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Battle of Pinkie Cleugh tapestry to be showcased at Queen Margaret University

Posted: 21st August 2023

Members of the public are invited to view the first panel of the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh Tapestry, which will be on display at Queen Margaret University on Friday 1 September.  

The huge panel, portraying Mary Queen of Scots and her mother, Mary de Guise, is the first completed panel of the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh tapestry. The tapestry will feature another five panels telling the story of the last battle to be fought on Scottish soil between the Crowns of Scotland and England. The tapestry also showcases the rich history of Musselburgh and surrounding areas.   

Although the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh is an important historical battle, it has been largely overlooked. Over the past few years, an army of stitchers have mobilised to raise awareness of this event which effectively changed the course of history. The unfinished panel along with supplementary small embroideries, featured in a successful exhibition at the Musselburgh Museum last year. The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh took place on 10 September 1547 on the banks of the River Esk near Musselburgh, Scotland. The last pitched battle between Scotland and England before the Union of the Crowns, it was part of the conflict known as the Rough Wooing and is considered to have been the first modern battle in the British Isles. It was a catastrophic defeat for Scotland, where it became known as ‘Black Saturday’. A highly detailed and illustrated English account of the battle and campaign authored by an eyewitness was published in London as propaganda four months after the battle. 

The development of the tapestry was led by East Lothian artist Andrew Crummy, who is also behind many other Scottish tapestries, including the Battle of Prestonpans and Great Tapestry of Scotland. The needlework, carried out by a team of local stitchers, tells the story of the battle as well as the history of the Musselburgh area. 

Andrew Crummy explained: “The Pinkie Cleugh Tapestry actually takes its inspiration from the Marion Hangings, which were sewn by Scotland’s most famous stitcher, Mary Queen of Scots. The main large hangings, which measure about two metres by three metres, tell the story of the battle, while the crosses and roundels surrounding a central embroidery, tell the stitchers’ own stories about Musselburgh. We hope the stitchers, many of whom will be at the launch event, will also be able to tell their own stories of their work on the tapestry and their interpretation of the history surrounding the battle.” 

The launch event, which is being attended by The Pinkie Cleugh Battlefield and Tapestry Group members and stitchers and invited guests, will take place at Queen Margaret University on 31 August from 7-9pm. An open viewing for members of the public will take place on Friday 1st September between 12noon and 4pm in the Piano Bar at Queen Margaret University’s main academic building. Entry to the exhibition is free.

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