The Battle of Pinkie, the biggest battle ever to take place on Scottish soil, is set to be fought again for the first time since 1547, as part of a spectacular weekend of events.
Presented by the Scottish Battlefields Trust as part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, visitors are invited to step back in time for two days of activities taking place at Newhailes Estate in East Lothian. They will be able to witness a dramatic re-enactment of the battle complete with a thunderous cavalry charge, walk through historical encampments, meet the characters behind these great events, try their hand at Tudor archery, and take part in a variety of family-friendly activities designed to absorb all ages.
The infant Mary Queen of Scots will even make an appearance, and visitors will also be able to browse information and craft stalls before exploring the living history camps, where troops from both sides and of all ranks will reveal what life was like in this turbulent period of history. Experts will even be on hand to reveal details of the fashions of the period.
The Battle of Pinkie took place in September 1547, when the mighty armies of Scotland and England fought to determine who should marry the infant Mary Queen of Scots. The larger Scottish army attacked across the River Esk into the teeth of ferocious cavalry charges and a hail of arrows, cannon and gunshot. The outcome was a calamitous defeat for the Scots, with some reporting up to 10,000 dead. But far from securing union with England, the effect of the battle was to push Scotland closer to France, where Mary was subsequently betrothed to the Dauphin. The battle is significant in military history because of the pioneering combination of horse, foot and artillery with supporting fire from naval vessels, which makes Pinkie one of the first modern battles to be fought in Britain.
Arran Johnston, Director of the Scottish Battlefields Trust said:
“The Battle of Pinkie was truly one of Scotland’s biggest and most dramatic battles and I’m delighted that we’re able to bring it back to life for the first time – allowing the opportunity to truly understand its significance. With fascinating living history encampments, hands-on activities for all the family, and spectacular battle recreations, this wonderful historical event is not to be missed. We hope this event is the start of growing recognition for a battle that changed the course of history, and is something that will encourage greater protection for the battlefield site in future years.”
The event is the climax of East Lothian Archaeology Fortnight and is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Event Directorate, and will celebrate Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting East Lothian Battle Weekends: Pinkie Cleugh through our National Funding Programme.
Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events, and the event makes wonderful use of Scotland’s military history to create an engaging experience for visitors from both the local community and further afield. With archery, craft stalls, family activities and of course, the battle re-enactment itself, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”
The battle will also be commemorated on its anniversary, Sunday 10th September with a traditional ceremony led by the Old Musselburgh Club at the battle’s memorial stone. This year participants will be joined by members of the Lothian levy re-enactment group: over the preceding days an English and Scottish foot-soldier will walk to the battle site from Eyemouth as part of the Borders Heritage Festival, along the route taken by the invading English army.
The main event is taking place in the parkland at Newhailes House, a fascinating 18th century property in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.
Tickets to the event cost £6 for adults and £3 for children and can be purchased online or on the day.
For more information, tickets to the re-enactment and full programme, visit: www.eastlothianbattles.com.
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