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Battle of Craibstone

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Date: 20 November 1571

Location: Craibstone croft, Aberdeenshire


Clan Gordon

Clan Irvine joined forces with the Clan Gordon in their feud against the Clan Forbes, as did The Clan Leslie and Clan Seton.

  • Strength: 800
  • Losses/Casualties: 60/200

Clan Forbes

Clan Keith, Clan Fraser and Clan Crichton joined forces with the Clan Forbes.

  • Strength: 900
  • Losses/Casualties: 60/300:


Related to a long-running feud between the Forbes and Gordon families. Forbes were experiencing food shortages according to Bannatyne's Memorials of Transactions in Scotland from 1569 to 1573. The feud culminated with two full scale battles - first The Battle of Tillieangus and the Battle of Craibstone. The 6th Lord Forbes’s youngest son known as Black Aurther Forbes was killed at the Battle of Tillieangus. Legend has it that “he stooped down to quench his thirst and one of the Gordons gave him his death blow through an open joint in his armour“.

Commanders and leaders

Clan Gordon

Clan Forbes

  • Master of Forbes
  • Captain Chisholm
  • Captain Wedderburn
  • Alexander Campbell Chisholm and Wedderburn commanded two bands of musketeers called "hagbutters."


Part of the Marian civil war in which the Clan Forbes supported the King and Clan Gordon supported the Queen.


Gordon victory. The Forbes fought with Adam's men for an hour at Craibstone. The Forbes retreated, Chisholm and 300 men were killed, and the Master of Forbes and 200 men were captured. Two hundred Gordons were killed.


Casualties and losses

  • Alexander, 2nd Lord Forbes of Pitsligo
  • Captain Chisholm

Notable connections


  • The son of Lord Forbes, Alexander Master of Forbes, was imprisoned at Huntly Castle

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