The History of Leith

May 31, 2012

Such abundance of wyne and victuallis

In May the Earl of Hertford, with an army I
variously estimated at from ten to twenty thousand,
on board of two hundred vessels, commanded by j
Dudley, Lord Lisle, suddenly entered the Firth of
Forth, while 4,000 mounted men-at-arms came to
Leith by land.
So suddenly was this expedition undertaken, that
the Regent Arran and the Cardinal were totally unprepared
to resist, and retired westward from the city.

After taking soundings at Granton Craigs, the
infantry were landed there by pinnaces, though the
water was so deep ” that a galley or two laid their
snowttis (i.e. bows) to the craigs,” at ten in the
morning of Sunday, the 4th of May. Between 12
and 1 o’clock they marched into Leith, “and fand
the tables covered, the dinnaris prepared, such
abundance of wyne and victuallis besydes the other
substances, that the lyck ritches were not to be
found either in Scotland nor in England.” (Knox.)
Leith was pillaged, the surrounding country
ravaged with savage and merciless ferocity. Craigmillar
was captured, with many articles of value
deposited there by the citizens, and Sir Simon
Preston, after being taken prisoner, was—as a
degradation—compelled to march on foot to London.
How Hertford was baffled in his attempts
on Edinburgh Castle and compelled to retreat we
have narrated in its place. He fell back on Leith,
where he destroyed the pier, which was of wood,
pillaged and left the town in flames. After which
he embarked all his troops, and sailed, taking with
him the Salamander and Unicorn, two large Scottish
ships of war, and all the small craft lying in the

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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