NT2573 : Greyfriars Bobby

taken 8 years ago, near to Edinburgh, Great Britain

This is 1 of 8 images, with title Greyfriars Bobby in this square
Greyfriars Bobby
Greyfriars Bobby
The lifesized statue of Greyfriars Bobby commissioned by baroness Burdett-Coutts almost immediately after the dog's death and modelled by William Brodie. It is standing at the top of a granite water fountain (see NT2573 : Greyfriars Bobby's Bar and Drinking Fountain). Originally built as a drinking fountain, it very aptly had an upper fountain for humans and a lower fountain for dogs. Following a health scare in 1975, the water supply was cut off to all of Edinburgh’s drinking fountains and both basins were filled in with concrete. After being daubed with paint in 1979, and hit by a car in 1984, the fountain was restored in 1985.
Greyfriars Bobby
Bobby was a Skye Terrier, belonging to Police Constable John Grey in Edinburgh’s Old Town. After John died of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1857, he was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard and according to tradition his dog, Bobby was allowed to follow the funeral procession. After the grave had been closed, Bobby lay on the freshly made mound of earth. Gardeners and gravediggers attempted to shoo him away, but Bobby always returned.

After a few days, the curator took pity on the faithful animal and gave him some food. Bobby made the Kirkyard his home and kept up his vigil for many years, becoming a familiar sight in and around the church yard where he could be seen at almost any time during the day. He made many friends and became quite a celebrity. Kind neighbours gave him blankets and food and, when a law was passed requiring unlicensed dogs to be put down, Edinburgh’s Lord Provost paid for Bobby’s collar and licence.

Bobby died on 14th January 1872 aged sixteen (a grand age for a dog, particularly in nineteenth century Edinburgh). Friends buried him in the triangular flower bed beneath the tree in front of the old Greyfriars Kirk, near to his master. He could not be buried next to John Grey because it would not be allowed for a dog to be buried on consecrated ground. They marked the spot with a stone but it was later removed.

In 1981, two red granite headstones were erected, one marking Bobby’s Grave and one at John Grey’s Grave.

LinkExternal link - A more detailed account of Bobby’s Story

The story of Greyfriars Bobby is a heart warming tale and there are records backing up the details, but over the years, some people have tried to claim that the story was some kind of hoax, eg most recently in this Daily Mail report LinkExternal link
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Grid Square
NT2573, 5565 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 26 October, 2011   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 1 November, 2011
Geographical Context
City, Town centre  People, Events 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 2569 7330 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.8182N 3:11.4855W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 2569 7330
View Direction
West-southwest (about 247 degrees)
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Other Tags
Statue  Memorial  Dog  Skye Terrier 

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