Skip to content

Edinburgh Central

Point F - Canongate Kirkyard

  • by

Location: 153 Canongate

Adam Smith’s grave in Canongate Kirkyard

After the Reformation, Scotland was gripped by continental ideas of the Enlightenment. Scottish thinkers were key figures. One of the most famous, Adam Smith, who died in 1790, is buried here.

Adam Smith’s most well-known work, ‘The Wealth of Nations’, laid the intellectual foundations for the Capitalist economy of today. He invented modern economics, espousing free trade and personal liberty.

Smith’s thinking was very European and heavily influenced by figures of the early Enlightenment. He toured Europe and met Voltaire, the great Enlightenment philosopher, who is reputed to have said, ‘We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation’…

David Rizzio, the Italian secretary of Mary Queen of Scots is rumoured to have been buried here. He was accused of being the Queen’s lover and was murdered by her husband, Darnley.

There are many European names in the graveyard. For example, John Frederick Lampe, a German musician and composer and Niccolo Pasquali, violinist and composer.  Even on this 18th-19th Century site, immigration and integration were part of Edinburgh’s rich tapestry.

Find out more at this link and download a map of the kirkyard here.

Exit the Canongate Kirk and kirkyard on to the Canongate. Turn left and walk 400 metres down the hill to the roundabout at the bottom of the Royal Mile. Holyrood Palace is directly ahead of you.

Picture credits: Creative Commons, N.Chadwick – CC-BY-SA.20