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Meet The Residents

Our Guides Bring The History of The Close to Life

Meet the residents… Your experience at The Real Mary King’s Close will be brought to life by one of our costumed character tour guides. Each of them characterises a former resident who really lived, worked and died on the closes of Old Town Edinburgh.

The Maid 1535 Agnes Chambers

Meet Agnes. A maid in the household of 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 master’s Quaich collection, and returning home at the end of a long day
Dislikes: 7am in the morning and 10pm at night. The time for gardyloo!

The Poet 1771 Robert Fergusson

Meet Robert. A well-known poet, and the literary inspiration to Robert Burns. It’s 1771 and the notorious ‘Cape Club’ is in full swing. It’s only a matter of time before tragedy strikes.

  • Occupation: Literary genius
  • Likes: Debating important matters, and visiting the Royal Exchange Coffee House on Craig’s Close
  • Dislikes: A shortage of ale, and bad punctuation

Foul Clenger 1645 Walter King

Meet Walter. An unsung hero of the deadly 1645 plague epidemic. Putting his life at risk to help clear the homes of those affected. Can you spot his distinctive uniform featuring the Cross of St Andrew?

  • Occupation:Head of Edinburgh’s Foul Clengers
  • Likes:The smell of burning and cleansing the air
  • Dislikes: Corpses and rats

Plague Doctor 1645 George Rae

Meet doctor George Rae. A renowned physician during the second and worst outbreak of the plague in Edinburgh. He worked for the city council, and was a pioneer of emerging medical sciences in Edinburgh.

  • Occupation: Plague Doctor
  • Likes: Being rewarded handsomely for the work he does
  • Dislikes: The proliferation of disease.

Last Resident of The Close 1897 Andrew Chesney

Mr Chesney was the last resident of The Close, but was eventually ordered to leave his lodgings  by compulsory purchase so the Royal Exchange building could be enlarged.

  • Occupation: Sawmaker
  • Likes: His thunderbox and lion head door knocker
  • Dislikes: Having to leave his house and non-paying customers

Find out more about past residents on our blog.


Read more about Mary King, the namesake of The Close

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