Chapter III; King Robert the Bruce, 1314-1329, 15 years, pp.26-32.

[History of Scotland Contents]

Edward Bruce goes to Ireland,                                         1315 
He is crowned King of Ireland,                                       1316 
He is killed at Dundalk,                                                   1318 
Bruce captures Berwick,                                                  1318 
The English try in vain to retake it,                                1319 
The Chapter of Mitton,                                                   1319 
The English again invade Scotland,                                1322 
The English king nearly captured at Biland Abbey,      1322 
Death of Edward II.,                                                          1327 
Douglas and Randolph invade England,                         1327 
Douglas nearly captures Edward III.,                              1327 
Independence of Scotland acknowledged at York and 
ratified at Northampton                                        1328 
Death of Bruce,                                                                  1329

   1.  The victory of Bannockburn disheartened the English, and showed them the futility of their long-continued attempt to conquer Scotland. The Scots made frequent incursions into England, and penetrated as far as York, carrying the terror of their arms into the very heart of England. King Robert made pacific overtures to the King of England, but the latter would not acknowledge the independence of the Scots nor treat Bruce as a sovereign.

   2.  In 1315 Edward Bruce was invited by the chieftains of Ulster to assist them in driving the English out of Ireland, and to become their king. He landed with a force at Carrickfergus, overran Ulster, and was crowned in 1316, but was killed in a battle at Dundalk in 1318

   3.  In 1318 Bruce laid siege to Berwick and recaptured it. The loss of this fortress was a great vexation to the English, and they made a determined effort to recover it. In 1319 an attack was made both by land and sea. A ship, provided with a boat hoisted half-mast high, from which a fall-bridge was to be let down on the wall to afford a passage from the vessel to the town, ran aground and was set on fire. An engine called a sow, which was a tower roofed with strong planks, and filled with men, catapults, and battering-rams, was being moved up to the walls on wheels. From its lowest platform the walls might be undermined or battered down with rams. From its upper stories the walls might be cleared of defenders and access be obtained to the town. A stone hurled from an engine constructed by a Flemish engineer named Crabb, whom the Scots had employed to aid them in the defence, went crashing through the roof and different floors of the structure, and crushed to death or cruelly mangled the men within it. 

   4.  Thus the attempt to take Berwick was baffled, and in order to repel a raid made by Douglas and Randolph, the siege was raised. These leaders, while the siege of Berwick was going on, had entered England with a force of 15,000 men, and had penetrated into the heart of Yorkshire before it was known by the English king that they had crossed the Border. When Edward heard in the camp in Berwick that they had defeated at Mitton an army consisting chiefly of churchmen raised by the Archbishop of York, leaving 3000 dead on the field, he hastened to repel the invaders; but their movements were too rapid for him, and they returned to their own country laden with plunder. From the number of priests killed at Mitton, the Scots jocularly called the victory they gained there “The Chapter of Mitton.”

   5.  A truce was now made for two years. At its conclusion in 1322 the English again invaded Scotland. The Scots avoided a battle, but wasted the country through which the invaders had passed. Though it was August, the English could find no food, and were compelled by starvation to return. The Scots hung on their rear, harassed and pursued them as far as Biland Abbey in Yorkshire, where they nearly captured the English king. 

   6.  In 1323 a truce was again made which it was intended should last for thirteen years, but in 1327 Edward III., a boy of fifteen, was placed on the throne. The new king was advised not to renew the truce, except in such a shape as the King of Scots could not accept. Bruce required to be treated as a king, and the independence of his kingdom to be acknowledged. This the English government would not concede. The Scots, therefore, determined to bring the truce to an end. Vast preparations for war were made on both sides. 

   7.  King Robert was at this time infirm from age and sickness, and could not take the field himself; but Douglas and Randolph, at the head of 24,000 men mounted on small ponies, burdened with nothing but a bag of oatmeal and a small plate of iron on which to toast cakes, rode into England, and laid waste the northern counties with fire and sword. An English force of 62,000 men, accompanied by the young king in person, went forth to oppose the Scots. With their heavy accoutrements and baggage they could never come up with the light-armed invaders. For a whole week they waited on the north side of the Tyne, at a ford where the Scots had crossed on their way in their march northward. The English were about half-way between Carlisle and Newcastle, with no place nearer whence they could get supplies. Half famished with hunger and drenched with continual rain, they recrossed the Tyne and marched, they knew not whither, to seek their enemy. A reward of knighthood and 100 pounds a year was offered in the king’s name to anyone who could tell where the Scottish army was. 

   8.  After four days an English soldier, who had been taken prisoner, was sent by the Scots to claim the reward and to say that they had been waiting the English for a week. They found the Scots posted on high rocky ground with the river Wear in front of them. They challenged their enemy to come down and fight on level ground, but the Scots said they were plundering at their will the dominions of the King of England, and if he was offended, let him come and punish them. The English proceeded to blockade them and starve them out, but on the fourth day they had disappeared, and it was found they had moved off to a position which suited them better. The blockade again began, but on the first night Douglas with 200 followers broke into their camp, penetrated to the royal tent, and after nearly capturing the young king fought his way out again and reached the Scottish camp with little loss. For eighteen days the English waited, expecting that famine would compel the Scots either to submit or fight, but on the morning of the nineteenth day the Scots had again disappeared and were many miles away before they were missed. The English gave up the pursuit in despair, and their army had to be disbanded. The Scots on reaching home prepared for another expedition into England, and began to besiege Norham. 

