The Remembering Flodden Project

Tour of the Battle   1. Background to the Battle

The year 1513 saw Henry VIII campaigning in France, leaving seasoned warrior, the Earl of Surrey, to guard Northern England.

Invoking the Auld Alliance with France, James IV of Scotland crossed the Tweed with a large well-equipped army. He took Norham, Etal and Ford Castles and established a stronghold a mile to the south of here, on Flodden Hill.

Surrey marched his forces north but avoided the Scottish position with a wide flanking move to the east, making his approach to the Battle from the north, via Twizel Bridge.

James was forced to relinquish his fortifications and move his troops and heavy cannon to the ridge of Branxton Hill. The English lines spread out west to east along the ridge on which Branxton stands.

Battle commenced in the late afternoon of 9th September 1513, when the Scots' guns opened fire. It was dull, damp and muddy, having rained for most of the day.

In the following hours, these fields became the scene of bloody carnage in which an estimated 4,000 Englishmen and 10,000 Scots, including their king and many nobles lost their lives.

King Henry VIII King James IV of Scotland