An estimated 10,000 Scots (many of whom Borderers) died as they fought beside their king – the last monarch to be killed in battle in the British Isles on a rolling hillside at Flodden, near Coldstream on the English-Scottish Border, on 9 September 1513.
Flodden was fought after the Stewart king, James IV, invaded England to help their French allies in their war against Henry VIII. The battle saw Henry VIII’s English army, led by Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, inflict the heaviest defeat in Scottish history , in doing so stripping Scotland of almost every level of leader and nobleman.
Town legend tells of Selkirk’s families seeing the returning Fletcher casting a captured English standard around his head and lowering its tip to the ground, in doing so he conveyed to all who gathered that everyone was slain.
Selkirk Common Riding is unique in remembering that fateful day in 1513 with the “Casting of the Colours”, when 80 townsmen left to fight for King James IV and just one solitary man returned.
The Scots folk song, written by Jean Elliot in about 1756, laments the generations of Borderers lost at Flodden.