It is one of the largest battles ever to have taken place in Scotland. Now the official record of the Battle of Pinkie is to be updated following a review.
At a seminar last spring, the events at Pinkie, sometimes referred to as Pinkie Cleugh, were reviewed by a panel of 16 people including historians and archaeologists.
Taking place on the banks of the River Esk near Musselburgh in September 1547, the Battle of Pinkie was the last large-scale pitched battle between Scotland and England before the 1603 Union of Crowns.
It marked the culmination of the ‘rough wooing’: the Tudor attempt to impose a marriage alliance on the Scots.
The death of Henry VIII in January 1547 left his son and heir, nine-year-old Edward VI, on the English throne and in the care and control of his guardians. For several years, Scotland had adamantly refused to betroth the five-year-old Mary Queen of Scots to her cousin Edward, and therefore bring the two realms under the rule of the same monarchs.
Edward’s Lord Protector, Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, decided on an invasion of Scotland to force the Scots into accepting the marital match.
Some 19,000 English soldiers faced 23,000 Scottish troops in what is considered the largest single battle fought in the history of Scotland in terms of the number of combatants.
The Scots were heavily defeated, with losses of around 6,000 men. A further 2,000 were taken prisoner.
But despite the outcome, the ‘rough wooing’ failed to work. Instead of the intended marriage between Mary and Edward, Mary was instead married to the Dauphin Francis of France. Somerset’s faction in the Tudor court was toppled and he was executed in 1552.
Although the boundary of the Pinkie battlefield has not been changed, the panel suggested it be recorded as having taken place over two days – 9-10 September – rather than one.
It also recommended a reference be made to Cousland Castle. Today a ruin, the castle was not centrally involved in the battle’s outcome but is believed to have played a role in various skirmishes.
Other information about the event, including new maps and recent archaeological finds, will be added to the record too.
Scotland’s battlefield inventory is a database launched a decade ago by Historic Scotland, now part of Historic Environment Scotland.
Members of the public are encouraged to respond to the consultation by sending in their reviews of these revisions. More information is available at www.historicenvironment.scot.