Battle of Ancrum Moor
Battle of Ancrum Moor
27th January 1545
Name: Battle of Ancrum Moor
Date: 27 January 1545
War period: Early modern
Start time and Duration: late in the day as English troops were blinded by the setting sun
Outcome: Scottish victory
Armies and losses: Scottish: no more than 2500, including 700 Fife lances; English: 3000 foreign mercenaries, 1500 Borderers, and 700 Scots; Losses: English: 500-600+ killed and 1000 taken prisoner; 500 killed Scottish: few
Location: Moorland about 1.5 miles north of the village of Ancrum
Map details: Grid reference NT6293826661 (362938, 626661); OS Explorer Map OL16; OS Landranger map 74
English cavalry venturing too far forward of their main body and their Scottish allies turning coat led to an English defeat.
In the period following the battle of Flodden (1513) an uneasy truce existed between Scotland and England, but in 1542 the tensions once more erupted into open conflict. Following its Reformation in 1534, England stood independent from Catholic Europe. In response Pope Paul III sought an alliance between Scotland, France and the Holy Roman Empire against England.
After failed nogotiation with the Scottish king, in October 1542 Henry VIII sent an English army some 20,000 into Scotland, where they burnt Kelso and Roxburgh. In reply, James V of Scotland raised an army of some 18,000 troops in the west and headed for Carlisle, but was defeated in November at Solway Moss by a much smaller English force. After the death of James V, Henry aimed to unify the two kingdoms by seeking the marriage of the one year old Scottish Queen Mary to his own son, Prince Edward. When his proposals failed he pursued the matter through fource of arms - the so called 'rough wooing'.
As part of this campaign, in February 1545 two of Henry's northern commanders, Euer and Laiton, again crossed the border, this time with some 5000 troops. The army plundered Melrose town and abbey, then returned towards Jedburgh. In response the Earl of Angus raised local forces. At first outnumbered, he manoeuvred but would not engage the invaders. Once joined by other forces, including the Earl of Aran, he had more than 1200 troops. The Scots now considered their army strong enough to act and at Ancrum Moor they totally defeated the far larger English army.
A REPORT ON THE BATTLE, PREPARED FOR HISTORIC SCOTLAND BY THE BATTLEFIELDS TRUST, IS AVAILABE FROM THE DOWNLOAD AREA ON THE LEFT.