Battle of Flodden remembered 500 years on

Yesterday, exactly 500 years later, the Battle of Flodden between the two armies was remembered in a spirit of reconciliation

A re-enactment of the Battle of Flodden
A re-enactment of the Battle of Flodden

The last time Scots and English met at Flodden, Northumberland, the hills ran red with blood.

Yesterday, exactly 500 years later, the Battle of Flodden between the two armies was remembered in a spirit of reconciliation.

Then, it was a decisive victory for the English who outfought the greater numbers of the Scottish invasion force, killing at least 6000 men and losing 1500 themselves.

Now, it scarcely mattered who won as the dead on both sides were remembered in a series of commemorative events. We’ve already had a new tartan, a tour of the battlefield by archeologists, and conducted walks.

 

There was a flower festival, a play, and a chance to see the 1514 muster roll from Alnwick with the names of those called up to fight.

But yesterday’s actual anniversary was what it was all about.

The day began not at Flodden but at nearby Branxton where the battle really took place.

An interactive exhibition marking the quincentenary of the bloodbath was held in a marquee.

Visitors could see displays and exhibits relating to the conflict through the day.

Volunteers from historical groups were on hand to describe the art of translating old documents from the period and giving people the chance to carry out their own translations.

Then it was all down to local historian Clive Hallem-Baker and his conducted tour of the battlefield.

The tour moved through the places where the action happened in real time.

 

11am. The English artillery cross the bridge at Twizel and the scene is set for the following battle.

The experts will tell you how many formations the Scots were in, how and where they launched the battle, and how King James IV of Scotland was killed.

Others will explain the weapons chosen by the Scots were woefully inadequate to the Northumberland terrain.

Still others, the political reasons for the conflict and the impact on a Scotland where every family, it was said, lost someone.

It has been a year of commemoration with heightened interest in the event but one group always remembers.

The Flodden 1513 Club hold an annual service at the monument to the battle and this year it was always going to be special.

Gerald Tait, honorary secretary of the group, said: “We remember the Scots who fell but there is a cross-border aspect as well.

“The eco-museum on the web has really increased interest in the battle and over the years we have commemorated it with various ridings and festivals.

“People were beginning to forget but it was the last battle in which a king was killed and it changed the political landscape.”

Last night’s service was for members and invited guests with readings and toasts while members of the public looked on, watching, listening.

And for those still not tired by a year of non-stop activity the series of events continues today with a solemn commemoration.

It’s back to the marquee at Branxton for a ceremony including symbols of peace with specially-chosen hymns, music, and readings.

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