Built on location of a pre-reformation Francisan monastery, Greyfriars was used as a burial ground, when Mary Queen of Scots took possession of the ground and subsequently gave the town council control.
By the end of 1500’s there was need for a new church, and thus work began on Greyfriars in 1602. Planned to be Edinburgh’s first post-reformation church, however due to slow progress after 18 years on 1620 Christmas day. The grounds are host to a number of famous Scots buried in the historic grounds including George Heriot, James Craig and perhaps its most infamous resident Greyfriars Bobby, a loyal Skye Terrier who for 14 years kept vigil at his master John Gray’s grave. The Flodden wall built strategically to defend Edinburgh surrounds parts of the grounds.
Post Battle of Bothwell Bridge, some 1,200 Covenanters were held in Edinburgh in a makeshift prison on the Greyfriars grounds, parts of the areas is still known as the Covenanters Prison as he name stuck throughout history.
Today Greyfriars is a tourist destination for visitors from all over the world, you can even hire the church as a venue for events.