Online Encyclopedia

FLODDEN, or FLODDEN FIELD

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 524 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FLODDEN, or FLODDEN FIELD, near the village of Branxton, in Northumberland, England (10 m. N.W. of Wooler), the scene of a famous battle fought on the 9th of September 513 between the English and the Scots. On the .22nd of August a great Scottish army under King James IV. had crossed the border. For the moment the earl of Surrey (who in King Henry VIII.'s absence was charged with the defence: of the realm) had no organized force in the north of England, but James wasted much precious time among the border castles, and when Surrey appeared at Wooler, with an army equal in strength to his own,which was now greatly weakened by privations and desertion, he had not advanced beyond Ford Castle. The English commander promptly sent in a challenge to a pitched battle, which the king, in spite of the advice of his most trusted counsellors, accepted. On the 6th of September, however, he left Ford and took up a strong position facing south, on Flodden Edge. Surrey's reproaches for the alleged breach of faith, and a second challenge to fight on Millfield Plain were this time disregarded. The English commander, thus foiled, executed a daring and skilful march round the enemy's flank, and on the 9th drew up for battle in rear of the hostile army. It is evident that Surrey was confident of victory, for he placed his own army, not less than the enemy, in a position where defeat would involve utter ruin. On his appearance the Scots hastily changed front and took post on Branxton Hill, facing north. The battle began at 4 P.M. Surrey's archers and cannon soon gained the upper hand, and the Scots, unable quietly to endure their losses, rushed to close quarters. Their left wing drove the English back, but Lord Dacre's reserve corps restored the fight on this side. In all other parts of the field, save where James and Surrey were personally opposed, the English . gradually gained ground. The king's corps was then attacked by Surrey in front, and by Sir Edward Stanley in flank. As the Scots were forced back, a part of Dacre's force closed upon' the other flank, and finally Dacre himself, boldly neglecting an almost intact Scottish division in front of him, charged in upon the rear of King James's corps. Sur-rounded and attacked on all sides, this, the remnant of the invading army, was doomed. The circle of spearmen around the king grew less and less, and in the end James and a few of his nobles were alone left standing. Soon they too died, fighting to the last 'man. Among the ten thousand Scottish dead were all the leading men in the kingdom of Scotland, and there was no family of importance that had not lost a member in this great disaster. The " King's Stone," said to mark the spot where James was killed, is at some distance from the actual battlefield. Sybil's Well," in Scott's Marmion, is imaginary.
End of Article: FLODDEN, or FLODDEN FIELD
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