The Border Clansmen, a group of mediaeval re-enactors from Selkirk and Hawick, reported their “terror” fighting in Flodden’s mock-battle.
At Etal Castle last weekend, eight of the 16-strong Border Clansmen joined a hundred other re-enactors to recreate Scotland’s most disastrous defeat, as part of its 500th anniversary this year.
Thomas Kerr from Selkirk; Derek Stewart, Gregor Scott, and Stephen, Sadie and Keith Douglas from Hawick; and Ian Shields and Jude Coles from Walkerburn spent many months making their uniforms, flags and weapons for the event, and took part in Glasgow University’s experiment to discover how exactly thousands of Scots ‘pikemen’ were massacred on September 9, 1513.
“We all fought together as Borderers, armed with 15ft pikes,” Mr Stewart told The Wee Paper. “It felt really real. The pike walls were claustrophobic, like a scrum of rugby. You saw the enemy in front of you, and if your pike dropped, you couldn’t move your arms. It was terrifying.
“Real arrows with rubber tips showered down upon the stationary Scots pike block. I was struck on the arm, which woke me to the terrors the Scots endured on their march down Branxton Hill to engage the English bill (sword) men.”
Once the Scots pikemen’s formation on Branxton’s steep hill was broken, it was easy for English swords to kill thousands, the study found.
“Flodden’s in the blood,” Mr Stewart said. “As babies, Selkirk men are told about Fletcher, and in Hawick we’re told our ancestors died at Flodden. It’s that deep. We are told that we are ‘the sons of heroes slain at Flodden’, and here I was, recreating a hero being slain at Flodden. It was a very deep and moving experience.”