Bruce and Balliol : Scottish Raids 1272-1372
At the forefront of Scottish raids on Northern England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland, a member of the ‘De Brus’ family of Norman origin who had originally settled around Hartlepool in Durham and Skelton in Cleveland. Robert was succeeded as Scottish king by his son David Bruce (David II) in 1329 but both kings were challenged by their Norman rivals John and Edward Balliol. The two Balliols also became Scottish kings and were respectively the son and grandson of Hugh Balliol of Barnard Castle in Teesdale.
Nov 20, 1272 – EDWARD I : Hammer of the Scots
Edward I becomes King of England and is known as ‘Longshanks’ from his tall stature and long legs. He is the first of three kings in a row called Edward. Like his late father, Henry III, he is a member of the Plantagenet dynasty which has its roots in France. It is a dynasty that has provided the English monarchs since the reign of Henry II. Like his Plantagenet and Norman predecessors Edward speaks French and knows Latin but despite ‘Edward’ being a very English sounding name, he speaks very little if any English. His military and political aspirations are primarily focused on France but France’s ally, Scotland proves a major distraction for him and his successors. Edward will gain a reputation for ruthless brutality and military success especially north of the border and comes to be known as the ‘Hammer of the Scots’.
1280 – Man killed at football match
A man is killed at Ulgham (pronounced ‘Uffam’) near Morpeth during a football match. It seems to have been an accident – a rather extraordinary accident – caused by a player, Henry de Ellington running into the knife of a David Le Keu, the knife piercing Ellington’s belly and causing his death.
1283 – Stockton a port
Stockton was first mentioned as a port as early as 1283 and belonged to the Prince Bishops of Durham. It was firmly held by the bishops. Hartlepool was however the premier port of the Durham Peince Bishops, although ownership of Hartlepool was frequently disputed with the Bruce family.
1286 – Scottish king dies in riding accident
The Scottish king, Alexander III has died in a riding accident in Fife. It leaves a power vacuum north of the border. The intended successor will be Alexander’s granddaughter Margaret ‘Maid of Norway’ who lives with her father, the King of Norway. She is two years old.
1286 – Newcastle leather trade
Utilising hides from local livestock, Newcastle is the leading English port for the export of leather.
1290 – Salt making
John Rumundebi is given permission by Robert Brus (Bruce) to make salt at Hart village near Hartlepool. The cost of renting the salt pans, formerly held by Adam the Miller are priced “at the rental of a pair of white gloves or a penny at Easter”. The large salt pans were used in the production of salt through the evaporation of sea water.
1290 – Augustinian friars in Newcastle
Augustinian or ‘Austin’ Friars establish a friary in Newcastle.
Sept 1290 – Margaret of Scotland dies at sea
The seven-year old, Margaret ‘Maid of Norway’ the uncrowned Queen of Scotland never sees her kingdom as she dies during her journey from Norway. She had recently been betrothed in marriage to Prince Edward, the son of the English king.
1291 – Newcastle ships coal to Dorset
Newcastle ships 80 quarters of coal to Corfe Castle in Dorset.
1291 – Alnwick market
A market is established at Alnwick.
1291 – Hugh’s camera at Heworth
The Prior of Durham, Hugh of Darlington, has recently completed a ‘camera’ at Heworth near Gateshead. A camera is a kind of house. The Heworth neighbourhood is noted for its hunting forests which the Prior will no doubt enjoy.
June 1291 – Scottish lords meet Edward at Norham
The death of Queen Margaret last year leaves the English king, Edward I in a powerful position to chose the new monarch north of the border. At the church of Norham on Tweed the Scottish lords swore fealty to Edward I, recognising him as their superior lord. It was agreed that the claims of the candidates for the Scottish crown will be submitted to Edward. It is something of a humiliation for Scotland, although the primary Scottish candidates, Bruce and Balliol are ultimately, like Edward, from families of French origin.
17 Nov, 1292 – Edward makes Balliol king
After lengthy hearings, Edward I declares John Balliol king of Scotland in the great hall at Berwick Castle. Balliol is the son of Hugh Balliol of Barnard Castle. There were thirteen claimants in total but only two principal forerunners for the Scottish crown. Balliol’s principal rival had been Robert the Bruce.
1292 – King crushes North Shields developments
Monks from Tynemouth have been ordered by the king to cease all port trading activities at North Shields from which they generate much revenue. It is considered detrimental to the trade in Newcastle from which the king can profit. There were around a hundred houses at North Shields at this time.
1296 – Newcastle shipbuilding
The first record of shipbuilding at Newcastle is in this year. A galley was constructed for the fleet of King Edward.
1296 – Balliol rebels against English king
John Balliol, King of Scotland, disillusioned at being King Edward’s puppet, leads the Scots in an invasion of Cumberland and Northumberland but is defeated at Dunbar in April. King Edward heads into Scotland in a punitive attack. Balliol submits and is taken prisoner. King Edward removes the Scottish coronation stone from Scone in Perthshire. The deposing of Balliol effectively makes Edward the King of Scotland.
1296 – Balliol’s Tees and Tyne lands seized
John Balliol’s lands in England are confiscated by King Edward. The opportunist Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham, seizes the Balliol estates in Teesdale, including Barnard Castle. The Balliol lands at Bywell on Tyne are also forfeited and pass into the hands of the crown, later becoming a property of the Nevilles.
1296 – Berwick back in English hands
The town of Berwick is retaken by the English and here some 2,000 leaders from throughout Scotland pay homage to the English king in a moment of extreme humiliation for the Scots.
