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Tours > Northumberland Battlefields > Flodden Field

David Ford, History Editor
The Battle of Flodden Field
9th September 1513
Well signposted just south-west of Branxton village, two miles south-east of Coldstream

by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia

Hillside Memorial Cross at Flodden In the early 16th century, King Henry VIII was heavily involved in a war with the French as he tried to press the old English claim to that country's throne. The Scots were great allies of France and, in August 1513, King James IV invaded England from the North in order to assist his associates in their defensive efforts. 100,000 Scotsmen poured over the border, quickly overrunning the local English strongholds and enabling the King to rest easy for a week at Ford Castle.

The Earl of Surrey, who was responsible for the defence of the Realm in Henry's absence, marched North with a force of about 40,000. Luckily, by the time he reached the enemy, many of the Scots had already gone home and the sides were more or less evenly matched. There were hurried troop movements as each side tried to outmanoeuvre the other, before the artillery battering began. This was soon followed by hand-to-hand combat. At first, the Scots seem to have the upper hand over the English, still weary from their long march. However, the English archers on the left wing were able to decimate the half-naked highlanders and advance on the central Scottish position. In the slaughter that followed, as well as innumerable foot soldiers, the King and some thirty of his nobles were slain. Fighting continued sporadically into the next day, but the Scots eventually fled the field.

Today, the battlesite is marked by a huge stone cross erected at the turn of the last century. There is a small car park from which you can climb the hill right up to it and get a fine view of the surrounding countryside. Explanatory boards point to the positions of the opposing forces.

Next Stop: The Battle of Halidon Hill

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