Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Scotland in 1333 - Part I: The Treaty of Northampton

My new Time Travel novel, In the Time of Kings, takes place in Scotland in 1333. When I sat down to write a story about a man named Ross Sinclair who has memories of a past life and eventually finds himself reliving it, I had to decide when to set the story. The events of 1333 were a perfect backdrop, especially considering that The Bruce Trilogy ends in 1330.

Scotland, by then, was not only without its visionary King of Scots, Robert the Bruce, but soon it was also without the strong leadership of James Douglas and Thomas Randolph. James’s younger brother Sir Archibald Douglas was appointed Guardian of the Realm.

The Treaty of Northampton
Toward the end of Robert the Bruce’s reign, he secured the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, effectively ending the war between Scotland and England. While in it, England acknowledged the independence of Scotland and Robert the Bruce as its rightful ruler, the treaty was primarily the brainchild of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer. England’s king at that time, Edward III was just sixteen years old, and still under the influence of his mother. However, when he rebelled against his mother, Isabella, and her lover, Mortimer, and had Mortimer executed, it eventually came to light that he was not entirely in agreement with the terms of the treaty.

In 1329, a year after signing the treaty and realizing his lifelong dream, Robert the Bruce died, leaving as his heir a six-year old son, David, who was already wed to the four-year old Princess Joan, younger sister of King Edward III of England. Robert had named Thomas Randolph, the Earl of Moray, and Sir James ‘The Good’ Douglas as his son’s guardians. Both were strong and experienced leaders. The following year, Douglas was tasked with carrying his king’s heart on crusade to the Holy Land, but before he ever arrived there, he perished at the Battle of Teba in Spain. Sadly, Randolph also died in 1332. 

It was then that Scotland’s autonomy and its unity began to fall into peril. With a child-king on the throne and no strong leader, opportunity had presented itself for Edward Balliol, son of the prior King of Scots, John Balliol. Young Edward concocted a scheme to once again march on Scotland with the intent of subduing it by supporting Balliol’s claim to the Scottish crown.


Until later,

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