City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Arrow Video


By edg - Posted on 04 May 2009

Members of the Royal Company of Archers, founded in 1676, shoot for the Edinburgh Arrow. The Company, which has its headquarters at Archers Hall in Edinburgh, is the Queen's bodyguard in Scotland.

Someone was asking on youtube about the feathers in the bonnets: Gobragh2 says,

"Why do they have the long feathers on their hats? Its interesting because the only time I've ever seen feathers on the balmoral hats was when a clan chief was present"

The comment about wearing feathers in the Balmoral when a clan chief is present is not far off the mark I believe as the Royal Company of Archers are, as you know, the Bodyguard to HM The Queen in Scotland....she is the head of the nation and above the clan chiefs!

From the history I find that from the founding of the Royal Company in 1676 the first mention of a bonnet was in 1677 but no mention of a feather. In 1713 there is a description of a "blue bonnet with white St Andrew badge: cockade, white and green ribbons". In 1789 there is a description of, "green worsted bonnet, bordered with green and white ribbon; a painted St Andrew, crown and thistle, in front, handsome black feathers on left side; insertion of feathers covered with a cockade of green and white ribbon, tuft in the middle." General Officers had "velvet bonnets with embroidered
badge".

Ranks were then shown by the colour of the feathers: Major Generals, red; Ensign Generals, Green; Adjutant Generals, orange and white; Brigadier Generals, Green and white; Ordinary Members , black. In 1882 it was decided to replace the feathers with eagle's feathers - two for officers and one for Archers. At this time the uniform was thought to have been redesigned by Sir Walter Scott. Today the headgear is a stiffened bonnet of green with a crimson toorie and black mohair headband. The single feather (for ordinary Archers - Officers have two) is behind a cap badge of crossed arrows on a green and white cockade.