   9.  The English were now glad to treat with the Scots on such terms as they would listen to. A truce was adjusted, and at a parliament held at York in January, 1328, a document was prepared in which the King of England declared for himself and his heirs that the kingdom of Scotland shall remain for ever to the great prince, Lord Robert by the grace of God illustrious King of Scotland, and that Scotland shall be separated from the kingdom of England, and from all claims of subjection or vassalage. The treaty which followed the resolution contained in this document, was concluded at Edinburgh in March, and ratified by the English Parliament at Northampton in April, 1328. It is known as the Treaty of Northampton. By this treaty the independence of Scotland was acknowledged, peace was established, and provision was made for the marriage of the young prince, David of Scotland, to Joanna, sister of the King of England. 

   10.  King Robert had now accomplished the great object for which he had struggled and fought so long. A year later, on the 7th of June, 1329, he died at Cardross, near Dumbarton, and was buried in the Abbey of Dunfermline. In his times of trial he had vowed, that if God gave him opportunity he would carry his arms against the infidels in the Holy Land. On his death-bed he charged the good Lord James Douglas to carry his heart to Jerusalem and bury it there. 

   11.  Douglas set out with the heart in a silver casket, but, while on his way, he gave assistance to the King of Castile in Spain, against the Moors of Granada, and was killed in battle in 1330. When he saw himself surrounded by the Moors, he flung the casket before him, exclaiming “Onward as thou wert wont, noble heart! Douglas will follow thee.” The heart of Bruce was recovered beside the body of Douglas, brought back to Scotland, and deposited in the church of Melrose Abbey. 

   Summary. – Though the victory at Bannockburn showed the English that Scotland could not be conquered, there was for some time no peace between the countries, because Edward II. refused to acknowledge the independence of Scotland. In 1315 Edward Bruce went to assist the Irish in driving the English out of their country. He was crowned King of Ireland, but was killed in the battle of Dundalk in 1318. In the same year Bruce took Berwick, and went to repel the invaders; but the Scots eluded him and got home laden with plunder. After a truce of two years the English invaded Scotland in 1322. By avoiding a battle and laying waste the country before the invaders, the Scots compelled the English to retreat. Next year a truce was made for seven years, but after the death of Edward II., in 1327, the young king, Edward III., was advised not to renew it, and both nations prepared for war. Douglas and Randolph invaded England with 24,000 men. An English force of 62,000 went to oppose them. The Scots plundered the country, and moved so rapidly from place to place that the English could not come up with them. On one occasion Douglas broke into the enemy’s camp and nearly captured the young king. After this the independence of Scotland was formally acknowledged by the Treaty of Northampton in 1328. Robert Bruce died at Cardross in the following year.

   Questions:- Describe the effect of the battle of Bannockburn, what the Scots did after it, and how the two kings treated each other. Relate the doings of Edward Bruce in Ireland. Give an account of the attempt of the English to recover Berwick. What caused the English king to leave Berwick and hasten into England? Give an account of the invasion which ended by the Scots nearly capturing the English king at Biland Abbey. What advice was given to Edward III. when he became king? Give a short narrative of the invasion of England by Douglas and Randolph in 1327. What can you tell about the Treaty of Northampton? Describe the death of Bruce, his dying charge to Douglas, and how Douglas carried it out.
dis-heart’-ened, discouraged.  chap’-ter, a society or body of priests belonging to a cathedral or abbey. 
fu-til’-i-ty, uselessness.  drenched, thoroughly wetted. 
in-cur’-sioins, hostile inroads, raids.  con-tin’-u-al, unceasing. 
pen’-e-trat-ed, went into.  chal’-lenged, called on, invited. 
pa-cif’-ic, peace-making.  do-min’-ions, lands ruled over. 
ov’-er-tures, proposals, offers.  block-ade’, inclosing with troops. 
chief’-tains, head of clans, leaders.  dis-band’-ed, dispersed. 
vex-a’-tion, trouble, annoyance.  ex-pe-di’-tion, hostile march. 
cat’-a-pults, machines for throwing stones.  ad-just’-ed, settled. 
un-der-mined’, hollowed out beneath.  illus’-tri-ous, distinguished, noble. 
ac-cess, approach, way into.  sub-jec’-tioin, being under. 
struc’-ture, erection.  vas’-sal-age, dependence. 
baf’-fled, defeated by artifice.  res-ol-u’-tion, something agreed on or determined. 
joc’-u-lar-ly, in fun.  rat’-ified, confirmed. 
har’-assed, annoyed by frequent attacks.  pro-vi’-sion, agreement beforehand. 
con-cede’, grant.  in’-fi-dels, unbelievers. 
truce’, agreement to stop fighting.  cas’-ket, case for holding something precious. 
ac-cou’-tre-ments, dress and arms of a soldier.  de-pos’-it-ed, placed. 
fam’-ished, starved with hunger.  e-lud’-ed, escaped from by stratagem. 
Ul’ster, a province in the north of Ireland. 
Carrickfer’gus, a town and harbour in Antrim, Ireland. 
Dundalk’, county town of Louth, Ireland. 
Ber’wick, a town at the mouth of the Tweed. 
Flem’ish, belonging to Flanders, part of Belgium and Holland. 
New’castle, on the Tyne, county town of Northumberland. 
Nor’ham, a castle on the Tweed, in Northumberland. 
Northa’mpton, county town of Northamptonshire. 
Dumbar’ton, castle and town on the Frith of Clyde
Dunferm’line, a town in Fife. 
Castile’, an ancient kingdom, now a province of Spain. 
Mel’rose, a village on the Tweed, in Roxburghshire. 
Grana’da, ancient kingdom of the Moors, now a province of Spain.

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