Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


New friends for Canongate Kirkyard

A team of volunteers has set up a new friends group dedicated to the Canongate Kirkyard.

May 29, 2014

The new friends group is supported as part of the EWH Edinburgh Graveyard project, which looks to promote and improve five historic graveyards in the World Heritage Site, with funding from World Monuments Fund, EWH and the Pilgrim Trust. The EWH Graveyards Officer Susan Buckham works to encourage the local community to become more involved with their graveyards, either as visitors who can enjoy them as green open spaces, or to take an active role in the care and interpretation of their local burial grounds.

The volunteers plan to work with the City of Edinburgh Council to improve the appearance of Canongate Kirkyard and raise its profile among local residents and visitors, with activities and new information about the people buried in the Kirkyard and its habitat potential as part of the Edinburgh city centre 'green corridor'.

Eric Drake one of the Friends of Canongate Kirkgate said: “I live in the Canongate and have a keen interest in the local environment and history so becoming a Friend of the Kirkyard was a no-brainer.  The Kirkyard is an amazing resource both in terms of what is in it and the view from it to Calton Hill.  Our researches are turning up some amazing stories about people commemorated there and I hope we can use these stories to introduce many more people to this unique environment.”

A new interpretation project will also focus on Canongate Kirkyard, highlighting the stories behind some of the burials to reveal the distinctive history of the Canongate Burgh, such as its royal connections, local trades, international connections, and the Scottish Enlightenment.

In collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council a gardening initiative will also take place, improving the area around the Canongate Mercat Cross and the entrance to the Kirkyard. Insect boxes will also be installed shortly to help increase the bio-diversity of the Kirkyard, manufactured by inmates of Saughton Prison and assembled by the Scouts and the Edinburgh University Volunteering Society.

The next stage for the Graveyard Project is to recording the monuments and headstones of Greyfriars Kirkyard, and to establish friends groups for this site and New Calton burying ground.

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