Flodden gives up its secrets, 500 years on

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An emblem of Scotland’s King James IV, the last British king to die in battle, has been 
unearthed at the site of 
Flodden battlefield.

The news comes as preparations for the battle’s 500th anniversary were announced by Flodden 1513, the body that received Lottery Heritage funding to collate commemorations.

Archaeologist Chris Burgess has found a crown-shaped artefact made of copper alloy thought to have been a livery badge worn by a Scottish solider during the Battle of Flodden.

Archaeologist Chris Burgess has found a crown-shaped artefact made of copper alloy thought to have been a livery badge worn by a Scottish solider during the Battle of Flodden.

Project co-ordinator Allistair Bowden believes the discovery of the artefact, an insignia thought to have been worn by a servant or her lad of the king, underlines the relevance of the Flodden 1513 project.

“Other places like Bannockburn have built large centres to show their history,” he explained. “But our approach is more personalised. It’s been picked up everywhere, from schools to chefs to local businesses. Ours is a four-year project, but Flodden won’t disappear.”

He described the popularity of the commemoration project and the enthusiasm of its volunteers. “We aimed to recruit 20 volunteers in documentary research, and we now have 46. We’re looking to engage 12,000 school children with this project, and provide something like £300,000 worth of volunteer time in local communities.”

One community to benefit from the Ecomuseum already is Ladykirk. The village’s kirk, built by James IV, played a central role in medieval relations between England and Scotland.

Scottish and English reenactors face off at Branxton as momentum gathers for the 500th anniversary of the battle of Flodden

Scottish and English reenactors face off at Branxton as momentum gathers for the 500th anniversary of the battle of Flodden

It was made of stone, explained Minister Alan Cartwright, so that it could not suffer the same fate as Cornhill and Swinton churches, which were burned down by English and Scottish forces respectively.

Ladykirk was also the site of the last peace treaty signed between Engand and Scotland in 1559. Diminishing congregations meant the kirk was threatened with closure before becoming aligned with Flodden 1513.

Plans for the commemoration of the quincentenary are gathering pace, and taking a variety of forms.

These include special ice cream flavours from Doddington Dairy, Blood Orange Marmalade from the Old Dairy in Ford, as well as special one-off beers. Other events include an opera written by The Maltings’ Mathew Rooke, and several concerts.

In the peaceful spirit of the celebration, a special tartan has been commissioned. The pattern combines the colours associated with both the armies that clashed 500 years ago.