CHAPTER TWO

Robert I, Edward II and the Kingdom of Scotland, 1307–1314

‘After the death of le Roy Coveytous’

The activities of the Bruces in exile were far removed from appeal to an ancient celtic past, or retreat to a mystical source of the kingdom to recharge the batteries of Scottish nationhood. Rather they were concerned with present realities, the assembly of victual and cash, galleys and warriors. It was a time of arm-twisting, of calling in favours, of wrangling over payments and services due. The voyage into exile may have taken the well-known route, frequented for at least a generation past by MacSween and MacDonald galloglasses seeking employment as mercenaries in the endless wars of Ireland. Barbour states that Robert landed on Rathlin Island off the Antrim coast; Barrow suggests that he was making for the lands of his ally the Stewart in the Roe valley in Derry.1 Yet there is no evidence that Robert set foot in mainland Ireland at this time. The greatest Ulster magnate, Richard de Burgh the ‘Red Earl’ of Ulster, was Robert’s father-in-law. He had his differences with Edward I at this time over pay and conditions for service in Scotland; and chroniclers hint darkly that he was in league with Robert.2 In fact he appears to have been consistently loyal to the English king under the most trying circumstances and to have had little time for his son-in-law’s claim to the Scottish throne. There is no evidence that Hugh Bisset, lord of Rathlin and Edward I’s admiral in the North Channel, knew of or acquiesced in Robert’s sojourn on the island, or that he assisted the Bruces. Had Robert landed among the Anglo-Irish lords of Ulster, they would have delivered him up to his enemies. As it was, even three men buying wine in Ulster for the royal stores at Carlisle were arrested on suspicion of being Scots.3

Professor Duncan suggests that if a landing on Rathlin occurred, it was probably unintentional, and suggests that the most likely refuge for the exiled court in 1306 was Islay, the centre of MacDonald power. In the Barbour narrative, before Robert embarked for Rathlin, Angus Óg MacDonald received the king, did homage and gave him his castle of Dunaverty.4 Duncan considers that this episode may belong to the period after Robert’s return from Rathlin, and that, since Dunaverty was held by Malcolm fitz Lengleys, Barbour’s reference to Dunaverty may be mistaken and Angus’s castle of Dunyveg on Islay intended. As Robert’s murder of Comyn had earned him the lasting enmity of the MacDougalls, Angus Óg now did homage to Robert and placed at Robert’s disposal the amphibious forces of the MacDonald lordship. The exiled king began to assemble a coalition built upon opposition to the MacDougalls; upon traditional alliances with MacDonald, MacRuairidh and Stewart; and upon the support of Gaelic Irish mercenaries. Christina MacRuairidh of the Isles, who held extensive lands in the isles and the west of Scotland, may well have contributed men and galleys.5 A letter of King Robert, addressed ‘to all the kings of Ireland, to the prelates and clergy, and the inhabitants of Ireland’, surely belongs to this period. Citing common ties of custom, language and race between Scots and Irish, Robert asks credence for his envoys who are to discuss with the Irish how to restore ‘our nation’ to its pristine freedom. The letter survives as an exemplar in a formulary (or copy book for Scottish royal clerks) of the 1320s, preserved in a late fifteenth-century manuscript. In the text the capital letters ‘T’ and ‘A’ mark the places where clerks using the exemplar should insert the names of royal envoys.6 Dr. Duffy points out that these initials could refer to Thomas and Alexander Bruce, both of whom were with Robert in exile at this time. Not everyone agrees that the letter belongs to this period, but the coincidence is too striking to be ignored.7 Robert’s envoys were therefore voyaging around the isles and the north of Ireland at this time, building alliances and collecting money. However close the ties of blood and sympathy with his allies, the galley crews and troops needed to effect a landing in Scotland would have to be paid. One chronicle claims that Robert landed in Kintyre around Michaelmas (29th September) 1306 ‘with many Irishmen and Scots’ to collect the Martinmas rents from his earldom of Carrick, and there attacked the forces of Henry Percy. Dunaverty, however, had only just fallen to the English; and Robert’s earldom must now have swarmed with English and Anglo-Scottish forces. An expedition to Carrick seems unlikely at this time and the episode may belong to the following year.8

The English and their allies were not ignorant of the Bruces’ activities. They expected Robert to return and gathered intelligence as to the preparations being made. In April 1307 Edward I paid £10 to three Ulster noblemen and William Montecute ‘for inquiring, regarding enemies and felons of Scotland who had come to Ireland and had been received . . . in the Liberty of Ulster’, and for capturing them and bringing them to Dublin Castle.9 But earlier in 1307 Edward seems to have considered that Robert was in Scotland and was endeavouring to escape to Ireland. In January 1307 Hugh Bisset was ordered to equip his fleet with utmost dispatch, to come to the isles off the coast of Scotland and to join John of Menteith in fighting Robert, to assist in cutting off his retreat. Edward I warned Bisset that he held this business ‘greatly at heart’.10 A royal envoy was sent to Ulster to expedite matters, and Simon Montacute was put in formal command against rebels ‘lurking in Scotland and the Isles between Scotland and Ireland’. Again to assist in cutting off Robert’s retreat, the sheriff of Cumberland was ordered to scour the coast for vessels and send them to Ayr, and to see to it personally.11 The Montacutes were not disinterested servants of Edward. They were barons of Somerset and show consistent interest in (and possibly entertained a claim to the lordship of) the Isle of Man.12 By sea the western approaches were guarded by Montacute and William le Jettour, on land by Aymer de Valence and John of Menteith, and they waited at Ayr to oppose any landing. From 4th February they had a fleet of 15 vessels with 200 sailors, with which they patrolled the waters around Bute and Arran. With mounting impatience Edward I wrote twice from his sickbed at Lanercost Priory, demanding news from the forces at Ayr.13 But already the Bruces and their supporters had landed in various places on the coast of southwest Scotland. They may well have done so in response to false rumours of Edward’s death. One party disembarking from eighteen ships met with immediate and total disaster. It was led by Thomas and Alexander Bruce, Sir Reginald Crawford, Malcom fitz Lengleys the lord of Kintyre, and ‘a certain Irish kinglet’. The Lanercost Chronicle says that they sought ‘to avenge themselves upon the people of Galloway’ for their failure to support Robert in 1306. But they encountered Gallovidians led by Dungal MacDowell and were wiped out but for a few who escaped in two galleys. Fitz Lengleys was beheaded straightaway; the two Bruce brothers and Crawford were taken, together with the heads of ‘other traitors from parts of Ireland and Kintyre’, to the Prince of Wales at Wetheral Priory on 19th February. In spite of his wounds sustained in the battle, Thomas Bruce was drawn by horses through the streets of Carlisle and executed; Alexander Bruce and Reginald Crawford were hanged and then beheaded. MacDowell received the substantial cash reward of £40 and a knighthood the following Easter.14 The party led by Robert landed safely. The Cumberland militia was levied on 20th February to pursue him; and on 19th March, Edward I believed him to be ‘hiding in the moors and marshes of Scotland’.15 Determined that he should receive no further reinforcements from Ireland or the Western Isles, the English maintained a strong naval presence on the western seas. Hugh Bisset’s fleet served for 40 days from 2nd May 1307, with 240 armed men and 260 ‘without arms’ (presumably oarsmen) setting out for the islands of Scotland; and in June, John Bisset (Hugh’s son) agreed to guard ‘the Isles, the sea coast and the arms of the sea towards Kintyre’ with four barges, manned by 100 men in return for 50 marks.16 The Bruce attempt to revive the kingship of Scotland appeared to be doomed.

Robert’s recovery of Scotland is recounted in several excellent works; here a narrative is merely sketched in, with notes relevant to the subsequent extension of the Wars of the Bruces. Robert I’s survival during 1307 was much more precarious than has hitherto been allowed.17 The hero king was thought to have enjoyed progressively snowballing support, encouraged by consecutive victories in Galloway at Glentrool (in April) and Loudon Hill (around 10th May). But Duncan has recently pointed out that the Barbour narrative is highly dependent upon a Scottish account which exaggerates the extent of Robert’s success at Glentrool. An entry in the English Wardrobe Account merely shows that on 30th May the English lost horses ‘in the pursuit of Robert de Brus between Glentruyl and Glenheur, on the army’s last day in Galloway’. Far from being a brilliant victory for Robert, the affair at Glentrool was a botched attempt to ambush the Treasurer of England. The ambush was beaten off, the guerrillas were pursued, and the evidence shows only that the English and their Anglo-Scottish allies were hot on his tail.18 Another source relates that Robert besieged the port of Ayr around this time; but this episode has been transposed into the narrative of 1307 from an earlier period in the Anglo-Scottish war. Duncan argues that Robert could hardly have had resources to besiege a town the size of Ayr in 1307; and while he allows that at Loudon Hill Robert forced the English to withdraw, yet as English forces recovered so very rapidly, it cannot have been a significant victory. Even Barbour admits that the pursuit had by August 1307 assumed the character of a manhunt, led by he who was to become Robert’s arch-enemy, John MacDougall, ‘John of Argyll’. Barbour relates that John employed bloodhounds to track down the fugitive king; Bower that Robert ‘hid among the bushes and thickets for fear of the English’.19

Cash and manpower now became crucial to King Robert’s survival. At Glentrool, he had been after whatever cash had been in the English Treasurer’s possession. Robert’s mercenaries from the Western Isles must have been close to desertion. It was probably in September 1307 that he succeeded in preventing this by lifting the rents of Carrick.20 In theory kingship gave Robert the authority to summon unpaid military service for 40 days. But how well the aura and authority of kingship had survived defeat, exile and inauspicious homecoming is far from clear. A further source of authority in the region was Robert’s indisputable position as earl of Carrick, which could be used to extract rents from the peasantry. But threats and violence must have played the largest part in his mobilising of a guerrilla band. Robert seems also to have played upon regional antipathies, especially that between Carrick and Galloway. All these factors enabled him to call out a peasant levy from Carrick and conduct a rural terrorism against the Gallovidians, the Anglo-Scottish, and all who denied him their support – ‘plundering and burning and inciting and compelling the inhabitants to rebel’.21 Robert was not the only ousted aristocrat struggling against the English in the southwest. James Douglas of Douglasdale was pursuing his own feud against Robert Clifford, the English lord who had been imposed upon Douglasdale by Edward I. Before Loudon Hill Douglas had been in contact with the English until the last moment, and presumably would have turned on Robert had he been offered a deal to his liking. Only victory confirmed his allegiance to Robert. Their partnership became the stuff of legend; but at this stage they were outlaws, rogue aristocrats of the sort that often infested the forests and wildernesses of the middle ages.

