Before meeting Terry for lunch I went for a brief walk through the graveyard of St Cuthbert’s at the end of Princes Street.
For much of its existence St Cuthbert’s was a country kirk, outwith the city wall and in the county of Lothian and Tweeddale. In the reign of King David I of Scotland (1124 – 1153), Edinburgh was clustered on the ridge which runs eastwards from the Castle. All along the foot of the northern slope of the Castle rock was a morass or marsh and from there northwards it was all countryside until one came to Newhaven and Leith on the coast.
The Kirk below the Castle of Edinburgh has a claim to great, but imprecise, antiquity. One theory about its origins is that St Cuthbert journeyed from Melrose and stayed awhile in the sheltered hollow below the Castle rock. Another view is that the Church came into being only fifty years before the 1127 Charter. Simeon of Durham, in 1130, wrote of a church in Edwin’s Burgh in 854 but whilst some believe it was St Cuthbert’s others think St Giles.
Visitors to the large and extensive churchyard can ask a church representative to locate someone – perhaps a distant ancestor – whose grave they would like to visit. The grave number is in the index books and referred to on the churchyard map.
The land lying immediately around the Church has been a place of Christian burial for a thousand years.Only one stone, however, that of Rev Robert Pont, who died in 1606, remains from earlier days. Except in unusual circumstances, interments ceased at the end of the 19th century.
There is a record of over 1000 graves and this was the work of John Smith:
“Monumental Inscriptions in St Cuthbert’s Churchyard, Edinburgh, compiled by John Smith, edited by Sir James Balfour Paul, CVO, LLD 1915”.
The work came too late to record many of the inscriptions but enough remain visible to reward the scrutiny of the interested visitor. Source – St Cuthbert’s Kirk
While I wandered I took some photos.