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The Battle of Solway Moss took place on Solway Mossmarker near the River Esk in the Scottish Borders in November 1542 between forces from Englandmarker and Scotlandmarker .

When Henry VIII of England broke from the Roman Catholic Church, he asked James V of Scotland, his nephew, to do the same. James ignored his uncle's request, and further insulted him by refusing to meet with Henry at Yorkmarker. Furious, Henry VIII sent troops against Scotland. In retaliation for the massive English raid into Scotland, James responded by assigning Robert, Lord Maxwell, the Scottish Warden of West March, the task of raising an army.

On 24 November 1542, an army of 15,000-18,000 Scots advanced south. Maxwell, though never officially designated commander of the force, declared he would lead the attack in person. However, he fell sick, never reaching the scene of the battle.

The Scots advance was met at Solway Moss by Sir Thomas Wharton and his 3,000 men. With the earlier loss of Maxwell, Sir Oliver Sinclair de Pitcairns, James V's favourite, declared himself to be James's chosen commander. Unfortunately, the other commanders refused to accept his command and the command structure totally disintegrated.

The battle (better described as a rout) was uncoordinated and resulted in few deaths, but the English captured twelve hundred prisoners, including Sinclair and the Earls of Cassill and Glencairn.

James, who was not present at the battle (he remained at Lochmabenmarker), withdrew to Falkland Palacemarker humiliated and ill with fever. He died there two weeks later at the age of thirty. He left behind a six-day-old daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots.


  1. Phillips, p. 150
  2. Phillips, p. 151
  3. "perhaps only seven Englishmen and twenty Scots (not counting those drowned)", Phillips, p. 153
  4. Phillips, p. 153

External links


  • Phillips, Gervase, The Anglo-Scots Wars, 1513-1550, Boydell Press, 1999, ISBN 0-851157467

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