Battle of Solway Moss

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Battle of Solway Moss

Longtown, Cumbria The 25th of November 1542 AD

King Henry VIII had a bit of a temper on him. When his nephew, King James V of Scotland, failed to join him in his denunciation of Papal authority he went into a right old froth. Launching raids into Scotland, his men were repelled at the Battle Of Haddon Rig, 24th August 1542. But it wasn't long before the Scottish army and their king were chastened by his wrath.

Henry's power struggle with Rome saw him ex-communicated by Pope Clement . Though he still clung to the Catholic doctrine, indeed he was one who repressed the early reformers, the bold king was not too downhearted. After all, he was the Supreme Head of The Church Of England, and his power was absolute in his kingdom. His Dissolution Of The Monasteries saw the Catholic church's presence in England, Wales and Ireland dismantled, with property seized and monks displaced.

Yes Henry was an aggressor, but James was not one known for having close relations with his English relatives. He was the man that renewed the Auld Alliance and took a French wife, Madeleine Of Valois. Like Henry, he enjoyed burning heretic reformers; unlike Henry, however, he wanted to remain with Rome.

Haddon Rig was fought near Kelso in the Scottish Borders . Henry had sent an army under Robert Bowes in retaliation for desultory border raids. But he sent them into an ambush. The Earl Of Huntly's men routed the invaders. Henry was left to simmer on.

The Scots were emboldened. Raising a considerable army of some 15,000 to 18,000 men through Robert, Lord Maxwell, James sent his army south. They should have prevailed in the face of a scant English force of some 3,000 men under the charge of Sir Thomas Wharton. But in a moment so typical of the Scots, from a position of strength their leadership crumbled.

It was a bold manouevre to invade England with an army of such magnitude. There could not have been a more aggressive act from the Scottish king and he would pay for being so cavalier. Around 1,200 Scottish soldiers were taken prisoner. Dispirited and suffering from ill-health, James died within a fortnight at Falkland Palace . What would become of the Scots? His only legitimate heir was his infant daughter, Mary . In England, a vengeful and expansive monarch was plotting his next move.

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