Map to Illustrate the Battles of Pinkie 1547 and Prestonpans 1745 by Bartholomew, circa 1880.
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Map to Illustrate the Battles of Pinkie 1547 and Prestonpans 1745 by Bartholomew, circa 1880.

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Map to Illustrate the Battles of Pinkie 1547 and Prestonpans 1745, drawn and engraved by J. Bartholomew, published in James Taylor's The Age We Live In, c.1880.

This map of an area of East Lothian, Scotland illustrates two battles that took place here between the countries of England and Scotland. While the battles are separated by nearly two hundred years the fields are less than five miles apart. Another interesting feature about this map is that Bartholomew included modern day rail-lines and roads that did not exist when these battles took place. The Battle of Pinkie was an English victory over Scottish forces, while the Battle of Prestonpans was a Scottish victory over the English army.

Throughout their history England and Scotland have engaged in a number of wars or conflicts. Encounters that date from the fourteenth century Scottish Wars of Independence until the union of the crowns in 1603 are referred to as the Anglo-Scottish Wars. As England and Scotland both sought to expand their territories they often struggled to gain control over one another. Following the death of James V of Scotland in 1542, Henry VIII of England tried to secure an alliance between the kingdoms by betrothing his son Edward to the infant Mary, Queen of Scots. The Earl of Arran, Regent of Scotland, agreed to the marriage with the signing and ratification of the Treaty of Greenwich in 1543. However, the Scottish Parliament rejected the treaty, which led to armed conflict. Despite the death of Henry VIII in 1547, the war did not stop. Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector, continued to pursue the marriage of his nephew Edward VI to the Scottish Queen. He prepared an army and marched north into Scotland. Somerset's forces were comprised of an estimated 16,800 men supported by thirty warships. Arran was informed of the planned invasion and assembled his forces to meet the English. Sources vary as to how many men were under Arran's command. According to the Earl of Huntly their forces were 22,000 - 23,000 men, but an English source claims that the Scottish army was composed of 36,000. The Scottish position was situated on the banks of the River Esk with the Firth of Forth along the left flank and a bog protecting the right. Somerset positioned his forces on Falside Hill.

On September 9, 1547, Scottish cavalry commander the Earl of Home led 1,500 cavalrymen near the English encampment. He challenged an equal number of the English cavalry to fight. Lord Grey accepted the terms after persuading Somerset to grant him permission to meet Home in the field. The English cavalrymen won the engagement and the Scottish were heavily injured. Somerset declined two further challenges issued by he Scots during the night. These challenges were outdated chivalric gestures and the skirmish cost the Earl of Arran most of his cavalry. The next morning, September 10, Somerset began advancing his army toward Inveresk. Arran, knowing his artillery to be inferior, had moved his forces across the River Esk in an attempt to engage the English in close combat before their artillery could inflict heavy losses. Unfortunately, the change in position made the army vulnerable to fire from Somerset's ships, which caused the left flank to push toward the center. Lord Grey's cavalry attacked the Scottish right and sustained heavy casualties from the Scottish pikemen. However, Arran's forces were now fighting the enemy on three sides and under heavy fire, they broke. As the Scottish army attempted to retreat back across the Esk they were pursued by a vanguard of experienced cavalrymen and many more were killed or drowned. Casualty estimates place the number of Scottish dead anywhere between 6,000 - 15,000 and the English losses between 200 and 600. Contemporary accounts describe a gruesome scene on the field following the conclusion of the fighting. Despite their devastating defeat the Scottish government refused to hand over the Queen Mary and she was instead smuggled to France where she was betrothed to the Dauphin. The conflict, which is now referred to as the Rough Wooing, continued for three more years before being abandoned.

