Thursday, August 12, 2010

Battle of Dupplin Moor

Soon after Robert Bruce passed away (June 7, 1329), Edward Balliol, the son of former King John Balliol determined to take advantage of the fact that Bruce's son David was only 4 years old, and unfit to rule.  Balliol, who had been living in France, returned to Scotland in 1332, and joined Henry Beaumont to take Scotland from the Bruce faction.  The Balliols and Beaumonts had lost much in terms of estates and status by opposing Robert Bruce at Bannockburn and elsewhere.  Beaumont arranged for English forces to join with them in the invasion.

The two sides met at Dupplin Moor on August 12, 1332, the battle representing part of the continuing Wars of Scottish Independence.  The outcome was a horrendous defeat for the Bruce forces.  Beaumont and Balliol introduced a formation of archers and ground troops that helped the English become dominant in warfare for some time.

Sir Walter Scott writes of this battle in his "History of Scotland":

'...Such were the pretexts; but in reality Baliol possessed no interest whatever in Scotland; he was a mere stipendiary and pensioner of England, and Edward was now desirous to be rid of him, and either to acquire the crown of Scotland to himself directly by virtue of Baliol's cession in his favour, or, if that project should fail, to achieve the same object by making some composition with the imprisoned David, whom he found not indisposed to agree to a settlement of the crown on a son of the king of England, in exchange for his own liberty. In guerdon of his pliancy, Baliol, when retiring into private life, was to be endowed by Edward III. with a sum of five thousand marks, and a stipend or annuity of two thousand pounds sterling a year. With this splendid income Edward Baliol retired into privacy and obscurity, and is never again mentioned in history. The spirit of enterprise which dictated the invasion of Scotland in 1332 and the adventurous attack upon the Scottish encampment at Dupplin-moor, shows itself in no other part of his conduct, which may lead us to think that an attempt so daring was no suggestion of his own mind, but breathed into it by the councils of some masterspirit among his counsellors. In battle he showed the bravery of a soldier ; but in other respects he never seems to have displayed talents whether for war or peace. He died childless in the year 136'3 ; and thus ended in his person the line of Baliol, whose pretensions had cost Scotland so dear.

The campaign which Edward designed should be decisive of the fate of Scotland now approached. The Scottish nobles, more wise in calamity than success, taught and convinced by experience of the danger of encountering the enemy in pitched battle and in the open field, resolved to practise the lessons of defensive war which had been bequeathed to them by their deliverer, king Robert. Time was, however, required to lay the country waste, to withdraw the inhabitants, and take the other precautions necessary for this stern and desolating species of resistance. For this purpose earl Douglas was sent to king Edward to protract time as long as he could with offers of negotiation. He succeeded in obtaining a truce of ten days, during the greater part of which he remained in the English camp, and then left it, exulting in having obtained the necessary space for defensive preparations, of which his countrymen had made excellent use.

Scotland was now somewhat in the same condition as when invaded in 1322, but thus far worse situated, that as Edward III. was an heroical character a hundred times more formidable than his father, so the chiefs whom Scotland had now to oppose against the victor, at whose name France trembled, were as far inferior in talents to the Bruce. They were imbued, however, with his sentiments, and were determined to act upon them ; and thus being dead, king Robert might be said still to direct the Scottish army...'


  1. So how did Scotland eventually get rid of Edward 3's army?

  2. There were several confrontations between Edward's forces and Bruce's (Halidon Hill, Dornock and others; later under David Bruce himself, Neville's Cross was the last major battle). Sometime after Dupplin Moor, the Bruce faction turned to France for support, and eventually, by the time the Battle of Neville's Cross was being fought, Edward had turned his attention toward warfare with France. The Treaty of Berwick was signed in 1357, officially ending this series of battles between Edward and Bruce. Thanks for posting, Ross.