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About this book

On a stormy night in 1286, a man fell off his horse and broke his neck, setting two kingdoms on a 300-year course of war. Edward I seized the opportunity to pursue English claims to overlordship of Scotland; William Wallace and Robert Bruce headed the 'patriotic' resistance. Their collision shaped the history, politics and nationhood of the two realms, and dragged in a third with the formation of the Franco-Scottish Auld Alliance. It also created a unique society on both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border. What prevented peace from breaking out? And how, at the dawn of the seventeenth century, could a Scottish king succeed, peacefully and unopposed, to the Auld Enemy's throne?

Andy King and Claire Etty trace the fractious relationship between England and Scotland from the death of Alexander III to the accession of James VI as James I of England. Spanning medieval and early modern history, this book is the ideal starting point for students studying Anglo-Scottish relations up to the Union.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Introduction

Abstract
So wrote the Scottish lawyer Thomas Craig in 1605, two years after James VI, King of Scots, had united the Crowns of England and Scotland. Yet, until the late twentieth century, Craig’s call for a specifically ‘Anglo-Scottish’ history went largely unheeded. The writing of history across the two separate kingdoms presents certain problems, notably a considerable disparity of evidence. At the end of the thirteenth century, England was perhaps the most bureaucratically governed realm in Western Christendom, producing vast quantities of accounts and records, which were stored for possible future reference. Scottish government, on the other hand, wielded rather less bureaucratic authority, and so has left little by comparison with the acres of parchment generated and preserved by the English Crown.
Andy King, Claire Etty

Part 1

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Hammer of the Scots? Edward I and Scotland, 1286–1306

Abstract
On a stormy night in March 1286, a man fell off his horse and broke his neck. This unfortunate accident was to set in train a series of events leading to nearly three centuries of hostilities between Scotland and England. The man was Alexander III, King of Scots, and his unexpected death left Scotland in a state of uncertainty, for his two sons and his daughter were already dead. This left as his prospective heir his three-year-old granddaughter Margaret, daughter of King Eric of Norway, and now the only living descendant of the Scottish royal line as far back as William the Lion (1165–1214). Norwegian law excluded women from the succession, but no such rule applied in Scotland, although there was no precedent for the reign of a queen of Scots. Following the death of the second of Alexander’s sons, the kingdom’s magnates had sealed an undertaking recognizing the young Margaret as heir, should Alexander die without leaving a son or daughter. Scotland was now faced with the prospect of a long minority.
Andy King, Claire Etty

Chapter 2. Scottish Civil Wars, 1306–37

Abstract
On 10 February 1306, the civil war which had been smouldering in Scotland since the death of Alexander III finally ignited, when Robert Bruce killed John Comyn in the Greyfriars church at Dumfries. He subsequently re-ignited the Anglo-Scottish war as well, by having himself inaugurated as king of Scots at Scone, on 25 March. This bid for the kingship was motivated by political considerations as well as regal ambition. Robert had submitted to Edward in the winter of 1301/2, while the Comyns had continued to resist for another eighteen months, yet his early submission had gained him little. Edward’s settlement of 1305 was intended to pacify Scotland by co-opting his Scottish opponents and trying to work with the grain of Scottish political society, an approach which meant leaving the Comyns’ dominance comparatively intact.1 But despite Edward’s efforts, disaffection with English rule, and with the continuing influence of the Comyns, was widespread. Robert was able to garner significant support, from the earls of Atholl, Menteith and Lennox, and the bishops of St Andrews and Glasgow, and he rapidly captured a number of towns and castles.
Andy King, Claire Etty