And yet as so often is the case with outlaws and terrorists, an air of expectation and romance began to cling to the Bruce cause. This was heightened immeasurably by the demise of Edward I, now surely imminent. In May 1307, as Edward I lay in terminal decline, a letter was dispatched to an English courtier at Carlisle. It was probably sent by the English commander at Forfar, and it is well worth reproducing:

I hear that Bruce never had the good will of his own followers or of the people generally so much with him as now. It appears that God is with him, for he has destroyed King Edward’s power both among English and Scots. The people believe that Bruce will carry all before him, exhorted by false preachers from Bruce’s army . . . May it please God to prolong King Edward’s life, for men say openly that when he is gone the victory will go to Bruce. For these preachers have told the people that they have found a prophecy of Merlin, that after the death of ‘le Roy Coveytous’ the people of Scotland and the Welsh shall band together and have full lordship and live in peace together to the end of the world.22

So though at this date Robert was still hemmed in and many Scots still supported the English regime, much depended on the life of the old king. The air was alive with rumour, wild speculation and political prophecy. This letter suggests that hedge-priests had been fomenting mutiny among Edward’s Welsh soldiery, beating the drum of celtic solidarity for all they were worth and successfully spreading an air of foreboding and expectation. In the event, Edward’s death on 7th July did not blow the lid off a seething apocalyptic discontent; but it must have heightened tension, sapped English and Anglo-Scottish morale and contributed to the climate of change.

From 1306 Robert had been evolving a characteristic form of warfare, rules for survival from which he rarely deviated. There were four main elements: the slighting of castles; blackmail to ensure loyalty or neutrality; the painstaking destruction (harrying or ‘herschip’) of enemy lands; and retreat to what guerrillas of the 1960s used to call ‘favourable ground’, the forests, the moors and fastnesses where shelter and rugged terrain compensated for lack of manpower. Robert had witnessed Edward I’s masterly reduction of Stirling Castle in 1304, which may have impressed upon him the impossibility of holding a castle against advanced siege technology. He had destroyed Ayr and Dumfries in 1306; Douglas destroyed his own castle in 1308 to deprive Clifford’s garrison of security. Destruction of castles denied shelter to invaders of Scotland; and equally, it denied Scottish lairds the opportunity to sit out the war behind castle palisades without declaring commitment. Payment for peace was first imposed upon Gallovidian communities which preferred to buy off Robert’s attacks rather than become refugees.23 If he could not count upon their loyalty to himself as king, Robert could at least rely upon their loyalty to a financial investment in their own security. This policy brought him funds to pay mercenaries, to wage continuous ‘low intensity’ warfare; and it was eventually extended to secure financial support and grudging neutrality from communities in England. The third aspect, subjection of enemy territory to intensive wasting, was also eventually extended to Northumberland, Yorkshire and Ireland. Retreat to inaccessible districts was a traditional precaution for infantry forces apprehensive of cavalry attack. Already in 1306 after Methven Robert had taken this precaution; in 1307 the rugged terrain of Galloway had provided protection against the repeated mounted raids by the English.24 The great forests of Selkirk (the ‘cradle of insurrection’, as Duncan calls it) and Ettrick which sprawled over the southern uplands provided shelter for Douglas and his men. These lands were ‘forest’ only in a technical or legal sense; they were not necessarily woodland, but uplands reserved for hunting which could provide refuge for guerrillas. Of these four elements, none was in any way novel, except perhaps the slighting of castles. The others were commonplaces of medieval warfare. Robert’s combination of them however produced conditions in which he could ‘choose the time and the place’ for combat, and there would be no security for those who failed to support him.

An expedition under the uninspiring leadership of the new English king, Edward II, set out to search for Robert, splitting into three divisions. That led by Edward himself advanced to Cumnock, apparently to contain Robert in Carrick and Galloway, but it retired to Carlisle within the month, as the king was obliged to go to France to attend both to his impending marriage and to the Anglo-French alliance.25 On Edward’s retirement the next move for Robert may have been obvious, for the letter of May 1307 suggests that the north of Scotland was already on the brink of rebellion:

I fully believe, as I have heard from Reginald Cheyne, Duncan of Frendraught and Gilbert of Glencarnie, who keep the peace beyond the Mounth and on this side, that if Bruce can get away in this direction or towards the parts of Ross he will find the people already at his will more entirely than ever . . .26

Northern districts were apparently clamouring for Robert’s presence while he was at a distance. This takes some accounting for. Barrow’s life’s work has destroyed the myth that Robert was exclusively the champion of Gaelic Scotland as against the English-speaking southeast.27 Intimidation and terrorism which Duncan highlights as characteristic weapons of the Bruces, can hardly have been responsible for such a surge of enthusiasm. Support for the Bruce monarchy in Ross can only have been due to MacRuairidh influence, and to the fact that distance and terrain preserved the northwest from English reprisal. Later, Edward Bruce would be able to rely on the allegiance of the Isles to advance his ambitions in the west; and throughout the period Robert was able to draw on the north of Scotland and the Western Isles for manpower.28 Without denigrating the contribution of southeast Scotland in the struggle against English occupation, it is difficult to avoid the impression that the Bruce recovery of Scotland was powered by infantry manpower from the north and west.

Towards the end of September Robert was sufficiently confident to make his ‘long march’ to the north.29 He marched rapidly northwards along the Great Glen, razing castles (Inverness, Nairn, Urquhart). Edward II ordered deployment of engines against Robert Bruce in October 1307, perhaps as a reaction to Robert’s seizure of these strengths.30 Confronting his enemies (John Comyn earl of Buchan, William Earl of Ross, and Reginald Cheyne) one at a time, and giving no opportunity for them to co-ordinate resistance, he forced each into disadvantageous truce. When at last they found the opportunity to unite, at Slioch in December, Robert was able to retreat to the fastnesses. During this winter campaign he exploited to the full the shortcomings of Edward II’s allies and garrisons in the north. In the simple motte and bailey castles of northern Scotland, garrisons were isolated, ill-provisioned, demoralised and ultimately vulnerable. Robert also took a spiteful vengeance on the enemies of his family. At Inverurie in May 1308, he inflicted a severe defeat on the Comyn Earl of Buchan. The earl fled to the south, leaving his patrimony to be ravaged by Robert. A terrible example was made of this district and people sympathetic to King John; a devastation known to posterity as the ‘herschip of Buchan’.

Edward II promised an expedition to Scotland in 1308.31 He encouraged his adherents in Scotland to take truce until August, when he hoped to lead an army into Scotland. But at the English court the politics of magnate rivalry took precedence over a campaign in the far north of Scotland, and the expedition failed to materialise. But in August the council was advising the king to permit local commanders to take truce from the enemy ‘as they have done hitherto’. It was thought that time was needed to victual castles; and the king wanted to be able ‘to break the truce at pleasure’, that is, to choose where and when to end the truce by surprise attack.32 Yet time was on the side of Robert and this delay allowed him to become entrenched in the north. In July 1308 the Scottish king capturedhis first east-coast port, Aberdeen, an acquisition which put him in touch with the Flemish and German merchants who could equip and supply his growing army. Attacks on English ships victualling the castles of Scotland had already begun.33 The submission of William Earl of Ross is evidence of the security of his position. Both Duncan and Barrow accept Barbour’s claim that by the end of the summer Robert’s position north of the Mounth was unassailable.34 And in the south, Douglas had emerged from the forest to massacre Clifford’s garrison at Douglas in Lanarkshire and destroy the fortification in 1308.35 Even before that time he may have been raiding border districts of England.

Robert’s lieutenants meanwhile unleashed a campaign of devastation upon Galloway. Lanercost takes up the story:

Edward de Brus, brother of the oft-mentioned Robert, and Alexander de Lindsey and Robert Boyd and James de Douglas, knights, with their following which they had from the outer isles of Scotland, invaded the people of Galloway, disregarding the tribute which they took from them, and in one day slew many of the gentry of Galloway, and made nearly all that district subject to them. Those Gallovidians however who could escape came to England to find refuge.36

The absence of corroborating evidence in administrative sources for this attack has aroused suspicion that this section of narrative belongs to either of the better-attested Galloway campaigns of September 1307 or of 1313. Yet the same episode appears in Barbour, Fordun and Bower, as well as Lanercost, and on that basis it may be admitted as fact. These sources add that Edward Bruce was supported by Donald of Islay (who may have been a cousin of Angus Óg); that he succeeded in capturing the Gallovidian chief Donald MacCan; in killing ‘the knight Roland’ (identified as Roland MacGachan); and in taking a fortress on the River Dee or Cree. This harrying of Galloway appears to be Edward Bruce’s first independent action. Though found occasionally on the eastern march, Edward’s interest was clearly focused on the west, and shortly after this campaign, Robert awarded him the title ‘Lord of Galloway’.37

Despite Barbour’s claim that Edward Bruce captured 13 castles in Galloway, all the main strengths remained in English or Anglo-Scottish hands; and castles, which bestowed security, were the concrete expression of lordship. Dungal MacDowell, driven off his lands by Edward Bruce’s onslaught, was given command of the garrison at Dumfries and from that base was able to thwart Edward’s ambitions to dominate the southwest. However, English garrisons throughout Scotland had been neglected and were already short of provisions. A letter of Edmund Hastings, commander at Perth, complained that his garrison’s pay was twenty weeks in arrears, and asked that his authority be extended to include the town, indicating perhaps some friction between garrison and townspeople. He begged that the garrison be answerable to no judge but an Englishman, ‘as it would be too much for them to be tried by a Scotsmen during the war’, revealing the deep distrust between the English and their Scottish allies.38 It is not surprising therefore that smaller castles in the south of Scotland began to fall into the hands of the Bruces from this time on. At Christmas 1308, the castle of Forfar was surprised by Robert’s supporters and demolished. Similarly, Edward Bruce captured Rutherglen.39

Unable as yet to challenge the formidable castles and entrenched Anglo-Scottish interests of the southeast, Robert next turned to the southwest, where Alexander MacDougall, lord of Argyll, his son John of Argyll and the chiefs of Galloway had no intention of recognising the Bruce monarchy. Robert’s first attack on Argyll may have taken place in 1308 or 1309, but the later date now seems more likely.40 In a letter to Edward II which may be tentatively dated to March 1309 John of Argyll describes how Robert arrived near his castle of Dunstaffnage with a large army and galley-fleet. ‘I am not sure of my neighbours in any direction’, he wrote. Anxiously he assured Edward II that rumours of his own defection to Robert were unfounded. He had agreed to one truce; and had subsequently secured a second (either by payment or by some other means). In the absence of support he could do nothing else.41 The letter obviously pre-dates the onslaught, and that it was written in 1309 is suggested by the fact that John’s own father, Alexander MacDougall, the titular head of the family, had then been forced to do homage to Robert, creating a likely context for John’s professions of loyalty. Alexander had been obliged to attend Robert’s first known parliament at St. Andrews in March. John tried to ambush Bruce as he moved into Argyll, traditionally at the Pass of Brander. Duncan considers that the most probable site for the ambush is the north side of Ben Cruachan along the shore of Loch Etive. In addition to his main force passing along the shoreline, Robert had positioned men on the higher slopes, catching the Argyll men between two forces. John escaped to Ireland, Alexander soon returned to the allegiance of Edward II, and by December they had escaped to Ireland, from where John was to lead virulent Scottish resistance to the Bruces in the west and on the Irish Sea.

