Solway Moss

~24 Nov 1542~

   In Jul 1542 the Scots continued the raids across the  English border. Henry VIII. of England primarily saw a  chance to rule Scotland and to reduce the french influence and thus force James V to change his hostile policy. Henry mobilized soldiers in the northern earldoms and propagated his preparations for war.

   King James V wanted to solve the problems peacefully and sent messengers to London. At first Henry commanded a short revenge-raid but then sent other orders to the Earl of Rutland (governor of the borders): he was willing to return to peace if the state of both parties was balanced.

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James V of Scotland

   In mid-Aug James V. recalled his envoys from Windsor and Henry commanded  his vassals in the North to be prepared to follow his order to march forward  within one hour. Sir Robert Bowes and Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, wanted  to take their revenge for the Scottish ro ving by attacking Teviotdale. On 24th of Aug they crossed the border between Kelso and Jedburgh and burnt several farms and hams.

   On the way back to England they were attacked by 2000 Scots. Bowes and a few noblemen were captured, Angus and his brother Sir George Douglas were able to escape to England. Henry commanded the Duke of Norfolk to gather his army at  Newcastle and invade Scotland. On Sep 29th the army was to be set on  march. The Scots offered to continue negotiations and Norfolk, Southampton and Tunstall met Scottish envoys on 18th of Sep. The attack was delayed until Oct 6th. Henry commanded to stop the negotiations if the  Scots would not accept his conditions until Sep 29th.

   King Henry VIII wanted the Scots to free Bowes and the other prisoners without ransom but was willing to pay an adequate ransom if the Scots insisted on it. The Scots  also were  expected to agree to a new contract of delivery of  traitors that  also should be valid for clerics. James was expected to visit Henry and the Scots should offer hostages. The  Scots  accepted all conditions but James V refused to travel further south than York to meet Henry. The English answered James had not come to York in 1541 and Henry was not willing to travel to York once more. Finally James agreed to come to Huntingdon but as his wife was pregnant he would not be able to  meet him before Jan 15th. Henry insisted in determining the place himself and declared that their meeting  could not wait until Jan. At this point the negotiations ended and both sides prepared for war.

   Anyhow Norfolk was not ready for marching as the ships with supplies and beer from London had not yet reached Newcastle. Norfolk thus changed the offset from the 1st to the 7th and finally to 11th of Oct. He promised Henry the greatest invasion of Scotland since 100 years.

   As the supply ships arrived at Newcastle on 7th of Oct he worriedly found that the beer supply would only last for six days portioning only two jugs for each soldier a day. That could be dangerous.

   On Oct 22nd  Norfolk led his army across the border near Berwick and burnt Eccles, Kelso and twenty other villages. The beer anyhow did only last  for four days and thus he withdrew to England. Henry accepted his apology though  he was disappointed that such a large army had marched at such low effect. The Scots called it their victory. Beaton wrote to the Pope 40000 English had only come 5 km far and returned to England as they heared that James led an army against them. James himself led his men and prepared the invasion of the borders.

   A Scottish army entered the West Marches of England and was put to rout on Nov 14th, by a few hundred borderers under Sir Thomas Dacre, the Bastard, and Jack Musgrave of Bewcastle.

   On Nov 24th 18000 Scots crosed the border near Gretna and burnt a few houses near the banks of the Esk. In the swamps of Solway Moss, less than a kilometer from  the border they were attacked by 3000 English soldiers and hastily fled. In  the battle only seven  English and twenty Scots fell. Several Scots were drowned on their flight.

   The English captured 1200 soldiers including two Earls, five Lords and 500 landowners and noblemen. Additionally they gained 3000 horses, 30 standards, 20 canons, 120 guns and 4 carloads of lances.

   John Knox and following protestant authors of Scotland blamed Oliver Sinclair for the loss whereas the catholics blamed Lord Maxwell. For the Scots the battle was a disaster. James V having seen the defeat of his army from a 10 km distance was again embarrassed two weeks later when his wife bore him a daughter and no son. On Dec 14. he died and the throne of Scotland was succeeded by the only six days old Mary Stuart.

   Henry however brought the twenty prominent Scots to London where they were brought into the Tower on 19th Dec, but released on 21st Dec and returned to Scotland in Jan having accepted King Henry as guardian of Mary and signed a  contract due to which Prince Edward was to marry Queen Mary when they were old enough. In case of death of Mary, Henry should be accepted as successor (a secret contract that was signed by 10 Scottish Lords).

   Henry had declared that according to the oaths of 1097, 1189 and 1291 the Scots were to accept him as supreme master but he would refuse to insist on this against Mary as he before had  not insisted against his dearest nephew, James V.

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