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Commemoration Ceremony for Greyfriars Bobby 2016

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The Greyfriars Bobby statue watches over Candlemaker Row

The capital’s favourite canine has been commemorated for over 100 years and the celebrations continued on Thursday 14th January as people gathered for Greyfriars Bobby Day. To commemorate the Skye Terrier’s life, a service will be held at Greyfriars Kirkyard at 12.50pm

The Story of Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872. The story continues to be well known in Scotland, through several books and films, and a prominent commemorative statue on Crafty Candlemaker Row.

The best-known version of the story is that Bobby belonged to John Gray, who worked for the Edinburgh City Police as a night watchman. When John Gray died he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, the graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk in the Old Town of Edinburgh. Bobby then became known locally, spending the rest of his life sitting on his master’s grave.

Commemoration Ceremony for Greyfriars Bobby 2016

In 1867 Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir William Chambers — who was also a director of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — paid for Bobby’s licence, and gave the dog a collar now in the Museum of Edinburgh.

Bobby is said to have sat by the grave for 14 years. He died in 1872 and was buried just inside the gate of Greyfriars Kirkyard, not far from John Gray’s grave. A year later, Lady Burdett-Coutts had a statue and fountain erected at the southern end of George IV Bridge to commemorate him. Several books and films have since been based on Bobby’s life, including the novel Greyfriars Bobby (1912) by Eleanor Atkinson and the films Greyfriars Bobby (1961) and The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2006).

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