The Riding of the Marches of Edinburgh probably began with the birth of the burgh, as a necessary part of marking out the boundaries and then keeping them untrammelled and in order. The burgesses of the burgh would have taken part, along with the forerunners of the town council, and among them were principally the craftsmen and the merchants who drove the local economy and provided the wherewithal for decent living.
We get brief glimpses of the Ridings in 1494 and 1528 and again in 1589, by which time the event had been attached to the Allhallows Fair (1st November). They are mentioned in the Council Register on 30th October 1579, when it was ordered that a proclamation should be made:
chairging all merchantis craftismen and vtheris inhabitantis within this burgh to be in radynes the morn be xi houris to accompany the provest baillies and counsall to vesy thair meithis and boundis as ordour hes bene on horsbak and to proclame their Alhallovmes fair to begyn the morn be xij houris.
The practice eventually fell out of use but has been revived to commemorate or celebrate particular occasions, such as in 1946, to mark the end of the Second World War. In 2009 the Ridings have been revived on an annual basis and are now an important fixed point in the civic calendar, attended by the Lord Provost, Lord Dean of Guild and the Deacon-Convener of Trades, all in their full robes and chains of office.