Greyfriars Bobby Fountain - History and Facts | History Hit

Greyfriars Bobby Fountain

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About Greyfriars Bobby Fountain

The Greyfriars Bobby Fountain is a granite fountain in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, which is topped by a bronze life-size statue of the famed 19th-century Scottish dog, Greyfriars Bobby. The dog, which is thought to have been a Skye Terrier or Dandie Dinmont Terrier, supposedly spent 14 years guarding the grave of his owner John Gray, until Bobby himself died in 1872.

The fountain was unveiled in 1873, and today remains a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike, who enjoy rubbing Bobby’s nose for good luck.

History of Greyfriars Bobby Fountain

Greyfriars Bobby’s master, John Gray, was a night watchman in Edinburgh who was accompanied by Bobby on his nightly rounds. After Gray died and was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, it is said that his faithful dog, Bobby, lay on his grave every day for 14 years. So famous was Bobby that it is said that crowds would gather at the entrance to the Kirkyard every day waiting for the one o’ clock gun, at which point Bobby would leave the grave for his midday meal.

Shortly before Bobby died, wealthy philanthropist Lady Burdett-Coutts, president of the Ladies’ Committee of the RSPCA, commissioned a statue to be made from life by Edinburgh sculptor William Brodie. Brodie is also known for making statues of characters from Walter Scott’s Waverley novels for the Scott Monument in Princes Street.

The memorial was placed at the southern end of George IV Bridge, close to Greyfriars Kirkyard and the National Museum of Scotland. It was unveiled on 15 November 1873.

The polished granite basin and bronze statue also initially included two drinking cups which were attached by a chain. The water supply to the fountain ended in 1957, and the monument was restored in 1985 after a period of neglect.

In 1977, the monument became a category A listed building. It is said to be Edinburgh’s smallest listed building.

Greyfriars Bobby Fountain today

The statue is frequently visible with a golden, shiny nose, owing to tourists rubbing it for good luck. Just across the road is Greyfriars Kirkyard, where you can find Bobby’s headstone. It reads: ‘Greyfriars Bobby – died 14th January 1872 – aged 16 years – Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all‘.

Getting to Greyfriars Bobby Fountain

The fountain is situated in the centre of Edinburgh’s Old Town, across the road from Greyfriars Kirkyard. Edinburgh Waverley train station is around 20 minutes away by foot and car, and a number of buses stop close by.