In a recent post I talked about the battle of Flodden, which took place in the border country between England and Scotland. As some of you may have gathered, I live near that area. Lots of battles took place here between the two nations in the Middle Ages, and the region is dotted with castles and battlefields.
Anyhow, here’s a personal reminiscence. One day, my wife and I climbed a hill in the area, called Humbeldon Hill. We were surprised to see that, at the top, a wreath of flowers had been laid. There was a note on it, which said, “In the Memory to all those who died in the battle of Humbledon Hill, 14th September 1402”.
My wife and I were both deeply moved by this gesture. It was marvellous that someone had taken the trouble to remember the men who died on that spot, six hundred years before.
It was a reminder that, how ever long ago people lived, and wherever they lived on the earth, they were living, feeling, loving, and loved, human beings. Their lives were real and valuable. They were as important in their own time as are our lives today.
This is of course all very obvious. But an historian like me, who likes to dwell on the great sweeps of world history, needs reminding of that sometimes.