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On this day in 1545 – Battle of Ancrum Moor

On 27th February 1545 English forces were defeated by the Scottish at the Battle of Ancrum Moor, four miles northwest of Jedburgh, Scotland.

The battle was part of the War of the Rough Wooing which lasted nearly seven years, 1543 – 1550.

Henry VIII wanted to marry his son, Edward, to Mary, Queen of Scots to secure Scottish allegiance. In December 1543 the Scottish Parliament declined the match and instead renewed their alliance with France. Henry’s reaction was to declare war on Scotland as an attempt to persuade them to change their minds.

Sir Ralph Eure, in 1545, leading an army was pillaging land on the Scottish Borders including the burning of Brumehous Tower with the inhabitants still inside. The Earl of Arran and the Earl of Angus, local rivals, combined their forces after Angus learnt that Henry VIII was granting Eure some of his land. They joined the rest of the Scottish army and began marching towards the English near Jedburgh.

The Scottish army consisted of approx 2500 men while the English had over 4000. A small amount of the Scottish force feigned attack on the English camp to draw out the men. As the English crossed Palace Hill they found the rest of the Scottish army waiting for them. With the element of surprise and the setting sun obstructing the English army’s view it didn’t take long for the Scottish to disband the English army.

Eight hundred Englishmen were killed in battle, with over a 1000 taken prisoner. Amongst the dead was Sir Ralph Eure. Arran, took to the battlefield to survey the Scottish victory and to congratulate Angus. He also needed to identify Eure’s body, with the help of an English prisoner.

The defeat at Ancrum Moor temporarily set back to English campaign and encouraged Francis I to send French troops to assist the Scottish, although this did little help overall. The war eventually came to an end shortly after Henry VIII’s death.