The Day After Flodden


Dool and wae for the order, sent our lads to the border

This day, for a moment, let us think on all those Jocks and Dands, Antons and Hobs, Robins and Jacks and Edmunds Olivers and Johns, who lay still and dead on Flodden’s field – and estimated 10 000 Scottish dead in around 2 ½-3 hours, and thousands more on the English side.

This would have been the day when the full horror began to unleash itself upon the Scottish Border, when the fathers and the brothers and the sons did not come home, when Fletcher had made his exhausted, distressed way back to Selkirk – the only man to return, so the story has it.

Of those others, stumbling home or marching in order, there would be combatants carrying  hurts and sores which would cause them to succumb days or weeks later – slowly killed as  crushed muscles and fractured bones leached toxins and cellular content into the bloodstream and slowly killed them: no antibiotics, no cutting-edge research, to help these soldiers.

This would have been the day that the decapitation of Scotland’s nobility, royal house and power base was becoming brutally obvious. The aftermath of Flodden can be said to be the moment when Scotland’s stance in Europe undertook a seismic shift, but let us think on all those families and lovers and friends who had only started their grieving today. It would not be until the mechanised slaughter of the Somme that so many soldiers died in such a small amount of time.



  1. Yes, it’s good to remember Flodden and the terrible human agony and cost of battles and the aggression they stem from – as Scots we should remember this when we come to “celebrate” Bannockburn next year, a full 700 years ago when most people were still serfs, the Black Death hadn’t yet happened, and the only educated people were clergy and aristocratic men…..we should bear this in mind when we then go on to vote for “independence” when we already have freedom of speech, free education, healthcare, the ability to move around as we please and one of the highest standards of living in the world…the envy of most of the world’s population…..

    1. Let’s not detract from a battle from centuries before Flodden. Battles are won and lost through the tactics inflicted upon those men who are down on the ground. Bruce and his lieutenants used the damp ground to their advantage, and it was the death of thousands of Englishmen. The damp ground of Flodden field literally bogged down the key militia of James’ army, and it proved their death.
      One day altered the fate of one country – and that can be interpreted more than one way. Just a remark, not the entry into a political debate.
      I would just like an apology for the loss of James’ body.

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