Battle of Homildon Hill 1402


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NT 96745 28978



In August 1402 a large Scottish force under Archibald, Earl of Douglas, invaded England, penetrated as far as Newcastle, and carried off a great deal of booty. The Scots' way home, however, was blocked at Millfield by an English force led by the Earl of Northumberland and his famous son Henry Percy, better known as Hotspur.

Douglas took up his station on the slopes of Homildon Hill (now known as Humbleton Hill), but his position was exposed and the English longbowmen, firing from the neighbouring hill, inflicted heavy losses. Douglas and his mounted troops charged the English archers but were again beaten back by the rain of arrows, whereupon the Scots surrendered or fled. Douglas himself was captured, and many Scots were drowned in the Tweed.

Although English archers had contributed to victories in the past, at Homildon Hill they won the battle virtually by themselves, reinforcing the military superiority of the English longbow. King Henry IV's demand that the valuable Scottish captives be turned over to him heightened the Percys' disenchantment with his rule. This contributed to the revolt in 1403 in which Hotspur was to meet his death at Shrewsbury.

The hillsides have always resisted cultivation, and the rough pasture of today gives a good impression of the 1402 landscape. In the valley, the field boundaries are relatively recent but a mix of arable cultivation as well as pasture would have characterised the scene at the time of the battle.

AMENITY FEATURES The landscape is filled with historical features, some dating from the time of the battle, some from much earlier times. There is public access to the Scots' and the English archers' positions.

OTHER DESIGNATIONS Part of the battlefield lies within the Northumberland National Park. The remainder falls into a Landscape Area of Particular Quality in the Local Plan. Pert of the Humbleton Hill and the Trows Site of Special Scientific Interest overlaps with the battlefield.

KEY SOURCES Myers, A R (ed.), 1969, English Historical Documents 1327-1485 Watt, D E R (trans.), 1987, Scotichronicon by Walter Bower

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment to the Selected Sources on 10/04/2019


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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English Heritage Battlefield Report: Battle of Homildon 1402 (Published 1995), accessed 10th April 2019 from


This battlefield is registered within the Register of Historic Battlefields by Historic England for its special historic interest.

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