The Edinburgh City Guard, or His Majesty’s Company of Foot within the Town of Edinburgh, was a small body of soldiers paid by the council to protect the citizens of the capital from crime and disorder. As guardians of the city walls and gates, enforcers of the late night curfew, and first line of defence against rebels and rioters, these scarlet-coated sentinels were a familiar feature in Edinburgh from 1679. Their commander-in-chief was the Lord Provost, who was ultimately responsible for the city’s defence. The Guard was disbanded in 1817 after the new police force took over most of their responsibilities.
Now the Edinburgh City Guard is back! In 2012 history enthusiasts from the Alan Breck’s Prestonpans Volunteer Regiment formed a unit of the City Guard as it would have appeared in around 1730-50, the period of the notorious Porteous Riots and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite Rising. This new City Guard appears at re-enactment events across Scotland, including spectacular recreations of the Battle of Prestonpans each September (see www.prestonpansreenactment.org.uk for details of this year’s event).
The Edinburgh City Guard are always looking for new members, so why not have a look at their website and get in touch: http://www.edinburghcityguard.org.uk/ or https://www.facebook.com/edinburghcityguard/