Battle of Flodden, The: The History of the Most Famous Battle Between England and Scotland

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The relationship between Scotland and England has always been rocky. For most of their history they have been at loggerheads and frequently at war, and, even after the Act of Union of 1707 which united the two nations, there were at least four Scottish uprisings. Today, the Scottish threat to separate from the post-Brexit UK is well-known. England has historically viewed the northern nation as a threat, and Scotland for its part has feared, with justification, its richer and more powerful neighbor.

Famous encounters between the two countries include Falkirk (1298), Bannockburn (1314), Solway Moss (1542), Prestonpans (1745) and Culloden (1746), but the Battle of Flodden, or Flodden Field, fought on September 9, 1513, was the largest and perhaps most spectacular of the clashes between the ancient enemies. It involved the deployment of 56,000 men and vies with the 1461 Battle of Towton during the Wars of the Roses as the largest battle ever fought on British soil. The English had never entirely conquered Scotland, and since Bannockburn they had been unable to claim any degree of control, but it was not until 1328 that they finally acknowledged Scotland's independence.

On top of that, the nature of political marriages in England, and Europe in general, tied nations together even as they remained enemies. Indeed, throughout the 16th century, Scottish rulers would be eyed with suspicion by English royals who were fully aware that no shortage of Englishmen considered the Scottish royals the true heirs to England’s throne. Flodden Field would be one of the biggest battles in English and Scottish history, yet the two countries would still be at war a generation later.