12/10/2017
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Where is John Knox buried?

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We tell the story of the burial place of Scottish religious preacher and reformer John Knox, whose final resting place was discovered to be below an Edinburgh car park.

Who was John Knox?

John Knox was born near Edinburgh c.1505 and educated at the the universities of Glasgow and St Andrews. He was ordained as a priest some time before 1540 (when he is first mentioned so in documents) and his works and sermons were heavily influenced by the sermons of reformer and martyr George Wishart.

After spending 19 months as a galley slave when he was captured by the French at St Andrews Castle, Knox spent time in mainland Europe, returning to Scotland in 1555. When the Reformed Protestant religion was ratified by law in 1560 he became a minister at St Giles in Edinburgh, a position which put him at odds with Mary Queen of Scots, who attended the church to hear his sermons. Knox is the author of History of the Reformation, a five-volume work written between 1559 and 1566.

The burial place of John Knox

John Knox is commemorated by a six-foot bronze statue in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, however his actual burial place is spot number 23 in a car park to the rear of the cathedral. This car park was once part of the cathedral kirkyard and later covered over, with the original burials left in situ. A metal plate marks the spot of the burial site.

Other sites connected with John Knox in Edinburgh include the John Knox House on the Royal Mile, where Knox once lived, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, home to Knox's arch enemy Mary Queen of Scots. There is also a statue of Knox at New College.

(image copyright Kim Traynor)

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