The bloodiest battle on British soil will mark an major anniversary in two years.
In 2013 it will be the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden Field – one of the most violent and destructive encounters in English and Scottish history.
Politically, the battle marked a significant turning point. The political and military ramifications of Flodden created the Britain and Europe we know today.
Many activities and events will take place in Northumberland in 2013 to mark the anniversary and one of the key developments is the creation of an eco-museum – the first cross-border museum of its type in the U.K.
Described as a museum without walls, it will connect the built, natural and cultural threads that are part of the Flodden story across Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.
There are around 300 eco-museums in the world, of which about 200 are located in Europe, mainly in France, Italy, Spain and Poland.
Initially the eco-museum would link 11 sites, each of which has strong associations with Flodden, the last and bloodiest medieval battle in Northumberland.
Suggestions for these sites include: Flodden Field, Norham Castle, Etal Castle, Heatherslaw Corn Mill, Barmoor Castle, Twizell Bridge, Ladykirk Church, Branxton Church, Coldstream Museum, Coldstream Priory, Weetwood Bridge and the Fletcher Monument in Selkirk.
Lord James Joicey, whose Ford and Etal estate includes much of the battlefield and who set up the Flodden 500 group to explore what should be done to commemorate the anniversary, said: “There are many initiatives and developments surrounding the battle which will place the region firmly on the map as far as visitors to the area are concerned.
“We have strong support from many sectors and local inhabitants and have been greeted with great enthusiasm regarding this new concept.”
Peter Davis, Professor of Museology at the International Centre for Cultural & Heritage Studies at Newcastle University, is an authority on eco-museums. He said: “They are community-led and are all about places and territory and seek to explain a place in all its aspects. They also foster small-scale, sustainable tourism which will boost local economies.
“Flodden would be the hook, with people initially attracted by the battle and then signposted to related sites so that they gain a deeper understanding. The links could be by footpaths networks, car or public transport.
“What excites me particularly about the Flodden project is that it fits exactly the criteria for an eco-museum as a community-based heritage project that supports sustainable development.”
Follow developments at: www.flodden.net.