Will Pinkie Give up its Secrets?

Local people are being called upon to take part in a special community archaeological dig at the National Trust for Scotland’s Inveresk Lodge Garden, where the banks of the River Esk were the scene of the Battle of Pinkie on 10 September 1547, when Henry VIII’s English forces virtually destroyed a Scottish army of 23,000.

Despite his military success, this pivotal event of the ‘Rough Wooing’ didn’t achieve the result Henry was looking for: a forced marriage between his son, the future Edward VI, and Mary, Queen of Scots.

On the fateful day, the English army under the Duke of Somerset, composed of cavalry, artillery, levies equipped with longbows and bills and several hundred German mercenary arquebusiers, faced the Earl of Arran’s Scottish forces which partly comprised of pikemen, contingents of Highland archers and lightly equipped cavalry.

The community archaeological dig, which will take place between Saturday 7 and Wednesday 11 September as part of East Lothian Archaeology and Local History Fortnight, will seek physical evidence and artefacts remaining from the battle.

The National Trust for Scotland’s Group Archaeologist, Daniel Rhodes said, “Inveresk Lodge Garden is directly behind the line of the advancement of the Scottish troops and their eventual retreat and slaughter.

“We are inviting locals and anyone else with an interest in archaeology to come along and do some digging. There are no age restrictions and no prior experience is necessary.

“People taking part are promised a fascinating time and will be able to learn all about archaeological excavation and help us to discover more about the battle and the historic garden.”

There are twice daily dig sessions between 7 and 11 September – mornings 9.30 am until noon and afternoons 1.00 – 4.30 pm. All registered participants are welcome to join in for free. Visitors to the garden are asked to contribute a donation of £3.50.

To book a place at the dig call 01620 827408 or email bookings@eastlothian.gov.uk

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