The Massacre of Tranent took place 1797 in the town of Tranent, East Lothian, Scotland. On 28 August, a proclamation was drawn up by local people to object to the enforced recruitment of Scots into the military, to be used either for controlling their own people or for deployment overseas.
This measure may have been encouraged or incited by the United Scotsmen, a secret society spread throughout Scotland who were believed to be intent on insurgence and the setting up of a Scottish government.
The following day, 29 August, the proclamation was handed to Major Wight, the commanding officer of the recruitment squad. This was ignored, but later, when a contingent from the local colliery communities, lead at front by 'Jackie' (Joan) Crookston, confronted the troops, their response was swift and bloody. Several of the protestors, including Jackie Crookston, were shot dead, out of hand.
The protestors then fled from the centre of the small town out into the countryside, only to be pursued by the Cinque Port Dragoons, who are reported to have cut down people indiscriminately, caring little whether they were involved in the protest or not. Casualty estimates range from around a dozen to twenty or more men, women and children dead, with of course wounded on top of that.
After the slaughter the troopers are alleged to have carried out rape and pillage on the small town.