SELKIRK should be allowed to put the sword, dagger and ring that are believed to have been taken from the slain body of Scotland’s James IV after the defeat of his army at Flodden, on public show in time for the 500th anniversary later this year.
That is the view of former local Scottish Borders councillor Kenneth Gunn, commenting on calls for the artefacts to be loaned by the College of Arms in London in time for the programme events organised to mark the anniversary in September.
The anniversary of the 1513 battle will witness a number of activities across the Borders and Northumberland, including in Selkirk.
It is Midlothian South, Tweeddale & Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame (SNP) who has lodged a parliamentary motion calling for the return of the king’s belongings, currently held at the College of Arms in London.
Although experts have doubts the sword and dagger belonged to James, they have been in the possession of the College of Arms since 1681, when they were presented by the sixth Duke of Norfolk, direct descendant of the second duke who, as Earl of Surrey, commanded the English forces at Flodden.
Mr Gunn says he sees no reason why, if the items were loaned back to Scotland, they could not be put on public display in the Royal Burgh.
“Look at what happened with the Selkirk Silver Arrow – they said Selkirk didn’t have the facilities to display that and now it’s actually on show more often here than it is in Edinburgh,” Mr Gunn told us.
“I don’t think there is another town which could stake more of a claim as the place where these items should be displayed than Selkirk – after all Selkirk was the first town anywhere to commemorate the battle with a memorial in 1913.”
After the battle, James’s body was taken to London, where it is said to have remained unburied for many years at Sheen Priory, before being lost – something Mr Gunn says should be rectified.
“If they can track down the remains of Richard III to under a car park in Leicester, surely it is time the remains of James IV were traced and repatriated to Scotland.”
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Weather for Selkirk
Thursday 23 May 2013
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