Places to Visit in Scotland
- Greyfriar's Churchyard, Edinburgh
The churchyard of Grey Friar's Kirk in Edinburgh has been used as a burial ground since the 16th century. Parts of the churchyard go back even further than that as it incorporates part of the "Flodden Wall" which was built after the Battle of Flodden to extend the original city of Edinburgh in 1513-1530 (but which ultimately confined the growth of Edinburgh Old Town).
After King Charles I> tried to re-impose the episcopalian form of worship in Scotland, it was the minister of Greyfriars who organised the Second National Covenant in 1638 which was signed by the Scots nobility, sparking the conflicts of the next 50 years involving the Covenanters>.
The churchyard contains a vast collection of monuments to many of the celebrities of Edinburgh from the 17th century onwards, including:
- ~ George Heriot, 1610, father of "Jinglin' Geordie" who became goldsmith to Anne of Denmark, wife of King James VI and founder of George Heriot's School (located over the wall from the kirkyard).
- ~ John Gray, 1858, the master of "Greyfriars' Bobby">. A monument to the faithfull dog, in the form of a drinking fountain, is on the pavement outside the churchyard, looking across the road to the new Museum of Scotland.
- ~ Duncan Ban MacIntyre>, 1812, the Celtic poet who fought against the Jacobites in 1745.
- ~ Sir George Mackenzie, 1691, who pursued the Covenanters with such zeal that he became known as "Bluidy Mackenzie".
- ~ William Adam, 1748, in a mausoleum designed by his son the architect John Adam. John's even more famous brother, the architect Robert Adam>, is buried in Westminster Abbey.
- ~ James Craig, 1795, who was responsible for the design of the elegant "New Town" of Edinburgh.
- ~ Walter Scott, senior, 1799, father of the novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott>.
- ~ William McGonagall>, 1902, who has a good claim to be the "world's worst poet". A plaque in his memory was erected in Greyfriar's in 1999.
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