I love this stone. I used to pass it once a fortnight , either driving up to Scotland or in the opposite direction. It is the first/last megalith you encounter in England (if you don't get out of your car).
I passed this stoney chap yesterday and I must say he was looking splendid in the winter sunshine.
Humbledon, a small village, on an eminence, under which a great victory was obtained by Henry Lord Percy, and George Earl of March, over the Scotch under the command of Archibald Earl of Douglas, on Holyrood-day in the harvest, 3 K. Henry IV, 1402. Earl Douglas's forces consisted of 10,000 men. He possessed the hills, but Lord Percy, sirnamed Hotspur, cutting off his retreat to Scotland with the plunder he had acquired in Northumberland, he was forced to come to an engagement on the plain. With him were most of the barons, knights, and gentlemen of Fife and Lothian, who escaped by flight, 22d of June, the year before, from the battle of Nisbet, in the Merse, in which fell most of the Lothian-youth. A great part of them were either slain or taken prisoners. Among the latter were the Earls of Fife, Murrey, Angus, Atholl, and Monteith. Earl Douglas received five wounds, and lost an eye. Five hundred Scotchmen in the pursuit were drowned in the Tweed. The field of battle is called Red-Riggs, from the blood spilt on it. By the side of the road, under Humbledon-Bauks, is an upright pillar of whinstone erected in memory of it; in height, six feet, six inches, and a half; in diameter, twelve feet.
From v2 of 'The natural history and antiquities of Northumberland' by John Wallis (1769). It sounds so dreadful that it doesn't seem unreasonable to want to appropriate the stone as a memorial.
"Here is a dear, a true industrious friend,
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse.
Stain'd with the variation of each soil
Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours;
And he hath brought us smooth and welcome news.
The Earl of Douglas is discomfited:
Ten thousand bold Scots, two and twenty knights,
Balk'd in their own blood did Sir Walter see
On Holmedon's plains. Of prisoners, Hotspur took
Mordake the Earl of Fife, and eldest son
To beaten Douglas; and the Earl of Athol,
Of Murray, Angus, and Menteith:
And is not this an honourable spoil?
A gallant prize? ha, cousin, is it not? "
Here's what Stan Beckensall has to say about the stone.
"At Homildon Hill, below the Cheviots, on the way to Coldstream from Wooler is the site of a lesser battle in 1402 between the old enemies Percy and Douglas, traditionally marked by a standing stone to the east of the road that in fact marks the site of a prehistoric burial.
Shakespear begins the first part of Henry IV with this battle where the protagonists 'did spend a sad and bloody hour'."
Northumberland, The Power of Place