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The Battle of Pinkie, 1547 (Hardback)

The Last Battle Between the Independent Kingdoms of Scotland and England

Ancient History > Ancient & Medieval Weapons & Warfare Military > Weaponry P&S History > Archaeology > British Archaeology

By David H Caldwell, Victoria Oleksy, Bess Rhodes
Imprint: Oxbow Books
Pages: 288
Illustrations: B&W and Color images
ISBN: 9781789259735
Published: 15th June 2023
Casemate UK Academic



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The Battle of Pinkie, fought between the English and the Scots in 1547, was the last great clash between the two as independent nations. It is a well-documented battle with several eyewitness accounts and contemporary illustrations. There is also archaeological evidence of military activities. The manoeuvres of the two armies can be placed in the landscape near Edinburgh, despite considerable developments since the 16th century. Nevertheless, the battle and its significance has not been well understood.


From a military point of view there is much of interest. The commanders were experienced and had already had battlefield successes. There was an awareness on both sides of contemporary best practice and use of up-to-date weapons and equipment. The Scots and the English armies, however, were markedly different in their composition and in the strategy and tactics they employed. There is the added ingredient that the fire from English ships, positioned just off the coast, helped decide the course of events.


Using contemporary records and archaeological evidence, David Caldwell, Victoria Oleksy, and Bess Rhodes reconsider the events of September 1547. They explore the location of the fighting, the varied forces involved, the aims of the commanders, and the close-run nature of the battle. Pinkie resulted in a resounding victory for the English, but that was by no means an inevitable outcome. After Pinkie it briefly seemed as if the future of Britain had been redefined. The reality proved rather different, and the battle has largely slipped from popular consciousness. This book provides a reminder of the uncertainty and high stakes both Scots and English faced in the autumn of 1547.

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About Victoria Oleksy

Victoria Oleksy is Associate Director and Head of Consultancy at AOC Archaeology Group. She has an MA (Distinction) in Historical Archaeology from the University of Bristol. She has worked in the Heritage Sector for 17 years and has been involved in research surrounding the Battle of Pinkie since 2007.

About Bess Rhodes

Bess Rhodes has held teaching and research fellowships at the University of St Andrews. She specialises in late medieval and early modern Scottish history and is the author of Riches and Reform: Ecclesiastical Wealth in St Andrews, c.1520–1580 (2019).

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