Chapter 3. The Hundred Years War: War on Two Fronts, 1337–1453

Abstract
Looking back from the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Scottish chronicler Andrew Wyntoun commented that Edward III’s decision to go to war with France was ‘a good chance for Scotland’.1 England was now fighting on two fronts. In September 1337, it was decided to send another expedition to Scotland, in the absence of Edward, who was planning to lead an army to France. The Scottish expedition would be led by Richard, Earl of Arundel, and Edward’s favourite, William Montague, newly ennobled as the earl of Salisbury. Their objective was Dunbar castle, on the coast of Lothian. It had been rebuilt at Edward III’s expense in 1333, while its owner, Patrick, Earl of March, had been in the English allegiance; but he had then gone over to David. The castle was boldly defended by Patrick’s resourceful countess, Agnes (daughter of Thomas Randolph, the former guardian), and Salisbury conspicuously failed to capture it despite maintaining the siege for more than four months. In July, Edward III led his expedition to the Continent, taking Salisbury with him. The army he had led to Scotland, at great expense, had nothing to show for its efforts except for a truce, to last until 30 September 1339. Small wonder that one contemporary English chronicler commented, ‘the Scots were cheerful and happy, the English were unhappy and dolorous’.2
Andy King, Claire Etty

Chapter 4. The Wars of the Roses, 1453–1502

Abstract
The English defeat at the battle of Castilion in 1453 crowned a series of disastrous reverses in France. The ‘vasty fields’ of Henry V’s conquest were now reduced to a foothold in Calais, while defences on the Scottish border were suffering the effects of long-term under-funding. The struggle between Richard, Duke of York, and the Lancastrian Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, for domination of Henry VI’s government escalated into civil war, as York took to the battlefield to assert his claim to the succession. And then Henry succumbed to a mental illness so severe that York was appointed Protector of England.
Andy King, Claire Etty

Chapter 5. Auld Alliance, New Europe, 1503–37

Abstract
In 1503, the marriage of James IV of Scotland to Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England, sealed a ‘Perpetual Peace’ between the two countries.1 The arrangement was not universally popular among their subjects. Some of Henry VII’s councillors opposed the marriage, fearing that Margaret’s descendants — future kings of Scotland — might come to inherit the English throne (Henry reassured them with the prediction that, in such a case, England, as the larger country, would not be absorbed by Scotland, but rather vice versa).2 According to the Spanish ambassador to Scotland, the majority of James’s subjects had been opposed to peace with the Auld Enemy from the start.3
Andy King, Claire Etty

Chapter 6. Reformations and Rough Wooing, 1537–60

Abstract
In 1537, the pope granted James V the title of Defender of the Faith.1 He evidently hoped the Scottish king would fulfil this new role in action against his uncle Henry VIII, who had broken with Rome. In 1539, one of James’s closest councillors, David Beaton, Archbishop of St Andrews, was made a cardinal, the pope expressing his hope that James would now publish his interdict calling for Henry’s deposition. The Scottish clergy were intent on bringing James to war with England, for fear he should follow Henry’s example. He was also exhorted to act against Henry by English Catholic rebels from the Pilgrimage of Grace, who approached him when he put into Scarborough, on his way back from France in 1537, ‘weeping… [and] showing how that they had long looked for him, and how they were oppressed, slain and murdered, desiring him for God’s sake to come in, and he should have all’.2 Meanwhile, on the Continent, the Hapsburg– Valois conflict was in abeyance, for the Catholic monarchs François I of France and the Emperor Charles V had sealed an alliance in the pope’s presence. By 1539 the pair were contemplating a joint invasion of England. They, too, hoped to call upon the services of the Scottish king, who had recently married François’ kinswoman, Marie de Guise; and in 1541, François assured James of French support, should Henry invade Scotland.
Andy King, Claire Etty

Chapter 7. Better Together? 1561–1603

Abstract
In December 1560, François II, King of France, and husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, died. He was succeeded by his brother, Charles, and Mary returned to her native land. The Franco-Scottish bond was broken, the spectre of Catholicism and French dominance exorcized — and the Congregation promptly split into two parties. The earl of Arran and his followers favoured coercing Mary into the reformed faith and marriage with him, a policy supported by the Protestant Elizabeth I of England. A more moderate party, led by the ecclesiastically conservative George Gordon, fourth earl of Huntly, doubted the legality of thus constraining their sovereign. Both sides, however, wished to preserve the recent reforming legislation, and favoured friendship with England. Neither wished Mary to return home at the head of a French contingent. And all were agreed on rejecting French proposals for a renewal of the Auld Alliance.
Andy King, Claire Etty

