Greyfriars' Bobby

Greyfriar's Bobby
©2022 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 Sir William Chambers (1800-83), the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, was so touched by the dog's loyalty, that he personally bought the dog a collar, paid for his annual dog licence and awarded him the Freedom of the City. Greyfriars' Bobby maintained his vigil until his death some 14 years later, at the age of 16.

Visitors came from around the country to see the dog, and one of these, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, President of the Ladies Committee of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 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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