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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 07 September 2010

Vanessa Collingridge and the team follow up more questions and research sent in by listeners that help us to understand some of the bigger stories from our past.

Today, Vanessa travels to Musselburgh to find out more about the first modern battle on British soil and the first modern map that depicted it. On 10th September 1547 the English and Scottish armies faced each other just a few miles to the east of Edinburgh in one of the key moments of what's become known as the War of the 'Rough Wooing'.

The English were using new, European-influenced, fighting techniques that included artillery; the Scots, however, relied on the medieval duality of man and horse. They were dealt a heavy defeat. However, despite this being: the last battle between Scots and English and the first 'modern' battle, there is little locally that commemorates it and few know much about it.

Vanessa talks with historian Dr Fiona Watson and then travels to the British Library in London to look at a map of the Battle of Pinkie that librarian Peter Barber believes is our first 'modern' map.

Also in the programme, listeners in a small town on the Essex/Suffolk border have got together for a community performance of song and speech which recalls bitter rural unrest in East Anglia in 1816 when the cry went up: 'bread or blood'. We hear how an economic downturn, new technology and the return of thousands of farm-workers from the Napoleonic wars pushed this sleepy part of the world into open revolt.

Producer: Nick Patrick
A Pier Production for Radio 4.



    On 22 October 2010 the KB Star awarded to Nelson will go up for auction. It is the only piece of Nelson insignia remaining in private hands; most of Nelson's medals were famously stolen from the Painted Hall, Greenwich in December 1900.

    Rear-Admiral Nelson (as he then was) was invested as a Knight of the Order of the Bath by
    King George III in September 1797. The award recognised the important role played by
    Nelson at the victory of the Battle of Cape St. Vincent (14 February 1797), after which he
    lost his right arm at Santa Cruz, Tenerife.

    The silver, gold and enamel KB Star now offered was worn on formal occasions and is
    shown in official portraits. In 1814 Nelson's brother, William, who had inherited his Orders and
    titles, gave the Star to Admiral Sir Richard Goodwin Keats, KB. Keats, who had been one of
    Nelson's closest friends and confidants, had a long and distinguished naval career and
    numerous honours of his own. The Star is engraved on the reverse with a presentation
    inscription and is accompanied by a letter in the hand of William Nelson.

    To find out more about Nelson, his medals and the infamous robbery in 1900 Making History once again teamed up with our resident polar historian and maritime expert, Dr Huw Lewis-Jones. With his Nelson hat on, Dr Lewis-Jones is Editor of The Trafalgar Chronicle, the well-respected annual maritime history journal. He is also serves on the council of the 1805 Club, the charity devoted to conserving maritime memorials and furthering research into all aspects of the Georgian sailing navy.

    For those interested in Nelson, Huw recommends you look up the 1805 Club at its website (www.1805club.org) to find out more about their events and ongoing work. Direct enquires about Nelson's Bath Star may be addressed to the auction house:

    Morton & Eden,
    45 Maddox Street,
    W1S 2PE.

    The sale, at 2 pm on Friday October 22, will be held at:

    34-35 New Bond Street,
    W1A 2AA.

    A printed auction catalogue will be available one month prior to the sale. The Star will also be on exhibition at Sotheby's as follows: October 18 (12 noon to 4.30 pm); October 19-21 (9 am to 4.30 pm); October 22 (9 am to 12 noon)

    The 1805 Club
  • Guest: Dr Huw Lewis-Jones

    Having finally decided to make a move from Cambridge University earlier this year, Huw is now living down by the sea in Cornwall, but you can discover more about some of his exciting projects at his website (www.polarworld.co.uk).

    Dr Huw Lewis-Jones
  • The Halsted Riots of 1816

    Making History listener John Miners contacted the programme to tell us about a community history project in Halsted, Essex which seeks to tell the story of the 1816 riots which were a precursor to the Captain Swing uprising of 1830. John and his musician friends formed a group called Riotous Assembly to research these riots and put together a kind of folk opera which has now been released on CD.

    Dr John Archer, an Honorary Fellow of Edge Hill University near Liverpool and the author of “By a Flash and a Scare” which examines rural protest in East Anglia at this time, he explained that the 1816 riots were the result of a number of factors coming together: the drop in wheat prices at the end of the Napoleonic wars; the return of rural labouring men who had once worked on farms and then gone to fight; and the advent of the threshing machine. These combined led to unemployment rates of nearly 50% in some of the towns and villages along the Essex/Suffolk border. There were 5 days of protests in Halsted and the cavalry had to be called to put an end to it. In later years, throughout East Anglia, straw ricks and threshing machines were torched by labourers who saw machines taking their jobs.

    Further reading:

    By a Flash and a Scare,
    Dr John Archer
    ISBN 978-0-9564827-1-6
    Published by Breviary Stuff.

    The classic text on this topic can be found in libraries:

    Bread or Blood,
    A Study of the Agrarian Riots in East Anglia in 1816,
    By A J peacock with a foreword by E P Thompson. Published by Victor Gollancz in 1965.

    By a Flash and a Scare
  • The Battle of Pinkie

    The Battle of Pinkie

    On the 10th September 1547, Somerset’s army clashed with the Scots at Pinkie near Musselburgh a few miles to the east of Edinburgh. Making History listener Andrew Coulson has been researching the battle and wonders why few people know about it?

    Vanessa met up with Andrew and historian Dr Fiona Watson at Pinkie to find out more and discovered that Pinkie is notable for more than one reason: it was the last time an independent Scotland fought the English; it was the first modern battle and it produced the first modern map.

    The Battle of Pinkie was part of the English plan to force Scots to accept its rule by arranging a marriage between Edward and Mary who were but children. This policy is known as the Rough Wooing and in 1547 Edward’s ‘protector’, the Duke of Somerset (Edward Seymour), led an army into Scotland to force the issue.

    The Battle of Pinkie led to a humiliating defeat for the Scots who, despite perhaps having a larger force, faced a new style of warfare that the English had imported from the Continent in the form of small arms or what we would call rifles.

    The events of the day were captured by drawings made at the time which turned up about 100 years ago at the Bodleian Library in Oxford which Map Librarian Nick Millea showed Making History’s Lizz Pearson.

    There is also a contemporary print which was known only from a lithograph copy published by the Bannatyne Club in 1824. The Editor of this publication claimed that the copy was made from a sixteenth century engraving which no one had seen since - until 2003 when a print turned up in a country house sale and was bought for the nation by the British Library.

    Peter Barber, the British Library’s Map Librarian, noted a likeness between the Pinkie drawings and the panoramas that Henry VIII had produced during the siege of Boulogne which, as he told Making History the other year, are a great example of early decorative propaganda and he thinks the map is not only the first copper-plate map to be made in the UK but was based on the drawings that turned up in the Bodleian.


    The Englishe victore agaynste the Schottes by Muskelbroghe 1547 (C) The British Library

    Maps of the Battle of Pinkie available at the Bodlian Library web site
  • Contact Making History




    Making History
    BBC Radio 4
    PO Box 3096
    BN1 1PL

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