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Archive Anecdotes

Snippets from Edinburgh's archives


Sep 2, 2013

500 years ago, on the 10 September 1513, terrible rumours were already reaching Edinburgh just one day after the catastrophic defeat of King James IV and his Scottish army on Flodden field by the army of King Henry VIII.

Most of the burgh's bailies had marched south with James, but a few had stayed in Edinburgh to guard the welfare of the citizens. They reacted immediately to the news, as yet unconfirmed, by making a Proclamation calling on the men of the town to ready themselves to defend the burgh: 

'Proclomatio.

We do yow to witt, Forsamekill as thair is ane greit rumour now laitlie rysin within this toun tuiching our Souerane Lord and his army, of the quhilk we understand thair is cumin na veritie as yit, thairfore we charge straitlie and commandis in our said Souerane Lord the Kingis name, and the presedentis for the provest and baillies within this burgh, that all maner of personis nychtbouris within the samyn haue reddye thair fensabill geir and wapponis for weir, and compeir thariwith to the said presidentis at jowyng of the commoun bell, for the keiping and defens of the toun aganis thame that wald invalid the samyn.’ 

 

Women were also given instructions. They were warned to avoid any public displays of distress. Their role was to attend church to pray for their sovereign and his army, and to take care of their usual responsibilities at home:

‘And als charigis that all wemen, and specialie vageboundis, that thai pas to thair labouris and be nocht sene vpoun the gait clamorand and cryand, vnder the pane of banesing of the personis but fauouris, and that the vther wemen of gude pas to the kirk and pray quhane tyme requiris for our Souerane Lord and his armye and nychtbouris being thairat, and hald thame at thair previe labouris of the gait within thair houssis as efferis.’

From: 'Extracts from the Records: 1513', Extracts from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh, 1403-1528 (1869), pp. 139-145. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=58477

Illustration of Flodden field courtesy of Flodden 1513. http://www.flodden1513.com/



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