The erosion of the English position in Scotland was greatly facilitated by the temporising policies of Edward II. In early 1309 after mediation by King Philip and the pope a truce was agreed upon. Both sides were to return to their positions as they had been on the feast of St. James the Apostle (25th July 1308) and the truce was to last until All Saints (1st November). Robert restored nothing, however, and time and distance ensured that Edward was powerless to enforce the truce.42 He again promised his Scottish adherents an expedition in the summer of 1309, but the only expedition to materialise was a powerful diplomatic mission led from Ireland by the earl of Ulster, which Edward II hoped would bolster John of Argyll’s resistance to the Bruces in western Scotland. Piers Gaveston, in Ireland as King’s Lieutenant, paid out over £2,000 in advances to Irish magnates due to cross to Scotland with the earl of Ulster, and after a conference with Gaveston at Drogheda, the Red Earl left for Scotland in August 1309. He had an impressive, perhaps intimidatory, following of magnates, men-at-arms, hobelars and foot.43 But there is no record of the mission’s having any impact. Irish ports however continued to supply Anglo-Scottish garrisons in the southwest of Scotland.44

In November English commanders had royal permission to re-open negotiations with the enemy, and on the 30th of that month English commanders at Berwick and Carlisle agreed a truce with the Scots until 14th January following. Guisborough states that money was paid to the Scots in return for this.45 In December 1309 Edward II ordered his garrisons at Perth, Dundee, Banff and Ayr to take what truce they could until Whitsun (7th June 1310). A general truce was agreed upon, which lasted on and off until the summer of 1310. Banff, Edward II’s last foothold in the north, fell to Robert in the interval.46 The delay gave Robert time to consolidate; and important steps were taken during this period in the process of ‘state-building’. Walter the Stewart now came out in open support of his kingship. This may have brought about a remarkable volte-face in Knapdale, where John of Menteith (a dependent of the Stewarts) came to Robert’s allegiance and was made lord of Arran and Knapdale.47 Robert’s chancery emerges at this time as an effective administrative machine for collecting taxes and extracting performance of military services; and he enhanced his regality by holding a parliament at St. Andrews in March 1309. He organised a further ringing endorsement of his kingship by the Scottish church in the ‘Declaration of the Clergy’, intended to proclaim his kingship to all Christendom at the General Council of the Church at Vienne.48 Also at this time diplomatic relations with the Papacy and Philip the Fair were opened. Though the alliance between England and France continued, Philip’s sympathy for Scotland had begun to revive with the death of King John Balliol in 1306, and he had written a letter in 1308 inviting Robert to join his planned crusade. While remaining formally the ally of Edward II, Philip became increasingly alienated by Edward’s infatuation with the Gascon knight Piers Gaveston.49 Edward II for his part used this interval to provision his castles; but he later admitted that all the time he was losing ground to Robert.50

Truce or no truce, the ‘Scottish war’ was regularly spilling over the border into England from as early as 1307, at first from Douglas’s lair in the Forest of Selkirk, then from North Tynedale. In September of that year Keepers of the Peace were appointed on the English west march, ‘for the better preservation of those parts from incursions of the king’s enemies and to punish rebels’, and Cumberland magnate Thomas de Multon and four other local lords were ordered to assist them ‘to meet the damages and wrongs sustained by the men of those parts, owing to the thievish incursions of Robert de Brus’.51 Such language is suggestive of cattle raiding; and an incident in August 1308 bears this out. Patrick Lerebane, the receiver of Sir Alexander de Bastenthwaite, was driving animals from the fair at Bampton to Carlisle when he was robbed of them by ‘enemies of the king of England’.52 That same year three manor houses in Cumberland were licensed for crenellation (that is, conversion into castles): Dunmallogh and Drumburgh on the Solway, and Scaleby. It may be inferred from their locations that the raiders tended to avail themselves of the Solway fords.53 On the eastern march too, there is evidence that the Scots were active from 1307. In November of that year Robert de Umfraville (earl of Angus, though an Englishman and a Northumberland magnate) and William de Ros were commissioned to protect Northumberland against ‘incursions of the king’s enemies’.54 Past attachment to the Scottish crown and a history of lawlessness made the liberty of Tynedale especially vulnerable to infiltration and there are indications which betray that Tynedale and Redesdale were both restive.55 In October 1309, 55 Cumberland landowners were ordered to repair to their demesnes on the border in readiness for defence,56 but if hostilities took place they were on too small a scale to be recorded. Refugees from the war in southern Scotland were now streaming into England. Gallovidians drove their cattle to refuge in Inglewood Forest; and on the east march refugees ‘coming from Scotland for fear of Robert de Brus’ were liable to be robbed of their animals and held to ransom by brigands.57 This waiting for the onslaught, this undermining of morale must in part account for the lack of resistance and swift payment of tribute by English counties when cross-border raiding suddenly intensified in 1311.

Prior to that, however, Robert I had to survive a second invasion of Scotland. Edward II had been converted to the need for action by political and diplomatic reasons which had little to do with Scotland. The author of the Vita Edwardi II considers that he went to Scotland in order to escape Philip the Fair’s demands that he come to France to perform homage for his French fiefs.58 Royal prises (arbitrary seizure of goods for which payment could be long deferred), over-generous grants to his curial favourites, heavy taxation on the pretext of Scottish war (contrasting with a marked lack of any achievement in Scotland), and the enormous unpopularity of Piers Gaveston had forged general agreement in England that government had to be taken out of the king’s hands for at least a time. Edward was forced to consent to the appointment of Lords Ordainers to supervise his government.59 The campaign of 1310–11 was intended to undermine the reforms of Ordainers, and to guarantee the personal safety of Gaveston (now seriously threatened by the magnates) in the presence of a royal host. Edward’s removal of the exchequer and justices of the Bench to York, ostensibly indicative of a resolve to remain in the north, conveniently undermined the reform of government by the Ordainers in London. There were any number of sound military reasons why Edward ought to have embarked upon a campaign, as the policy of taking truces had given his enemy an opportunity to establish himself. Only in the southeast of Scotland did the English prevail; elsewhere their garrisons were becoming increasingly beleaguered; and alarm bells were now sounding for the safety of Perth. In a letter dated 16th June 1310 Edward reveals that a delegation of loyal Scottish magnates had advised him that unless he set out for the north in person all would be lost in Scotland.60 The preparations were realistic enough. The whole of Scotland was put under the command of John de Segrave, Guardian or Warden, until the arrival of the king; and a new Chamberlain, John de Weston, was appointed to the administration in Berwick with funds to pay garrisons.61 In June orders were dispatched for 5,000 infantry to muster in Wales, and to march to Berwick for 8th September. In July further levies were ordered from Lancashire, Cheshire, the Welsh Marches and the West Country.62

In October 1309 the attack from Ireland was planned. At Midsummer 1310 a fleet was to land Irish magnates led by the Red Earl at Ayr, presumably to support MacDougall resistance in Argyll.63 Five hundred men, wearing the special body armour known as the hauberk, were to be provided by the Earl of Ulster; there were to be 300 hobelars and 2,000 foot.64 The indications are however that, in Scotland, MacDougall power was already on the wane. In March John of Argyll had shown himself apprehensive of Bruce’s army and fleet; during the course of 1309 the Macdougalls lost their castle of Dunstaffnage; and on 9th December John and his father Alexander arrived in Ireland, having found it too dangerous to remain.65 An expedition was now essential for the maintenance of a foothold in western Scotland. Transport was to be provided by ships from Irish ports, joined by 45 ships from the west-country ports of England, and the combined fleet was to rendezvous at Dublin. As an added stimulus to this western effort Edward on 22nd July 1310 granted the land of Knapdale to John MacSween and his brothers if they could wrest control of it from John de Menteith. The MacSweens and Menteiths had been contesting Knapdale since 1262, an example of how long-standing local rivalries in the Gaeltacht aligned themselves with pro- and anti-Bruce positions. However, on 2nd August the expedition from Ireland was called off on account of unseasonal weather.66 Around this time too, the MacSweens were driven out of Knapdale by John de Menteith; and their defeat may have been connected with the cancellation of the expedition. The rendezvous for the fleet was changed from Dublin to the Isle of Man, and the earl of Ulster’s 500 hauberked men were ordered to join Simon Montacute on the Isle, which was now apparently vulnerable to attack.67

On the eastern flank the campaign went ahead. Foot soldiers began arriving at Berwick from the end of September 1310. There were about 3,000 infantry, 400 of them English, the remainder Welsh. In addition there arrived a company of a hundred crossbowmen financed by the city of London for the defence of Berwick.68 From the magnates, however, there was a poor response. Only three earls accompanied the king: Gloucester, Warrene, and Gaveston who had been elevated to the earldom of Cornwall. Other earls showed solidarity with the Ordainers by boycotting the campaign.69 Cavalry supplied by lesser magnates (John Segrave, John St. John, Henry Percy, Roger Mortimer and John Cromwell) was paid on a regular daily basis or in accordance with an agreed indenture. Altogether, the royal household paid a force of about 50 knights and bannerets and 200 squires or men-at-arms; and the large garrisons of Berwick and Roxburgh contained additional detachments.70

Edward II set off from Wark-on-Tweed on 1st September, down the valley of the Tweed.71 His itinerary was a circular perambulation of his castles in southern Scotland, designed to strengthen and provision garrisons, and to recover his hold on Scotland south of the Forth. He visited Roxburgh and Selkirk, but skirted the ‘bandit country’ of Ettrick Forest on its northern side. He arrived at Biggar at the end of the month, then moved down the valley of the Clyde, west of Glasgow as far as Renfrew. By the end of October the royal expedition was at Linlithgow, having (presumably) traversed the country by way of Kirkintilloch and Falkirk. After a brief stop at Edinburgh, Edward retired, perhaps by sea, to Berwick which he reached by 3rd November. Robert’s siege of Perth, meanwhile, had been bought off until Michaelmas. There he stayed for the next six months.

