The Rough Wooing

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Known in Scotland as the "Eight" or "Nine Years' War", the Rough Wooing (December 1543 – March 1551) was a war between Scotland and England. Following its break with Rome, England decided to attack Scotland, partly to destroy the Auld Alliance and prevent Scotland being used as a springboard for future invasion by France, partly to weaken Scotland, and partly to force Scotland to agree to a marriage alliance between Mary, Queen of Scots and the English heir apparent Edward, son of King Henry VIII.

An invasion of France was also contemplated. War was declared by Henry in an attempt to force the Scots to agree to a marriage between Edward, who was six years old at the start of the war, and the infant queen, thereby creating a new alliance between Scotland and England. Edward, crowned king in 1547 at the age of nine, continued the war for a time under the direction of the Duke of Somerset before Somerset's removal from power in 1549 and replacement by the Duke of Northumberland, who wished for a less costly foreign policy than his predecessor.

It was the last major conflict between Scotland and England before the Union of the Crowns in 1603, excepting perhaps the English intervention at the Siege of Leith in 1560, and was part of the Anglo-Scottish Wars of the 16th century.

The idea of the war as a "Wooing" was popularised many years later by Sir Walter Scott, and the phrase "Rough Wooing" appeared in several history books from the 1850s onwards.


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