The Story of Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriar’s Bobby – with his shiny nose

In 1850s Edinburgh, a nightwatchman, John Gray, was accompanied in his night-time work of traipsing the streets by his small dog, Bobby.

John died of tuberculosis in 1858 and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard in the centre of Edinburgh.

Bobby refused to leave his master’s grave.  The keeper of the Kirkyard made many attempts to chase him away, but he always came back. Eventually the keeper accepted the situation and created a small shelter for the dog, next to the grave.

He would leave the grave once a day, to eat lunch at a local coffee house, which he had got used to visiting with his master. As Bobby became famous in Edinburgh, crowds would gather to watch him on his daily lunchtime outing.

Bobby stayed by his master’s grave, even in the coldest of weather, for 14 long years, until his own death.

A statue of him was erected just outside the Kirkyard, in his memory.  Rubbing the statue’s nose is supposed to bring good luck. In fact, so many tourists rub the nose that the city has struggled to keep the statue in good shape.

Bobby is now a legend – many books and films tell his inspiring story. His headstone reads:

“Greyfriars Bobby – died 14th January 1872 – aged 16 years – Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.”


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