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Summary Article: England and Scotland, medieval
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

During the Middle Ages, there were continual wars between England and Scotland, as the smaller northern kingdom tried to free itself from domination by the English kings. Scotland put pressure on England whenever the English crown was vulnerable, such as during the Norman Conquest in the 11th century, the civil war between Stephen and Matilda in the 12th century, and during the frequent wars between medieval England and France, beginning the traditional Franco-Scottish alliance (the Auld Alliance) that lasted until 1560. Robert (I) the Bruce established the independence of the Scottish crown in the early 14th century, but attempts to extend Scottish control into England under James IV in the early 16th century were decisively defeated.

Scottish invasionsMalcolm III (reigned 1058–93) invaded England during the Norman Conquest, but, when William (I) the Conqueror was established on the throne, he paid homage to the English king. David I (reigned 1124–53) had been educated in England, and he introduced Norman feudalism, into Scotland. Even so, when the civil war broke out in England between Matilda and Stephen, David invaded England, but was deserted by his barons and defeated at the Battle of the Standard in 1138. William the Lion (reigned 1165–1214) allied himself with France and invaded Northumberland in 1173, but he was defeated and captured, and was forced to swear allegiance to Henry II.

English invasionEdward I of England tried to conquer Scotland in the late 13th century. The Scottish crown had allied with France during Edward's war with France (1297–99) to regain English crown lands taken by Philip IV the Fair. In 1296 he invaded, took away the Stone of Destiny from Scone (on which the Scottish monarchs sat when crowned) and declared himself king of Scotland. The Scots fought back, led by William Wallace, who beat the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, but was defeated by Edward at Falkirk in 1298. Wallace was handed over to the English, and hanged, drawn, and quartered.

Scottish independence Following Wallace's defeat Robert (I) the Bruce proclaimed himself king of Scotland, and for the rest of Edward's reign he fought a guerrilla war against the English. After Edward I was succeeded by the weak Edward II in 1307, Robert the Bruce gradually took over Scotland. In 1314 a large English army was routed by the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn, and the independence of Scotland was assured. Robert also aided revolt against the English crown in medieval England and Ireland, supporting his brother Edward Bruce who led rebellion in Ireland 1315–17. In 1320 the Scottish nobles declared their loyalty to Robert the Bruce, and proclaimed Scotland's independence in the Declaration of Arbroath. Under the Treaty of Northampton (1328), the English crown recognized Scotland's independence and Robert the Bruce as king of Scotland.

At the start of the reign of David II (reigned 1329–71), Edward III of England again attacked Scotland, defeating the Scots at the Battle Halidon Hill (1333). However, after the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War with France in 1337, Edward III left Scotland alone.

The Scots continued to attack England. David II invaded England in 1346, but at the Battle of Neville's Cross he was defeated and captured, and was imprisoned for 11 years. In 1513 James IVof Scotland, who had declared himself an active ally of France against England, led an army of 30,000 into northern England, but he was defeated and killed at the Battle of Flodden, in Northumberland. The Battle of Flodden marked the end of Scottish attempts to defeat England.

Further details are given in Scotland: history 1058 to 1513 and England: history to 1485.


The Making of the UK – Scotland 1500–1750

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

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