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Greyfriars Cemetery

Greyfriars Cemetery is a sizeable rectangular burial ground occupying a block behind Tay Street, Canal Street and Princes Street in the southeast of central Perth. It opened in 1580 on the site of the former Greyfriars (Franciscan) Monastery and took over from the area around St. John's Kirk as the principal burial ground for the city. The monastery was demolished during the Reformation.

Greyfriars is said to contain the finest assemblage of monuments and graveslabs in Scotland, which date back to the 17th century, although there is a single stone on the south wall which dates from 1580. Most of the earlier stones were taken by Oliver Cromwell's troops to build their Citadel on the nearby South Inch in 1659. Thus, most memorials date from the 18th and 19th centuries, and many are richly decorated, including the symbols of the trades, crafts and guilds of Perth. The best stones were moved under cover during a restoration of the burial ground undertaken by Perth and Kinross Council between 1999 and 2001. At this time the entrance from Tay Street, with its interesting metal gates, was created. The original entrance is from Canal Street in the north.

The cemetery was extended in 1795 and again in 1820, with the last burial taking place in 1978. Notable individuals buried here include the educationalist Prof. Adam Anderson (1780 - 1846) and the architects William MacDonald Mackenzie (1797 - 1856) and Andrew Heiton (1823-94).

Now A-listed for its historical and architectural importance, the cemetery was upgraded from a B-listing in 2009.


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