According to Border legend, the Scottish woman warrior Maid Lilliard, was central
in the defeat of the English at the Battle of Ancrum Moor in 1545, fighting and killing
the English Commander in armed combat. There is a monument to Maid Lilliard, near
Dere Street at the Scottish Border town of Lilliard Edge, the site of the battle.
The Battle of Ancrum Moor was a decisive victory for Scotland, under Red Douglas,
the Earl of Angus. The War was "The Rough Wooing." The foe was Henry VIII's Army
that had laid waste to much of Southern Scotland after the Scots refused to betroth
the infant Mary Queen of Scots to Henry's son Edward. According to some accounts,
it was Maid Lilliard who killed the brutal English leader Sir Ralph Evers. In other
accounts, she rallied the far outnumbered Scottish forces and inspired the ensuing
victory over Henry VIII's Army.
By many accounts, Maid Lilliard was from Maxton, a town that in 1544 was
viciously attacked by the English who killed many of the residents, including her family.
Her lover was either killed in battle at Ancrum Moor or by Evers' Army at Maxton.
By most accounts, Lilliard Edge, the site of the Battle, was named for Maid Lilliard;
by other accounts Lilliard Edge was already the name of that part of the battle site,
indicating either that she was fighting to defend family lands or that she was given the
name of the battle. (as was the Maid of Orleans.)
The words inscribed on Maid Lilliard's grave are:
"Fair maiden Lilliard lies under this stane,
Little was her stature, but great was her fame,
Upon the English loons she laid many thumps,
And when her legs were smitten off she fought upon her stumps."
There is some question as to whether this is a real description of
the battle or -- as happened in ancient history -- an existing epigram
adapted for a heroine.
But the legend has endured, and there is no reason to suppose that
such a story of female heroism would be invented.
Beannachd Dia dhuit, Maid Lilliard!