Written by Maureen Charlton
Etal Village Hall was the venue on Saturday 3rd December for the final meeting of those involved in the Flodden 500 Project. There were many familiar faces from the last four years, all listening attentively to the experts who have worked on the project since the beginning. Missing was the familiar face of Chris Burgess, the original Director of the project who was unable to be there.
We heard from Richard Carlton who continued the programme of excavations at various site across the border, and in conjunction with David Caldwell traced the Scottish “Routes to Flodden”. John Nolan described the excavation work on Flodden Hill and the surrounding area and Jenny Vaughan displayed and explained some of the various finds - the culmination of many hours of work, both cleaning and cataloguing – with a very little help? from inexperienced volunteers!
Linda Bankier from Berwick Record Office described her work with documentary research and the recruitment of the volunteers for the transcription of these, many of which had not previously been seen or associated with Flodden and a veritable ‘goldmine’ of information.
After a sumptuous buffet lunch provided by Richard and Victoria Baker from the Lavender Tearooms across the road, we were asked amongst other things, what we had most enjoyed during the project and what we considered remained to be done. High on the lists were the identification of the actual site of the battle and the finding and recording of the burial pits, which although reported more than once during the last 200 years, had never been actually identified. This was one of the original objectives – to find, record and register these as “War Graves”. The Scottish army who fought at Flodden did so out of loyalty to their Clan, their King and national pride. They died only five miles from their homeland and to misquote from “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke, 1887-1918 – “There is a corner in another land which is forever Scotland”.
Many friends were made during the Flodden 500 Project from all over Northumberland and the Borders resulting in a network of contacts willing to help in many different ways to promote the history of this northern county which many southerners consider to be in Scotland anyway!