Apparently the Canongate connection with Edinburgh Castle goes right back through time to the twelfth century, when the Abbey of the Holy Rood was first established by Canons of the Augustinian order already founded on the castle rock. To this day Edinburgh Castle remains part of the parish of Canongate and the Minister is Chaplain to the Governor, who has a pew in the Kirk.
Canongate Kirk is widely held as the military church for Edinburgh – historic connections with The Royal Scots and The King’s Own Scottish Borderers have led to the current designation as Regimental Kirk of The Royal Regiment of Scotland. The Kirk fulfils the same role for The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Scots Guards in Scotland. Its War Memorial Chapel also contains the Roll of Honour of 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron RAFVR, which served with such distinction in the Battle of Britain. The many sets of Regimental Colours hang from the walls,and formal occasions are held by all these units from time to time, in this very appropriate setting.
The Royal Scots direct link with the Canongate extends right back to 1937 when The Reverend Dr Ronnie Selby Wright, Minister of the Canongate, became Padre to the 7th/9th Battalion. Later he became famous as ‘The Radio Padre’ broadcasting to British Forces world-wide during World War 2. The Kirk was officially adopted as Regimental Kirk on 22 May 1983, and as part of the 350th Anniversary activity, a plaque was unveiled beside the pulpit marking this link. The link was endorsed when the Colours of the 7th/9th were laid up in the Kirk on 29 July 1986, the first of five sets of Regimental Colours and one Royal Tank Regiment standard are now laid up there.
The Regimental stained glass window, had originally been installed at Royal Scots Garrison Church, St Matthew’s Garrison Church, Werl, in 1986 (conceived as a demonstration and carried out with students at Edinburgh College of Art). Re-sited in Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh 1991, was moved to, and installed in the Kirk, on the wall at the end of King David’s Aisle in March 1994.