In May, 1544, Sir Simon Preston (IV), then provost of Edinburgh, surrendered the Castle to Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and Warden of the Scottish Marches. The English had arrived from the south with an army including two thousand horsemen, and from the sea, landing a fleet of two hundred vessels and 10 to 20,000 men at the Port of Leith map just to the north of Edinburgh.
The attack was in response to the reneging by the Scots of a prior agreement of alliance between the two kingdoms, the Treatise of Greenwich, by refusing the marriage between the young Queen Mary and Prince Edward, heir and son of Henry VIII. Scotland had since preferred to side with France.
Upon news of the English advance north, many of Edinburgh’s nobility had sought safe haven of their possessions within the walls of Craigmillar, these being second only to Edinburgh Castle in terms of defences. However, although an earlier deal had been struck between Sir Simon and the Earl such that the surrender would be a peaceful matter, the castle was duly pillaged and burnt to destruction.
For his troubles, Sir Simon Preston (IV) was forced to march to London on foot as prisoner. He was eventually released and able to return to Scotland to resume his post as provost.
Craigmillar Castle wasn’t the only stronghold
to suffer losses at the hands of these English forces during this period known as the ‘Rough Wooing’. A number of important Scottish Abbeys; ,
Holyrood map, Jedburgh map,
and Dryburgh map
, and indeed, much of the Borders region, were also looted and burned.
Berwick map, which has changed hands many times over the years, was again lost to the English.
The Battle of Pinkie
Three years later, at the Battle of Pinkie map which took place some 4 miles to the east of the castle, the last between Scotland and England before The Act of Union 160 years later, several thousand Scottish soldiers lost their lives. The English also suffered many hundreds of dead.