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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April 2004, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Greyfriars Bobby kirk facelift
Greyfriars church, outside shot
The church is the heart of Edinburgh's world heritage site
An historic Edinburgh church has re-opened to the public after a 1m makeover.

Greyfriars Church was the venue for the signing of the National Covenant, which separated church and state, in 1638.

Its graveyard is also the final resting place of Greyfriars Bobby, the terrier who stood guard by his master's grave.

Grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland enabled work to go ahead at the church in the heart of Edinburgh's world heritage site.

Cromwell's troops used the kirk as barracks between 1650 to 1653, and in the following century it was badly damaged while being used as a gunpowder store by the town council.

Lay on grave

Padi Mathieson, temporary visitors officer at Greyfriars, said she was glad the work had almost been completed.

She said: "The church was badly in need of a lot of repair work, particularly to the roof and stone work, so now that it has been done we hope we are up and running for the next 60 years.

"I think most of us in the church just have such a feeling of relief that it's nearly all over.

Greyfriars church, inside shot
Repairs were done to stone work and the roof
"It has been very hard, particularly for the people who work here.

"It has been very dirty and the congregation have been upset because the arrangements inside the church varied from week to week, so I think we're all very pleased that we are coming to the end of a very hard time."

Many famous people are buried in its kirkyard, among them the Victorian, John Gray.

His doting Skye terrier lay on his grave each day for 14 years, creating the legend of Greyfriars Bobby.

Bobby was buried in the flowerbed at the front of the building, his portrait hangs inside and a statue was erected to remember the dog's devotion.

An international appeal was launched 17 years ago to restore the church.

It was gradually returned to use as the money came in, staging services and acting as a music venue during the Edinburgh International Festival.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Pauline McLean reports
"Greyfriars is one of the most historic churches in the world"



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