Greyfriars traces its origin to the south-west parish of Edinburgh, founded in 1598. In the wake of the Scottish Reformation, the grounds of the abandoned Friary were repurposed as a cemetery, in which the current church was constructed between 1602 and 1620. In 1638, National Covenant was signed in the Kirk. The church was damaged during the Protectorate, when it was used as barracks by troops under Oliver Cromwell. In 1718, an explosion destroyed the church tower. During the reconstruction, the church was partitioned to hold two congregations: Old Greyfriars and New Greyfriars. In 1845, fire ravaged Old Greyfriars. After its reconstruction, the minister, Robert Lee, introduced the first organ and stained glass windows in a Scottish parish church since the Reformation. In 1929, Old and New Greyfriars united and the church was restored as one sanctuary. In the following years, the depopulation of the Old Town saw Greyfriars unite with a number of neighbouring congregations.

The church of Greyfriars is a simple aisled nave of eight bays; the style is Survival Gothic fused with Baroque elements. The church initially consisted of six bays and a west tower. After the explosion of 1718 destroyed the tower, Alexander McGill added two new bays and a Palladian north porch to create one building divided into two churches of four bays each. After it was gutted by fire in 1845, David Cousin rebuilt Old Greyfriars with an open, un-aisled interior. Between 1932 and 1938, the interior and arcades were restored by Henry F. Kerr. Notable features of the church include historic stained glass windows by James Ballantine; the 17th century monument to Margaret, Lady Yester; and an original copy of the National Covenant of 1638.

Since the 18th century, the congregations of Greyfriars have been notable for their missionary work within the parish. This continues to the present day through the church's work with the Grassmarket Community Project and the Greyfriars Charteris Centre. Greyfriars holds weekly Gaelic services, maintaining a tradition of Gaelic worship in Edinburgh that goes back to the beginning of the 18th century.

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Founded: 1602
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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en.wikipedia.org

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

kiki si (7 months ago)
5 star cuz it’s free ? but hard to track down all the Harry Potter graves, I think they should put instructions on how to get to them!
Pamela Kavanagh (8 months ago)
I love Greyfriars and regularly visited when I lived in Edinburgh. Nice to see the recognition it deserves but it is so sad to see how much damage has been done in the kirkyard. Lots of gated and headstones dated. Is there no one protecting this site?
Ptite Soff (9 months ago)
Peaceful place for a walk, especially on a sunny day. Beautiful view on the castle. And a nice hunting after the graves that inspired some names in Harry Potter.
Laura Areniece (13 months ago)
A nice place to visit when going to Edinburgh. A very interesting story when it comes to the Harry Potter books too which made the visit even more intriguing.
Tom Parry (16 months ago)
Definitely worth a visit if your in Edinburgh. Some of the tombs are really magnificent. There is also the grave of Greyfriars Bobby the small dog that is said to have stayed in the grave yard after the death of his owner. People leave sticks as a tribute to the dog. There is also a statue of the dog near by also a pub named after him. The kirkyard also contains part of Edinburgh's Flodden wall. The kirkyard is easily accessible from the city centre and is a nice green space that is a window into the past with many large and magnificent tombs with statues that are quite macabre but extremely interesting.
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