Greyfriars Churchyard is inconspicuously tucked away on Candlemaker Row in Edinburgh, Scotland. Although not a large cemetery it contains a variety of burial options including vaults, sepulchres, tombs and mausoleums. It is rife with history, hauntings and a fair amount of mystery. Bodies have been buried here since 1562 although records were not kept until 1658. The location of many graves is unknown, and bones are regularly washed to the surface during heavy rainstorms. Hundreds of persecuted and martyred Covenanters lie here. Stones hundreds of years old marred by coal fire smoke and acid rain still stand albeit in a blackened mossy state. Although it seems that time almost stands still here, you will be surprised how quickly it passes as you wander through the graves.
The 17th century Greyfriars Kirk is still a working parish and worth a visit. A museum and gift shop are also located on the site.
Hugo Arnot, Edinburgh historian, describing Greyfriars Kirkyard in 1779
“The graves are so crowded on each other that the sextons frequently cannot avoid in opening a ripe grave encroaching on one not fit to be touched. The whole presents a scene equally nauseous and unwholesome. How soon this spot will be so surchrged with animal juices and oils, that, becoming one mass of coruption, its noxious steams will burst forth with the prey of a pestilence, we shall not pretend to determine; but we will venture to say, the effects of this burying-ground would ere now have been severly felt, were it not that, besides the coldness of the climate, they have been checked by the acidity of the coal smoke and the height of the winds, which in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh blow with extraordinary violence.”