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Episode 88 – Exploring Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirkyard with Charlotte Golledge

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In episode 88 of the UK Travel Planning Podcast, we delve into the rich history of Greyfriars Kirkyard with our guest, Charlotte Golledge.

Charlotte, also known as ‘the death historian,’ is an expert on this historic site and a passionate advocate for sharing its stories with visitors. With her extensive knowledge of graveyards and funeral practices, she provides unique insights into the cultural significance of Greyfriars, uncovering hidden details and connections that will leave you intrigued.

Join us as we embark on a journey through time to explore the secrets and mysteries of Greyfriars Kirkyard in this special episode.

Click the blue button below to listen:

Episode 88 – Show Notes

Exploring Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirkyard with Charlotte Golledge

Key Topics covered in this episode include:

  • Charlotte Golledge and Greyfriars Kirkyard
    • Charlotte’s role as a private driver tour guide with Edinburgh Black Cab Tours
    • Charlotte’s interest in Greyfriars Kirkyard and her 19 years of work there
    • Charlotte’s specialization in death history and 18th-century funeral practices
    • Charlotte’s academic background and research on Greyfriars Kirkyard
  • History and Significance of Greyfriars Kirkyard
    • The gift of Greyfriars Kirkyard by Mary, Queen of Scots to the people of Edinburgh
    • The history of Greyfriars Kirkyard as a solution to overcrowding in the main burial ground at Saint Giles
    • Presbyterian Grave Symbology and Funeral Practices
    • Charlotte’s study and documentation of grave symbology in Presbyterian graveyards
    • Details about 18th-century funeral practices and Presbyterian beliefs regarding the afterlife
    • Poor people’s burial practices within Greyfriars Kirkyard and the lack of markers for their graves
    • The lie wake tradition and the role of mourners in funeral ceremonies
  • Body Snatching and Anatomy Schools
    • The necessity for bodies for medical studies and the lack of legal bodies in Scotland
    • The practices of body snatching in Scotland, including the involvement of watchmen and the actions of Burke and Hare
    • Precautions taken to protect bodies, such as using mort safes and building bars around graves
    • The impact of body snatching on the advancement of medical studies in Scotland
  • Greyfriars Bobby and Harry Potter
    • The potential inspiration for character names in the Harry Potter series from real people buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard
  • Conclusion
    • Recommendation to visit Greyfriars and the Royal Mile to experience the history of Edinburgh
    • The promotion of Charlotte Golledge’s book “Greyfriars Graveyard” and her role as chair of the Friends of Greyfriars Kirkyard

Click here to download a PDF Transcript of Episode 88

Useful resources, articles and podcasts

  • Episode 87 – Introduction to Edinburgh Black Cab Tours with Charlotte Golledge
  • Episode 58 – Edinburgh 101 Travel Tips for first time visitors

Guest Bio – Charlotte Golledge

Charlotte Golledge

Published historian Charlotte Golledge shares her passion for the dead and buried of Scotland, not just through her writing but also while out on tour with Edinburgh Black Cab Tours.

Currently writing her fourth (fifth and sixth) book on the Graveyards and Cemeteries of Perthshire she already has a back catalogue covering Edinburgh and Fife, with her beloved Greyfriars Kirkyard getting a publication to itself.

Charlotte’s books

Follow Charlotte on Instagram @the_death_historian and @EdinburghBlackCabTours

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