THE Canongate Kirk’s links to some of Scotland’s most famous writers and royals are explored in Rury Mason’s latest video guide
UP until the 1970s, the Canongate Kirk was a rough diamond. The lower part of the Royal Mile where the kirk is situated was run down and falling slowly into neglect.
Despite its long history and its links to some of Scotland’s most famous literary figures, the Canongate Kirk, founded in 1688, was at one time threatened with closure.
But the Kirk has regained much of its historic lustre, and in 2011 hosted the wedding of Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of the Queen.
The grave of poet Robert Fergusson is located at the kirk, as is a statue, located at the building’s entrance.
Robert Burns called Fergusson, one of his biggest inspirations, his “elder brother in misfortune, by far my elder brother in the muse”. There is a bust of Robert Burns in the kirk’s eastern wall.
Among others buried in the Canongate Kirk are Dugald Stewart, one of the city’s most celebrated philosophers of the Englightenment era. It is also believed that the remains of David Riccio, the personal secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots, were interned at the kirk. He was murdered on the orders of Mary, Queen of Scots’ husband Lord Darnley, who suspected Riccio had made his wife pregnant.
• Video supplied by Rury Mason of Edinburgh Video Guide