History of the Stewarts | Battles and Historic Events
If you are a Stewart Society Member please login above to view all of the items in this section. If you want general information on how to research your ancestors and some helpful links - please look in background information.
If you have a specific question you can contact our archivist.
In 1402 such an opportunity occurred. The newly crowned King Henry IV did not have the support of all the powerful English noble families, nor the respect of the Scottish king Robert III. In the spring of 1402 a revolt in Wales led by Owen Glendower, begun the previous year, increased in ferocity. Henry was forced to turn his attention and resources to Wales. Unsurprisingly the Scots chose this time to attack into England.
In August 1402 a Scottish army approximately 10,000 strong under Archibald, Earl Douglas advanced into England looting as they came, reaching as far as Newcastle before turning for home. Although many of the militias mustered in the north had been diverted to Wales, the northern marches were not unprotected. The powerful Percy family aided by the defecting Scottish Earl of March, George Dunbar, mustered a force drawn from the Marches, Lincolnshire and Cheshire, and including many nobles.
As the Scots, slowed down by their loot, made their slow progress to the border. The English moved to engage them on the road leading north-west from Wooler to Millfield and on to the border crossing at Coldstream.
The English victory at the battle of Homildon Hill was another triumph for the English archers. According to the sources, other troops took very little part in the action. The capture of several Scottish nobles was also important since disagreements over their fate led to a further breach in the already tottering relationship between the Percys and the King. By the following year the Percys were in open revolt against the King.
The area of the battlefield is agricultural with only minor development around isolated farms and hamlets. There are public footpaths across both hills allowing access to Scottish and English archers positions.
Here is a dear, a true industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse.
Stain’d with the variation of each soil
Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours;
And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
The Earl of Douglas is discomfited:
Ten thousand bold Scots, two and twenty knights,
Balk’d in their own blood did Sir Walter see
On Holmedon’s plains. Of prisoners, Hotspur took
Mordake the Earl of Fife, and eldest son
To beaten Douglas; and the Earl of Athol,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith:
And is not this an honourable spoil?
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not?
Shakespeare, Henry IV, part 1, act 1, scene 1.