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Rough Wooing exhibition, John Gray Centre, 15 July to 17 October 2017


A new exhibition in East Lothian explores the intense period of warfare between 1542 and 1551, triggered by the ambitions of England's Henry VIII to marry his son to Mary Queen of Scots.

'Rough Wooing' features:

  • one of the bloodiest battles in Scottish history, Pinkie Cleugh, 1547
  • the longest siege, the Siege of Haddington, 1548-9
  • the story of one of the wealthiest but least-known nunneries in the Lothians, the ‘Abbey’ of St Mary, Haddington.

Each of the above linked to the destiny of the young Mary Stewart, who would become known to history as Mary Queen of Scots. This thread is picked up in the companion Personal View exhibit featuring the Seton family and their links with Mary Queen of Scots.

Rough Wooing exhibition details

Exhibits include interactive and multimedia displays, for example a 3D image of Pinkie Cleugh with the disposition of the English and Scottish forces. There are replica costumes and weapons. Visitors can try a medieval jack, simple body armour, and also women’s headgear of the period recreated by a Queen Margaret University student of Costume Design and Construction. 

Evidence of the Siege of Haddington is provided by East Lothian U3A Archaeology group’s survey of hundreds of shot marks on St Mary’s Church and a recently unearthed gargoyle head toppled from the church during the conflict.

Rarely-seen exhibits include a nun’s cloak clasp from Haddington Abbey, lent by the NMS, and the key to Seton Palace from the Earl of Wemyss’ collection. Pages of pre-Reformation manuscripts recovered from the bindings of the Haddington Treasurer’s accounts, now in the care of the John Gray Centre, are displayed.

One is a fragment of plainsong from Haddington Priory, one of many religious buildings burned by Hertford’s forces in 1544. Visitors can listen to a recent recording of this music.

John Gray Centre, 15 Lodge Street, Haddington EH41 3DX; tel: 01620 820680; website.

John Gray Centre Museum opening hours: April to September, Monday to Friday 10.00 – 17.00.  Saturday 10.00 to 16.00. Sunday 13.00 to 16.00

October closed Wednesdays and Thursdays but otherwise as above.



(images copyright John Gray Centre- from top - breviary fragment from the 15th century; the deathbed testament of Prioress Elizabeth Hepburn)

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12/06/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

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