Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Battle of Flodden Field

The Battle of Flodden or Flodden Field was fought in northern England on September 9, 1513, between an invading Scots army under King James IV and an English army commanded by Thomas Howard.

The battle actually took place near the village of Branxton in the county of Northumberland, rather than at Flodden - hence the alternative name of Battle of Branxton. The Scots had previously been stationed at Flodden, near to Branxton. (This was to be the last battle to take place in Northumberland.)

The battle was the climax of days of manoeuvring, with the Scottish schiltrons relinquishing the defensive high ground in order to come to grips with the English, whose billmen wielded a devastating weapon that was more than a match for the Scottish spears that had changed little since Bannockburn. In the bloody slogging match that characterised such warfare, the Scots were eventually encircled and cut to pieces. The Scottish reserve led by the Duke of Argyll, Archibald Campbell, 4th Earl of Argyll (c.1507-1558), who was to pay for this inaction with his head many years later, watched impassively as King James and his army was destroyed. The king, many of his nobles, and over 10,000 men were all killed.

Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Surrey, was Lieutenant General and largely responsible for the Tudor victory for Henry VIII of England. He subsequently was restored to his father's title of Duke of Norfolk.

Skirmishes over the English - Scottish border had been taking place for centuries, and was perhaps the longest such 'war' on record.

On this occasion, King James had proclaimed war with England to honour the Auld Alliance, namely, to divert Henry VIII's English troops from their campaign against the French king Louis XII; England was involved in a larger conflict, defending Italy and the Pope from the French, see Italian Wars, as a member of the Catholic League.