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The Scottish Wars of Independence and the Battle of Bannockburn.docx

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Department
History
Course
History 2173
Professor
Barbara Murison
Semester
Winter

Description
Feb, 28, 2013 The Scottish Wars of Independence and the Battle of Bannockburn Alexander III: -Scotland was an independent realm but this changed at the death of Alexander III in 1286 -After his hair was his granddaughter Margaret the Maid of Norway and she came to power when she was only three years old and she was uncommon as a ruler because she was a woman and she was very sickly -It was agreed that she had to come over from Norway but she died on the way in 1290 and this provoked a major succession crisis because many wanted the position and it all depended on what succession system they were to follow and this was a hard situation -Even Margaret’s father who had no blood relation put forth a claim while Edward I was king of England and the Scots wanted to see his advice but he had his own agenda and he wanted his son to take over -There were 14 claimants to the throne but there were only two significant ones and they were John Balliol and Robert the Bruce and each was preferred by the different succession methods -Edward I and other kings had been trying to assert feudal overlord-ship over Scotland but they had been kicked out and he wanted acknowledgement so a court was appointed and 18 months later came down on the side of Balliol and he paid homage to Edward I swearing faithfulness to him (became underling of someone else) -Edward I had strong views about what he wanted to do and he started to hear appeals against rulings of the Scottish royal courts and this again showed England’s power and military support was mandated against France -The Scottish aristocrats weren’t happy with this and they didn’t want to go to war just to please Edward and they thought Balliol was becoming too feudal and they forced him to agree to an alliance with France against Edward I -Edward’s reaction was to go to war and he went north and laid siege to Berwick and he was successful -Then he went to Dunbar and he won again by a large margin and he proceeded through the lowland and central Scotland without serious opposition because their army had almost been destroyed and Balliol was taken by the English and sent south to a prison -The campaign became about destroying the kingdom of Scotland and cementing English control and Edward took the Stone of Destiny and this was a slap in the face to Scottish sovereignty and he also took many royal archives as well as part of “the” cross that was St. Margaret’s -He set up English procedures and offices in Scotland and castles were taken by him and every substantial landholder was forced to swear allegiance to England but resistance did grow against him William Wallace and Andrew Moray: -Wallace was one of the men who raised a rebellion against Edward I and his family was well established in southern Scotland but he was only the son of a knight so he had a lower status -Moray also led a rebellion from the north east and he was well connected -Their combined force successfully defeated an English army at the battle of Stirling Bridge and the two were able to write a letter to the merchants of northern Germany called to Lubeck Letter in 1297 to say Scotland was free and opened for business with them -Moray died shortly after this battle from wounds sustained there and most of the glory went to Wallace -Wallace was loyal to Balliol and he didn’t want to take over himself and he was an unlikely leader of the people because of social status -After Stirling Bridge Edward gathered a huge army but Wallace employed a scorched earth policy and the English army to the east were supplied by the sea but in 1298 they were in short supply and they were contemplating retreat when they head the Scots were close by at Falkirk and Wallace finally decided to fight pitched battle -He must have thought he could defeat them even though it was dangerous and he was outnumbered and there was word the Welsh part of the English army was ready to desert -The battle of Falkirk was a shattering defeat for Wallace who had a highly trained infantry that was destroyed and he lost moral authority of the other fighters and he voluntarily left his guardianship but continued to fight -He was pursued by the English and was eventually captured and killed in 1305 very brutally -The sword at the Wallace monument cannot actually be his sword because it is a two handed design that did not th come into use until the 16 century -The victory at Falkirk did not save the English’s position and in Scotland over the next few years there was only inconclusive campaigns and in the north there was still a government running in the name of Balliol Feb, 28, 2013 th English and Scottish Warfare in the Early 14 Century: -Military history of the time is written in terms of common infantry overcoming aristocratic cavalries -The battle of Courtrai in 1302 at Flanders shows this and the citizens of Flemish towns in militias fought on foot and defeated a great French cavalry and they killed commanders and the French lost 1/3 to ½ of their knights -Art of the time shows tipped spears that were 4-5 feet long as well as short bows and pikes and the French were very shocked that they had been beat and this was part of the infantry revolution -Even to field a small army took resources from far flung areas and military service was required in England but this led to resistance because it put a strain on economies far and wide -Purveyance or prise was when the government would set the price they would pay farmers and merchants for goods they needed or they would take it and promise to pay later but problems arose out of this and fertile areas were under constant stress because of demands and trade was disrupted -Taxes were also collected and increased to fund campaigns in Scotland and England far and wide -Heavy cavalry tactics had not changed much and they still had solid stirrups and a saddle and were using the couched lace method but gear was at its heaviest weighing in at 27 kilos th -The head was protected by a bassinet but there was reconstruction by the 14 century with greater protection offered but restricted visibility when the movable visors were down (before the face was open) -They had plate armour but it was going out of fashion on place of plate armour and many had solid breast plates but this was problematic at times because it was not flexible and horses were so expensive that by now many had armour as well -The British faced logistical problems in England because of the harsh climate and this caused many issues because the crops were so bad they could not easily support their horses so later they only ever invaded in the summer -The Scottish had few horses and an undeveloped cavalry because of the difficulties of supporting the horses there -There were other parts of the English cavalry like esquires who waited on knights and they rode un-armoured horses and because they themselves could not afford metal armour they used boiled leather -There was also the Hobelar who were mounted lancers that had originated in Ireland and they too had leather armour and were ideally suited to hit and run attacks and this was later adopted by the Scottish -At Stirling Bridge the Scottish had a good pos
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