Battle site of Pinkie Cleugh *
Like the deceased Henry VIII, the Duke of Somerset liked the idea of an alliance with Scotland but as previously, the Scots rejected the proposal as it would have meant them having to adopt the Reformation, thus breaking their links with the Papacy.
Somerset gathered the English army at Berwick before marching his force of around 18,000 men north, along the east coast road to Edinburgh, closely supported by a fleet of 30 warships.
The Earl of Arran managed to muster an army estimated at 22,000 strong in response to the English invasion. He organised his troops on the west bank of the River Esk, blocking Somerset’s march on the Scottish capital. With the Firth of Forth to his left, he sited some of his artillery pieces out into the estuary to keep the English warships at bay.
The main action began on 10th September 1547 with a charge by the English cavalry which was driven off by the Scottish pikemen.
The artillery pieces from both sides were now brought into the action, including the canons from the English ships lying offshore. Battered now from three sides and unable to respond, the Scottish resistance began to crumble. Estimates claim Scottish losses at around 6,000, earning this epic defeat the title of ‘Black Saturday’.
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