The Remembering Flodden Project

Tour of the Battle   7. The King's Battleline

The conflict is now underway and you find yourself amongst the troops of the Scottish centre which were arrayed along this hillside. King James IV has been forced to move from his strongly defended position on Flodden Hill in response to a wide, flanking movement to the east by the English, allowing them to approach the battlefield from the north. Their commander, the Earl of Surrey, has deployed his forces along the ridge ahead of you, where the village of Branxton now stands.

There has already been an artillery exchange but the heavy Scottish guns, dug in to the left of here, have proved ineffective in comparison to the lighter more manoeuvrable English field guns. Nevertheless, Hume and Huntly, on the Scottish left have advanced down the slope and inflicted a bloody nose on the English right flank.

Those around you will soon advance too. Many are armed with long pikes, a weapon which has proved devastating in battles elsewhere in Europe. They outnumber their enemy, which has just marched 12 miles in heavy armour through muddy terrain. Every reason to feel confident!

At this stage of the battle, the forces of Hume and Huntly are already leaving the field, having won their part of the fight. The pikemen of the Scottish centre are now joining battle, but the boggy ground in the dip below will prove to be their undoing. They lose momentum and the tight formation on which the pike depends. They are set upon by English billmen whose weapon is much better suited to close-quarter fighting. King James and his noblemen and troops descend from hereabouts to suffer a similar fate and the arrival of Stanley and his archers with a flanking attack from the east seals the battle's outcome.

The Kings battle line The Kings battle line