July 19, 1333
Edward III was now the King of England, Edward II having been killed by his Queen and her lover, Mortimer. Edward III came to the throne at the age of 14 and was as ruthless as his grandfather and possibly as well versed in military tactics. Although the Bruce was dead, the Black Douglas dead, Bruces brother, Edward, dead, the division between England and Scotland was still the same. The only difference it seems was that there were different people in power.
Late in his reign, the Black Douglas had raided the borders. Edward III was taken on the campaign to stop the Douglas. The misery finally ended in the "Shameful Peace." England returned the Scottish crown and Edward IIIs sister was married to David, Bruces eldest son, who was 8 at the time. The Earl of Moray was the Regent during Davids minority. After the Shameful Peace, some of the barons (the "disinherited") were to be restored of their holdings. Some of them, of course, had fought with and were loyal to the English. Randolph refused to return their estates to them.
Baliol was one of the disinherited. He was the son of John Balliol (Toom Tabard). After King Roberts death, he decided to claim the Crown of Scotland. Edward III, thinking that he would be a good tool against the Scots, set out to help him in his quest. Randolph had died in 1332 and Donald, Earl of Mar was made Regent. Balliol killed Mar at Dupplin Moor and was crowned King at Scone. He, of course, acknowledged fealty to Edward III. But this infuriated the Scots and they appointed Sir Andrew Moray as regent and with a force of men drove Balliol out.
This, of course, meant war once again between England and Scotland. Balliol promised to cede Berwick to the English if they would support him. Balliol laid siege to Berwick, with Edward III soon advancing with his army. The two sons of Sr. Andrew Seton, the castellan (the warden of the castle and Governor) were taken as hostages, and were perfunctorily hanged by Edward. By July 15, the castle and the garrison were in dire straits. They were running out of food. The governor, who was still grieving for his sons, decided that if he did not have any relief by the 20th, that he would surrender the castle. The new Regent, Archibald, Lord of Douglas, who frankly was not cut from the same cloth as his illustrious grandfather, had assembled a force and were on the way to help those under siege. They were planning on marching directly to the aid of the town and confronting the English.
When he arrived he could see that the task was too large and so he merely tried to harry the English. Since this didnt work, he set off on a trail of destruction through Northumberland, hoping that the English would leave Berwick and follow. Upon hearing that Berwick was indeed about to surrender, Douglas returned to try once more to relieve the town.
The English withdrew to deploy on Halidon Hill, leaving just enough men to take care of any effort put forth by the hungry defenders of the castle. Halidon Hill was 600 feet above sea-level, which was a good defensive position. Edwards men were formed into three divisions, with archers accompanying each division. The right flank was commanded by the Earl of Norfolk, the King led the center and Baliol was on the left.
Douglas had more men than the English army, about 1200 knights and 13,000 spearmen. The spearmen were formed into four schiltrons. The Scots attacked immediately, swarming down a small slope. They lost their momentum, stumbling through the quagmire at the bottom of the hill, of which they had been unaware, and barely had time to gather themselves before trudging up the slope toward the English. The Scots still had not learned that spears come in a poor second to archers and longbowmen. The archers took aim and let fly. Using a long bow was an art that most bowmen had practiced since their youth. They could withstand the strain of the bow and could get off shot after shot. The men coming up the hill soon began dropping, one after the other, until the hill was slippery with blood. The knights were separated from their horses, the pikemen were incapable of doing anything, and the archers were trying to shoot uphill at a target they could not see. The Scots could not recover from this and Edward sent in the mounted horse. The English knights rode down on the Scots with lance and mace. Corpses were strewn for five miles.
Douglas, the earls of Ross, Sutherland and Carrick, all dead. Hundreds of men-at-arms and thousands of foot met the same fate. Berwick soon surrendered. Baliol now was Regent once more, but no more popular than he was the first time. The Scots were beaten, but not subdued. They sent young King David to France. Baliol, of course, paid homage to England and ceded lands to England. Resistance continued and Edward, three years since Halidon, invaded once again. He laid waste to the land once again. In 1338, Randolphs daughter, the famous Black Agnes, countess of March, defined the English for five months from Dunbar.
Eventually, Edeward lost interest in the Scots, instead, turning his attention to France.