Predictably in the face of such odds, Robert retired into the north and refused to be brought to battle. There was nothing in the way of a pitched battle: ‘. . .  as the army approached [Robert] kept to the trackless boggy mountain places, whither such an army could not easily penetrate’. No sooner had Edward retreated to Berwick than Robert attacked Lothian, his first foray into the strongly Anglo-Scottish southeast region. The English king again chased him northwards ‘with a small force’ before retiring a second time to Berwick.72 The author of the Vita Edwardi II is unable to suppress his admiration for Robert and likens him to a second Aeneas, nimbly escaping his pursuers in fastnesses and wild places. The campaign had started so late in the year 1310 that Edward II could achieve little. Winter set in, and by the turn of the year most of the infantry force had returned home, their forty days’ service having expired; and the English garrisons were confined to the towns and castles. In the Scottish winter campaigning on any scale was out of the question for the English because of the difficulties of finding forage for the animals. Significantly the one incident described in detail is an ambush of a detachment of English and Welsh infantry, out on a foraging expedition:

One day, when some English and Welsh, always ready for plunder, had gone out on a raid, accompanied for protection by many horsemen from the army, Robert Bruce’s men, who had been concealed in caves and in the woodlands, made a serious attack on our men. Our horsemen, seeing that they could not help the infantry, returned to the main force with a frightful uproar; all immediately leapt to arms and hastened with one accord to the help of those who had been left amongst the enemy; but assistance came too late to prevent the slaughter of our men . . . Before our knights arrived up to three hundred Welsh and English had been slaughtered, and the enemy returned to their caves. From such ambushes our men often suffered heavy losses.73

Nevertheless it suited Edward’s purposes to stay in Scotland. Gaveston was safe, and he was saved from doing homage to the King of France. But progress against the Scots was unlikely. The Edwardian occupation of Scotland had depended to a very great extent upon occupation of castles; and at its height Edward I had held perhaps 40 castles, great and small, at various times. By the end of 1310 Robert is known to have taken and destroyed only nine minor strengths;74 but by demolishing the castles he had taken Robert had made it extremely difficult for Edward II to restore the occupation to its previous strength. It is not surprising that there was little attempt by Edward to regain territory or initiative from the Scots; there was little that could be done in that respect without an expensive castle-building programme. It is surprising, though, that a contemplated assault on Aberdeen, which might have materially improved Edward’s chances of retaining Scotland, was not attempted.75 Relief of garrisons was supervised and regional commands were reorganised. A series of indentures was agreed with leading English magnates, most to last until the end of the regnal year, July 1311.76 In the northernmost zone, ‘beyond the Scottish Sea’, Robert de Umfraville was appointed warden, from Easter 1311. He was to be based at Perth. Supporting him were Pain Tiptoft and Henry Percy, and altogether these three bannerets would be able to call on a force of 200 English men-at-arms besides other great Scottish lords.77 The castle of Perth itself was entrusted to Henry Beaumont, a foreign adventurer and relative of the Queen.78 Edmund Hastings, constable of Dundee, and Roger Mowbray were to act in support of Beaumont. In the southern zone, ‘south of the Scottish Sea’, Robert Clifford was appointed to overall command from Berwick. Roger Mortimer was installed as castellan at Roxburgh, having contracted to stay in Scotland for a year with 30 men at arms for £1,000. John Segrave was made warden of Annandale; but the marches of Galloway and Carrick were apparently recognised as lost to Robert’s supporters. Some castles were held privately; Bothwell was commanded by Walter Fitz Gilbert for the earl of Hereford. Gascon mercenaries also received commands: Linlithgow was held by Peter Libaud and Stirling by Ebulo de Montibus. Still others were held by Anglo-Scots: Dirleton and Dalswinton by their respective lords, John de Vallibus and John Comyn (who may have been the son of the murdered Comyn). Dungal MacDowell remained at Dumfries; Ingram de Umfraville at Caerlaverock and Philip de Mowbray at Kirkintilloch.

Edward II grimly determined to see out the winter in Scotland rather than return to the censure of the Ordainers and risk separation from Gaveston. There may have been a political significance in the decision of the earls of Gloucester and Warrene to remain at private castles and on English soil. Gloucester stationed himself at the Bishop of Durham’s castle of Norham; Warrene was at the Ros castle of Wark-on-Tweed. Both were just across the Tweed from Berwickshire. Gaveston was the only earl who wintered in Scotland, at Perth, where he remained until Umfraville and Percy took over at Easter. Lanercost says that Gaveston’s brief was to prevent reinforcements from north of the Mounth from reaching Robert.79 The difficulties of Edward’s position were thrown into high relief by tension following the death of the moderate earl of Lincoln in February 1311. Thomas Earl of Lancaster, vociferous in opposing royal misgovernment, had inherited Lincoln’s two earldoms, and now with a total of four earldoms at his disposal became by far the richest of the earls. Amid fears of civil war he travelled north to receive his inheritance from the king, but taking the strict Ordainer line of having nothing to do with the war in Scotland, he refused to leave the country by crossing the Tweed. Edward eventually gave in and made the crossing. Lancaster received his inheritance and performed fealty; but the king was much offended at his refusal to greet Gaveston.80 The chronicles are firmly of the opinion that Edward II considered making peace with Robert I in return either for assistance against the Ordainers or for safe residence in Scotland for Gaveston.81 Certainly there were contacts with Robert at this time. From a letter written in February it appears firstly that Robert Clifford and Robert fitz Payne had royal permission to attend a meeting with the Scottish king at Selkirk on 17th December 1310; and secondly that Gloucester and Gaveston were to have met with him at a place near Melrose. The second meeting did not take place because, the writer says, Robert was warned of treachery.82 Interesting too is the report in February 1311, from a letter to the earl of Richmond, that Master John Walwayn, chancery clerk and putative author of the Vita Edwardi II, had been arrested and imprisoned in Berwick ‘because he suddenly went towards those parts [the vicinity of Perth] to speak with Robert Bruce’. It is tempting to speculate that Walwayn acted as Edward’s contact with Robert, imprisoned to appease the outcry when the king’s secret contact with the Scots became known.83

While the English tightened their grip on eastern Scotland, the Scots were gaining ground everywhere else. From the northern port of Aberdeen Scottish privateers could prey on the North Sea supply routes; and a ship from Berwick carrying wine, flour and salt to Stirling was captured at night by Scottish privateers.84 Furthermore in the forests of the interior the Scots were restive. The retinues of Gloucester and Warrene were deployed to pacify the Forest of Selkirk, which Edward II had not penetrated on his perambulation. But before this could be completed Gloucester was sent back to England to act as Guardian of the Realm, a key appointment, given the hostility of the Ordainers, which had been vacant since Lincoln’s death.85 From the Irish Sea in December 1310 rumour had reached Edward at Berwick that Robert had assembled a galley fleet in the Western Isles and that a Scottish attack on the Isle of Man was imminent. In February 1311 Robert was said to be marching towards Galloway. John of Argyll visited the court at Berwick over the winter; and probably as a result of his lobbying efforts on the western seas were renewed.86 Early in 1311 Edward II ordered from Ireland 300 men-at-arms, 500 hobelars and 3,000 foot, to set out in June, with John of Argyll commanding. A fleet of 62 ships from English and Irish ports was to ferry this army to Ayr. This was no mere diversion, the king declaring that he was

greatly desirous that the fleet which he had ordered to set sail for Scotland and the coast of Argyll, under the orders of his liege Sir John of Argyll, should be ready as soon as possible, seeing [that] it is one of the greatest movements of the Scottish war.87

By June, however, letters from English ports began to arrive, pleading all sorts of excuses for failure to provide ships.88 Only a small force of men-at-arms and hobelars is known to have crossed from Ireland and made the journey to Berwick in July.89 Clearly there was some action at sea; in October Edward wrote a letter of fulsome thanks to John for the repulse of his enemies, and to his sailors, English and Irish, for their labours in parts of Scotland.90

Spring arrived, and Edward showed no signs of returning to England; but he had neither troops with which to begin a campaign, nor money to pay for troops. To summon a parliament to obtain them was unthinkable as the magnates would support demands for reform. In the absence of parliamentary resources the king began to exert pressure on the rural communities of Northumberland to supply money, troops and provisions. In February the ‘county community of Northumberland’ paid a fine of £100 at the court of Roger Mortimer and Bartholomew Badlesmere ‘for default of men-at-arms and foot of the said county, summoned to the king’s service at a day and a place arranged.’91 In common with many other parts of England, Northumberland had been subjected to purveyance and military service for some time already. In April the county communities of the north were ordered to aid Robert Clifford in the custody of the eastern march; and the king himself called up a part of the Northumberland militia. For three days (11th to 13th May) he paid for the raising of over 600 infantry in the northern wards of Northumberland.92 What they were used for is unknown. Desperate to proceed with a campaign for the coming summer, on 20th May Edward took the extraordinary step of demanding troops without parliamentary sanction. A levy of one footsoldier from every vill in England was ordered to serve for seven weeks at the expense of the vills themselves, and to assemble at Roxburgh in mid-July.93 Letters were also sent to magnates ordering a muster of cavalry for this date. The infantry levy was totally without precedent; and had been commanded without even the counsel and advice of the magnates. Only a trickle of infantry support arrived, however, and Edward was forced to call off the unparliamentary levy on 5th July. By this time, though, Edward had realised that the game was up and he would have to face the Ordainers in parliament. Accordingly on 16th June he issued a summons to parliament and the court left Berwick for England at the end of July.94

Scarcely had the English king left Berwick than Robert unleashed a savage destruction of northern England. The chronicles agree that he raided northern England twice in 1311, and this is borne out by the compotus of a manor taken into the king’s hands. The keeper of Wark-in-Tynedale states that the manor was burned twice before Martinmas (11th November) in that year.95 Lanercost, extremely well informed as to events on both marches, dates these raids to 12th–20th August and 8th–23th September. The August raid is described in typically matter-of-fact style:

. . . having collected a great army, he [Robert] entered England at Solway on the Thursday before the feast of the Assumption; and he burned all the land of the lord of Gilsland and the vill of Haltwhistle and a great part of Tynedale, and after eight days he returned to Scotland, taking with him a great booty of animals; nevertheless he had killed few men apart from those who wished to defend themselves by resistance.96

Next month, about 8th September, Robert repeated the exercise:

About the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, Robert returned with an army into England, directing his march towards Northumberland, and passing by Harbottle and Holystone and Redesdale, he burnt the district about Corbridge, destroying everything; also he caused more men to be killed than on the former occasion. And so he turned into the valleys of North and South Tyne, laying waste those parts which he had previously spared, and returned into Scotland after fifteen days; nor could the wardens whom the King of England had stationed on the marches oppose so great a force of Scots as he brought with him.97

The attention which these expeditions receive from the chronicles suggest that the scale of raiding had increased dramatically; the forces employed were sufficiently large to discourage resistance; and the distances involved distinguish these expeditions from the cattle raids of the previous phase. They took place against a background of lesser incursions in the north and west of Northumberland. In a return to a writ for collection of arrears of a clerical tax, Bishop Kellaw of Durham names the parishes worst affected in Northumberland. Besides the Tynedale parishes of Haltwhistle, Ovingham and Bywell St. Peter’s which lay in the path of Robert’s expeditions, Alnham and Ilderton under Cheviot were both reported as destroyed by the Scots.98

