Greyfriar's Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby Day

Jan 14

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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

“I heard of Bobby first early in the winter, from a Bible-reader at the Medical Mission in the Cowgate, who saw the little dog’s master buried. He sees many strange, sad things in his work, but nothing ever shocked him so as the lonely death of that pious old shepherd in such a picturesque den of vice and misery.”

~ Eleanor Atkinson, Greyfriars Bobby, 1912

Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became well known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on the 14th of January 1872. Looked after by John Gray for the last two years of the local old man's life, Bobby reportedly guarded Gray's grave faithfully for the next fourteen years, capturing the heart of the Lord Provost, William Chambers, who organized for the Town Council to pay for Bobby's dog license, and so saved him from the dogcatcher. The story of loyal and steadfast Bobby continues on through several books and films, a recent stage play, oblique references in video games, and the prominent commemorative statue near the Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh. This special commemorative fountain includes a life-size statue of Bobby created by William Brodie in 1872, originally built as a drinking fountain - it had two bronze drinking cups attached, and an upper fountain for humans and a lower fountain for dogs! Bobby is also remembered through the Greyfriars tartan, which was designed to celebrate and recognize the history and community around Greyfriars Kirkyard. 🐕 ⛪

Greyfriar's 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 the 14th of January 1872.  The story continues to be well known in Scotland, through several books and films, and a prominent commemorative statue near the Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh.

The Greyfriars Bobby Fountain includes a life size statue of Greyfriars Bobby created by William Brodie in 1872.  This was paid for by a local aristocrat, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, and unveiled on 15 November 1873. Originally built as a drinking fountain, it had an upper fountain for humans and a lower fountain for dogs.

Bobby's headstone reads "Greyfriars Bobby - died 14th January 1872 - aged 16 years - Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all".

For recent interesting research as to the origins of the story of Greyfriars Bobby, click collage including a Drawing Of Greyfriars Bobby By Reginald P. Phillimore c.1910, and another drawing supposedly of Bobby from real life (artist unknown).

Greyfriar's Bobby
Greyfriar's Bobby

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