Pinkie House

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Pinkie, an estate, with a mansion, in Inveresk parish, Edinburghshire, at the E end of the town of Musselburgh. I Forming two sides of a quadrangle, Pinkie House is a château-like building of various dates. Its older part, a massive square tower, with picturesque corner turrets, was originally a country seat of the Abbots of Dunfermline; and, so passing to Alexander Seton, first Earl of Dunfermline, by him was enlarged, repaired, and decorated in 1613. One may notice its noble 'Painted Gallery,' 96 feet long, whose roof is adorned with heraldic and mythological emblems in blue and red and gold; the so-called 'King's Room;' and a lofty chamber, its roof decorated with pendants, which is said to have been occupied by Prince Charles Edward on the night after Prestonpans. Among numerous portraits is one by Jameson of Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall. In front of the house is a lofty stone fountain of fine and elaborate architecture; and around it are beautiful old-fashioned gardens. The Princes Henry and Charles are said to have spent three years of their boyhood at Pinkie House. On the death of the fourth and last Earl of Dunfermline (1694), the estate passed to the first Marquess of Tweeddale, and by the sixth Marquess was sold in 1778 to Sir Archibald Hope of Craighall, Bart., whose descendant, Sir John David Hope, thirteenth Bart. since 1628 (b. 1809; suc. 1883), holds 961 acres in the shire, valued at £3437 per annum. See vol. iv. of Billings' Baronial Antiquities of Scotland (1852), and vol. ii. of Small's Castles and Mansions of the Lothians (1883).

The battle of Pinkie arose out of an invasion of Scotland, in 1547, during the infancy of Queen Mary, by the Protector Somerset. News having arrived that an English army of 12, 000 foot and 2000 horse was at Newcastle on its march to Scotland, a Scottish army of 30,000 men was hastily mustered to take post on Edmonston Edge, 2½ miles SW of Musselburgh, to stop the invaders and protect the capital. Somerset, on coming up, was supported by a fleet of 30 ships of war, and 30 transports laden with ammunition and provisions, lying in the firth opposite the mouth of the Esk; and, drawing up his army on Falside Brae, 1½ mile E of Musselburgh, he extended his right over the grounds of Walliford and Drummore towards the sea. The Scottish position being too strong to admit of his assailing it, he firmly maintained his post, and awaited an attack. A body of the Scotch horse, 1500 strong, rushed down upon him on the 9th of September, at Edgebucklin Brae, at the E end of Musselburgh links, and threw away a great part of their strength in a useless skirmish; and all the rest of the Scottish army, under delusive notions on the part of their leaders, left their strong position next day, and defiled along the old bridge of Musselburgh, to close with the English on the E bank of the Esk. As they passed the bridge, and marched up the hill of Inveresk on the W side of the church, they were galled by cannon-shot from the English galleys in the bay, and lost the Master of Graham, eldest son of the first Earl of Montrose, and many of his followers. Descending eastward down a slope, they began to be sheltered from the shot, and, passing through the How Mire, which lies at the foot of the slope, and was then a morass, though now drained and cultivated, they saw the English army and the battlefield immediately before them, on a gently hanging plain which recedes from the How to the base of Carberry Hill and Falside Brae. The conflict which followed was tremendous, but had too many details, and is too well-known, to admit or to need minute narration. After four hours' sternly debated and general conflict, during which the Scots won achievements, but could not profit by them for want of sufficient horse, and the English could make no impression with their cavalry on the hedges of pointed spears which enclosed the antagonist foot battalions, the van of the Scots was somewhat driven in by a concentrated attack, and a body of Highlanders, who had forgotten their duty to plunder the bodies of the slain, mistook the retrograde movement for flight, flung down their arms, took to their heels, infected the Lowlanders with their panic, and drew the whole army after them in an indiscriminate race. The Scots ran towards the coast, towards Dalkeith, and towards Edinburgh; and in each direction they were hotly pursued by the English, and hewn down in vast numbers. 'With blode and slaughter of ye enemie,' says Patten, 'this chase was continued v miles in length westward from the place of their standinge, which was in ye fallow feldes of Undreske, untille Edinborowe parke, and well nigh to the gates of the toune itself, and unto Lyeth; and in breadth nie IIII mile from the fryth sandes up unto Daketh southwarde: in all which space the dead bodies lay as thik as a man may meette cattell grasing in a full plenished pasture. They ryvere ran al red with blode; so that in the same chase wear counted, as well by sum of our men that sumwhat diligently did make it, as by sum of them take prisoners that very much did lament it, to have been slayne above xiii thousande. In all thys cumpos of ground, what with weapons, armes, handes, legges, heddes, blode, and dead bodyes, their flight mought have easily been tracted to every of their iii refuges.' Another account-quite sufficiently exaggerated -states the loss of the Scots in killed at 10, 000, and that of the English at not 200.—Ord. Sur., sh. 32, 1857.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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