Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh

Dedicated in 1620, Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh has seen its share of Scottish history and has a spooky graveyard to boot.


History of Greyfriars Kirk

Completed in 1620, Greyfriars Kirk was named for the Franciscan friary that stood nearby. It stands amid cemetery ordered by Mary Queen of Scots in 1562 because there was no more burial space at St. Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile.

In 1638 the National Covenant was signed in front of the pulpit of Greyfriars. A document of great importance for the history of Scotland, the National Covenant chose Presbyterianism over Anglicanism as the national religion. Within a few decades Greyfriars had become a barracks for Cromwell's forces and in 1679, around 1,200 Covenanters were imprisoned in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

In the 18th century, the original tower exploded when gunpowder stored there caught fire. In the 19th century a minister of Greyfriars led a movement to reform worship, introducing the first post-Reformation stained glass windows and one of the first organs in a Presbyterian Church in Scotland.

What to See at Greyfriars Kirk

The kirkyard incorporates a bit of the old Flodden Wall and is full of 17th-century tombs and monuments. It is said to be haunted.

The most celebrated tomb in the churchyard is that of Bobby, the faithful Skye terrier of a 19th-century policeman named John Gray who stood watch at his master's grave for years. A statue of "Greyfriars Bobby" is at the top of Candlemaker Row, just outside the Greyfriars Bobby pub.

Quick Facts on Greyfriars Kirk

Site Information
Names:Greyfriars Kirk
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:55.946611° N, 3.192258° W
Address:Greyfriars Place
Edinburgh, Scotland
Hours:Apr-Oct: Mon-Fri 10:30am-4:30pm, Sat 10:30am-2:30pm
Oct-Mar Thurs 1:30-3:30pm
Lodging:View hotels near Greyfriars Kirk
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Personal visits (2000).
  2. Greyfriars Presbyterian Church (official site) - includes a 360° view of the interior
  3. Frommer's Edinburgh and Glasgow, 1st ed.

More Information

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© Gary Henderson
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Map of Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh

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