New Calton Burial Ground

On Sunday Terry I had a wander round the New Calton Burial Ground.

The New Calton Burial Ground was built as an overspill and replacement to the Old Calton Burial Ground and lies on the south-east slopes of Calton Hill. It has views to Holyrood Palace, the Scottish Parliament Building and Arthur’s Seat.

The burial ground is full of interesting graves.

As we walked up the hill I spotted the grave of Andrew Skene. He was born in Aberdeen on 28th February 1784 and died in Edinburgh 2nd April 1835, aged 51. He was elected Solicitor General for Scotland in 1834. The marble monument was sculpted by Patric Park.

In the far left corner as we walked up the hill there is an imposing watchtower which was built to protect against grave robbing.

The tower was certainly occupied as a house for most of its history. Despite being tiny (around 5m diameter internally) it is said to have accommodated a family of ten at one time: parents sleeping on the central floor (the livingroom), daughters on the top floor, sons on the lower floor. Adjacent empty plots were utilised as garden ground to grow vegetables. The remnant rhubarb patch was still extant until the mid 1980s. Source – New Calton Burial Ground

Just up from the watch tower is the grave of William F Townsend. I haven’t found out anything about him but looking at his grave he must have been an artist or musician.

2016-07-24 19.31.28Another grave we saw was that of Scottish Poet, William Knox. He is known for writing Abraham Lincoln’s favourite poem, Mortality, which Lincoln would recite from memory.

Knox farmed unsuccessfully before becoming a writer. He was supported by Christopher North and Sir Walter Scott.

Knox died aged 36.




The burial ground has many tombs and other interesting gravestones.



About AMWeston

After too many years as an IT developer with various financial organisations I went back to University to study to be a teacher. I graduated in 2008. I am a mother of two - one girl and one boy. I am interested in new technologies especially how they can be used in education. I am Apple Teacher. I am a keen football supporter but gave up my season ticket due to being disheartened and lack of money/time.
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