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Sunday, 6 April 2014

F for Flodden, Fletcher & Flowers of the Forest

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

F is for:

The Battle of FLODDEN  actually took place on the English side of the Border, but its impact on the history of Scotland and its legacy in the Scottish Borders was of major significant.   

Flodden Memorial Plaque at Selkirk

The battle was fought  on 9 September 1513, between an invading Scots army under King James IV   and Henry VIII's English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey. James IV was killed - the last British monarch to die in battle.   

Scottish casualties were immense and amongst the 10,000 killed were much of Scotland's ruling classes, including, nine earls, thirteen barons, five heirs to titles, three bishops,and two abbots.   The Crown fell to 17 month old King James V and governance by regents.  


The Border town of Selkirk saw over 70 men march to Flodden in 1513.  Legend has it that only one  man survived  - his name Fletcher.  On  his return,  he cast a captured English standard around his head and down to the ground to describe that all others had perished in battle. 

The figure of Fletcher with the English standard is captured in a memorial by the noted Galashiels sculptor, Thomas Clapperton.  

This story is a major part of Selkirk's history and is remembered at the annual Selkirk Common Riding in the  ceremony Casting of the Colours by the Standard Bearer, followed by a two minute silence. 

The origin is hazy of the lament tune FLOWERS OF THE FOREST, but one of the most famous versions of the words was written by Lady Jane Elliot (1727-1805) of MInto, Roxburghshire,  in memory of the dead at Flodden 

As an emotive bagpipe solo, it   is often played today at funerals and services of remembrance.   

 Click HERE to listen to its haunting lilt. 

I've heard the lilting at our yowe milking,
Lasses a lilting afore the dawn o' day
 but now they are mourning on ilka green loaning
"The flowers of the forest are a'wede away"

Follow the next stage of this A-Z journey through the Scottish Borders

G is for: 
A Green and Pleasant Land 

The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart


  1. I'm hopping over from A Sunday Drive and LOVE all things Scottish as I am part Scottish myself! What lovely pictures. I am now a happy follower of your blog as well...;~)

    I am a 4th Degree Black Belt and children's author. For the month of April I decided to review 26 picture books as part of the A to Z Challenge. If you get a chance, I would love for you to visit my blog...

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin

  2. I dabble in my family genealogy when I have time. Until my ancestors arrived in America, they mostly came from England. The Irish I have a harder time finding, but I just have to find the time to devote to it.

    Stopping by from A-Z.


  3. This is great! I love Scottish history, and I am very happy I have learned about Fletcher. Love the pictures too!

    Have a wonderful day,
    Sylvia van Bruggen

  4. Reading this makes me aware of some kind of pecking order in the history curriculum I was exposed to. "World History" for the sake of time, I suppose, could touch on only those big events. I can remember some English history, but absolutely nothing of Scottish and Irish history. I'm always glad to get some education here so keep it coming!


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