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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Honestas and The Battle of Pinkie

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas SEPTEMBER. 28, 2020

The MFV Honestas was originally built for Fisherrow, (Fisherrow is a harbour and former fishing village at Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland, to the east of Portobello and Joppa, and west of the River Esk.) where she was given a Leith registration. Honestas is part of the motto of Musselburgh where her owners were based. She was launched in February 1960.

She was sold into private ownership and began a process of renovation and refurbishment with the intention of using her as a sea angling and charter vessel. The original Gardner engine has been refurbished and the original accommodation was removed and a significant level of work was required in order to bring the boat up to standard.

As of June 2018, the vessel is currently moored at Dartmouth, in private ownership and undergoing a refit prior to being used for pleasure cruising.

Musselburgh is known as "The Honest Toun", and celebrates this by the annual election of the Honest Lad and Lass. The town motto "Honestas" dates back to 1332, when the Regent of Scotland, Randolph, Earl of Moray, died in the burgh after a long illness during which he was devotedly cared for by the townsfolk.

It's amazing what you find out when you Google something and that leads to something else and so on.

I Googled this boat name and then Googled the motto for Musselburgh, then ended up finding out about the unfeasibly named historic battle of........

........... Pinkie, also known as the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, which 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".

None of this has anything to do with the fishing boat, but if I had not seen the boat today I would never have learned about the battle. There is an eyewitness account of the Battle of Pinkie. Do not read on if you are of a sensitive disposition.

The English eye-witness William Patten described the slaughter inflicted on the Scots;


Soon after this notable strewing of their footmen's weapons, began a pitiful sight of the dead corpses lying dispersed abroad, some their legs off, some but houghed, and left lying half-dead, some thrust quite through the body, others the arms cut off, diverse their necks half asunder, many their heads cloven, of sundry the brains pasht out, some others again their heads quite off, with other many kinds of killing. After that and further in chase, all for the most part killed either in the head or in the neck, for our horsemen could not well reach the lower with their swords. And thus with blood and slaughter of the enemy, this chase was continued five miles [eight kilometres] in length westward from the place of their standing, which was in the fallow fields of Inveresk until Edinburgh Park and well nigh to the gates of the town itself and unto Leith, and in breadth nigh 4 miles [6 kilometres], from the Firth sands up toward Dalkeith southward. In all which space, the dead bodies lay as thick as a man may note cattle grazing in a full replenished pasture. The river ran all red with blood, so that in the same chase were counted, as well by some of our men that somewhat diligently did mark it as by some of them taken prisoners, that very much did lament it, to have been slain about 14 thousand. In all this compass of ground what with weapons, arms, hands, legs, heads, blood and dead bodies, their flight might have been easily tracked to every of their three refuges. And for the smallness of our number and the shortness of the time (which was scant five hours, from one to well nigh six) the mortality was so great, as it was thought, the like aforetime not to have been seen.

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