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Anglo-Scottish Wars

William Wallace - Robert the Bruce

William Wallace and Robert the Bruce – Edinburgh Castle

The Anglo-Scottish Wars were a series of military conflicts which took place between England and Scotland in the latter part of the 13th and early 14th centuries… Scottish Independence Wars.

With the death of King Alexander III of Scotland in 1286, the heir to the Scottish throne was Margaret, aged just four (known as the Maid of Norway).

In 1290, Margaret travelled to her new kingdom, and shortly after arriving on the Orkney Islands, she died leaving a country in crisis, as who would be their next King or Queen.

king edward I

King Edward I

Thirteen potential rivals for the throne stepped forward.  The Guardians of Scotland, feared a civil war, and called upon King Edward I of England to select a new ruler for them.  On the 17th November 1292 John Balliol was named King of Scotland and crowned shortly afterwards at Scone Abbey.  John Balliol, King of Scotland swore homage to King Edward of England on the 26th December at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

A Scottish Council of War was convened, consisting of four bishops, four earls and four barons in 1294.  This delegation negotiated an alliance with King Philip IV of France.  The Auld Alliance was agreed that outlined set terms, being that the Scots would invade England if England invaded France.  In return Scotland would receive support from France.

An outraged Edward discovered the Franco-Scottish treaty, his response was to invade Scotland and defeat them at the Battle of Dunbar on the 27th April 1296.  John Balliol was forced to abdicate his position as King; he no longer had control over his citizens.  Edward had the Stone of Destiny moved to London on the 28th August.  Parliament was convened at Berwick, where Scottish nobles paid homage to King Edward I of England.

William Wallace killed an English sheriff in 1297 and revolts broke out across Scotland.  Wallace’s force defeated the English on the 11th September at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.  In the October Scottish forces raided parts of Northern England.


William Wallace

William Wallace was appointed Guardian of Scotland, in the March of 1298.  In the July Edward invaded Scotland defeating Scottish forces at the Battle of Falkirk.  A defeated William Wallace was forced into hiding.

Further English campaigns took place by Edward in the years 1300 and 1301, which led to a truce between England and Scotland.

Stirling Castle was captured by English forces in February of 1304, and Scottish nobles were expected to pay homage to Edward.  The rebellion by Scottish forces against the English was all but over, and the final nail in the coffin was the capture of William Wallace on the 5th August 1305, betrayed by John de Mentieth, a Scottish knight.

William Wallace was escorted to London on the charge of treason.  He was brought before the authorities charged with treason and atrocities against civilians in war, and crowned with an oak garland, meaning he is the King of the outlaws.

His response was “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.”  Wallace implied that John Balliol was his King.

On the 23rd August 1305 he was removed to the Tower of London having been found guilty of all charges against him, and stripped naked and dragged through the city streets.  He was then hanged, stopping just short of death, drawn and quartered; an English medieval ritual to ensure one could not rise again on Judgement Day.

His head was dipped in tar and placed on a pike on London Bridge.  The remaining four parts of his body were displayed separately in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling and Perth.

William Wallace was seen by the Scottish people as a true martyr of Scotland, and as a symbol of the struggle for independence.  What he had started continued on after his death.

Robert the Bruce and John Comyn, two surviving claimants of the Scottish Throne, quarrelled before the High Altar of Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries. Ending with the killing of John Comyn and Robert the Bruce, crowned King of Scotland in 1306.

Edward despatched an army to avenge John Comyn’s death and destroy Robert the Bruce.  On the 19th June English and Scottish forces met at the Battle of Methven Park, and defeated by the English.  Robert the Bruce barely escaping with his life, fled into hiding as an outlaw.

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce

On the 10th May 1307, Robert the Bruce led Scottish forces against the English at the Battle of Loudon Hill, and were victorious.  On the 7th July King Edward I died aged sixty-eight.

Over the next seven years, Robert the Bruce established Scottish rule in north and western parts of Scotland, capturing many English held towns and castles across Scotland.

On the 24th June 1314, King Edward II forces met the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn, and suffered heavy losses.

In 1320 Scottish nobles sent the Declaration of Arbroath to Pope John XXII, affirming Scottish Independence from England.

King Edward II

King Edward II

In 1322, Edward II raided Scottish lowlands and in 1323 a truce had been agreed by the two countries; England and Scotland.

King Edward II was deposed and murdered at Berkeley Castle, to be succeeded by his fourteen year old son Edward III.

The year 1328 was a joyous time in Scottish history.  The peace treaty known as the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton was signed, recognising an Independent Scotland with Robert the Bruce as King.  Robert the Bruce had achieved what William Wallace had believed in.

On the 7th June 1329, Robert the Bruce died and the Scottish crown passed to his four year old son King David II.

On the 12th August 1332, Edward Balliol son of John Balliol and disinherited Scottish nobles invaded Scotland, by landing in Fife.  Edward’s army defeated Scottish forces at the Battle of Dupplin Moor and was crowned King of Scotland at Scone on the 24th September.

Scots who were loyal to King David II, attacked Balliol at Annan, and defeated his forces.  Balliol escaped and fled by horse to England, joining up with Edward III.  In the April an English force laid siege to Berwick.

On the 19th July 1333, Scottish forces made an attempt to relieve the town of Berwick, but sadly they were defeated at the Battle of Halidon Hill, and subsequently Berwick was captured by the English.  By now much of Scotland was under English occupation.

In 1334, King Philip VI of France offered King David II of Scotland and his court asylum in France.  They felt they had no option but to accept the offer, and in the May put foot on French soil.

King Edward IIIIn 1337 King Edward III of England made a formal claim to the French throne, and he knew it would be rejected, so he will be remembered as the English King who started the Hundred Years War with France.

With Edward’s forces in France, Scotland was free of large English forces, giving Scots the chance to regain their lands.

After many years of fighting in which many of Scotland’s nobles had perished in battle, it was time for King David II to return home and take charge of his kingdom.  True to his ally Philip VI, David led raids into England around 1341, forcing Edward to pull back troops from France to reinforce the borders in the north.

David invaded England, capturing Durham in 1346, before being defeated on the 17th October at the Battle of Neville.  The Scots suffered heavy losses and King David was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London.  Edward Balliol commanded a small force, and charged with reclaiming Scotland.

Edward Balliol relinquished his claim to the Scottish throne in 1356 and died in 1365.

The General Council of Scotland by way of the Treaty of Berwick agreed to pay a ransom of 100,000 marks for King David in 1357. Heavy taxation was imposed on its people, to pay the ransom.

In 1363 David made a pact with London; should he die childless the Scottish throne would pass to King Edward III of England.  This was rejected by the Scottish Parliament, preferring to pay ransom at all costs.  On the 22nd February 1371, David died and was succeeded by his cousin Robert II, grandson of Robert the Bruce and first Stuart ruler of Scotland.

Scotland went on to retain its Independence until 1707, when the Treaty of Union created a single kingdom of Great Britain.

King Edward III died on the 21st June 1377, and the balance of the ransom died with Edward.

(Image) William Wallace & Robert the Bruce: Pininterest
(Image) King Edward I – II – III: Wikipedia
(Image) Robert the Bruce: Wikipedia
(Image) William Wallace: Wikipedia


One thought on “Anglo-Scottish Wars

  1. Pingback: Anglo-Scottish Wars – Douglas

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