Sunday 23 May 2021

Alexander Home, Third Lord Home 1485-1516

The first Scots Noble for the Army is Alexander Home, Third Lord Home. 

Here follows a brief biography of this rather interesting member of Scots nobility, hopefully it'll encourage you to read up on further details as his political and military career was one of intrigue and mixed fortunes.

Alexander de Home, became the 3rd Lord Home in 1506 upon the death of his father. A year later he also succeeded his father as Lord Chamberlain of Scotland. 

Record of his military career begin in August 1513 where he led a sizeable force of around 3000 borderers in a reiving foray into England in what would later become known as 'the ill raid'

Lord Home crossed the border and laid waste to the country but on their return, laden with booty and driving a herd of cattle his Borderers fell into an ambush on Millfield Plain laid by Sir William Bulmer.

According to the English chronicler, Holinshead, the Scots were “surprised and defeated with great slaughter,” with five or six hundred being “slain upon the spot.” Holinshead also records that four hundred were taken prisoner, among them Sir George Home, Lord Alexander’s brother and his Standard was also taken which suggests Home was in the thick of the fight. 

In contrast, George Buchanan, historian, poet and tutor to the young James V, estimated the number of prisoners at around two hundred. Buchanan also wrote that it was only Home’s rear columns that succumbed to the ambush, and that the rest of his force made it safely back to Scotland with its plunder.

A month later on the 9th September he reached what would be the peak of his achievements and favour at the Battle of Flodden. His borderers fought on foot as pikemen alongside Lord Huntly's men in the vanguard of the army, perhaps 10'000 strong. This was the lead of the echelon to come down the hill into the English lines, breaking through with momentum and seizing Edmund Howards banner. Howard narrowly escaped at the arrival of Dacre's border horse. Home's exhausted men took to plunder and would play no further part in the battle.

It is said that when Home received a summons to bring his men to the centre Home responded with;

 'He does well that does for himself; we have fought our vanguard already and beaten the same, let the rest do their part.'

The truth of this and the belief that Home and Dacre had an understanding would not leave him.

In the day following the battle his men attempted unsuccessfully to recapture the Scots artillery from Branxton Hill, at that same time Admiral Howard was surveying the field, it was thought his life were in danger and the Scots were seeking to avenge their King. English artillery opened up on the group and they left the field. 

Lord Home was thus one of the few members of Scots nobility to return, the rumours of treachery for the failure of coming to the aid of his King were soon abound, he 'behaved himselfe not as a capteine, but as a traitor or enimie to his countrie'.

In retrospect there can be little doubt that he had acted wisely, it was only the coming of nightfall that enabled him to gather his men and leave the field in good order. Had he wheeled into the English flank with his depleted forces it is likely they would have met the same fate. His men were needed to defend their homes from further English raiding.

After the calamity of Flodden Field, Queen Margaret assumed regency over the 17 month old James V, she sought an unpopular marriage with Archibald Douglas to solidify her position and Home was appointed as one of her councillors at court. The anticipated English raids came in 1513 and 1514, most notably Dacre's 'great raid' that November.

Douglas' enemies at court were soon circling and in 1515 John Stewart, the Duke of Albany and heir presumptive was invited over from France as protector to the throne. 

John Stewart, Duke of Albany

Home and Albany didn't get on from the start, Home was a man of short stature, upon their meeting Albany is reputed to have said minuit praesentia famam meaning 'the appearance doesn't live up to report.'

Albany quickly gained custody of the infant King and drove Margaret, Douglas and Home from court.  

Home appealed to the English Lord Dacre for assistance. His actions were to protect the Scots Royal House from what he saw as hostile machinations of Albany but he took a step too far by siding with the English and no doubt helping to lead English invasions over the border didn't aid his position further.

Albany captured his seat at Hume castle and offered a pardon if he would meet him at Dunbar whereupon he was summarily arrested and thrown into prison. He escaped to cause more havoc, attacking Dunbar castle and captured the Chief Herald at Coldstream. Albany offered a further pardon and requested his presence at Holyrood. He was again arrested, charged with treason over the death of James IV at Flodden and executed in 1516.

With this brief but varied military career I saw a naturally interesting character and wanted to represent him as there are plenty of things worthy of skirmish and set piece games to re-enact.

I chose figures in armour as foot knights in an advancing pose to represent him. This way they can be used as a separate unit of foot knights or as a command group embedded in a pike block as you can see here;

The figures are a mix of Perry Miniatures and Steel Fist Miniatures with a few minor bits of conversion work. Here's a few individual pictures of some of the figures prior to basing.

The Standard Bearer is a half-armoured retainer or minor gentleman in the Green and White livery of Lord Home. The figure was made using a Steel Fist advancing Tudor dolly with armoured arms from Perry and head and plumes from Steel Fist. The banner is hand painted.

Next up is the figure to represent Lord Home. All parts are from Steel Fist Miniatures. The body was taken from a Landsknecht commander and I added an armet and plumes. I sculpted the bottom of his slashed breeches showing through at the knees.

Next up is a retainer in livery and three quarter armour, this uses a Steel Fist Miniatures armoured landsknecht body with a head from their light cavalry range. There's definitely further scope in their ranges if you use them as a bits box !

I hope that was an enjoyable read, it's a great command group and i'm looking forward to seeing their first outing on the table.

I'm not sure what the next completed unit will be but stay tuned to find out. If you'd like to see the figure by figure progress of my painting desk head over to the Facebook group here. Since setting this up i've found the regular enthusiasm and encouragement a great enabler to keep the output going.

Bye for now



  1. Fabulous work as always, Stuart! Lovely figures and great tribute to the historical figure.

  2. Superb work Stuart and a nice potted history too:)

  3. Beautifully done Stuart...
    I do like the banner...

    All the best. Aly

  4. Absolutely stunning! Another set of master pieces. 👍 So many lovely touches to the figures. A very interesting character as you say.

  5. A brilliant command base Stuart - that banner is superb! The "ill raid" is going to have to be gamed at some point.

  6. A superb effort, result and posting. I have been enjoying your Blog for years and continue to follow with great interest. Interesting subject matter and thank you for sharing your research.

  7. Excellent looking command stand, they work really well with the pike block,I'm glad you're keeping the blog going for us Facebook refusenicks!
    Best Iain

  8. Great bit of history, and some great looking figs.