Border Clansmen will take on Battle of Grolle

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The Border Clansmen re-enactment group will be setting sail to take part in the Eighty Years War.

Following in the footsteps of many heroic Scots in the 16th and 17th century, the club will be offering their services as mercenary men-at-arms in the battle between the Netherlands and Spain.

Setting sail on 23 October, the Border Clansmen will be undertaking the same journey as Walter Scott, the 1st Earl of Buccleuch made in 1627.

The Earl led one hundred fighters from the Borders to the Netherlands to take part in what would become the “Eighty Years War” which seen the eventual Dutch independence.

The club will be taking part in the re-enactment of the “Slag om Grolle” -Battle of Grolle- in Groenlo Holland, a re-enactment which takes place every two years and attracts around 30,000 visitors.

They will be attending as cannon crew, and will be manning a 2lb falconet as part of the Dutch army in its siege of the Spanish held town of Grolle.

The Scots played a small but significant part in the original siege, where they held a part of the entrenchments circling the town, and took the brunt of the Spanish counter attack.

Sailing to the Netherlands will be the Living History Club’s first event abroad. They will be joined by hundreds of fellow re-enactors from Poland to Spain who will try to relive the conditions of 1627 as closely as possible.

Participants will be without electricity and heating and will have to eat traditional food. The battle itself will see 1500 combatants taking to the field, with the town also joining in with torch lit processions, beggars, street rascals, lepers, musicians and artisans - all adding to the atmosphere.

Club secretary, Derek Stewart said: “I have had a passion for history all of my life - and this is an excellent way to explore and feel history as it was lived. It is thought that around one in five of all Scotsmen served time within the armies of Europe during the early 17th century, and this is an excellent way to obtain a glimpse into that past. I am particularly interested to see a place where the Earl of Buccleuch possibly fought with his regiment. The Earl died in 1633 and is buried in the family crypt in St. Mary’s Church, Hawick - providing a local connection for the club.”

The Border Clansmen will be hoping to help Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, to defeat Hendrik Van den Bergh, capture the town and return back to Scotland safely.