Flodden, battle of

views updated May 17 2018

Flodden, battle of, 1513. While the young king Henry VIII was pursuing military glory against the French, his brother-in-law James IV of Scotland, an ally of France, declared war. He assembled one of the largest armies ever seen in Scotland, crossed the Tweed at Coldstream, and occupied the castles of Norham, Etal, Wark, and Ford. Lord Surrey (Norfolk), commanding the English forces, marched north from Newcastle to Wooler. His invitation, quaintly anachronistic, to do battle on 9 September was rejected by James, who replied that he would please himself. Nevertheless the armies met on the 9th, on Branxton Hill, near Flodden, having twisted round, the English facing south, the Scots north. Surrey's men fought with the Tweed at their backs. There was little tactical manœuvring, but four hours of desperate hand-to-hand combat, the fortunes fluctuating. The turning-point was when James himself, in the thick of the battle, was cut down. The Scots sustained the heaviest defeat of their history, the flower of their nobility dying with the king. James's body was brought south and for many years the coffin was deposited at Sheen in Surrey in the Carthusian house. The battlefield of Flodden is heavy open land, sombre and desolate.

J. A. Cannon

Flodden (Field), Battle of

views updated Jun 27 2018

Flodden (Field), Battle of a decisive battle of the Anglo-Scottish war of 1513, at Flodden, a hill near the Northumbrian village of Branxton. A Scottish army under James IV was defeated by a smaller but better-led English force under the Earl of Surrey (sent northwards by Henry VIII, who was on campaign in France) and suffered heavy losses, including the king and most of his nobles.