9 September 1513 – The Battle of Flodden and the Death of King James IV

Flodden Memorial
Flodden Memorial

On 9th September 1513, the Battle of Flodden between England and Scotland took place near the village of Branxton in Northumberland.

England was victorious and the Scottish King, James IV, was killed in the battle. It was a proud moment for Catherine of Aragon, who was acting as regent for the absent Henry VIII.

You can read more about this battle in my article “The Battle of Flodden 1513”.

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4 thoughts on “9 September 1513 – The Battle of Flodden and the Death of King James IV”
  1. How significant was Catherine’s role in the BoF? Did she have any real input as ‘Captain General of the Forces’? Did she appoint the commander and advise tactics?

  2. There has been commemoration of this devastating battle on both sides of the border to day. A service held in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, and at the Flodden Monument. There was also a ‘Battle Field Walk’, the site is actually farmed, and is at present a field full of stubble left from harvesting a cereal crop.

    Tomorrow (Tues), there will be a further commemoration held at Branxton.
    Others, such as Sterling castle are marking the anniversary with an exhibition and visitor tours, while the National Records of Scotland are putting documents on display, including the royal accounts book of James IV’s reign that show his preparation of invading England.

    Also there has been excavation work underway to find the remains of those that fell and were buried there. They hope their findings can be used to declare the burials as war graves.

    Not only did Scotland lose quantity, but also quality in the death toll. As well as the King, there were 9 Earls, 14 Lords of Parliament, and most of the heads and heirs of the Noble land owners, which meant that Nation lost the brains, leadership and military expertise in a matter of hours, as was reported tonight. This put Scotland into problematic times until the 17month old James V became King in his own right in 1528.

    Here’s a verse of the lament ‘Flowers of the Forest’ written to record the grief felt at the loss of so many young and noble men…

    Dule and wae for the order, sent oor lads to the border,
    The English for aince, by guile wan the day.
    The flo’oers of the forest, that foucht aye the foremost
    The prime o our land lie cauld in the clay…

    1. Forgot the translation,

      Mourning clothes and woeful for the order, sent our lads to the border,
      The English for once, by guile won the day.
      The flowers of the forest, that fought yes the foremost
      The prime of our land lie cold in the clay…

      there are 6 verses.

  3. 9th September 1513 a day of national mouring in my home country for the Scots slaughtered there by the English.

    It is now 500 year anniversary of Flodden and thankfully the archeologists were thrown out for the day for the ceremony to take place. The work that they intend to do is useful but access to the site is more important than looking for finds and the ceremony went ahead and was very moving and dignified. But when are the English going to apologise for their treatment of my countrymen?

    Had Henry VIII not caused trouble with his brother inlaw James IV and provoked him with raids and strained relations from the day he came to the throne James would not have taken advantage of the fact Henry was in France and invaded in 1513! Yes, Catherine of Aragon took great pride and courage in raising troops to protect her adopted country under the Earl of Surrey and Henry showed forsight by giving the defence of the realm to the son of the late Duke of Norfolk and his service in war was known. His father had been killed in Mill Lane in Bosworth near the mill; and the Earl fought off anyone who tried to take him prisoner. The Howards had a reputation for fighting on to the death and for being warriors; Catherine had a good commander at hand and her mother was a warrior Queen. She directed the defences and rallied the troops and even Henry was impressed. I do think wanting to send the head or body of our King to Henry was a bit much though. Even stealing his coat was gruesome and unnecessary.

    It is true that the body of the valient King Jamee was treated with some dignity and given a decent and proper burial, but today it is a mystery as to where it is. According to De Lisle in her recent account in the appendix to her book on the Tudors the body has vanished and some work is being done to find it. It had the misfortune to be buried on this side of the border of course and the Reformation and the Civil War and Charles I’s invasion troops on the way back from Scotland took their anger out on many churches and monastic houses. Royal people were defaced as well as saints and relics and I have seen recently an example of that with the effigy of Margaret Beautfort and the Stanley Earls in Ormskirk Church near Liverpool in Lancashire. The Civil War was to blame in this case.

    The dig at the site of course is doing very fine work and they are tryin to identify the dead of both sides and to make the centre into an official war memorial with markings for the mass graves of the Scots and the English and the French also killed as James had French allies. There is a fine cross memorial where James was killed as shown in the picture above but the rest of the dead are a mystery. Some where taken to nearby battlefield churches as was the custom but with more than 10,000 dead it is impossible to bury them in a churchyard so many more where buried in pits where they fell. Why has it taken till the 500th Anniversary for the graves to be searched for? Only the Enlgish scholars and guardians of the site can answer that one. I do hope that the site is found and turned into a proper war cemetory as those in Flanders for both sides. It may start to heal the bitterness that is still felt by the relatives of those that fell against their English neighbours.

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