The English and their Scottish allies despaired at Edward II’s inability or unwillingness to lead a royal expedition against Robert, and Northumberland and those ‘still of the king’s peace’ in the earldom of Dunbar hastened to buy off the raiders in September 1311, purchasing truces until 2nd February 1312.99 Money forthcoming from these truces enabled Robert to prosecute the siege of Dundee, which lasted three months. Such a long siege exceeded the 40 days’ free service he could expect from Scottish communities, and additional service had to be paid for.100 The English made strenuous efforts to maintain Dundee. When the commander defending, William de Montefichet, made a pact for the surrender of the town in exchange for return of prisoners, Edward II angrily forbade it. William le Jettour was ordered to collect ships and barges to take heavily armoured infantry into Dundee by sea; but Robert captured the port in April, widening his window on Europe.101 Meanwhile English districts stricken by raids witnessed an increase in lawlessness and banditry. In May 1312 Bishop Kellaw was unable to send the king money collected for arrears of taxation. He explained that there was great danger of robbery by schavaldores, indigenous bandits who sprang up in the wake of Scottish devastation, and on 1st July the sheriff of Northumberland was excused from rendering his farm at the exchequer to save him journeying to Westminster at a time of danger from the Scots.102

On 14th July 1312 an anonymous writer on the western march expected Edward Bruce to enter England while Robert attacked the castles of Galloway and Dumfries.103 Lanercost reports that in August Robert stayed three days at Lanercost Priory while his men burned Gilsland and Tynedale.104 Attention in the lordly courts of England was however captured by the pursuit of Piers Gaveston, who was being hounded by the Earls of Lancaster and Warwick. Robert Clifford, hereditary sheriff of Westmorland and Cumbrian magnate, neglected the defence of his northern estates in order to participate in the hunt. Gaveston was ultimately murdered by them in the summer of 1312:

When Robert Bruce heard of this discord in the south, having assembled a great army, he invaded England about the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin [15th August 1312] and burned the towns of Hexham and Corbridge and the western parts, and took booty and much spoil and prisoners, nor was there anyone who dared to resist. While he halted in peace and safety near Corbridge he sent part of his army as far as Durham, which, arriving there suddenly on market day, carried off all that was found in the town, and gave a great part of it to the flames, cruelly killing all who opposed them, but scarcely attacking the castle and priory.105

Lanercost’s narrative is supported by that of the Durham chronicler, Robert de Graystanes, who adds that a large part of the bishopric was burnt, and also by the records of Durham Priory.106 Wholly defenceless, the northern counties agreed to purchase truces. On 16th August 1312 the Bishopric of Durham bought a truce until Midsummer of the following year and the other border counties did likewise.107 The truces did not entirely prevent violence: Lanercost records that the vill of Norham was burned and men and beasts carried off by the Scots as a reprisal against activities of the castle garrison.108 Writs for collection of arrears of clerical taxes continued to be issued by the Bishop of Durham’s chancery, but returns show that it was impossible to levy anything from the parishes of Norham and Ilderton (in the north) and Haltwhistle, Bywell St. Peters, and Ovingham in Tynedale.109

Although the truces purchased in August were to last until Midsummer 1313, there was an invasion scare in the spring. It could be that the northern counties were having difficulties in raising money: the Scots were exacting tribute at double the rate of ‘normal’ English taxation.110 In March 1313 the Bishop of Durham, Richard Kellaw, excused himself from attending parliament on account of the threat from Scotland; and next month, in response to a plea for aid before Midsummer, the king simply ordered the men of Northumberland to do their utmost to defend the county against the Scots.111 Despite the efforts of embassies from the Pope and King Philip, war was due to be renewed on that date. It was reported in June that the Scots were ready to attack in three places on themarch, and on 5th August Kellaw again excused himself from parliament, writing that Robert ‘has of late caused a great host to be assembled’. English northern counties, entirely at the mercy of the Scots, were again intimidated into negotiating for truces, and paid to have the truce extended until Michaelmas (29th September) 1314.112

From Christmas 1313 the system of buying truces was clearly breaking down on the western march. Collectors of the English lay subsidy granted in 1313 reported that the Scots invaded at that time because the people of Cumberland were unable to pay them for the truce, that most of the men of the county took flight, but that Andrew Harclay organised those remaining for the defence of the march. As a result of these disturbances the collectors were unable to carry out their task.113 The county community of Cumberland then sent a messenger to inform the king of the emergency at a royal council on 20th May. By the spring, however, the patience of the King of Scots had worn out, and he dispatched his brother to exact the balance:

On Tuesday after the octave of Easter [16th April] Edward de Brus, Robert’s brother, invaded England by way of Carlisle, contrary to agreement, and remained there three days at the bishop’s manor house, to wit, at Rose, and sent a strong detachment of his army to burn the southern and western districts during those three days. They burned many towns and two churches, taking men and women prisoners, and collected a great number of cattle in Inglewood Forest and elsewhere, driving them off with them on the Friday [19th April]; they killed few men except those who made determined resistance; but they made an attack upon the city of Carlisle because of the knights and the country people who were assembled there.114

Correcting the statement that this raid was in contravention of a truce, a later author with more local knowledge adds that ‘the men of that March had not paid them the tribute which they had pledged themselves to pay on certain days’. This raid is well documented. It is described in the taxors’ account, though there it is misdated.115 The account of the keeper of the Honour of Penrith records that Penrith was burned on 17th April; and the fall in assized rents at Castle Sowerby is attributed to destruction of tenements by the Scots, ‘who entered the vill after Easter’.116 The Bishop of Carlisle struck a deal with Edward Bruce by agreeing to release two Scottish prisoners, the brothers Reginald and Alexander Lindsay, in return for Edward’s sparing his manors at Rose and Linstock. These terms were not observed, however, for the Lindsay brothers were not released until after Bannockburn.117

At this stage (almost the eve of Bannockburn) an escheator’s account for 1313–14 provides a useful list of manors in the king’s hands which were affected, and these include High Crossby, Uldale, Bolton in Allerdale and even Hoff in Westmorland. The Cockermouth estates, on the other hand, remained unscathed until February 1315, the end of the period of account. The Cumbrian Mountains may still have marked the limit of Scottish depredations in the west. In Northumberland damage had spread further to the south and every one of the properties then in the king’s hands showed signs of war damage.118 Northern English communities were exhausted by unrewarded service in Scotland; by their efforts to resist the Scots or to raise money to stave off destruction; and by the devastating effects of the raids themselves. At last in the summer of 1314 Edward II’s grande armée began to materialise. All the hopes of the northerners rested on the success of the royal expedition; for them there would be no escaping the price of failure.

Though his naval expeditions in 1310 and 1311 had no lasting success (so far as we can tell), Edward II’s concern for the Irish Sea was justified by events. English control of the Isle of Man appears to have been weakened by a series of rapid changes of lordship. Gaveston had been given the Isle in 1307; then it had returned to Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham. Bek had died in 1311, and the Isle was granted to Henry Beaumont, titular constable of Dumfries.119 It may have been at this time that Simon de Montacute attempted to realise his own claim to the Isle, for which he was forgiven in April 1313, on account of his good service to the king.120 At any rate Robert I was able to take advantage of confusion or revolt on the Isle; and on 17th May 1313 he landed at Ramsay ‘with a multitude of ships’, besieged the castle of Rushen for five weeks, and eventually received its surrender.121 Furthermore in 1313:

On the last day of May, Robert de Brus sent certain galleys to parts of Ulster with his pirates to despoil them. The Ulstermen resisted them and manfully drove them off. It was said nevertheless that Robert landed by licence of the earl [of Ulster] who had taken a truce.122

The taking of tribute is very much in line with Robert’s activities in the north of England; but it may here have had the specific purpose of supplying the Scots besieging Rushen. Disruption of the supplies to the English west march is another reason why Robert might wish to capture Man; but it also seems significant that the Anglo-Scottish commander at Rushen was Dungal MacDowell, who had recently surrendered Dumfries to Robert the previous February. Driven out of Galloway, Dungal had fled to Dumfries; driven out of Dumfries, he had retreated to Man; and now driven out of Man, he again shifted westwards, to Ireland.123 Robert was pursuing an old enemy, a feud against the man who had delivered up his brothers to be killed, and also a logic which would carry the conflict with his Scottish opponents further and further to the west.

The departure of Edward II from Berwick in July 1311 surely gave a terrific boost to the morale of the Scots. Nine English garrisons in Scotland are not heard of after Edward’s withdrawal, which suggests that they fell shortly afterwards.124 From the middle of 1311 Robert was in a position to reduce the south-east of the country to obedience. It used to be thought that because Lothian was English-speaking or had been settled in the distant past by Anglian settlers, it was content with the English occupation and reluctant to embrace the Bruce monarchy. But Barrow has shown that many landowners of the southeast had resisted the occupation of Edward I and has drawn attention to several who declared support for Robert.125 Until this time, however, the southeast had not suffered the ravages of war to anything like the same extent as other regions of Scotland. An inquisition as late as February 1312 shows the values of escheated estates to be just slightly below 50 percent of the peacetime values; this is not a catastrophic fall, and certainly not to be compared with what occurred in Northumberland in the 1310s.126 The whole of southeast Scotland was dominated by a network of formidable castles – Dunbar, Edinburgh, Roxburgh, Stirling, Jedburgh, Berwick and lesser peles and fortalices besides – some with stone fortifications, all easily provisioned by sea and in close communication with one another. Robert now set about dismantling these castles and capturing the crucial east-coast ports which gave access to trade.

