The Battle of Corrichie 1562
Sunday 6 th August 2023
10am - 5pm
This family-fun battle re-enactment event is being held to commemorate The Battle of Corrichie, fought on the Hill of Fare in 1562. Travel back in time to the mid sixteenth century when Aberdeenshire was a region of feuding clans. Fiercely independent and loyal to the end, these hard- working men and women of the 1500s fought for their beliefs and helped to shape the character of modern-day Aberdeenshire. Through music, drama, archery, falconry and a spectacular battle re-enactment, experience what life was like for the clans people of these lands, and bear witness to the bloody battle that was fought here over 460 years ago, a milestone in our Scottish history.
The Battle of Corrichie history
The Battle of Corrichie was fought near Meikle Tap, the easternmost summit of Hill of Fare, north of Banchory, on 28 October 1562.
It was fought between the forces of George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, against the forces of Mary Queen of Scots, under the Earl of Moray. Huntly had defeated the English twenty years earlier at the Battle of Haddon Rig, but at Corrichie he was defeated by Queen Mary’s forces, and apparently died of apoplexy after his capture. Mary had come in person to the north of Scotland to confront the power of the Gordons. At Corrichie, the Gordon’s tactic of charging with swords was defeated by Moray’s pike drill.
What were they fighting about?
The Earl of Huntly had lost the territories of Moray and Mar, which he considered his heritage, so he became an enemy of the new Earl of Moray, who was the half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots. Mary and her half-brother travelled to Aberdeen in August, and met the Earl and Countess of Huntly. Mary wished to imprison their son in Stirling Castle, and journeyed towards Huntly Castle with Huntly himself, but she later turned back, defeated by Huntly’s refusal to hand over his son.
Mary and her court then travelled to Inverness Castle, but the Gordon Captain there refused to give up the royal castle. At this time, a collection of 12 separate Scottish clans, united as the Clan Chattan, deserted Huntly and joined Mary Queen of Scots, along with several other clans including the Frasers and Munros.
They took Inverness Castle easily on 9 September, and the Gordon Captain was executed. Mary and her court returned to Aberdeen. Huntly tried to find out about the Queen’s intentions from his cousin, but their correspondence was discovered and the cousin was forced to flee. By then, Huntly had reached Corrichie.
The Earl of Huntly had a royal cannon at Huntly Castle. Mary demanded its return with short notice. Her men went to Huntly Castle on 9 October and attempted to capture the Earl, but he escaped over a low wall at the back of the property. The Countess of Huntly stayed at Huntly Castle while the Earl went to his house at Badenoch, and was declared a rebel on 17 October. Eleven days later, he and his men were defeated by Mary Queen of Scots’ forces at Corrichie.
Step back through the centuries with a stroll through our living village of 1562, and let the sights, smells and sounds of history waft over you. Grab a bite to eat or a bouncy castle break in the modern village, and don’t miss the battle itself – when men and horses will clash in a spectacular reproduction of the bloody battle of 1562.
Living History camps open
Opening Ceremony (arena)
Drum performance (arena)
The Battle of Corrichie (arena) – the Earl of Moray leads the Queen’s army into action against the northern rebels. Will the royal forces prevail?
Courtly Kids (arena) – young visitors learn the manners of the court, and some military training!
Fashions of the Time (arena) – introduction to the clothing and weaponry of the 16thcentury
Cavalry skill-at-arms (arena) – cheer on our riders as they show off their skills in the saddle
Drum performance (arena)
The Battle of Corrichie (arena) – another chance to enjoy the spectacle, as men and horse clash in battle. Can Huntly resist the power of the Royal army?
Followed by an Act of Remembrance, pausing to remember those who lost their lives in the Marian Wars.
Site and camps close
(some details may be subject to change)