The tale of the loyal Skye terrier “Bobby”, who faithfully stood guard over his master’s grave for 14 years, has inspired books, films, toys and tributes since his death in 1872!
The story goes that Bobby belonged to Edinburgh policeman John Gray, who died of tuberculosis in 1858 and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard.
Unable to be separated from his master, Bobby dedicated the remaining 14 years of his life to guarding the site of John Gray’s grave – leaving only to get food before rushing back to keep watch over his master once more.
When Bobby finally died, he was buried just inside the gate of Greyfriars Kirkyard, not far from his master’s grave. His loyal devotion inspired a life size bronze sculpture and water fountain just a year later, opposite Greyfriars Kirkyard at the top of Candlemaker Row. And it still stands today.
The fountain design included an octagonal lower drinking basin for dogs, and an upper drinking water spout for humans. In 1957, however, the water supply was discontinued due to public health concerns!
So … what a legend!
The true story of Greyfrairs Bobby may not be quite so romantic though. It now seems more likely that he was a stray who made a home for himself in the kirkyard, and so the myth developed that he was there out of loyalty to a dead owner. Whatever the truth, Greyfriars Bobby has gone down in history as a symbol of devotion and faithfulness.
And if you need an excuse to go and see Bobby’s statue, why not visit the city pub renamed in honour of him shortly after his death in 1872. The Greyfriars Bobby pub on Candlemaker Row rests on the ground floor of a row of Georgian houses next to the historic Candlemakers’ Hall, built in 1722 … and right opposite Bobby’s statue!
The menu offers popular favourites, like Roasted Vegetable Tart and Wild Boar and Chorizo Burgers as well as having an extensive range of casks and ales. Enjoy!