9th September 1513

The Battle of Flodden Field

Scotland should have triumphed at the Battle of Flodden Field. James IV led around 35,000 Scottish troops into England, hoping to capitalise on the fact that the English king, Henry VIII, was in France. They faced a smaller English force at Branxton, in Northumberland, around three miles south of the present border, and occupied the more favourable part of the battlefield.

Yet, James and his men suffered a decisive defeat at the hands of forces under the command of the king’s wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Scotland’s advantage

The battle took place on a hill, where Scotland had the early advantage of being at the top. Gravity was on their side and against the English, who were forced to fight their way up if they were to reach their adversaries.

When the two did come together, the superior English weaponry gave them the edge. Aside from bows, arrows and a few cannons, each side was armed with poles. However, where the Scottish weapons were, in effect, very long sharpened sticks, the English had the advantage of a hook on the end, which made them far more deadly.

Thousands killed

The exact number of casualties cannot be known so long after the event, but at up to 14,000 on the Scottish side alone, against fewer than 2000 English lives lost, it was a bloody event. Among the dead was Scotland’s king, James IV.

James’ son, then less than 18 months old, was crowned at the Chapel Royal at Stirling Castle on 21 October.



Other events that occured in September

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