From Edinburgh Notes
Jump to: navigation, search

Greyfriars Bobby

The true, heart-warming story of Greyfriars Bobby is probably one of Edinburgh's best-known local


Who Was Greyfriars Bobby?

Bobby was a small Skye Terrier who belonged to one John Gray, an out of work gardener. Unable to make a living in his chosen trade, Gray became a policeman. He bought Bobby to accompany him on his rounds as a watch dog - hence the dog's name.

Gray came down with tuberculosis and eventually died of the illness in 1858. He was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

The faithful Bobby was so loyal to its master that he stayed constantly by the grave, refusing to budge in any weather. Some stories say that the only time he left was to get food when the one o'clock gun fired. Then he would go to a local coffee house that Gray had frequented and they would feed him.

So popular was Bobby with the people of Edinburgh that when a new law was passed requiring all dogs to be licensed and collared, the Lord Provost Sir William Chambers paid for Bobby's licence himself.

Bobby kept up his faithful watch until his own death fourteen years later.

This story of a faithful little dog was the inspiration for the 1961 film "Greyfriars Bobby", where Gray is transplanted to become a shepherd. A John Henderson version released in 2006 sticks more closely to the original story, although it does concentrate on a "shy young man" who took over Bobby after Gray's death rather than on Gray himself.

Near to the churchyard is a pub called the Greyfriars Bobby Bar, a popular watering-hole for tourists. Just outside this is a statue of Bobby to which Edinburgh visitors flock.

This page last updated: 12-11-2016