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Old 24-01-2014, 10:55
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default The Battle Of Flodden Field-1513

FLODDEN is approx,12 miles south of BERWICK ON TWEED

King Henry VIII of England acceded to the throne in 1509 and from the outset was keen to secure England’s position on the Continental stage. To this end he joined an alliance with Spain and Pope Julius II against France in 1511. King James IV of Scotland was married to Henry’s sister but also had an alliance with France. When Henry invaded France in 1513 the French King Louis XII called upon James for assistance. James was persuaded to invade England and so divert troops away from the war on the continent.

Assisted with French arms, ammunition and some troops, James crossed into England in August with an army of up to 60,000 men. His intentions were to draw English forces north and so deplete the troops available for war in France. To this end he confined his activities to capturing the border castles of Etal and Ford, using the latter as his base, and sending raiding parties into the countryside. But Henry had anticipated an invasion from Scotland and had assembled his forces for the continental campaign mainly from the counties of southern England, leaving Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey in command in the north.

In response to the Scottish invasion, the Earl of Surrey mustered troops from across the northern and midland counties. By early September there was an army of some 26,000 assembled at Alnwick. James's army had now shrunk, by desertion and through troops being detached for garrison duty, to 35-40,000. Surrey now issued a challenge to James, which was eventually accepted, with a battle to take place by the 9th September at the latest.

James moved his army to the steep hill of Flodden Edge. When Surrey arrived on 7th September and saw the tactical advantage the Scots had taken he requested James to take a more level ground where each had the same chance. Unsurprisingly James declined to move stating that he would ‘take and keep his ground at his own pleasure’.

In response, on 8th September Surrey marched his army in a wide sweep to the north-east, several miles east of the Scottish position and on the opposite side of the river Till. Now he could advance against the Scots from the north, avoiding the entrenched Scottish artillery which were facing south against the expected direction of English attack, and also stopping the Scottish army retreating across the border without engaging.

James saw this manoeuvre from his vantage point on Flodden Edge but it was not until the morning of the 9th that he realised Surrey's intent. He then ordering his army to turn about and march a mile to the north from Flodden Edge to Branxton Hill; giving up his advantageous battle position on top of Fodden Edge, which formed the northern edge of this area of high ground. As the English, somewhat delayed by the crossing of the Pattins Burn, drew up to the south of Branxton village on a slight rise below Branxton Hill the Scots were already in battle formation and ready to attack.

Despite initial Scottish success, the battle of Flodden was to prove a devastating defeat for the Scots. Casualties were very heavy and amongst the 10,000 killed were nine earls, thirteen barons, five heirs to titles, three bishops, two abbots and even the King himself.

The battlefield is now fully enclosed but remains as agricultural land, although there are several modern woodland plantations around the edges of the battlefield. Access is possible via several minor roads and permissive footpaths. A monument to the battle erected in 1910 stands on Piper's Hill and the Remembering Flodden Project has erected a number of information boards across the battlefield.

Surrey's army lost 1,500 men killed. There were various conflicting accounts of the Scottish loss. A contemporary account produced in French for the Royal Postmaster of England, in the immediate aftermath of the battle, states that about 10,000 Scots were killed,a claim repeated by Henry VIII on 16 September while he was still uncertain of the death of James IV. William Knight sent the news from Lille to Rome on 20 September, claiming 12,000 Scots had died with less than 500 English casualties.

Italian newsletters put the Scottish losses at 18 or 20 thousand and the English at 5000. Brian Tuke, the English Clerk of the Signet, sent a newsletter stating 10,000 Scots killed and 10,000 escaped the field. Tuke reckoned the total Scottish invasion force to have been 60,000 and the English army at 40,000. George Buchanan wrote in his History of Scotland (published in 1582) that, according to the lists that were compiled throughout the counties of Scotland, there were about 5,000 killed. A plaque on the monument to the 2nd Duke of Norfolk (as the Earl of Surrey became in 1514) at Thetford put the figure at 17,000. Edward Hall, thirty years after, wrote in his Chronicle that "12,000 at the least of the best gentlemen and flower of Scotland" were slain.
As the nineteenth century antiquarian John Riddell supposed, nearly every noble family in Scotland would have lost a member at Flodden.

The dead are remembered by the song (and pipe tune) "Flowers of the Forest":

"We'll hae nae mair lilting, at the yowe-milking,
Women and bairns are dowie and wae.
Sighing and moaning, on ilka green loaning,
The flowers of the forest are all wede away".

Contemporary English ballads also recalled the tragedy of the Scottish losses:

To tell you plaine, twelve thousand were slaine,
that to the fight did stand;
And many prisoners tooke that day,
the best in all Scotland.
That day made many a fatherlesse childe,
and many a widow poore;
And many a Scottish gay Lady,
sate weeping in her bowre.

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Old 28-03-2014, 13:17
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davidrn davidrn is offline
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Default Re: The Battle Of Flodden Field-1513

Very nice Jim, I remember reading many years ago of the battle in one of Jean Plaidy's Tudor novels. Fiction I know but very readable.
A most interesting period of history.

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Old 09-04-2014, 12:05
jainso31 jainso31 is offline
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Default Re: The Battle Of Flodden Field-1513

Thank you for the comment David-they were turbulent times and as such there was always an afterwards

The Aftermath of the Battle of Flodden-see via link below

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