Solway Moss

Feb 21st, 2008 | By | Category: Photo History

Solway Moss is possibly most notable for a staging ground of a remarkable victory for the English against the Scots. Leading up to the battle was an escalation of raids incited by the respective governments. There was an increase in reprisal raids most notably resulting in a raid by Robert Bowes the English East March Warden. In his case the raid went as planned (devastating Teviotdale, savaging the local countryside etc.) until his force was ambushed by a small Scottish army. This resulting in a contingent from Tynedale and Redesdale discarding their English patriotism and retreating back home with all they could drive before them. The remainder of the English Force suffered an indignant defeat and returned home. Henry VIII in October 1542 gathered an army some 20000 strong and sought to end this matter and set out to devastate Teviotdale (though what was left of Teviotdale to devastate one can only imagine) and burn Kelso and Roxburgh. After a busy week the army began to run low on supplies and withdrew to Berwick-upon-Tweed. [singlepic=12,600,450]

King James V of Scotland gathered together an army to meet the English, but upon Henry VIII withdrawal King James’ nobles disbanded having little trust in their King. James again gathered another army of some 15-18000 strong. This army headed South West from Edinburgh to Cumbria and Carlisle. The army was under the temporary command of Oliver Sinclair the ‘Kings hated Favourite’. The Scots army burnt their way across the Debatable Land pushing the infamous Grahams into the hills. Thomas Wharton, the Deputy West March Warden, decided to meet the Scots army with his Carlisle garrison of 3000 men. As the Scots began to ford the river Esk the ranks of the army were hemmed in by the banks of the river and the marshland known as the Solway Moss. Whaton deployed 700 to 800 men to act as skirmishes, harassing the army as it slowly made its way across the ford.

Quickly a dispute arose amongst the Scots commanders and the army began to fall into disarray suffering numerous casualties. The retreat became a rout with the army taking further punishment from the Grahams and others of Liddesdale. Some 1200 prisoners were taken by Wharton, with his own casualties not even reaching double figures.

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