Sunday, October 17, 2010

Battle of Neville's Cross

From Walter Scott's "Tales of a Grandfather: being the History of Scotland, from the earliest...":

'Edward the Third being absent in France, and in the act of besieging Calais, David was induced, by the pressing and urgent counsels of the French King, to renew the war, and profit by the King's absence from England. The young King of Scotland raised, accordingly, a large army, and entering England on the west frontier, he marched eastward towards Durham, harassing and wasting the country with great severity; the Scots boasting, that, now the King and his nobles were absent, there were none in England to oppose them, save priests and base mechanics.

But they were greatly deceived. The lords of the northern counties of England, together with the Archbishop of York, assembled a gallant army. They defeated the vanguard of the Scots, and came upon the main body by surprise. The English army, in which there were many ecclesiastics, bore, as their standard, a crucifix, displayed amid the banners of the nobility. The Scots had taken post among some enclosures, which greatly embarrassed their movements, and their ranks remaining stationary, were, as on former occasions, destroyed by the English arrows. Here Sir John Grahame offered his services to disperse the bowmen, if he were intrusted with a body of cavalry. But although this was the movement which decided the battle of Bannockburn, Grahame could not obtain the means of attempting it. In the mean time the Scottish army fell fast'into disorder. The King himself fought bravely in the midst of his nobles and was twice wounded with arrows. At length he was captured by John Copland, a Northumberland gentleman; the same who was made prisoner at Dunbar. He did not secure his royal captive without resistance; for in the struggle, the King dashed out two of Copland's teeth with his dagger. The left wing of the Scottish army continued fighting long after the rest were routed, and at length made a safe retreat. It was commanded by the Steward of Scotland and the Earl of March. Very many of the Scottish nobility were slain ; very many made prisoners. The King himself was led in triumph through the streets of London, and committed to the Tower a close prisoner. This battle was fought at Neville's Cross, near Durham, on 17th October, 1346.'
The Battle of Neville's Cross was part of the Second War of Scottish Independence, following, among others, Dupplin Moor, and Halidon Hill, and leading to Berwick.  King David II was captured at Neville's Cross, and held until his ransom with the Treaty of Berwick.

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