Greyfriars Bobby – Sentimental Sunday

Greyfriars Bobby isn’t related to me – he was a little Skye Terrier whose name makes Edinburgh folk very sentimental, and is known all over the world for his loyalty to his master, John Gray.  When John died and was buried in Greyfriars Churchyard in 1858, Bobby virtually lived in the graveyard until his death in 1872, being fed by people who lived in the tenements which partially enclose the cemetery.

Greyfriars Bobby Statue

Today we took a sunny Sunday stroll around the Grassmarket area, stopped for lunch and then headed to Greyfriars Kirk for a wander amongst the headstones and tombs.  We passed Bobby’s statue on the way.  He’s fenced off due to road works just now.

Greyfriars Herb Garden

Greyfriars Churchyard is a peaceful haven despite being slap bang in the middle of the city centre, with birds singing, cherry trees in full bloom and bright new leaves bursting out of the trees.  They even have little areas of planting such as the Herb Garden above.  On two sides of the cemetery, the headstones butt up very close to the walls of the buildings, giving the impression that the people living in the flats have a back garden full of history.

Greyfriars Churchyard headstones

I suspect that the little ground level window with the window box is someone’s kitchen, but I didn’t want to be too nosy, although I did think how easy it would be to open the window and chuck out some leftovers for a hungry dog.  What a fantastic view they have, but I bet it gets really busy in summer.  Greyfriars is so old and interesting that there are lots of visitors and guided tours are given to explain the history and highlight the many significant occupants.  But that’s a whole nother blog post, which I’ll do in the future…

Greyfriars Churchyard view

Bobby’s grave is the first one you see as you enter the gates.  It looked a bit untidy to me until Mr Jo had a light bulb moment.  People were leaving sticks for Bobby!  So on our wander round, we chose a couple of sticks to add to the pile.

Greyfriars Bobby Grave

We had a lovely afternoon – lunch, a bit of history, a bit of sentimentality and a wander in the sun.  Spring has definitely sprung in Edinburgh :-)

Cherry Blossom in Greyfriars Churchyard

View other Sentimental Sunday blog posts from Geneabloggers, or why not join in with a post of your own?  There are several prompts to inspire you for each day of the week.

Jo :-)

PS:  I’ve just started experimenting with Flickr so I hope the images didn’t take too long to upload – bear with me!

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About Jo

Professional Scottish genealogist - this blog is for my own family history and photos
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9 Responses to Greyfriars Bobby – Sentimental Sunday

  1. Lovely post Jo..as a person who loves dogs this story always makes me tear up. It is a wonderful story of loyalty and undying devotion. Spring has sprung there..I think I could spend days just wandering around that cemetery:)

  2. Aillin says:

    beautiful photos, thanks for sharing these. I have seen the Disney film of Greyfriar’s Bobby (which I know is possibly not completely accurate – but is lovely just the same) – a beautiful story.

  3. jinksy says:

    I’ve heard the story on the radio before, but your photos really brought it to life. Thanks!

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  5. Dolores Thomas says:

    I cried when I came to the part about the sticks left on Bobby’s grave…

    • Jo says:

      I was a bit “sniffy” when I realised what the pile of sticks was all about. And I’m more of a Cat person than a Dog person – no, actually, I’m an Animal person :-)

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  7. christine says:

    Great post – linked to it from your blogiversary post (congrats on that too!). Great memories. I love Greyfriars. I had never clued in about the sticks. Next visit will be a different experience now as I wander to do as you did and find a couple of sticks to lay down for Bobby. I loved the history of the church as well. Worship every Sunday for nearly 400 years!
    Thanks for sharing, Jo

    • Jo says:

      Thanks, Christine – I hadn’t been to Greyfriars for years and it turned out to be quite emotional. The cherry trees were in full bloom and the garden areas were lovely. Find some sticks next time you come, and add them to the heap :-)

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