The History of Leith

July 11, 2007

Early Shipping in the Forth

The first mention made of shipping in the Forth in any quantity is in 1411. When as chroniclers Burchett and Rain record that a squadron of ten English Ship of war under Sir Robert Umfraville Vice-Admiral of England attacked and ravaged both sides of the Forth for fourteen days and destroyed many ships including one called the “Great Galliot of Scotland”. – and returned to England with so much plunder and prizes that prices fell in England. His nickname became “Robin Mend-the-Market”.

The Wars of the Roses gave Scotland a breathing space and in that period Scotland regained its position, wealth and strength and took her part in European Politics. It also allowed King James IV to develop Scotland into a Sea Power which rivalled that of England and was one of the reasons for the Battle of Flodden. However this English victory was never followed up by England for the simple reason that English ports were being savaged by Scottish ships from Leith. Although England won on Land Scotland was for a number of years a serious threat to English Sea Power.

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