Dean Cemetery

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Dean Cemetery is a well-known cemetery in Dean Village in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Dean House

It stands on the site of Dean House (built 1614), part of Dean Estate which had been purchased in 1609 by Sir William Nisbet, who became in 1616 Lord Provost of Edinburgh. The Nisbets of Dean held the office of Hereditary Poulterer to the King. The famous herald, Alexander Nisbet, of Nisbet House, near Duns, Berwickshire, is said to have written his Systems of Heraldry in Dean House. The mansion was demolished in 1845, and Sculptured stones from it are incorporated into the south terrace wall supporting the edge of the cemetery.

Stone carving from demolished Dean House now part of retaining wall in Dean Cemetery

The cemetery

Dean Cemetery was laid out by David Cousin (who built Chirnside Bridge Paper Mill) and became a fashionable burial ground, its monuments becoming a rich source of Edinburgh and Victorian history, but mainly middle and upper-class. Many bear witness to Scottish achievement in peace and war, at home and abroad.

The cemetery is privately owned by the Dean Cemetery Trust Limited.

Of the many interesting notables buried here are William Henry Playfair, the architect, Sir Thomas Bouch, the railway engineer; Andrew Inglis (d. 1875), M.D., Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and Professor of Midwifery at Aberdeen University; Robert Hepburn Swinton of that Ilk (d.1852); and Major-General Sir Hector MacDonald, the distinguished Victorian soldier (d.1903); and artist and photography pioneer David Octavius Hill (d. 1870). There is a monument to historian John Hill Burton (who is buried at Dalmeny) and his wife Isabella (née Lauder) and their children who are buried here.

Statue of artist & photography pioneer David Octavius Hill, with bust of Hill by his second wife.


Official Website:


  • The Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh edited by A. S. Cowper and Euan S. McIver, Edinburgh, 1992. ISBN 0-901061-54-9.

Coordinates: 55°57′12″N 3°13′20″W / 55.95333°N 3.22222°W / 55.95333; -3.22222

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