[MR] Wikipedia: Henry VIII Burns Edinburgh

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Fri May 7 03:22:14 PDT 2021

Noble Friends, Especially Fellow Scots,

On this date in 1544, an English army sent by Henry VIII finished looting
Edinburgh and its port of Leith, then burned them to the ground. This was
the opening salvo in a war known as the "Rough Wooing". Henry wanted a
marriage between his seven-year-old son Edward and the two-year-old Mary,
Queen of Scots, that would bring Scotland under his domination. When the
Scots refused and packed Mary off to France, Henry unleashed his army and
navy to force the Scots into accepting his demands. The "Rough Wooing"
lasted until 1551, almost four years after Henry's death, and resulted in
terrible hardship for the Scots, particularly in the lowlands.

The action began when an English fleet with a land army arrived at Leith on
3 May 1544. Although a Scottish army kept the watch over the English, they
did not engage. From Leith the English occupied Edinburgh and began
looting. Nothing of value was spared, even stripping churches of their
fittings and treasures (Scotland was still officially Catholic, so Henry
had no qualms about this). Only Edinburgh Castle remained beyond the
English grasp. The castle garrison kept up an artillery barrage down the
Royal Mile which harassed but did not stop the English, and probably did a
great deal of collateral damage to the city. With the city stripped of
everything the English wanted, the burning began on 7 May. Most buildings
in Edinburgh at that time were wood and thatch, typical medieval
construction, so the destruction was almost complete.

The English also sent out raiding parties to burn towns and villages in the
Lowlands, and after the fleet departed, the English made a few stops along
the shore to burn and loot some more, almost like dessert. Among the
casualties was a castle owned by Sir Oliver Sinclair, Roslin Castle, which
was almost totally destroyed. (It was rebuilt, only to be trashed again
during the English Civil War.)

A Wikipedia page on the burning is at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_of_Edinburgh .

Some really interesting animation shows how Edinburgh might have looked
just prior to the burning: https://vimeo.com/224483642 . There are several
other associated video clips here, including Grassmarket, Holyrood Palace,
Cowgate, St. Giles Kirk, etc. Use the left and right arrows to access these
other videos. Nice music too.

More on the "Rough Wooing" and its context is at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rough_Wooing .

Finally, Roslin Castle has a page at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roslin_Castle . Lady Sarah Sinclair and I
visited Roslin Castle in 2017 during our pilgrimage to Rosslyn Chapel (yes,
the variant spellings are correct). The castle figures in our SCA back
story, which can be found at
http://isenfir.atlantia.sca.org/people/mungo.php .

Yours Aye,

Lord Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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