Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


New heritage trails for Edinburgh’s historic graveyards

EWH has launched a series of new trails covering five historic graveyards within the World Heritage Site.

May 28, 2015

Each of the trails features a timeline and map which reveals some of the buried stories about Old and New Calton Burying Grounds, Greyfriars Canongate, and St Cuthbert’s Kirkyards. The trails were produced as part of EWH’s Edinburgh Graveyards Project, which aims to promote and conserve the five historic graveyards within the World Heritage Site. The project is also supported by Edinburgh World Heritage, the World Monument Fund and the Pilgrim Trust.

Dr Susan Buckham, Graveyard Development Officer said: “Each of the five of the graveyards in Edinburgh's World Heritage Site is unique. This trail celebrates their special qualities, showing how Edinburgh's historic burial sites hold something to please and surprise every visitor. EWH has worked with members of the community to place these hidden treasures firmly on Edinburgh's tourist map.

Take in the epic history of Scotland’s nation-makers buried in Greyfriars with their magnificent monuments. Or discover the local stories of the craftsmen buried in Calton Old Burial Ground, their stones carved with symbols laden with coded meanings. Step away from Edinburgh's busy West End and enjoy St Cuthbert’s beautiful green oasis. New Calton Burial Ground is one of the city's hidden gems, with its breathtaking views over the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Place and Arthur’s seat. Down in Canongate's Kirkyard the scavenger hunt, treasure trails and puzzles provide fun for all the family, illustrating why graveyards are places where you can’t help but learn about the past."

The five graveyards are of international importance, charting the city’s development from the medieval burgh to the eighteenth and nineteenth century neo-classical city. As a group they also document some of the major changes in Scottish history, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Industrial Revolution, but at a human scale showing how they touched people’s lives. Many historically important figures are buried in the five graveyards, such as philosophers David Hume in Old Calton burying ground, and Adam Smith in Canongate Kirkyard; George Buchanan, tutor to King James VI in Greyfriars and mathematician John Napier in St Cuthbert’s Kirkyard.

The graveyards have enormous un-tapped potential to substantially add to the visitors’ experience of the city. A recent visitor survey found that simple things such as a leaflet or tours would be helpful, particularly to help people identify who is buried where and to interpret their significance.

The trails are supported under the EWH Green Heritage project, with funding from the Climate Challenge Fund.

Download the Graveyard Trails:

Old Calton Burying Ground (PDF | 450KB)

New Calton Burying Ground (PDF | 450KB)

Canongate Kirkyard (PDF | 450KB)

Greyfriars Kirkyard (PDF | 450KB)

St Cuthbert's Kirkyard (PDF | 450KB)

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