Midlothian’s 100 Objects - Spanish Armada plate find

A plate, dating from the Spanish Armada, discovered in an old kitchen in Newbattle Abbey. Photo: Newbattle Abbey/Scran

A plate, dating from the Spanish Armada, discovered in an old kitchen in Newbattle Abbey. Photo: Newbattle Abbey/Scran

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In 1588, the Spanish Armada, consisting of 130 ships, set sail for the invasion of England.

Part of the strategy was to harbour some of the ships along the French coast and uplift a large Spanish army.

The attempt failed and many of the enemy ships tried to escape by going around Scotland and North Ireland. The weather deteriorated seriously, causing havoc amongst the fleet.

On board the commander’s boat was the treasure chest holding plate and jewels. It was taken off at Fair Island before the ship went down. Scottish fishing boats took the survivors and possessions to Anstruther in Fife.

Later, the commander and senior officers were accommodated at Newbattle Abbey, near Dalkeith, and other ranks at Craigmillar Castle.

This plate is situated in the chapel, which was originally was the old Abbey kitchen. Excavations in the late 19th century found the great chimney with an oven on one side. The kitchen would also be the Warming Room, a place where the monks could break their vow of silence.

Photo: Newbattle Abbey/Scran

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