Descendants of key players from the Scottish and English armies at Flodden will gather on the border battlefield 500 years and a day after the conflict.
England’s successful commander, the Earl of Surrey, will be represented by the Duke of Norfolk, while the current Earl of Home will represent the 16th-century head of the Home family who played a controversial role in Scotland’s defeat.
The September 10 service is being described as a solemn commemoration of peace and reconciliation. It is open to all and includes an address by Judy Steel who has carried out extensive research into the battle which claimed between 10,000 and 15,000 lives.
The dead included King James IV and much of Scotland nobility and leading clergymen. Both Northumbrian and Scottish pipes will be played at the service, and a lone Scottish piper will sound the Flowers o’ the Forest, a lament associated with Flodden and traditionally performed as an act of remembrance.
The Reverend Rob Kelsey of Norham Church and priest-in-charge of Branxton Church said: “We are seeking to honour those who died on both sides of the conflict. The battle left a lasting legacy and especially so north of the border. Part of the point of this Solemn Commemoration is to raise awareness as well as build bridges and work together towards a better future. This is a truly cross-border commemoration.”
The Reverend David Taverner of Coldstream Parish Church said: “The aim is to mark the anniversary of a very important battle in an appropriate way, and in such a way that will be relevant to the 21st century. It is about bringing people together in understanding, as opposed to keeping them apart.”
The service will be held in a marquee at the eastern end of Branxton at 2.30pm.
Clergy from the main Christian denominations will also be at the service, including the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, the president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, and senior representatives from the Methodist and United Reformed churches. The Dean of Durham Cathedral will represent the Bishop of Durham.