On 23rd August 1548 Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury arrived in Haddington with a large army for the Siege of Haddington was part of a series of sieges at the Royal Burgh of Haddington, East Lothian. They were part of the larger War of the Rough Wooing, a war started by King Henry VIII in 1543 whilst he was trying to negotiate with the Scottish over a marriage proposal between his son, Edward and Mary, Queen of Scots.
Following a defeat at the battle of Pinkie Cleugh in September 1547 the Regent Arran took control of Haddington with 5000 troops including some troops sent by the French King, Henry II. By February 1548 the English led by Grey of Wilton captured the town from the Scottish and set about fortifying the town.
The Scottish and French troops began to attack the town in July 1548 when the Scottish organised guns and artillery to be brought from Broughty Castle. Mary of Guise visited the effort of the Scottish troops on 9th July but they encountered the English and 16 of her party were killed. The French eventually ordered their guns to be withdrawn just days later.
Talbot arrived in Haddington and was accompanied by 15000 troops. The Scottish and French retreated to Edinburgh and Leith upon Talbot’s army arriving. The French and Scottish began in fighting. Grey of Wilton wrote to Somerset on 1st November 1548 regarding the state of Haddington and wrote;
“The state of this town pities me both to see and to write it; but I hope for relief. Many are sick and a great number dead, most of the plague. On my faith there are not here this day of horse, foot and Italians. 1000 able to go to the walls, and more like to be sick, than the sick to mend, who watch the walls every fifth night, yet the walls are un-manned.”
The English eventually withdrew from Haddington by September 1549 as they ran out of supplies and many of the troops were dead from plague. The French had also sent many more re-inforcements this caused the English to retreat.