Scottish Battles - Loudon Hill to Old Byland.
10th May 1307 Battle
of Loudon Hill
Having rallied his supporters, King Robert was back in business again
and came up against his old adversary Aymer de Valence, now Earl of
Pembroke, ten miles north of Kilmarnock in Ayrshire. This time the
English soldiers were obliged to approach their enemy over bogland, and
rapidly fell victim to the spears of Bruce's men. Over one hundred were
killed before the remainder rapidly dispersed.
22nd May 1308 Battle
of Inverurie (sometimes known
as the Battle of Barra)
King Robert was taken ill on his march north towards Aberdeenshire
after his victory at Loudon Hill, but the spring of 1308 nevertheless
found him and his army camped at Meldrum, close to Inverurie. John
Comyn, 3rd Earl of Buchan, was a cousin of the murdered John Comyn,
Lord of Buchan, and determined to bring the King to justice. However,
he proved indecisive. Many of his followers had been assured
that the King was too ill to fight and when King Robert appeared before
them, Buchan's men turned and fled. Buchan himself escaped to England
where he died the same year.
Circa 1308/1309 Battle
of the Pass of Brander
This was a conflict between King Robert I and the Macdougalls of
Argyll, kinsmen of the murdered John Comyn. There is variance as to
exactly where (Brander or Ben Cruachan) and when the incident took
place, but it is generally understood that the Macdougalls were caught
in a vice between King Robert and Sir James Douglas and put to flight.
23/24th June 1314 Battle of Bannockburn
of the Battle of Bannockburn, Holkham Bible c.1330
This was the decisive victory of the Scots against the English in the
First War of Scottish Independence. Although King Robert had largely
succeeded in re-establishing the Kingdom of Scots, Stirling Castle
still remained under English command and it was here that Edward II
determined that he would confront the Scots once and for all.
With an army numbering 4,000 men he marched north, mustering his forces
at Berwick and crossing the River Tweed at Coldstream.
The English army arrived at the Bannock Burn, just out of range of the
canon shot of Stirling Castle, on midsummer's eve. Priot to the battle,
a young English knight, Henry de Bohun, a nephew of the Earl of
Hertford, challenged King Robert to a dual and was struck to the ground
by the King's axe.
Following the example set by Sir William Wallace, the King's army,
which had been rallied from every corner of Scotland, was largely
composed of spear men. The very size of the English army worked to its
detriment, with its large numbers dispersing in confusion as the Scots
emerged from the cover of the woods. As the English formation broke, a
great shout rang out from the Scots and victory was assured.
25th August 1330 Battle of Teba (in
It had always been King Robert's desire to take part in a Crusade as a
form of penance for the murder of his cousin John Comyn in 1306. It was
therefore his dying wish that his embalmed heart be taken on such a
mission by his good friends Sir James “The Good” Douglas; Sir William
St Clair and his brother, John St Clair; Sir William
Borthwick; Sir Simon Lockhard of the Lee; Sir William Keith;
Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig, and Sir Walter Logan.
In the spring of 1330, therefore, a party of Scottish knights and
esquires set off to mainland Europe with the heart and a letter of
recommendation from the King of England to King Alfonso XI of Castile
who was at the time embroiled in a war against Muhammed XI, Sultan of
Arriving in Seville at the end of July, the group were welcomed and at
once seconded to the Castello de la Estrella, which was being occupied
by the Sultan's
forces. It was perhaps a headstrong but excusable misunderstanding. The
Moors were assembled beneath the castle walls and, assuming that King
Alphonso's army was behind him, Sir James led a charge into the midst
of enemy. He was immediately surrounded and killed, calling out as he
threw the silver casket containing King Robert's heart ahead of him:
"Now pass thou onward before us, as thou wast wont, and I will follow
thee or die."
Ironically, the Castilians won the day, but only two of the Scottish
knights, Keith and Lockhart, survived. The bodies of Sir
James and the other fallen knights were returned to Scotland along with
the heart of King Robert in its silver casket. It was soon afterwards
interred at Melrose Abbey.
14th October 1322 Battle of Old Byland
After their great victory at Bannockburn, the Scots regularly raided
into England without resistance. Taking advantage of the prospect of a
civil war in England, King Robert encouraged his commanders Sir James
Douglas, Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray and Walter Stewart to mount
a foray into the North East while King Edward II was preoccupied with
bringing his rebel barons to heel. At first, the Scots incursion was
largely ignored but when Edward had finally suppressed his
close-at-hand opponents at the Battle of Boroughbridge, he determined
to retaliate on Scotland and invaded.
King Robert immediately adopted a scorched earth policy, retreating
north across the Firth of Forth. Edward, his troops ravished by hunger,
succeeded in reaching Edinburgh and destroyed Holyrood Abbey.
Meanwhile, the Scots army had moved in a circular movement to the south
west, crossing the Solway Firth into England and, turning east,
intercepted the homecoming English army in North Yorkshire. The
subsequent confrontation turned into a rout with Edward's commander,
John de Bretagne, 1st Duke of Richmond, taken prisoner. Edward himself
was forced to make a rapid escape from Rievaulx Abbey.
Scottish Battles (continued)