With relish Barbour describes the stealth and cunning of the Scots in capturing these strongholds. A stealth attack on Berwick was attempted, using ingenious rope-ladders, as early as 6th December 1312, which failed as the garrison was alerted by ‘the barking of a dog’.127 At Perth (taken on 8th January 1313) the Scots pretended to withdraw their siege, then returned at night to wade through the moat and climb the walls. At the peel of Linlithgow (taken between August 1313 and spring 1314) a loaded haywain concealing eight Scots was jammed into the gateway to provide access for others hidden outside. At Edinburgh (taken in 1314) they scaled the cliff to surprise the garrison at dead of night; and at Roxburgh (in 1314 as at Berwick in 1312) rope-ladders were secured to the parapets with grappling hooks. Only in the case of Linlithgow does Barbour omit to mention the destruction of the fortification that followed.128 The implication of such stratagems is that the Scots had not the manpower or technology to storm a castle of any strength; and to judge from the references to folk-heroes who betrayed the garrisons, one also may be justified in inferring that the allegiance of the common people was increasingly being won over to the Bruces. It is interesting that the English Lanercost Chronicle records two opinions as to the sympathies of the Scots. In one passage it states that families were divided over allegiances; immediately after that, possibly in an interpolation by a later writer, it states:

all those [Scots] who were with the English were merely feigning, either because it was the stronger party, or in order to save the lands they possessed in England; for their hearts were always with their own people, although their persons might not be so.129

Outrages committed by English garrisons on Scottish communities loyal to Edward II accelerated the spread of Robert’s support in the southeast. The notorious behaviour of the garrisons of Roxburgh and Edinburgh (robbery, holding to ransom, and spoiling of their truce arrangements so expensively purchased) alienated what little support the Anglo-Scottish regime had left. Leaders of opinion in Lothian and Berwickshire communities, such as Adam Gordon and Patrick Earl of March, protested bitterly to Edward II, receiving only assurances of redress and thanks for their loyalty.130

So utterly absorbed were the English magnates by the pursuit of Gaveston, his murder by the barons in June 1312 and the threat of civil war that they could respond neither to the raiding of northern England nor to the fall of Scottish castles. Perth was lost to Robert in January 1313; Dumfries surrendered in February. To the royal council in May the men of Cumberland had sent information of Edward Bruce’s depredations, but by that time the king was already committed to visiting France. His departure on 23rd May was greatly criticised at the time and has been since; but it was not as cavalier a move as has sometimes been suggested. He was preparing to negotiate a huge loan from the papacy in return for which he would temporarily surrender to the papacy control of Gascon revenues. For this business the goodwill of Philip the Fair was vital. Edward was aware of continuing French diplomatic efforts to negotiate with Robert; and he himself sent a deputation to the north to try to arrange a truce.131 His relationship with Philip had improved since Gaveston had been removed from the scene; and no doubt he also sought assistance from the French king against his own magnates.132 On his return, however, on 16th July, he discovered that he had lost the Isle of Man to the Scots. At the English parliament of September and October northern affairs took second place to the repercussions of Gaveston’s murder. Only minor measures to enhance security in the north were approved: grants to shore up the finances of the Berwick garrison; and a commission headed by the Robert de Umfraville to inquire into hostage taking and terrorism in Northumberland, Berwickshire and Roxburghshire.133 Only in November was a campaign decided upon; in December the host was summoned to be at Berwick on 10th June 1314;134 and meanwhile Scottish castles continued to fall to Robert – Roxburgh in February, Edinburgh in March 1314.

Exactly what was it that prompted Edward II to decide in November 1313 to lead an expedition to Scotland? The established view, following Barbour, is that the fall of Stirling Castle was imminent; that Edward Bruce in summer 1313 had rashly agreed with the English commander of Stirling that unless the castle be relieved within one year, it should be surrendered to him. Duncan however has shown that Stirling was under no particular threat until February 1314; and has cited three independent English chronicles in support.135 In November 1313 Edward II cannot have been reacting to any supposed danger to Stirling. His decision was a reaction to another event. In November 1313, Robert I proclaimed that his enemies had one year in which to come to his peace, or suffer perpetual disinheritance.136 Edward II was indeed reacting to a one-year ultimatum as Barbour claims; but the ultimatum related not to Stirling Castle, but to this decree and the wholesale desertion by his Scottish supporters that it threatened to provoke. He was therefore forced to declare that his arrival in Scotland was imminent; and he also invited the Scottish magnates and prelates to declare fealty to him.137

In preparation for the campaign, Edward II now began to bolster the interests of dependable royal agents in the north. On the western march, curial favourite and Steward of the Royal Household Edmund de Mauley was installed as castellan at Cockermouth, and given lands to sustain his position.138 Pembroke was appointed Keeper of Scotland with responsibility for receiving supplies. These were to be collected in the eastern counties of England and dispatched by Antonio Pessagno, Genoese banker and ‘king’s merchant’.139 On 24th March the king summoned Lancaster and 21 other peers to be at Newcastle on 1st June for the campaign. Orders were sent to the counties to array over 10,000 infantry, including 3,000 from Wales. This was supplemented on 27th March by further writs demanding masons, carpenters and smiths from English counties. A further 10,000 troops were ordered chiefly from the northern counties on 20th April, all to be at Berwick for 19th May. As in 1311, there was to be a western offensive conducted simultaneously with the main effort in the east. John of Argyll was appointed admiral of the western fleet and the Red Earl was to lead the army including 4,000 Irish foot. Twenty-seven Irish peers were required to attend; and in an unprecedented move Edward II addressed letters to 25 Gaelic Irish leaders by name, asking for their participation.140 Also as in 1311 there is scant record of action in the west. But there is evidence that forces were being raised in Ireland in the summer of 1314; gaol delivery at Drogheda shows that men were being sentenced to serve in John of Argyll’s fleet from among supporters of a local rebellion staged by the gentry of Louth in April 1312.141

The size of the army which Edward II led to Bannockburn can only be guessed at. There is no Wardrobe Book to give details of the campaign. It is likeliest that one was never compiled, for horse lists, prests and other documentation used in the compilation were probably lost in the rout after the battle. The infantry turnout seems however to have been at first disappointing, for on 27th May (when the king was at Newminster Abbey) writs to Wales and the English counties were re-issued.142 Chronicles expound the size and strength of the English army, and there is every reason to believe that it was on a par with all but the largest of Edward I’s armies. The total demand was for 22,140 infantry (plus the 4,000 from Ireland); and it would be reasonable to estimate on the basis of Edward I’s campaigns that half of this number of infantry materialised. As to cavalry, the earls Lancaster and Warwick failed to respond to the summons. But there were present three others (Gloucester, Hereford and Pembroke) and many substantial magnates below comital rank. Most of the cavalry is likely to have been paid by the royal wardrobe rather than supplied by earls. The Vita Edwardi II puts the number of cavalry at 2,000, which is unusually restrained for a chronicle estimate.143 The accumulation of foodstuffs at Berwick and Carlisle in preparation for the campaign was also extremely impressive. Whatever else happened, Edward II’s army would not starve. This is important, for continued victualling on this scale would enable English garrisons to remain in Scotland indefinitely.144

The Scottish army was predominantly an infantry force, estimated by Barrow at 5–6,000.145 Judging by his later charters, Robert I had been meticulous in prescribing and insisting on military service from his adherents, and ‘archer service’ in particular. The Scottish infantry is described by the Vita Edwardi II as follows:

Each [infantryman] was furnished with light armour, not easily penetrable by a sword. They had axes at their sides and carried spears in their hands. They advanced like a thick-set hedge, and such a phalanx could not easily be broken.146

Representations of Scottish infantrymen are included in the Carlisle charter. They wear the bascinet to protect the head, and carry a spear and a shield of wickerwork, but wear no body armour.147 The Scots were also very short of cavalry. They had only 500 horse commanded by Sir Robert Keith, mostly light ‘hackneys’ as opposed to the great destriers used by English knights. The Scottish cavalry was further impoverished by the defection, practically on the eve of battle, of David de Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl. Atholl had been alienated by an affair between his sister Isabella and Edward Bruce.148

While at Newminster on 27th May, Edward II stated his belief that the Scots would assemble ‘in strongholds and morasses between the king and Stirling’, and Robert had indeed assembled the Scottish army in the Torwood to block the Roman road to Stirling.149As the English army drew nearer, the Scots showed every sign of following standard tactics for a small army facing overwhelming odds – retiring to cover against a cavalry charge, and withdrawal. They remained in the woodland and according to several sources were on the brink of retreat when on the afternoon of Sunday 23rd June, the great host of the enemy came into view. Robert, it seems, was determined to keep his options open for as long as possible. According to Barbour, he ordered his men to dig a series of pits on either side of the road, covering them with twigs, branches and grass to keep them invisible to charging cavalry until the last moment.150 This strategem, likened by Barrow to the laying of a minefield, was designed to break up a cavalry charge. It is hard to say whether such a trap played any part in the battle.151 If this is accurate, it would show that Robert had already selected a favourable battleground; but the other indications are that he was not yet committed to battle. Among historians the exact location of the battle is still disputed. Much depends upon the identity of the kirk mentioned by Barbour, and which is taken to be St. Ninian’s by most modern commentators. However, the main features are clearly described in the chronicles: a narrow piece of ground, bordered by the trees of the New Park on one side and marsh on the other.

One has to agree with Duncan that Bannockburn was a gamble that Robert should not have taken. Faced similar situations in 1319 or in 1322, Robert chose not to attempt a repeat of this battle, but cautiously withdrew before the invaders, depriving them of shelter and sustenance by a thorough ‘scorched earth’ strategy.152 Bannockburn is one of only two major occasions when King Robert threw caution to the wind and engaged directly with superior forces (the other being the defence of Berwick in 1319).

The author of the Vita Edwardi II says that when first sighted by the English vanguard ‘the Scots were seen straggling under the trees as if in flight’. The sight gave false confidence to the arrogant young cavalrymen among the English who galloped towards the New Park. Once in the trees, some of them met with resistance stronger than anything they had anticipated. They came up against King Robert in person, and one of the English knights, Sir Henry de Boun, was felled by a great axe wielded by the Scottish king himself.153 This incident took place in the woods, and was not visible to the main body of the English army. The English magnates were therefore still under the impression that the Scots were retreating as expected. It was to cut off this supposed retreat that the vanguard of heavy cavalry led by Robert Clifford and Henry Beaumont was dispatched around the New Park, keeping to open country well clear of the woods.154 Others of the party were the Earl of Gloucester and Sir Thomas Gray, father of the author ofScalacronica. They halted on the Roman road to Stirling, blocking Robert’s obvious line of retreat; but they were consequently out of touch with the main body of the English army. Seizing the opportunity to take on this detachment while it was vulnerable, Robert ordered Moray to engage the enemy. Moray’s infantry suddenly advanced out of the wood towards Clifford’s cavalry, in schiltroms bristling with spears. The English, who must have halted too close to the woods, had neither time nor space to manoeuvre. Beaumont tried to get the cavalry back to organise for a proper charge; but with the Scottish infantry advancing at such speed he would have done better to retreat. The action that followed lasted for some time; but eventually the cavalry were overcome. Gloucester was unhorsed, an omen of what would happen on the morrow. Sir William Deyncourt was killed; and, his horse impaled upon the Scottish pikes, Sir Thomas Gray was captured on foot. The rest of the English cavalry was routed. Some fled to the safety of the Stirling Castle, others returned with Clifford and Gloucester to the main body of the army.

