Skirmish at Sclaterford in 1513

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The historical reference to the skirmish occurs in a letter from Lord Dacre to Henry VIII, 13th November 1513, and the connection with this place is in the phrase "so to the Sclater Ford on the water of Bowset". This is identified with a ford over the Fodderlee Burn below Bowshot Hill.

The period following the Scots defeat at Flodden, in 1513, was one of turbulence. The Skirmish at Sclaterford was just one of several confrontations.

The extract is from a letter of Dacre to King Henry, 13 Nov., 1514.

On Thursday last past, I assembled your subjects in Northumberland to the number of a thousand horsemen, and rode in at Gallespeth, and so to the water of Kale, two miles within Scotland, and there set forth two forays ; my brother Philip Dacre with three hundred, who burnt and destroyed the town of Rewcastle with all the corn in the same and there-about, and took two towers in it, and burnt both roof and floors ; and Sir Roger Fenwick with three hundred men burnt the town of Lanton, and destroyed all the corn therein. . . . And I came with an ambush to a place called the Dungeon, a mile from Jedburgh, and so went to the Sclater Ford on the water of Bowset; and there the Scots pursued us right sore, there bickered with us, and gave us hand strokes. There come three standards to back them, . . . with the number of seven hundred men or more. The laird of Wauchope was hurt there with an arrow, and his horse slain. Mark Turnbull was stricken with a spear, and the head left in him ; his horse w-as taken, and divers Scots were hurt there. And so we came forward, where we saw my brother Sir Christopher Dacre with his host arrayed at a place called the Bellyng, which was to us no little comfort.

. . . We had not ridden above the space of one mile, when we saw the Lord Chamberlain appear in our sight with two thousand men and four standards.

The other three standards resorted to him, and so the country drew fast to them. We put us in array, and came homeward, and rode no faster than our sheep and swine that we had taken would drive, which was of no great substance, for the country wruS warned of our coming, and the beacons burnt from midnight forward. And when the Scots had given us over, we returned home.

The Scottish force of some 700 consisted of Kerrs of Ferniehirst and the Douglases of Bonjedward and Cavers, the Scotts from Hawick, and the Turnbulls, under George Tunbull of Bedrule.

A memorial plaque was placed on the nearby bridge in 1903 and replaced in 2007.

 

Sources


Sources for this article include:
•  The Scottish Military Research Group

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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018