Battle of Craibstone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Battle of Craibstone
Part of Clan Gordon - Clan Forbes feud, and the Marian civil war
Date 20 November 1571
Location Craibstone croft, Aberdeenshire
Result Gordon victory
Clan Gordon Clan Forbes
Commanders and leaders
Adam Gordon of Auchindoun
Captain Ker
Master of Forbes
Captain Chisholm
Captain Wedderburn
Alexander Campbell
800 900
Casualties and losses

The Battle of Craibstone was fought on 20 November 1571 between Clan Gordon and the Clan Forbes on an area that has now been constructed over, found in central Aberdeen, Scotland.[3] It was part of the Marian civil war in which the Clan Forbes supported the King and Clan Gordon supported the Queen.

So called due to its proximity to Craibstone Croft, the battle was won by the Gordons who forced the Forbes into retreat in approximately one hour with the loss of sixty men.[3] According to news of the battle sent to John Lesley, the secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots, the number of casualties was three-score, 60 men, on each side, and the son of Lord Forbes, Alexander Master of Forbes, was imprisoned at Huntly Castle.[1]

According to the chronicle Diurnal of Occurrents, the Master of Forbes accompanied by Captains Chisholm and Wedderburn marched from Cowie to Aberdeen on 20 November 1571. Chisholm and Wedderburn, the Regent's men, commanded two bands of musketeers called "hagbutters." Their whole strength was about 800 men. Adam Gordon of Auchindoun and Captain Ker had 900 men in the town. The Forbes came over the bridge of Aberdeen, and fought with Adam's men for an hour at Craibstone. The Forbes retreated, Chisholm and 300 men were killed, and the Master of Forbes and 200 men were captured. Two hundred Gordons were killed.[4]

Richard Bannatyne mentions that some cavalry commanded by Alexander Campbell fought with the Forbes. Bannatyne says that the Forbes and the Regent's troops came to Aberdeen because they were short of food. Adam Gordon was reluctant to fight because he was outgunned, but saw his chance after the troops "foolishly" wasted their ammunition. The Forbes bowmen or archers fled, Bannatyne wrote they "gave backis, and did no guid."[5] The Historie of King James Sext says there were 600 cavalrymen. The pursuit of the fleeing Forbes covered four miles. The Historie of James Sext (which is biased against the Regents of Scotland), says that the Gordons had only 30 casualties and the Forbes 300, although all the other sources make the number more evenly matched.[6]


  1. ^ a b Boyd, William K., ed., Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol.4 (1905), p.67 no.83, news of the defeat of the Clan Forbes, sent 16 December 1571
  2. ^ Thomson, Thomas, ed., Diurnal of Occurrents, (1833), 255
  3. ^ a b c "Battle of Craibstone/Battles in Aberdeenshire". Retrieved 11 March 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ a b Thomson, Thomas, ed., Diurnal of Occurrents, (1833), 255
  5. ^ Bannatyne, Richard, Memorials of the Transactions in Scotland, (1836), 212-3.
  6. ^ Thomson, Thomas, ed., The historie and life of King James the Sext: being an account of the affairs of Scotland from the year 1566 to the year 1596, Edinburgh (1825), 95-6

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°11′20″N 2°12′25″W / 57.189°N 2.207°W / 57.189; -2.207