The artillery train that went across the border with James IV in 1513 was the largest ever to have left Scotland. It comprised of 5 cannon (firing 60 pound shot), 2 culverins (18lb shot) 4 culverins pickmoyen (7lb shot) and 6 culverins moyen (4lb shot). The movement of this equipment itself was a tremendous logistical effort, the cannons and culverins alone requiring a team of 36 oxen, served by 9 drivers and 30 pioneers. This is not to mention the artillery workshop, 28 pack horses to carry the shot, twelve carts of gunpowder, twenty six gunners and 300 other men.

It was an incredible show of force and commitment to the new way of waging war. Unfortunately, despite the success the gunners had at hitting large stationery targets such as castles prior to the battle, their performance against troops at Flodden had left a lot to be desired as they were outgunned by the smaller English artillery. The English noted with a touch of irony that the captured Scottish guns were still 'very shiny'.

The loss of so much equipment would have been hard to replace for a cash strapped minority government. However replace them they did as by 1523 Albany took to Wark a similar array of guns. From the accounts there was artillery being used at Linlithgow although we have no written detail as to how many or of what type.

Artillery at Linlithgow

Translations of Pitscottie’s accounts refer to Lennox approaching the town with his men:

‘well furnist with artallaize’

 and later as the Douglases approached the battlefield:

‘They hard the artaillze schot on baitht the sydis lykeas it had been thundar'

  Suggesting Arran too had artillery at hand. Leslie’s account refers to Arran’s force being armed with

‘Speir, sword and Gunn’

  however this could refer simply to firearms and not artillery.
Archaeological evidence suggests the presence of culverins and falconettes as both types of shot have been found along the river bank. But where did these pieces come from? We know Edinburgh housed the fair proportion of the royal armoury, but could these guns be moved in time to take a part in the battle. This is unlikely as Angus was still on the march when he heard the sounds of gunfire. More probably the guns were taken from store in the Palace at Linlithgow or from Blackness. Lennox would have made use of the guns at Stirling however as it washis intention to move rapidly on Edinburgh and avoid a protracted siege it is dabateable as to whether he brought along heavy siege guns.

There is interesting sub plot to this debate which sheds light on the state of the country at the time of the battle. Pitcairn's Criminal trials details the case of the Bruce's Stirling who were arrested and tried for the 'stouthreif' or robbery with violence of guns being moved from Stirling to Edinburgh in the summer of 1526. This suggests that Archibald Douglas was aware of Lennox's intentions and was concentrating his forces on his stronghold in Edinburgh. The Bruces, either under Lennox's instruction or on their own initiative, were intent to thwart this effort.

Likewise the Royal accounts make mention of messages being despatched to bring Borthwick back to Edinburgh in the summer of 1526 and the purchase of wood from 'Sheffiffhau' for making gun carriages. Other artillerists are also found on the pay roll as Angus stepped up his gun assembly line and ultimately 4 new falconettes were added to the arsenal. These four guns were submitted for repair later that year, perhaps after having seen action at Linlithgow.

It would appear that the summer of 1526 was a troubled and violent time as the two sides raised troops and siezed arms.