The Battle of Otterburn was fought in August 1388, most probably on the 5th but other dates have been suggested. As part of a major Scottish raid into northern England a section of the Scots army launched a raiding attack which culminated in a confrontation with Sir Henry Percy (known to history and Shakespeare as 'Hotspur'), eldest son of the Earl of Northumberland, and his brother Ralph who had been sent to Newcastle to lead resistance to the eastern side of the incursion. Following some inconclusive skirmishing outside the city the Scots withdrew. Hotspur pursued them and caught up with them to the west of the village of Otterburn in Redesdale, Northumberland. The battle was unusual in being fought in the failing light of evening. The engagement ended with a Scottish victory. Both Hotspur and his brother were captured and taken for ransom but the Scottish leader, James, Earl Douglas, was killed. Between 2017 and 2022 the Battlefields Trust led a major project at Otterburn as part of the Revitalizing Redesdale Landscape Partnership. This pack was created as a part of that work by Geoffrey Carter and John Sadler.
Download the classroom activities, documents, illustrations and maps:
- Content Notes
- Battlefield images and a 3D topographical battlefield model
- An Introduction to England in the Later Middle Ages
- An Introduction to Medieval Warfare
- Medieval Battles Sources
- Otterburn Registered Battlefield Report – Historic England
- History of the Battle of Otterburn – Robert White (1857)
- Otterburn People – Brief Biographies
- Illustrations of Contemporary Soldiers and Armour with Notes
- Battlefield Maps
We have also included the relevant chapter from John Sadler’s book “Hotspur: Sir Henry Percy and the Myth of Chivalry” published in April 2022 by Pen and Sword Military. John is chair of the North East & Borders Region of the Battlefields Trust and has been one of the leaders of the Revitalising Redesdale project at Otterburn. His book reflects the view taken by the project resulting from the work undertaken and the chapter is included with John’s permission.
We have also included a school resources pack produced by the Friends of Harbottle Castle which tells the story of the Umfraville family, who were lords of Redesdale, and of their home at Harbottle Castle. This gives valuable background on Redesdale in the medieval period. This pack is included with the permission of the Friends of Harbottle Castle for which we are grateful. Further detailed information may be found in the final Otterburn Project report which is available here: https://www.revitalisingredesdale.org.uk/projects/the-battle-of-otterburn-conflict-in-a-landscape/
Click on the link below to download the classroom activities, documents, illustrations and maps.
Otterburn Resources (310 MB)