The ‘evil, deep, wet marsh’ where the English now made camp is identified by Barrow as the Carse of Balquiderock.155 Having reached the site by forced march, they were exhausted from the toil they had undergone, and demoralised at the outcome of the initial engagements. Now they were forced to spend the whole night under arms and with horses bitted. While the infantry fortified themselves with Dutch courage, drinking and ‘wassailing’ into the short summer night, the cavalry crossed the Bannock Burn and the marshes with great difficulty. Roofs, doors and shutters of nearby dwellings were ripped off for use as planks to help horses and carts across the marsh. Communications with the castle appear to have been maintained, for some of these makeshift bridges were carried down from there.156

In spite of their signal successes of the 23rd, the Scots may yet have been preparing to withdraw to the more favourable terrain of Lennox. The Scalacronica of Sir Thomas Gray relates that a Scot in the service of Edward II, Sir Alexander de Seton, visited Robert’s camp under cover of night to persuade him to stay and fight the battle.157 In the early morning the English moved onto the firm ground that would facilitate cavalry manoeuvres. They prepared to drive off the Scottish magnates, strengthen the Stirling Castle garrison, and drive the remaining Scots out of the woods. There was no longer time for hesitation. Throwing caution to the wind Robert moved his army out from its cover into the open, offering battle. The English chronicles consistently describe the Scottish army as drawn up into three divisions; only Barbour mentions a fourth division, perhaps to give roles to each of the principal Scottish commanders.158 They advanced into the open in schiltroms, blocking the whole width of the battlefield. Archers on both sides were the first to engage; but the English could not employ their bowmen in massed batteries as yet, so narrow was the space between the woods and the marsh. The English archers consequently failed to thin out or break up the schiltroms. Gloucester led the first charge. Probably the horses refused before the pikes, rearing up and throwing their riders:

. . . when both armies engaged each other, and the great horses of the English charged the pikes of the Scots, as it were into a dense forest, there arose a great and terrible crash of spears broken and of destriers wounded to death.159

As the cavalry formation broke up, individual riders were surrounded by infantry and set upon. Gloucester was cut down. English chroniclers refer to this as the crucial event of the battle.160 Other English magnates were similarly isolated and killed: Giles de Argentine, Pain Tiptoft, Edmund de Mauley and Robert Clifford. The narrowness of the battlefield prevented the English from making the most of their numbers, or from attacking the Scottish flank. With great difficulty English archers were massed and led to the front, where their volleys had some effect against the Scottish schiltroms. These batteries were however attacked and ridden down by a small contingent of Scottish cavalry under Keith. At the rear, the great mass of the English army, unable to engage the enemy, were quite powerless:

The English in the rear could not reach the Scots because the leading division was in the way, nor could they do anything to help themselves, whereof there was nothing for it but to take flight.161

To Scottish onlookers at any rate it now appeared that the English had lost the battle. Confusion in the English ranks was added to by what they took to be the arrival of Scottish reinforcements. They were rather the poveraille or ‘small folk’, carters and labourers who had been guarding the Scottish camp, and who now joined the fray somewhat prematurely, anxious to secure their share of the pickings.162 This sight dealt a final blow to English hopes. Edward II was escorted off the battlefield, and the sight of the royal standard leaving the field was the signal for a general retreat. Infantry and cavalry alike turned and fled into the marsh, and into the Bannock Burn.163 One chronicle records the names of 75 English horsemen of knightly rank and above, killed or captured by the Scots;164 of esquires, men-at-arms and lesser ranks no count was kept.

King Edward was escorted first to Stirling Castle; but the warden, Philip de Mowbray, refused to admit him. Relief of the castle having failed, it had now to be surrendered to the Scots, and Mowbray made his peace with Robert I. Edward II and his companions – Hugh Despenser and Henry Beaumont – fled to Dunbar, and from there took ship for Berwick and Bamburgh. Douglas pursued them; but he had not enough cavalry to engage. Pembroke escaped on foot, and led his Welsh retainers to safety in Carlisle. Others were not so fortunate. A large contingent led by Hereford and John de Segrave were received into safety by the commander at Bothwell Castle, who then made them all prisoner and turned them over to Robert.165 Had Philip Mowbray delivered up Edward II in similar fashion, the war might conceivably have ended.

As it was, the repercussions of Bannockburn were immense. As a military technique, defeat of aristocratic heavy cavalry by mere infantry had been achieved only once in recent history, when at Courtrai in 1302 Flemish townsfolk had put to flight the knights of the French aristocracy. Sir Thomas Gray maintained (with hindsight) that ‘the Scots had taken a lesson from the Flemings’.166 Immense advantages accrued to the victor. The first-class castles of Stirling and Bothwell fell into his lap as their commanders changed sides. The Vita Edwardi II’s estimate of plunder worth £200,000 cannot be taken literally; but the haul of booty and armour was a godsend to Robert’s impecunious administration and ill-equipped army. The value of the prisoners’ ransoms was incalculable; the earl of Hereford alone was exchanged for Robert’s queen, daughter and sister, and the Bishop of Glasgow. Robert de Umfraville earl of Angus, John Segrave, Maurice de Berkley and Antony Lucy were all redeemed for large sums. In England, the catastrophe discredited the royal administration headed by Pembroke, and forced the king to accept an unpalatable administration led by his cousin Lancaster.

In two crucial respects, however, the effects of the battle were muted. In the first place, it was no more than one battle in a very long war. It did not dissolve Edward II’s claim to be the rightful lord of Scotland; nor did it alter the balance of power between England and Scotland. The English were still the stronger side by far, and they had no reason to give in. Secondly, although it brought more Scottish lords to his side, the battle did not vanquish the Scottish opposition to King Robert. Not surprisingly the air-brushed chronicles that have survived from his reign tell of a Scotland united under the Bruce banner; but the Balliol interest persisted. In Argyll and Ireland John of Argyll and other émigrés continued to whip up bitter resistance. Most dramatically, irredentist sentiment reappeared among the Scottish aristocracy in the Soules conspiracy of 1320. One prominent Anglo-Scot did defect to Robert after his capture at Bannockburn: Ingram de Umfraville. But there is no reason to believe that his example was widely followed, and Balliol himself left Scotland for France in 1320.167

The wailing tone of the English chronicles reflects the despair felt in the lordly courts after Bannockburn:

O famous race unconquered through the ages, why do you, who used to conquer knights, flee from mere footmen? . . . O day of vengeance and disaster, day of utter loss and shame, evil and accursed day, not to be reckoned in our calendar; that blemished the reputation of the English, despoiled them and enriched the Scots, in which our costly belongings were ravished to the value of £200,000 . . .168

But the real losers were vulnerable communities in the north of England, now defenceless in the face of the raiders.

NOTES

1 Barbour, The Bruce III, 725–762.

2 Adae Murimuth Continuatio Chronicorum, ed. E.M. Thompson (R.S., 1889), p. 30; Vita Edwardi II, p. 61. Various pardons and concessions were made to him in April 1306, perhaps to ensure loyalty, CDI v, nos. 507, 509, 510, 609.

3 Calendar of the Justiciary Rolls of Ireland 1305–7, ed. J. Mills (HMSO, Dublin, 1914), ii 234.

4 Barbour, The Bruce III, 659–67.

5 Barrow, Robert Bruce, p. 170.

6 RRS v no. 564, pp. 695–96 ; translated in Barrow, Robert Bruce, p. 314, and see note 9 on p. 379.

7 Duffy, ‘Bruce Brothers’, pp. 64–65. Duncan points out that the chances of documentation surviving from this shifting and restless period are slim; Phillips suggests an alternative context, see p. 199 below n.15.

8 Guisborough, p. 370; Barrow, Robert Bruce, p.169; but compare Scalachronica, pp. 34–35 and Barbour, The Bruce V, 89–119.

9 CDI v no. 633, p. 184.

10 CCR 1302–7, p. 482.

11 CDS ii nos. 1888, 1889, 1893.

12 S. Duffy, ‘The ‘Continuation’ of Nicholas Trevet: A New Source for the Bruce Invasion’, PRIA xci C (1991), 305–6.

13 CDS v no. 492 (ix), (xiv); CDS ii nos. 1895, 1896.

14 Lanercost, pp. 179–80; CDS iv, p. 489; CDS v no. 492, p. 216.

15 CDS ii nos. 1902, 1913.

16 CDI v, no. 627, p. 183; CDS ii no. 1941, p. 516.

17 This paragraph and the following are based upon A.A.M. Duncan, ‘The War of the Scots, 1306–23’, TRHS ii 6th series (1992), 138–41.

18 CDS v no. 490, p. 208.

19 Barbour, The Bruce VI, 536–674; Bower vi, 341. Barbour refers to John as ‘John of Lorn’, but this invites confusion with a later MacDougall chief.

20 Guisborough, p. 370, see note 8 above.

21 CDS iii no. 15, p. 3.

22 This is Barrow’s translation, Robert Bruce, pp. 172–73.

23 There is evidence of displacement of the tenantry from southwest Scotland from September 1307, CDS iii nos. 11, 14.

24 CDS v nos. 485, 512.

25 Lanercost, pp. 183–84; CDS iii no. 2, p. 1; E.M.Hallam, Itinerary of Edward II and his Household 1307–1328 (Lists and Indexes Society 211, 1984), pp. 21–23.

26 Barrow, Robert Bruce, pp. 172–73.

27 See for example Barrow, ‘Lothian in the War of Independence’, SHR lv (1976), 151–71.

28 References to the Bruces’ reliance on northern and island manpower may be found in Lanercost, pp. 181, 188, 191; Barbour says that at Bannockburn, in Robert’s own division there were men of Carrick, Argyll, Kintyre, and the Isles, The Bruce XI, 337–46; and Melsa ii, 346, where the army of 1322 is described as exercitus Scottorum, Brandorum et Insulanorum. See also Duffy, ‘Continuation of Trevet’, pp. 308, 311–12, 314.

29 The following narrative is based on Barrow, Robert Bruce, Chapters 10 and 11.

30 CDS iii no. 20, p. 4.

31 Rot. Scot. i, 55.

32 CDS iii no. 47, p. 9 (redated in CDS v p. 79 to August 1308).

33 See below, pp. 208–9.

34 Barbour, The Bruce IX, 302–100.

35 Duncan, ‘War of the Scots’, p. 140. I am grateful to Mr Alastair Penman for assistance in correcting an earlier mistaken identification.

36 Lanercost, p. 188.

37 Barrow, Robert Bruce, pp. 181–82; CDS iii no. 69, p. 13; Fordun ii, 337; Barbour, The Bruce IX, 501–665; Bower vi, 343–45, 444–45. Edward was Lord of Galloway by the time of the St. Andrews Parliament of 1309, which he attended with Donald of Islay.

38 CDS iii no. 116, p. 22 (redated CDS v p.79).

39 Barbour, The Bruce IX, 311–24, X, 793–800; Duncan, ‘War of the Scots’, p. 143; Barrow, Robert Bruce, pp. 182, 190–91.

40 Fordun ii, 338.

41 The letter is translated in Barrow, Robert Bruce, p. 179. where the problems associated with it are discussed.

42 Lanercost, p. 189; CDS v, no. 526, p. 224.

43 J.S. Hamilton, Piers Gaveston Earl of Cornwall, 1307–1312: Politics and Patronage in the Reign of Edward II (Detroit, 1988), p. 62; J.F. Lydon, ‘Ireland’s Participation in the Military Activities of the English Kings in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Century’ (University of London Ph. D. thesis, 1955), p. 279. The Red Earl was paid £315 in expenses after the mission, CDS v no. 566, p. 232.

