GREYFRIARS PLACE EDINBURGH
Greyfriars Kirk takes its name from the Franciscan friary which was previously on this site. The signing of the National Covenant took place in Greyfriars Kirk on 28 February 1638. In a field nearby, in the 18th century 1200 Covenanters were imprisoned. A section of this field was incorporated into the churchyard as vaulted tombs and the area became known as the Covenanters’ Prison. You will see enclosed vaults and metal fenced cages called mort safes as a deterrent to grave robbers taking the bodies from their resting place to use in the medical school for autopsy and scientific experiments. The famous grave robbers of the time were (Burke and Hare). Greyfriars Cemetery is said to be haunted by the ghost of ‘Bloody’ George Mackenzie who was buried here in 1691. His Spirit is said to cause bruising, bites and cuts on those who come into contact with the spirit or touch his tomb. Some visitors have reported feeling strange sensations. Take the ghost tour and find out for yourself.
GREYFRIARS HIGHLAND KIRK MUSEUM, GREYFRIARS PLACE EDINBURGH
There are many things to see and stories to be read in the museum like the an American flag that hung in the White House which was gift to the church as Greyfriars Kirk and the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers in the New World took place on Christmas Day 1620. Not to forget the famous dog Greyfriars Bobby. Greyfriars Museum and shop are open with free admission. There are guided tours available. The Notice board on entry to Greyfriars Graveyard read; In Greyfriars Church the national covenant was adopted and signed 28th February 1638. In the churchyard are objects of historical interest such as The Martyrs’ Monument towards the north east and the Covenanters’ Prison towards the south west also The graves of many Scotsmen and Citizens of Edinburgh of whom some of the most important are ; James Douglas, George Buchanan, Alexander Henderson, Sir George McKenzie, Mary Erskine, William Carstairs, George Watson, Colin MacLaurin, William Adam, Thomas Ruddiman, Allan Ramsay, William Robertson, James Hutton, Duncan Ban MacIntyre, William Creech, John Kay, Henry MacKenzie, Thomas Mc Crie and William McGonagall.
GREYFRIARS BOBBY – GREYFRIARS PLACE – EDINBURGH
Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh after spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner, John Gray. Bobby himself died in 1872. A year later a statue was erected at the top of Candlemaker Row across from the Greyfriars Kirkyard. There is also a red granite headstone in Greyfriars kirkyard near the gate. Have a stroll around the Greyfriars Kirkyard and see many famous and powerful people of old Edinburgh. Greyfriars Bobby died 14th January 1872 age 16 years Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.
COVENANTERS PRISON (THE PRESBYTERIANS) GREYFRIARS KIRK EDINBURGH
The National Covenant signed in Greyfriars in 1638 promised to defend Presbyterianism from intervention by the crown.
Through the gates is the part of the Greyfriars Kirkyard which was once in 1679 a prison for more than 1000 supporters of the National Covenant, who had been defeated by Government forces at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge 22 June 1679. They were imprisoned for more than 4 months with little or no food and no shelter, some were tried and executed, others died in prison, some escaped and others were set free after signing a bond of loyalty to the crown. In November 1679 the remaining 257 prisoners were taken to Leith and place aboard a ship that was bound for the American Colonies, however all but 48 were drowned when the ship was wrecked of the coast of Orkney. Nine of the 48 were said to have escaped. The area of the prison was much larger than it is now as it took in where houses have been built and new graves were installed here in 1705 when the graveyard required more space for the Edinburgh people. The Covenanters (Presbyterians) immigrated to North America in the early 1700s and William Tennant founded the Log College in Neshaminy Pennsylvania in 1735. The Covenanters of North America became the members of the reformed Presbyterian Church. For more information on the survivors and the ones banished to the Americas, see www.ivanlea.net/sub_pages/bob_miller.htm
The inscription on the plaque at the left side of the gates to the Covenanters’ Prison reads;
THE COVENANTERS’ PRISON
Behind these gates lies part of the Greyfriars Kirkyard which was used in 1679 as a prison for more than one thousand supporters of the National Covenant who had been defeated by Government forces at the battle of Bothwell Brig on 22 June. For more than four months these men were held here without any shelter, each man being allowed 4 ounces of bread a day. Kindly citizens were sometimes able to give them more food. Some of the prisoners died here, some were tried and executed for treason, some escaped, and some were freed after signing a bond of loyalty to the Crown. All those who were persecuted and died for their support of the National Covenant in the reigns of Charles II and James VII are commemorated by the Martyrs’ Memorial on the north-eastern wall of the Kirkyard. The Covenant, which was first signed in Greyfriars Kirk in 1638, promised to defend Presbyterianism from intervention by the Crown. In November 1679 the remaining 257 men, who had been sentenced to transportation overseas, were taken to Leith and placed on board a ship bound for the American colonies; nearly all were drowned when this ship was wrecked in the Orkney islands (where there is a monument in their memory), but 48 of the prisoners survived. The section of the Kirkyard used to imprison the Covenanters lay outside the existing south wall, and included the area now covered by buildings on Forrest Row. The area behind the gate was laid out for burials in 1705 and contains many fine monuments, but these did not exist at the time of the prison. This plaque has been provided by the Greyfriars Kirkyard Trust with the support of the Scottish Covenanter Memorials Association.
