Actually the phrase should be Rough Wooing but the word "woo" sounds too much like the background chorus in a Motown song for me.
In any case, Rough Wooing is a somewhat caustic reference to the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh.
I know, I know. Pinkie Cleugh sounds a little cutesy too, doesn't it? How about this one: Firth of Forth? That's a location in Scotland that the battle was near. The Gaelic version of the name, Linne Foirthe, sounds somewhat more serious.
And a serious battle it was. In Scotland the battle is also known as Black Saturday, and for good reason. While estimates vary, something like 30,000 Scots went up against around 17,000 Brits and at the end of the day a third of the Scots were dead but only 600 British died that day.
That's the kind of lopsided result that can really make a nation mourn for centuries.
It happened in September of 1547. The King that started it was already dead, the future king it purportedly was started for was only 9 years old and the fair maiden that was involved was but a toddler. Strange war.
You see, King Henry (the 8th I am, I am) wanted his son Edward to marry Queen Mary of Scotland to seal diplomatic ties to the advantage of England. Since the kids were only 9 and 4 respectively, they didn't have a lot of say in this. But Scotland wanted to be aligned with France and not England, so they declined the engagement offer--Henry was less than amused. Off to war they went---except Henry since he died 8 months before the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh.
The lesson here? Don't piss off a fat King with a gravely infected leg. Or maybe invest more heavily in a Navy.
Despite the huge win by England, Scotland didn't acquiesce for another 8 years. And 2 years after that Mary married Francis, Dauphin of France and he was crowned king of France a year later. And then died 2 years after that. These people were very dramatic. Declare war and die, or become queen at 6 days old, marry well and then become queen again for a couple of years. Queen squared!
It all makes US history seem staid by comparison.
I still find the term Rough Wooing amusing. If the engagement offer is rejected, kill tens of thousands of men to force that marriage down her throat! Rough indeed.
The importance of good penmanship
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