The Scottish Struggle for Independence
BANNOCKBURN AND THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF FLODDEN
The sixteenth century was the last to see armed conflict between England and Scotland. Whilst the last battle was fought at Pinkie in 1547, it is the English victory at Flodden in 1513 that is the most celebrated. With Henry VIII’s attention focused on leading his army in France, a Scottish army under James IV invaded England and drew up on a low ridge known as Flodden Edge to meet a hastily formed English army under Thomas Howard. Lacking restraint, the impetuous Scots were badly mauled. The result was a far cry from the disciplined success achieved by the armies of William Wallace and Robert Bruce almost 200 years previously where, at two selected and prepared defensive position outside of Stirling, the Scots won immortal fame as they destroyed the English forces of John de Warenne and Edward II on the fields of Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn respectively. The period between these two great conflicts was the crucible in which Scottish nationhood was formed with a continuing pendulum of the ‘The Hundred Years War’ between the two kingdoms as a backdrop. These events remain both current and topical in terms of the Scottish nationalist debate.
Inescapably the major commemorations of two of these battles (the Flodden Factor after its 500th anniversary and the Bannockburn Bounce after its 700th) could have a significant influence on the outcome of the current Scottish nationalist debate. Our long weekend tour, timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Flodden - a strangely low key commemorative affair, will examine the impact of these battles both militarily and politically: each day ending with a topical talk to lead discussions on the historical impact on the independence debate. The tour will provide opportunities to wear actual harness and weald the swords of the period. For the more adventurous, there will be opportunities to try your hand as a man (or woman) at arms.
"The Scots are a bold, hardy people, very experienced at war. They had little love or respect for the English - and the same is true today".
Jean Froissart, Chronicles (1523-5)
Assemble at our Edinburgh hotel and check-in for three nights. Introductory talk ‘The Great Cause, England and Scotland at War’ followed by dinner.
We look at the success of two icons of Scottish independence: William Wallace and Robert Bruce. We visit the Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle and explore the probable sites of the battles of Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314). Talk ‘Flowers of the Forest – how Flodden came about’ followed by dinner.
500 years ago today, the battle of Flodden was fought. We visit the exhibition at Etal castle which was taken and held by the Scots prior to the battle. Thence to Flodden where commence our tour from Piper’s Hill. Talk ‘The days of the Steel Bonnets; unification of the crowns & legacy’ followed by dinner.
Check out of our hotel.