Edinburgh and the Lothians Sights

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Canongate Kirk

Canongate Kirk Review

This unadorned building, built in 1688, is run by the Church of Scotland and has an interesting graveyard. This is the final resting place of some notable Scots, including economist Adam Smith (1723–90), author of The Wealth of Nations (1776), who once lived in the nearby 17th-century Panmure House. Also buried here are Dugald Stewart (1753–1828), the leading European philosopher of his time, and the undervalued Scots poet Robert Fergusson (1750–74). That Fergusson's grave is even marked is the result of efforts by the much more famous Robert Burns (1759–96), who commissioned an architect—by the name of Robert Burn—to design one. Burn also designed the Nelson Monument, the tall column on Calton Hill to the north, which you can see from the graveyard.

Against the eastern wall of the graveyard is a bronze sculpture of the head of Mrs. Agnes McLehose, the "Clarinda" of the copious correspondence in which Robert Burns engaged while confined to his lodgings with an injured leg in 1788. Burns and McLehose—a high-born, talented woman who had been abandoned by her husband—exchanged passionate letters for some six weeks that year. The missives were dispatched across town by a postal service that delivered them within the hour for one penny. The curiously literary affair ended when Burns left Edinburgh in 1788 to take up a farm tenancy and to marry Jean Armour.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 153 Canongate, Old Town, Edinburgh, EH8 8BN | Map It
  • Phone: 0131/556–3515
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: May–Sept. daily 10–4
  • Website:
  • Location: Old Town
Updated: 10-11-2013

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