Flodden’s church service of peace and reconciliation

Rev David Taverner of Coldstream Parish Church & Rev Rob Kelsey, of Norham Church and the priest in charge of Branxton Church, taken at Twizel Bridge which would have been used by both armies and one  of the Flodden Ecomusuem Sites.
Rev David Taverner of Coldstream Parish Church & Rev Rob Kelsey, of Norham Church and the priest in charge of Branxton Church, taken at Twizel Bridge which would have been used by both armies and one of the Flodden Ecomusuem Sites.

The Duke of Norfolk, and the Earl of Home are due to attend a service of peace and reconciliation in Branxton next month, the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden.

The two noblemen will be there representing their ancestors: The Duke of Norfolk’s ancestor the Earl of Surrey led the English troops at the battle in 1513; Earl Home’s ancestor leading the Borders troops.

The service of peace and reconciliation is on Tuesday, September 10, at 2.30pm. Attending the Solemn Commemoration at Branxton will be the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, the president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, senior representatives from the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, and the Dean of Durham Cathedral.

Communities from both sides of the Border will also take part to remember the 5000 English and estimated 10,000 Scots who died in the bloody battle. The casualties included Scottish King James IV, who was the last British monarch to die on a battlefield, and members of almost every Scottish noble family.

The service features an address by Flodden expert Lady Judy Steel of Aikwood, the wife of the former Liberal Party leader David. The fallen of both sides will be remembered through readings and hymns with peace and reconciliation at their heart. Northumbrian and Scottish pipes will play at the service and a lone Scottish piper will play Flowers of the Forest.

Rev Rob Kelsey, of Norham Church and the priest in charge of Branxton Church, said: “It obviously was a turning point in history.

“We are seeking to honour those who died on both sides of the conflict. Part of the point of the Solemn Commemoration is to raise awareness as well as build bridges and work together towards a better future. This is a truly cross border commemoration.”

Rev David Taverner of Coldstream Parish Church said: “The aim is to mark the anniversary of a very important battle in an appropriate way, and in such a way that will be relevant to the 21st century. It is about bringing people together in understanding as opposed to keeping them apart.”

The colours from nearby towns and villages will be on parade and four symbols of peace and reconciliation received: a cross, a sword and ploughshare, a Bible and a dove made from pressed flowers from local flower festivals.