The Remembering Flodden Project

Tour of the Battle   5. Ready for the Fray

The opening salvoes have been fired. The Scottish guns have been hastily re-sited but their elevation has caused them to overshoot. By contrast, the lighter, smaller calibre English field guns proved to be accurate and deadly. Here, on the Scottish left, Hume's and Huntley's pike men formed up into their ranks, ready to descend and take on the divisions of Edmund Howard on the level ground to the front.

They were extremely successful. The Scots pikes were able to disperse Howard's troops with Howard himself being gravely wounded, and the English came close to fleeing the field. This looked like disaster for the English. The Scottish centre, further along Branxton Hill, saw the chance of total victory and charged down the slope to join combat.

Luckily for the beleaguered Edmund Howard, the horsemen of Lord Dacre were able to come to his rescue before his forces were totally routed. Having won his part of the battle, Hume retired from the field and took no further part in the fighting. He probably assumed that the rest of his comrades in arms would have similar success. However, he would later pay with his head for this action. What he didn't realise was that the rest of the Scottish army would flounder in the marshy ground in the dip, to the east of here. This was the wrong terrain for tight pike formations to operate and the pike was not the weapon for the hand-to-hand combat which ensued.

Ready for the fray Ready for the fray