Unearthed map tells of unlikely allies in Leith siege

AN ancient map has led to the discovery of the first physical evidence of a 16th-century siege in which Scots and English fought side by side.

Joint forces surrounded Leith, where French had holed up in the dying months of the Auld Alliance.

The Siege of Leith was a key point in history, as the Scots and English had been enemies for centuries, while the French and Scots were supposed to have been allies.

The siege, in which the French surrendered on June 6, 1560, led to the Treaty of Edinburgh and the eventual fall of the Catholic Church in Scotland as well as the end of the Auld Alliance.

Archaelogists led by Glasgow University's Dr Tony Pollard say the map led them to the first physical evidence of the siege at excavations in Pilrig Park and on Leith Links.

The map - at a scale of "eightye paces to ane ynche" and sketched the day after the French surrender - is thought to have been drawn up by an English cartographer. It was found in the archives of Petworth House, in Sussex.

The breakthrough came when it was superimposed on a modern Edinburgh street map to pinpoint exactly where Scots and English built their siege works.

It helped the archaeologists unearth part of Somerset's Battery - an artillery fort from the siege - battery walls, as well as a blacksmith's forge and several pieces of pottery from the time.

Dr Pollard, who heads the Centre for Battlefield Archaelogy at Glasgow University, said: "The accuracy of the map was astonishing."

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