While Henry VIII plan of securing an alliance with Scotland through Edward's marriage failed a union of the crowns was affected in 1603. Following the death of Elizabeth I of England the throne passed to her cousin James VI of Scotland. The ascension of James to the English crown meant that the two realms were now united under a single monarch. However, the kingdoms remained separate until the Acts of Union in 1707. Queen Anne became the first monarch of Great Britain. This ensured that one person would rule, removing Scotland's ability to choose it's own king. In 1714, Queen Anne died and the crown passed to her protestant cousin George of Hanover instead of to her catholic half-brother James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender). This resulted in a Jacobite uprising in 1715 as James tried to reestablish the Stuart line of succession. He was unsuccessful, but the defeat of the rebellion did not completely extinguish the hope of eventually placing a Stuart back on the throne.

In 1745, Great Britain was still engaged in the War of Austrian Succession against France. George II had sent most of the army to the continent to participate in the war. James' son, Charles Edward, recognized that it would be possible to take England without civil war, due to the diminished number of soldiers left behind in the country. He tried to regain the support of France for an invasion, but he was not successful in securing the number of troops that English Tories were hoping for. Instead Charles borrowed money from a Parisian banker and made connection with a group of Irish ship-owners who agreed to transport him to Scotland. He landed on the Isle of Eriskay on July 23. From there he travelled across Scotland recruiting the support of several highland clans to Glenfinnan, where on August 19, he raised the Jacobite standard and was declared Prince Regent on his father's behalf. George II sent reinforcements to Fort William and placed a bounty of £30,000 for Charles' capture.

Sir John Cope was the commander of government forces in Scotland and upon hearing news of Charles' activities he began to march his men toward Fort Augustus. However, he shifted direction and went on toward Inverness upon learning that Charles and his army were preparing to meet him at the Corrieyairk Pass. From Inverness he marched to Aberdeen where his army boarded naval ships to sail for Dunbar. Meanwhile Charles advanced south into the Lowlands. He reached Perth on September 4 and then he and his growing army headed for Edinburgh. On September 16, Charles' army easily captured the city though Edinburgh Castle remained well defended.

Upon arriving in Dunbar, Cope was given the news of the Edinburgh's capture and prepared to meet the Jacobites with an estimated 2,300 troops. Cope and his men encountered Charles' advance guard on September 20. He then arranged his men along a southward facing battle line. Their right flank was protected by the park walls of Preston House and marshy ground immediately before them offered protection from a highland charge. Charles moved his forces by around by Tranent and despite occupying the high ground was forced to acknowledge the advantages of Cope's position. Lord George Murray insisted that the only chance of success involved attacking Cope's exposed left flank. This required the army to march well east of their position in order to avoid the marshes. However, Jacobite Lieutenant Robert Anderson was from the area and knew a path through the marsh that would save them time. The plan was adopted and at four a.m. on September 21, Lord Murray began to march the men three across through the Riggonhead Defile. Cope suspecting an attack on his left repositioned his men facing East and set up a picket to warn against a surprise attack. Two hours later the Jacobite army was in position and the highlanders charged Cope's line. As they advanced those in the middle were slowed due to a boggy patch of land resulting in a V formation. Cope's men were effectively sandwiched and sustained heavy losses.

The battle lasted approximately ten minutes and was a crushing defeat for the government. While Cope tried to rally his men they refused to reengage and he instead was forced to retreat to Berwick-on-Tweed. Three hundred of Cope's men were killed, including Colonel James Gardiner who was mortally wounded trying to rally some men to keep fighting. Another four hundred were wounded and approximately one thousand four hundred men were taken prisoner. Charles' forces suffered minimal casualties with only thirty deaths and seventy wounded out of the two thousand five hundred men who participated in the action. The victory was a huge boost in morale and gained a large amount of support for Charles. His army would win several more victories before finally being defeated at Culloden Moor.

An ironic similarity between the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh and the Battle of Prestonpans is that neither victor of each battle succeeded in their main objective. Somerset failed to obtain Mary, Queen of Scots, and Charles failed to reestablish the Stuart line of succession. However both engagements and their larger causes had a strong impact on shaping both English and Scottish history and identity.

- Naomi Bean

 

Plate Size: 7.75" x 6"

Sheet Size: 10.375" x 7.25"

Condition: Fine with some minor spotting. 


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