Greyfriars Kirkyard is probably my new favourite cemetery. Yes, I'm the sort of person who has favourite cemeteries, and this one has just taken the number one spot. It's like Myspace for graveyards in here.
For some reason, and I have no idea why, I had it in my head that Greyfriars Kirkyard was a little church burial ground. It's not. It's actually about 5 acres which is fairly large for a churchyard.
Like Old Calton Burial Ground, the architecture is absolutely stunning. It's very true to that of the surrounding city, with Gothic details and Craigleith sandstone a-plenty.
However, Greyfriars is probably best known for the story of Greyfriars Bobby, the little dog who would sit at his master's grave every day. Although it seems to be a fabricated story, it's still very sweet, and Bobby even has his own pub outside the cemetery gates.
Anyway, back to the cemetery...
This was my favourite part of the burial ground: Covenanter's Prison. In 1679, this part of the churchyard was used to hold over a thousand men who supported the National Covenant. At the time, it wasn't a burial ground- They didn't just chuck them in with the graves!
These days, the area is gated off due to- and I kid you not- poltergeist activity. The council presumably thought it a health and safety risk although, funnily enough, they do allow tour guides to lead their groups in during ghost tours.
There are many almost-anonymous graves in Greyfriars and I think they fascinate me more than those which have full obituaries engraved.
I found more Euphemias!
The real Tom Riddle!
These iron bars are called mortsafes, and where installed to prevent resurrection men stealing bodies and selling them to medical schools as cadavers. This was a big business on the black market until the Anatomy Act of 1832. In some cases, families would rent mortsafes just long enough for the body to decay.
This grave fascinated me because the spelling of the surname changes from Ray to Rae around the 1630s.
I highly recommend Greyfriars Kirkyard to any morbid folk like me who happen to be visiting Edinburgh. When you look past the myth of Bobby, there is a whole churchyard filled to the brim with history.