Foul Clenger 1645
Walter King

Time to meet an unsung hero from 1645. His distinctive uniform featuring the Cross of St Andrew marks Walter out as a foul clenger employed by the Burgh Council to clean houses affected by the plague.

  • Occupation: Plague Cleaner
  • Likes: The smell of burning, the cross of St Andrews on his tunic, cleansing the air
  • Dislikes: Dealing with corpses, Sciennes, rats

The Maid 1535
Agnes Chambers

Agnes is a maid in the household of the prominent merchant burgess Alexander Cant. It’s 1535, there’s a tale of murder on Craig’s Close… things are about to take a dramatic turn.

  • Occupation: Maid to the Cant Family
  • Likes: Polishing her masters quaich collection, returning home to her family at the end of a long day
  • Dislikes: 7 in the morning and 10 at night – time for ‘gardez-loo’

The Poet 1771
Robert Fergusson

We’ve moved forward to 1771. Mr Fergusson is a well known poet, and we now know he was a great influence on one Robert Burns. A frequent visitor to the Royal Exchange Coffee House on Craig’s Close, he’ll share stories of his life in Edinburgh’s society and the notorious “Cape Club”

  • Occupation: Poet
  • Likes: Debating important matters with his fellow Cape Club members, creating the perfect poem
  • Dislikes: A shortage of ale, bad punctuation

The Spanish Envoy 1490
Isabel de Toledo

Isabel de Toledo es uno de los cargos de confianza del embajador español en Edinburgo. Desde su Toledo natal, viajó a esta ciudad con su familia en 1490.

  • Occupation: The Spanish Envoy
  • Likes: Un rico pucheco. Pasear a charlar con la gente.
  • Dislikes: El frio y la lluvia de este pais.

Mary King’s Daughter 1622
Jonet Nimmo

With Jonet as your guide, you are in the esteemed company of Mary King’s youngest daughter. Born in 1622, she lives in affluent surroundings and has lived on the Close since she was seven years old.

  • Occupation: None but wishes to get married to a rich gentleman
  • Likes: Polishing my mother spoons, lacy bonnets, my brothers and sisters
  • Dislikes: Foul Clengers, the Close after ‘gardez-loo’, going out after dark

The Merchant 1635
Stephen Boyd

Its 1635 and Stephen Boyd, who owns the southernmost property on the east side of Mary King’s Close, is conducting his business from a luckenbooth at the top of the Close, beneath the famous crown of St Giles.

  • Occupation: Wine and timber merchant
  • Likes: Drinking claret with other likeminded business-men, collecting outstanding debts and counting his pennies at the end of the day
  • Dislikes: Foul Clengers hanging around in his wine cellar, bad debts and non payers

Our Guides Bring The Close To Life

Your experience at The Real Mary King’s Close will be brought to life by one of our costumed character tour guides. Based on a one time resident or regular of Mary King’s Close, these guides will regale you with the fascinating tales of plague, pestilence, murder and intrigue.