GEORGE MACKENZIE (The Covenanter’s Judge) GREYFRIARS KIRK EDINBURGH
George Mackenzie was the judge that sentenced the Covenanters to death. The spirit of George MacKenzie is said to cause bruising, bites and cuts on those who come into contact with the spirit or touch his tomb. Some visitors have reported feeling strange sensations. The Poltergeist seems to only attack people that are in the Covenanters Prison area which is now kept locked and only open for tours and amateur ghost hunters. Greyfriars Graveyard is said to be haunted by the infamous ‘Bloody’ George Mackenzie who was buried here in 1691.
WALTER GEIKIE GREYFRIARS KIRK EDINBURGH
Walter Geikie was born in 1795 a deaf painter and founder of the first deaf church and deaf society. His true memorial can be seen in our city art galleries and in the quality of life and dignity accorded to deaf citizens of Edinburgh today. Walter Geikie loved to sketch street scenes in ink and of real life.
SIR ROBERT SIBBALD 1641 – 1722 GREYFRIARS KIRK EDINBURGH
Sir Robert Sibbald was Physician to King Charles II and first Professor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh, President of the Royal College of Physicians 1648 – 1685 and co-founder of the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.
UNION CARBIDE GAS DISASTER MEMORIAL PLAQUE GREYFRIARS KIRK EDINBURGH
In memory of almost 4000 deaths and 40,000 people disabled maimed or suffering serious illness from the gas leak in December 1984 in Bhopal India.
“never think you stand alone”
George Watson 1664 – 1723 This memorial was erected | In 1991 to mark the 250th | Anniversary of the opening | of George Watson’s Hospital and the 120th anniversary | of George Watson’s Ladies’ | College the forerunners | of | George Watson’s College. George Watson who founded the College was born in Edinburgh in 1654. aand died in 1723. The School opened in 1741 in Lauriston Place opposite George Heriot’s School. The Boys school moved to its present building in Colinton Road in 1932.
George Buchanan was one of the most important intellectual Scotland produced born in the Highlands and was to send many years in France but after returning to Scotland he settled in Edinburgh where he lived in Kennedy’s Close next to Stevenslaw Close in The High Street Edinburgh and died here in 1582.
FLODDEN WALL IN GREYFRIARS KIRK GRAVEYARD
The Flodden wall, which was the old city wall can be seen throughout Greyfriars Graveyard. The old city wall was built for protection from the English invaders (1513) after the Scots Army suffered their heaviest defeat in battle to the English and where King James IV died in battle, King James IV was the last monarch to die in battle. Link to Flodden Wall
Edinburgh City Guard
The City Guard’s main duty was to protect the city and maintain public order. Formed in 1679 with 40 men. Always present at civic gatherings and were lead by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. The Town Guard House was situated in the middle of the High Street west of the Tron Kirk in line with New Assembly Close. Information found on ” The plan of the City and Castle of Edinburgh by William Edgar Architect 1765″. Records held in the National Library of Scotland. The Town Guard were disbanded in 1817 the last Captain of the Guard being James Burnet.
The Edinburgh City Guard re-enactment group.The group recreate the Town Guard for ceremonies and recreate battles such as the Battle of Prestonpans annually. To find out more or join the Guard contact chairman, Arran Johnston (Ensign): email@example.com.