Flodden 1513: the biggest ever Anglo-Scottish battle

Just over five hundred years ago, a Scottish army invaded England in an attempt to thwart Henry VIII's challenge to their independence. George Goodwin describes what happened when the two sides clashed at Flodden Field

King Henry VIII, shown here around 1520, was in his early 20s when his decision to attack France challenged the position of James IV. (Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the September 2013 issue of BBC History Magazine

In 1542 King Henry VIII published a declaration asserting “the true and right title that the king’s most royal majesty has to the sovereignty of Scotland”. As evidence, he cited ‘history’ and the ancient division of Britain together with documentary ‘proof’ that the kings of Scotland had paid homage to their English superiors no fewer than 17 times from the 10th century onwards.

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