The Battle of the Spurs (Guinegate)
16 August 1513
The Battle of Guinegate (Battle of the Spurs) took place on this day in British history, 16 August 1513. Henry VIII of England, the Emperor Maximilian, and the Swiss, in 1513 entered into what they called the Holy League, an offensive alliance against France. Henry VIII landed at Calais in the month of July, and soon formed an army of 30,000 men. He was joined by the emperor with a good corps of horse and some foot soldiers. With an army of 50,000 men, they laid siege to the French town of Thérouanne. After a first French attempt to break the siege failed, the duc de Longueville led a second attempt to relieve the besieged town. On 16 August 1513 the French force was handily defeated by the Holy League at Guinegate. This battle was called the battle of Spurs, because, in the haste of the French horses to flee the battlefield, the French used their spurs more than they did their swords. The English king the laid siege to Tournai, which submitted in a few days.