This took place at Flodden Field near the village of Branxton on the Scottish-English border on September 9th 1513. Scottish King James IV led his troops against the forces of King Henry VIII, led by the Earl of Surrey and after 3 hours of extremely bloody combat, 14,000 men lay dead. This was the last time a King of Scots led a united Scots army into battle and the result had a significant influence on the future of Scotland.
King James captured Ford Castle on September 1st and he spent the days before the battle in residence there. It was rumoured that he had ‘assignations’ with Elizabeth, Lady Heron with a ‘secret staircase’ linking their rooms. He slept in the ‘King James Room’ before losing his life on the battlefield along with many brave men on both sides. The battle secured Henry’s position on his northern border but left Scotland questioning the wisdom of the ‘Auld Alliance’ with France. In part it contributed to the ‘Union of the Crowns’ of Scotland and England under James VI of Scotland in 1603. The site of the battle is marked by a granite cross on the summit of Pipers Hill and engraved with the words ‘To the brave of both nations’. Ford Castle stands to this day although with a number of Victorian changes. The King James room and ‘secret staircase’ however remain unchanged. The castle is now a residential centre for educational holidays for groups of young students who also take part in a range of challenging activities. They are all inspired by staying in this fantastic, historic building as indeed would any visiting group.
We believe that the Castle should play a major role in the Flodden 500 commemorations by providing a very special visit for our guests. It is planned to use the Great Hall to stage a number of illustrated lectures by experts on the battle itself and the events leading to and following on from this bloody encounter. We will be holding an ‘eve of battle’ commemoration dinner on the night of September 8th and a guided walk along ‘The Battlefield Trail’ on September 9th, the anniversary date. There will also be several organised excursions with expert guides to local areas of historical interest including the majestic city of Edinburgh. We are able to offer a special Flodden package for interested groups for the week of Saturday, September 7th – Saturday, September 14th 2013. The package will include full board accommodation at the castle, a guided tour of the Castle and the battlefield, several excursions including Edinburgh, plus guest lectures. There will be a magnificent commemorative dinner, with all beverages included throughout the stay. The package will also include transfers to and from Edinburgh airport. If your group would prefer other excursions and/or presentations these can be discussed and incorporated into an itinerary tailored to your requirements. If you are interested in taking advantage of this historic opportunity could you please let us know as soon as possible as places are limited. The cost of the package will be dependent on the group size and exact requirements and will be discussed and agreed with groups on receiving an expression of interest. We look forward to hearing from you.
Yours truly, Ben Wire
PS Photos of the Castle can be seen on our website at: www.ford-castle.co.uk