The Battle of Ancrum Moor

by Ellen Castelow

Isolated since his break from Rome and Catholic Europe, Henry VIII sought to secure his northern borders though an alliance with Scotland. Henry’s proposal involved the marriage of his son, Prince Edward to the one year old Scottish Queen Mary.

When the Scottish Parliament rejected Henry’s overtures, he sought to change their mind through a show of force; the so called Rough Wooing.

Declaring war, Henry ordered his northern commanders to lay waste to much of southern Scotland including Edinburgh, Kelso, Leith and Roxbugh.

Continuing with his campaign, in the early weeks of 1545 two of Henry’s commanders again crossed into Scotland with an army of around 5,000 men, including a large contingent of foreign mercenaries and Scottish borderers.

Under the command of Sir Ralph Euer and Sir Brian Laiton, the English army ravaged much of the Scottish Border country.

To counter the insurgents, the Earl of Angus raised a force of local militia. Strengthened by reinforcements, the Scots took up their position at Ancrum Moor on 27th January 1545.

Hugely outnumbered, the Scots first lured the English cavalry into trap. Hampered by boggy ground the English infantry found it difficult to form for battle, and when the 700 Scottish borderers decided to change sides the battle was all but over.

English losses totalled around 600 killed including Euer and Laiton, with a further 1,000 taken prisoner.

The war itself ended shortly afterwards following the death of Henry VIII.

Click here for a Battlefield Map

Key Facts:

Date: 27th February, 1545

War: War of the Rough Wooing

Location: Near Jedburgh, Scottish Borders

Belligerents: Kingdom of Scotland, Kingdom of England

Victors: Kingdom of Scotland

Numbers: Scotland around 2,500, England around 5,000

Casualties: Scotland negligable, England around 800 killed and 1,000 taken prisoner.

Commanders: Earl of Arran and the Earl of Angus (both Scotland), Sir Ralph Eure and Sir Brian Layton (England)


The Battle of Ancrum Moor

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