Greyfriars Kirk (Scottish Gaelic: Eaglais nam Manach Liath) is a parish church of the Church of Scotland, located in the Old Town of Edinburgh, Scotland. It is surrounded by Greyfriars Kirkyard.Plan to visit Greyfriars Kirk and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Edinburgh attractions using our Edinburgh day trip planning app.
Greyfriars traces its origin to the south-west parish of Edinburgh, founded in 1598. Initially, this congregation met in the western portion of St Giles'. The church is named for the Observantine Franciscans or "Grey Friars" who arrived in Edinburgh from the Netherlands in the mid-15th century and were granted land for a Friary at the south-western edge of the burgh. 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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Tours to Greyfriars Kirk
$25 BOOK WITH VIATOR Ghost Bus Tour of Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour of Edinburgh
Duration: 60 to 75 minutes
$22 BOOK WITH VIATOR Haunted Vaults and Graveyard Walking Tour in Edinburgh Haunted Vaults and Graveyard Walking Tour in Edinburgh
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
$12 BOOK WITH VIATOR Edinburgh Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Edinburgh Hop-on Hop-off City Tour
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes
$60 BOOK WITH VIATOR Edinburgh Private Walking Tour Edinburgh Private Walking Tour
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
$33 BOOK WITH VIATOR Private Greyfriars Kirkyard tour - 'Meet' the dead of Old Edinburgh! Private Greyfriars Kirkyard tour - 'Meet' the dead of Old Edinburgh!
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
$19 BOOK WITH VIATOR Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off City and Britannia Joint Tour Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off City and Britannia Joint Tour
Duration: 70 to 83 minutes
$210 BOOK WITH VIATOR Private Old Edinburgh Private Walking Tour Private Old Edinburgh Private Walking Tour
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
$154 BOOK WITH VIATOR Edinburgh Private city tour Edinburgh Private city tour
Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes
$1,080 BOOK WITH VIATOR Explore an amazing Edinburgh on a private walking tour of the Old town Explore an amazing Edinburgh on a private walking tour of the Old town
Duration: 4 hours
$230 BOOK WITH VIATOR Private Walking Tour: The Edinburgh of Sherlock Holmes Private Walking Tour: The Edinburgh of Sherlock Holmes
Duration: 2 hours
Greyfriars Kirk reviews
The Greyfriars Kirk is a parish church of the Church of Scotland, located a short walk from Grassmarket in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It’s surrounded by the fascinating Greyfriars Kirkyard. The church...
The Greyfriars Kirk is a parish church of the Church of Scotland, located a short walk from Grassmarket in Edinburgh’s Old Town. It’s surrounded by the fascinating Greyfriars Kirkyard. The church... more »
Our free walking tour ended in Greyfriars Kirk and we heard some interesting stories about the area. Fascinating history. It is worth exploring a little further to see some of the graves and...
Our free walking tour ended in Greyfriars Kirk and we heard some interesting stories about the area. Fascinating history. It is worth exploring a little further to see some of the graves and... more »
The story of Bobby the little faithful loyal dog is well worth a read and the fact that it is a true story is amazing. The graveyard where the little dog now rests is well kept and full of history. Bobby the little dog shows how our animal friends truly love us. The grave yard is well worth a visit to see the little dogs grave and his masters.
This is where the famous Thomas Riddell and Katherine Riddell was buried. One of the tourist attraction here in Edinburg. More well known name are actually buried here, we saw group tours that go here. But us we just walked in by ourselves. But this is a must visit place as well.
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