Battle site of Flodden (1513) ***

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Flodden Field Monument cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Philip Halling -


More than 10.000 of Scotland's men and James IV himself went down in bloody ruins in 1513.

The Auld Alliance between Scotland and France, intended to keep the English lion shackled, obliged the Scots to come the aid of the French. In order to pressure Henry VIII into diverting troops from the main English army, which was then in France, the Scots crossed the border with a huge army of about 40,000 men supported by artillery. The Earl of Surrey, Henry’s lieutenant in the north, hastily gathered an army of about 26,000 to oppose him. Fearing that the Scots would retreat before battle was joined, Surrey issued a challenge to James.

Fletcher statue in Selkirk


The battle began in the late afternoon with a barrage of the Scottish guns. The English guns however were more effective. This was a mere prelude to the Scottish pike charge. When the Scots charged downhill their 4.5 meter long pikes ( a present from their French allies!) proved a real hazard, especially when, at the bottom of the hill, they found themselves floundering in the mud. The Scots fought stubbornly, but the English archers proved very effective on the Scottish right flank. By nightfall the Scottish army was annihilated. James was killed, together with at least 10,000 of his subjects, including high officers of church and state and many nobles.

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