44 See below pp. 189, 203–4 n. 129.

45 Rot. Scot. i, 79–80; Lanercost, p. 190; Guisborough, p. 384.

46 CDS v no. 531, p. 226, dated 11 July 1310, where Edward II complains that the enemy daily take from him castles, towns and lands, is thought to relate to the capture of Banff castle.

47 Barrow, Robert Bruce, p. 183.

48 Translation in Anglo-Scottish Relations 1174–1328: Some Selected Documents, ed. E.L.G. Stones (London, 1965), no. 36, pp. 140–43.

49 Maddicott, Lancaster, p. 83.

50 CDS v no. 531, p. 226.

51 CPR 1307–13, pp. 3–4; CCR 1307–13, p. 42; Guisborough, p. 384 dates the resurgence of Scottish raiding to 1308.

52 Year Book of 12 Edward II , ed. J.P. Collas (Selden Society, lxxxi, 1964) no. 62, pp. 53–54.

53 CPR 1307–13, pp. 8, 11.

54 CPR 1307–13, p. 14.

55 CPR 1307–13, pp. 39–40; CDS ii, no. 1806, pp. 484–85; Rot. Scot. i, 57.

56 Rot. Scot. i, 77–78.

57 Just 3/53/2, mm. 7,8.

58 Vita Edwardi II, pp. 10–11.

59 Maddicott, Lancaster, pp. 106–13.

60 Maddicott, Lancaster, p. 113; CDS iii no. 95, p. 18.

61 CDS iii nos. 137, 145, 152.

62 Rot. Scot., i, 88–96.

63 CDS iii no. 156, p. 29; Rot. Scot. i, 78.

64 Rot. Scot., i, 93.

65 CCR 1307–13, p. 205.

66 Rot. Scot., i, 83, 90, 92.

67 Duffy, ‘Bruce Brothers’, p. 74.

68 BL MS Cotton Nero C viij, ff. 7–7d (Debita peditum), 45.

69 Maddicott, Lancaster, pp. 113–14.

70 BL MS Cotton Nero C viij, ff. 2–4d, 6, 6d, 8d, 9d, 10, 13, 13d, 15, 17, 41, 42, 43d.

71 Itinerary of Edward II, pp. 64–76.

72 Lanercost, pp. 190–91.

73 Vita Edwardi II, pp. 12, 13.

74 Aboyne, Banff, Dumbarton, Elgin, Forfar, Inverness, Nairn, Rutherglen, and Urquhart.

75 Duncan, ‘War of the Scots’, p. 149.

76 BL MS Cotton Nero C viij, ff. 42–45d; CDS iii nos. 170, 173, 184, 192.

77 CDS iii no. 202, pp. 40–41.

78 CDS iii nos. 201, 296.

79 Lanercost, p. 191.

80 Maddicott, Lancaster, p. 115; Lanercost, p. 192.

81 Vita Edwardi II, p. 22; Lanercost, p. 188.

82 CDS iii no. 197, p. 39.

83 CDS v no. 554, p. 229.

84 BL MS Cotton Nero C viij, ff. 67d - 71.

85 Lanercost, p. 191; Maddicott, Lancaster, p. 114.

86 Calendar of Justiciary Rolls of Ireland iii, 167, 219; Rot. Scot., i, 96; Lanercost, p. 191.

87 Lydon, ‘Ireland’s Participation’, p. 287; CDS iii no. 203, p. 41.

88 Rot. Scot. i, 103; CDS iii no. 216, p. 44; CDS v nos. 557, 558, 559, 560, 561, 563, 564, 565.

89 CDS iii Appendix VII, pp. 395–96.

90 Rot. Scot. i, 107.

91 E101/374/6, f. 2.

92 Bodleian Library MS Tanner 197, f. 46d.

93 Powicke, Military Obligation, pp. 139–40.

94 Itinerary of Edward II, p. 75.

95 Fordun ii, 338; E372/166, m. 32; CCR 1307–13, p. 397.

96 Lanercost, p. 194.

97 Lanercost, pp. 194–95; but Bishop Kellaw wrote that the invasion took place a week later, on 16th September, RPD i, 92–93.

98 RPD ii, 847–51, 880.

99 Lanercost, p. 195. See below p. 130.

100 Duncan, RRS v, p. 303; ‘War of the Scots’, p. 147.

101 Rot. Scot. i, 108,109.

102 RPD ii, 880; CDS iii no. 279, p. 55; E159/86, m. 85.

103 CDS iii no. 279, p. 55.

104 Described twice in Lanercost, p. 194 and again p. 197.

105 Lanercost, pp. 199–200.

106 Raine, Scriptores Tres, p. 94. M. Camsell cites a court case of 1340, which refers to the destruction of houses in St. Giles Street, Durham, and probably relates to this raid, ‘The Development of a Northern Town in the later Middle Ages: the City of Durham c. 1250–1540’ (York University D. Phil. thesis, 1985), i, 59.

107 Raine, Scriptores Tres, p. 94; Lanercost, p. 200; The Chronicle of St. Mary’s Abbey, York, ed. H.H.E. Craster and M.E. Thornton (Surtees Society cxlviii, 1933 for 1934), pp. 53–54; RPD i, 204–5.

108 Lanercost, p. 198.

109 RPD ii, 880–82.

110 See below p. 132.

111 RPD i, 301; CPR 1313–17, p. 559.

112 Lanercost, p, 203; RPD i, 301, 339, 386; Rot. Scot. i , 112, 113; CDS v nos. 581, 583.

113 E159/100, m. 110d. See Chapter 4.

114 Lanercost, p. 205.

115 E159/100, m. 110d: ‘the morrow of the Close of Easter’ is given where other sources give ‘the week after Easter’. Easter Sunday had fallen on 7th April 1314.

116 E372/166, m. 32; CCR 1313–18, p. 56.

117 Reg. Halton i, 96–97. The Lindsay brothers had been prisoners since at least 1308, CDS iii no. 290, p. 57. They were included in the exchange for John Segrave after the battle, Rot. Scot., i. 134.

118 E372/160, mm. 50, 50d.

119 Barrow, Robert Bruce, pp. 28–29, 191–93. Henry Beaumont is described as constable of Dumfries on 10 October 1311, Rot. Scot. i, 107.

120 Duffy, ‘Continuation of Trevet’, pp. 305–7.

121 Chronica Regum Manniae et Insularum, Facsimile of BL MS Julius A VII (Douglas, 1924), p. 39.

122 Chart. St. Mary’s Dublin ii, 342.

123 See p. 187. It is most surprising that Robert had allowed MacDowell to leave Dumfries with his life.

124 Cavers, Dalswinton, Dirleton, Kirkintilloch, Loch Doon, Luffness, Muckhart, Selkirk and Yester.

125 Barrow, ‘Lothian in the War of Independence’, pp. 162–71.

126 CDS iii no. 245, p. 50.

127 Lanercost, pp. 200–1.

128 Barbour, The Bruce IX, 331–63 (Perth); X, 136–252 (Linlithgow); 357–510 (Roxburgh); X, 511–707 (Edinburgh). See also Lanercost, p. 204.

129 Lanercost, p. 195.

130 Rot. Scot. i, 111, 113–14.

131 Foedera ii (I), 215, 217; CPR 1307–13, p. 588; Maddicott, Lancaster, p. 149; Phillips, Aymer de Valence, pp. 62–64.

132 Maddicott, Lancaster, pp. 136, 152.

133 Phillips, Aymer de Valence, pp. 65–68; Rot. Scot. i, 114; CPR 1313–17, p. 71.

134 Phillips, Aymer de Valence, pp. 72–73; Maddicott, Lancaster, p. 157.

135 Duncan, ‘War of the Scots’, p. 150.

136 The decree of perpetual disinheritance was proclaimed one year later, at the parliament of Cambuskenneth, on 6th November 1314, RRS v no. 41, p. 330.

137 28th November 1313, Rot. Scot. i, 114; Foedera ii (I), 237.

138 CPR 1313–17, p. 128.

139 Phillips, Aymer de Valence, p. 73; Rot. Scot. i, 117. For Pessagno’s contribution to the campaign, see Charts 3 and 4, p. 126.

140 Rot. Scot. i, 118–19, 119–21, 122, 124.

141 NAI KB2/7, pp. 3,4.

142 Rot. Scot. i, 126–27.

143 Vita Edwardi II, p. 50; Barrow, Robert Bruce , p. 207.

144 See Charts 3 and 4, p. 126.

145 Barrow, Robert Bruce , p. 208.

146 Vita Edwardi II, p. 52.

147 Plate 3.

148 RRS v no. 140, pp. 415–17.

149 The subsequent narrative follows Barrow, Robert Bruce, pp. 209–216.

150 Barrow, Robert Bruce , p. 217; Barbour, The Bruce XI, 363–80.

151 Such a trap is mentioned in the later Chronicon Galfridi le Baker de Swynebroke, ed. E.M. Thompson (Oxford, 1881), pp. 7–8; Vita Edwardi II, p. 54 mentions a ditch into which the English fell. But the trap has no place in either Barbour or any other narrative. See Barrow’s map, Robert Bruce, p. 213.

152 Duncan, ‘War of the Scots’, p. 150.

153 Vita Edwardi II, p. 51.

154 Scalacronica, pp. 53–56; Lanercost, p. 207.

155 Barrow, Robert Bruce , p. 222.

156 Vita Edwardi II, pp. 51–52; Scalacronica, p. 55; Barbour, The Bruce XII, 390–408.

157 Scalacronica, p. 55.

158 Vita Edwardi II, p. 52; Scalacronica, p. 55; Lanercost, pp. 207–8. Barbour, The Bruce XI, 309–46 gives a division each to Edward Bruce, Douglas, Moray and King Robert. Compare accounts of the battle of Fochart, pp. 185–86.

159 Lanercost, p. 208.

160 Barrow, Robert Bruce, pp. 225–26.

161 Lanercost, p. 208.

162 Barbour, The Bruce XIII, 225–64.

163 Vita Edwardi II, p. 54; Lanercost, p. 208.

164 Duffy, ‘Continuation of Trevet’, p. 307.

165 Vita Edwardi II, p. 54–55; Lanercost, pp. 208–9; Phillips, Aymer de Valence, pp. 74–75.

166 Scalacronica, p. 55.

167 Ingram de Umfraville was not redeemed, but stayed in Scotland until 1320 and then left for France, Duncan, ‘War of the Scots’, p. 127.

168 Vita Edwardi II, p. 54.

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