Flodden memorial regilded for 500th anniversary

Have your say

A PLAQUE commemorating the Capital’s part in the Battle of Flodden has been regilded to mark today’s 500th anniversary of the defeat.

The sign marks the place where the royal standard flag was raised before the Scottish forces set off for battle.

The Bore Stone which carried the flag sits on a pedestal in a boundary wall in today’s Morningside Road.

The clash in Northumberland on September 9, 1513, between Scotland and England ended with an English victory and the death of Scotland’s King James IV.

According to Sir Walter Scott, in his novel Marmion, the Bore Stone used to lie in a field near its present site, which was then part of the burgh muir, or common lands of the city.

The burgh muir – which extended from the medieval city walls just beyond Forrest Road, across what are now the Meadows, through Bruntsfield and as far as the Astley Ainslie – was used for fairs, large gatherings and grazing animals, as well as being the traditional place for mustering troops.

Scott says the royal standard was placed in the stone prior to the battle.

Merchiston Community Council decided to get the Bore Stone plaque repaired and regilded to mark the battle’s 500th anniversary at a cost of around £1500.

Chairwoman Marianna Clyde said it was important to commemorate Flodden, even though it was a defeat for

She said: “A lot of Scottish people lost their lives. It was a national tragedy.

“It’s like the First World War and the Somme – these were terrible tragedies.

“We should not just celebrate victories, but commemorate defeats as well. It is a sombre moment to reflect on.”

The plaque was repaired at Charles Laing & Sons foundry in Beaverbank Place and regilded at the city council’s workshops.

The Bore Stone is now built into the boundary wall for the former Morningside Parish Church, near Churchhill, which was a high point on the burgh muir, from which a standard could be seen from some distance around.

Although the plaque relates Scott’s account of the stone’s role before the battle, some historians have cast doubt on the story and it is possible that it was a piece of local folklore which Scott had collected and passed on.

Dr Clyde said: “The Bore Stone marker plaque is a famous historical landmark in south Edinburgh and forms an important part of the identity of the area. We were delighted to be able to raise the funds for its restoration, as it’s a real piece of local history which also marks a setting in the historical topography of the local landscape.”


THE Battle of Flodden, or Flodden Field, saw the English forces of commanded by the Earl of Surrey face an invading Scots army under King James IV.

James had declared war on England to honour the Auld Alliance with France by diverting Henry VIII’s English troops from their campaign against the French.

The battle was fought in the county of Northumberland in northern England on September 9, 1513, and in terms of troop numbers it was the largest battle fought between the two kingdoms, with more than 20,000 men on either side.

James was killed in the battle, the last British monarch to suffer such a death.