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Greyfriars' Bobby

Greyfriar's Bobby
©2019 Gazetteer for Scotland

Greyfriar's Bobby

The memorial to Greyfriars' Bobby lies on the sharp junction of George IV Bridge and Candlemaker Row in Edinburgh, opposite the entrance to Greyfriars' Kirk. This Skye terrier dog was owned by John Gray, an unemployed gardener who became an Edinburgh policeman. When Gray died in 1858, he was buried in Greyfriars' Kirkyard. Greyfriars' Bobby made his home by his master's grave. Local residents fed the dog and even built him a shelter, and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh was so touched by the dog's loyalty, that he personally paid the annual dog licence. Awarded the Freedom of the City. Greyfriars' Bobby maintained his vigil until his death some 14 years later.

Visitors came from around the country to see the dog, and one of these, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, was instrumental in ensuring that when the dog died a permanent memorial was built in recognition of his loyalty. Erected in 1872, the memorial comprises a life-sized bronze of the dog, by sculptor William Brodie (1815-81), mounted on a granite plinth. Greyfriars' Bobby was buried in the kirkyard which he had made his home.

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