South Leith Parish Churchyard
South Leith Parish Church, The New Kirkgate, 6 Henderson Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6BJ
The historic South Leith Parish Church is over five hundred years old. Beginning life as a chapel dedicated to St Mary, the first building on site was erected in 1483. It has been used variously as a place of worship, as a refuge during time of war and as a magazine for armaments.
The current A-listed building contains a particularly magnificent hammer-beam ceiling, installed in the mid-19th century, some stunning stain glass windows and an impressive organ. You can find out more about the building, its interior and its fascinating history on the Church’s own website or on its Wikipedia Page, but it is to the small graveyard outside that we now turn.
Several notable figures are buried in this little hidden gem of a graveyard, including John Pew, the man upon whom Robert Louis Stevenson is believed to have based the Treasure Island character “Blind Pew” upon, the historian Hugo Arnot and the playright John Hume. Recent works to extend the Edinburgh tramline to Newhaven have seen the excavation and exhumation, from just outside its boundary walls, of the remains of close to one hundred human skeletons, some dating as far back as the 14th century. This portion of ground was once part of the churchyard before a new road was constructed there in the 18th century.
Like all other cemeteries in the city, it is today owned and managed by the City Council, whose Parks and Greenspaces team enlisted the help of Captured Realities to create the immersive 360° tour below that allows you to have a wander around the graveyard from the comfort of your own home.
Until you can next drop-by in person, please enjoy your virtual visit!