Aid Society in 1981, marks his actual burial place in an unconsecrated patch of the Kirkyard - a peculiarity which has led to many misunderstandings and fictions about his burial. The dog's statue is opposite the graveyard's gate, at the junction of George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row. The grave of auld "Jock" Gray, where the dog famously slept for 13 years, lies on the eastern path, some 30m north of the entrance. The stone is modern, the grave originally being unmarked.

File:Mackenzie
Tomb of Sir George Mackenzie

Monuments

Enclosed vaults are found mainly on the south edge of the graveyard and in the "Covenanters' Prison". These either have solid stone walls or iron railings and were created as a deterrent to graverobbing, which had become problematic in the 18th century. Greyfriars also has two low ironwork cages, called mortsafes. These were leased, and protected bodies for long enough to deter the attentions of the early 19th century resurrection men who supplied Edinburgh Medical College with corpses for dissection.

Notable monuments include the Martyr's Monument, which remembers executed Covenanters. The Italianate monument to Sir George Mackenzie was designed by the architect James Smith, and modelled on the Tempietto di San Pietro, designed by Donato Bramante.[3] Duncan Ban MacIntyre's memorial was renovated in 2005, at a cost of about £3,000, raised by a fundraising campaign of over a year.[4] The monument of John Byres of Coates, 1629, was one of last works of the royal master mason William Wallace.

Haunting

The Greyfriars Cemetery is reputedly haunted. One such haunt is attributed to the restless spirit of the infamous 'Bloody' George Mackenzie buried there in 1691. The 'Mackenzie Poltergeist' is said to cause bruising, bites and cuts on those who come into contact with it and many visitors have reported feeling strange sensations. A schoolboy, hiding in the vault to escape a beating from a master at George Heriot's School, supposedly got trapped here and lost his mind on being confronted by the ghost. Visitors who take the City of the Dead ghost tour, which has access to the Covenanters' Prison, have indeed emerged with injuries they have no recollection of sustaining. Even more interestingly, a number of deaths have taken place in the Kirkyard itself. The television show Scariest Places on Earth featured Greyfriars Cemetery.

Notable burials

File:John Mylne
Monument to John Mylne, erected by his nephew Robert

References

  1. ^ "Greyfriars Churchyard". Historic Scotland. http://hsewsf.sedsh.gov.uk/hslive/hsstart?P_HBNUM=27029. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  2. ^ Edinburgh Council Records 23rd April 1561
  3. ^ Gifford, John (1989) William Adam 1689–1748, Mainstream Publishing / RIAS. pp.62–67
  4. ^ http://www.spl.org.uk/news/2004_2308.html

External links

Coordinates: 55°56′48″N 3°11′32″W / 55.94667°N 3.19222°W / 55.94667; -3.19222


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