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Tracking the horses of Flodden Field

Horses – the long-forgotten casualties of Flodden’s bloody field – are set to take centre stage, thanks to research by enthusiasts.

Through a 500-year-old document from the National Archives, it has been discovered that after their owners fled the battle – which changed the course of Borders and Scottish history – or been killed, 297 horses were given away.

It provides in-depth detail about each animal, its colour, stance and new owner.

Linda Bankier, Berwick’s archivist and head of the team of volunteers which transcribed the document, commented: “The catalogued horses were distributed in Northumberland, Cumberland, North Yorkshire and Lancashire.”

She went on: “It is thought that the horses were given out to people who were still up north and had taken part in the Battle of Flodden.

“The volunteers who took part in the transcription thoroughly enjoyed the process – this was a document that had not been read for hundreds of years. To get such great detail on the colours, size – even the description of ears – of horses from that time was quite unprecedented and really very special.”

The result of this research will be displayed to the public for the first time on March 29 and 30 at Heatherslaw Mill in north Northumberland, one of more than 40 Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum sites. This will be combined with a range of family activities.

Jane Miller, education officer for Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum, said: “We really think the two days will attract a great deal of interest.

“The activities on the day will range from clay modelling to creating horses from felt, and the children will also be involved in writing our very own horse document, complete with quill to replicate the original.

“It is very important to the Flodden Ecomuseum team that children of all ages have the opportunity to learn about the battle which helped shape our nations.

“Through this event we are enabling the children to recreate a little bit of history with their own clay models. We’ll also have our very own ‘war horse’ on site as Milfield Heavy Horse Association are bringing along one of their impressive Clydesdales.”

Anyone who wants to take part in this activity or get information on activities in connection with Flodden 1513, visit www.flodden1513.com or contact Jane Miller at JMiller@woodhorn.org.uk.

 

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