Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Scotland in 1333 - Part II: The Siege of Berwick

The Siege of Berwick
In March of 1333, Balliol marched north and laid siege to Berwick, Scotland’s southernmost city and an important port town. It was one of the few strongholds that Robert the Bruce didn’t raze in his reunification of the kingdom. Berwick and its citizens were surrounded – and King Edward III was on his way to join in the siege.
At this time, Scotland’s Guardian of the Realm was the younger brother of James Douglas, Sir Archibald Douglas. While he was experienced in raids and battles, he was perhaps not as decisively quick as his brother had been. Rather than strike the moment Balliol crossed the border, he decided to gather forces from around the kingdom to launch a full relief effort. The problem was that this took time. And in that time, Berwick became weaker and more desperate.
Berwick is surrounded to the west and south by the River Tweed and to the east by the North Sea. King Edward positioned himself to the north of the town. Meanwhile, Berwick agreed to a truce, which stated that if the town was relieved by two hundred Scots, they would not have to surrender. Under cover of night, two hundred Scots crossed a bridge over the Tweed and attempted to enter the town. A few succeeded, but the effort was thwarted by the English and they were forced to retreat. 

Sir Archibald then raided into the north of England with the intent of capturing Queen Philippa in Bamburgh. Before he could do so, he received word that King Edward had begun to hang Scottish captives in sight of the town’s walls. Douglas returned to Berwick at once.


Until later,

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