Greyfriars Kirk

Greyfriars Museum Edinburgh

Greyfriars Kirk 

Greyfriars Kirk takes its name from the Franciscan friary which was previously on this site. The signing of the National Covenant took place in Greyfriar’s 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). Greyfriar’s 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.

Don’t miss visiting Greyfriars Museum for the history and mystery of the graveyard and Kirk. 

Greyfriars kirk Edinburgh

Greyfriars Tolbooth and Highland Kirk Museum

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

National Covenant (The Presbyterians) Greyfriars Kirk Edinburgh

The National Covenant signed in Greyfriars in 1638 promised to defend Presbyterianism from intervention by the crown.

Covenanters Swords

Stars and Strips American Flag

Flodden Wall In Greyfriars Kirk Graveyard

The Flodden wall can be seen through 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. 

Greyfriars Graveyard Flodden Wall Remains Wall Remain

Edinburgh Town 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 led 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):

Edinburgh Town Guard Greyfriars Highland Kirk

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