Part 2

Frontmatter

Chapter 8. Armies and Warfare

Abstract
In 1364, during peace negotiations with England, a memorandum was composed in Scotland rehearsing the arguments for and against the proposal to make Edward III the heir of David II. Amongst the arguments in favour was the following:
We [i.e., the Scots] are so feeble in power and strength that we are quite unable to resist [the English] in battle … our nobles are rendered so senseless and almost lifeless as a result of the various battles, in which so many have fallen against the English, the enemy are so stout-hearted, our folk none or few, young and untrained, but the others are wise and experienced in war, that we can resist them in neither power nor war.1
This pessimistic assessment of Scotland’s military capacity was made in the wake of a series of catastrophic defeats on the battlefields of Dupplin Moor (1332), Halidon Hill (1333) and Neville’s Cross (1346), which had seen the Scottish nobility decimated, and David led away to captivity in the Tower of London.
Andy King, Claire Etty

Chapter 9. The Marches

Abstract
At Easter 1296, a Scottish raiding party defeated a force of English borderers near Wark on Tweed in Northumberland. According to an English chronicler, the Scots had arranged a password, to distinguish friend from foe; but many of the English were able to escape, pretending to be Scots by repeating the password themselves. Some eighty years later, another force of northern Englishmen was overwhelmed at Otterburn, in Northumberland (Chapter 3, Section ii). According to a contemporary account, the English were defeated:
because the darkness deluded our Englishmen so much that when they struck carelessly at a Scotsman, due to the chorus of voices speaking a single language, they struck down an Englishman.1
As these events demonstrate, people on both sides of the border spoke a similar northern dialect of English, so much so that the Englishmen and Scotsmen of the Marches were sometimes indistinguishable, even to each other.
Andy King, Claire Etty

Chapter 10. Relations between Peoples

Abstract
For the greater part of the period 1296 to 1603, England and Scotland were formally at war. Yet for much of this time, truces were in force. While Englishmen and Scots frequently regarded each other with open hostility, or at least wary suspicion (Chapter 11, Section i), this was not invariably the case, and despite the conflict, there continued to be a considerable degree of peaceful interaction between the two countries. Certainly, the intensity of warfare in the first half of the fourteenth century greatly hindered such contacts, but the long truce following David II’s capture in 1346 allowed for the resumption of more peaceable relations, which the intermittent bouts of open war in the 1370s and 1380s did not entirely interrupt. Thereafter, full-scale open war was comparatively rare.
Andy King, Claire Etty

Chapter 11. National Identity and Propaganda: The Appeal to History and Contemporary Views of the ‘Other’

Abstract
‘There is nothing the Scots like better to hear than abuse of the English’.1 So commented the Italian Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (the future Pope Pius II) after visiting Scotland on a diplomatic mission in 1435. His comments were echoed by the English physician Andrew Borde, who wrote from Glasgow in 1536, complaining of Scottish Anglophobia. The English were no better: the start of the Scottish wars had unleashed a torrent of abuse from south of the border. Typical was the chronicler Walter of Guisborough, writing at the end of Edward I’s reign, who considered that the Scots deserved the yoke of servitude, describing them as ‘restless, inconstant and unstable’, and ‘treacherous’. Such views hardened during Edward II’s reign, when the Scots attacked England on a regular basis; another chronicle described the Scottish invasion of 1318 in almost apocalyptic terms, comparing the Scots to ‘Saracens or pagans’.2 Later English commentators repeated the scurrilous story that the infant David II had defecated in the altar when he was baptized; and so the ‘Lanercost’ chronicler referred to him with infantile glee as cacator (‘shitter’).3
Andy King, Claire Etty

Conclusion

Abstract
When Alexander III died in 1286, England and Scotland had enjoyed some 70 years of largely peaceable relations. At the time, no one could have expected that war would break out within a decade, and that it would continue, on and off, for most of the next 250 years. Despite frequent and protracted negotiations, a lasting peace settlement proved elusive; the peace treaties agreed in 1328 and 1502 both broke down within a few years. Why did this hostility last so long? And how did it then abate to the point that a king of Scots was able to succeed, unopposed, to the English throne in 1603?
Andy King, Claire Etty
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