The Battle of Otterburn

August 1388 AD


As a result of the Border War between England and Scotland, it came in August 1388 to the Battle of Otterburn.
The Scots divided their Army into two groups to carry out border raids. The main force, as well as the entourage moved to Carlisle in Cumberland, while the smaller shock troops under James Douglas, Earl of Douglas ravaged the areas around Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne in Northumberland. Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland sent his sons Sir Henry Percy and Sir Ralph Percy to face the Scots. He himself remained in Alnwick to cut off the marauders’ retreat.

According to the french Chronicler Jean Froissart, Douglas and Henry Percy are reported to have had a scuffle during the first clash of armies in which Henry Percy’s Pennon was captured. Douglas then moved to the castle near Ponteland, destroying it and besieging Otterburn Castle. In the afternoon, Percy launched a surprise attack on Douglas Field Camp, but initially found only the servants and servants of the Earl before, who had time to collect most of the army to attack their flank.
At night, Douglas was killed during the battle and the Percy brothers captured, while the rest of the English army began to retreat.

Although, according to Froissart, the English were three to one superior, the Scots captured about 1040 English Soldiers and killed 1860 Soldiers, while their own losses amounted to 200 killed and 100 Prisoners. However, the Westminster Chronicle estimates the Scottish losses at 500 men. When the Bishop of Durham finally arrived with reinforcements, he was said to have been so impressed by the well-ordered Scots, their noise and their seemingly invulnerable position that he refrained from attacking.

The fallen of both sides were taken to St. Cuthbert’s Church in Alnwick district and buried there.

James Douglas was buried in Melrose, Roxburgshire.