1296 – Tynedale now firmly English
The extensive district known as the Liberty of Tynedale is now firmly in the hands of the English king, Edward I. This once disputed ‘Liberty’ had been in Scottish hands since at least 1157 and probably for some considerable time before that. Since the death of the Scottish king Alexander III in 1286 its ownership by Scotland has been in doubt. The liberty will remain in English hands but will increasingly become a hotbed of lawlessness and reiving over the next three centuries. The Liberty includes both North Tynedale and South Tynedale including Alston in Cumberland but not Hexhamshire which lies further downstream.
1297 – William Wallace attacks the North
William Wallace (‘Braveheart’) takes up the Scottish cause against English domination in Scotland. As so often, the far north of England takes the brunt of the blows. William attacks Northumberland, burning Hexham, (including the abbey and grammar school), Corbridge and Ryton but is driven back from Newcastle.
1298 – Mining at Hett
Coal is already being extensively mined across the region in simple bell pits. Mining at Hett near Spennymoor is recorded this year.
1298 – Iron mining
Iron mining is recorded at Muggleswick in north west Durham.
1298 – Edward defeats Wallace at Falkirk
The government moves to York while Edward, assisted by Bishop Bek, defeats the Scots under Wallace at Falkirk. Wallace is executed.
1300 – Mayor for Newcastle
Newcastle is permitted to elect a senior burgess or mayor, a sign of a continuing growth in the town’s civic status and development of trade.
1303 – Ship loading banned at Shields
1303 – Bishop grants mining rights
The Bishop of Durham who has extensive lead and coal mining rights across Durham grants lesser land owners rights to mine their land.
1305 – Coals to London
Newcastle is already well established in shipping coal. It is known that coal was shipped to London from at least as early as 1305.
1306 – Complaints against bishop’s bloomeries
Complaints are made to parliament regarding the Bishop of Durham’s clearance of forests for the production of charcoal used in his iron bloomeries (simple blast furnaces).
1307 – Port of Alnmouth
Alnmouth in Northumberland receives a charter as a port.
1307 – Bruce loses Hartlepool
Last year Robert Bruce took over the crown of Scotland which had been vacant since Balliol was deposed. The English king, Edward I who claims superiority in Scotland confiscates Hartlepool from Bruce. The king also takes Teesdale from Bishop Bek and gives it to Guy Beauchamp.
July 7, 1307 – Death of Edward I near Carlisle
The English invade Scotland to subdue Bruce but King Edward I dies at Burgh on Sands in Cumbria to the west of Carlisle near the Solway Firth. His son Edward II, will replace him as king.
July 8, 1307 – KING EDWARD II
King Edward II succeeds his father as King of England.
1309 – Percy purchases Alnwick
The Percy family purchase Alnwick Castle from Bishop Bek of Durham though it may not have rightfully been Bek’s to sell.
1310 – Stockton market
Stockton is granted a market granted by the Prince Bishop of Durham, Antony Bek.
1311 – Spring of ‘le Spring’
Houghton-le-Spring is held by the wife of a man called Henry Spring.
1311 – Death of Bek
Bishop Anthony Bek dies. He was one of the most powerful and influential of the Prince Bishops.
1312 – Sedgefield market
A weekly market was first granted to Sedgefield in 1312 by Bishop Kellaw of Durham.
1312 – King’s lover captured
Edward II gives Scarborough Castle to his lover or ‘favourite’, Piers Gaveston, who is later captured by rebels and executed.
1312 – Bruce truce at Hexham follows attack
1312 – Dunstanburgh Castle
England’s Government is moved to York while Edward fights the rebellious Earl of Lancaster. The Earl builds a stronghold at Dunstanburgh in Northumberland.
Dec 12, 1312 – Bruce betrayed by barking dog
Robert the Bruce fails to take Berwick from the English after a dog barks and alerts the town guards.
Jun 24, 1314 – Battle of Bannockburn
Bruce invades England and regains Tynedale for Scotland which declares him their king. On June 24, the English are routed at Bannockburn. King Edward II flees to Berwick by boat and then on to Hartlepool and York. Scottish raids follow, that reach as far as Swaledale in North Yorkshire. Berwick will be retaken by the Scots.
1315 – Scots raid Hartlepool
There is a Scottish raid on Hartlepool under the leadership of the Earl Douglas. King Robert the Bruce had once been the owner of Hartlepool and this was the place to which the English King Edward II had fled following the Battle of Bannockburn.
1316 – Pirates drive ship into Amble
A ship laden at Hartlepool with wheat rye and salt and destined for Berwick was driven ashore by freebooting pirates at the mouth of the Coquet near Amble.
1317 – Kidnapped bishop
The newly appointed Prince Bishop of Durham, Lewis Beamont (1317-1333) is attacked and kidnapped at Rushyford on the Great North Road, along with his brother Henry Beaumont by Northumbrian freebooters called Gilbert Middleton and Walter Selby, accompanied by a troop of horsemen. A cardinal that accompanied the bishop was allowed to continue his journey onward to Durham. The bishop and his brother are imprisoned at Mitford Castle near Morpeth. A ransom is paid and the two men released but Middleton will be captured, then hung drawn and quartered. The cardinal was in England on the instructions of the pope, heading into Scotland to meet Robert the Bruce in the hope of persuading him to sign a truce with England.
1318 – Bridge murder
The Bishop of Durham’s Steward, Richard Fitzmarmaduke is murdered by his cousin, Ralph Neville known as ‘The Peacock of the North’ on Durham’s Framwellgate Bridge.
1319 – Battle of Myton on Swale
Edward’s army of 8,000 fails to capture Berwick. The English take flight and the Scots raid as far as York. An army headed by Nicholas Fleming, Mayor of York, is defeated in Yorkshire at Myton on Swale near Boroughbridge, by the Scots under the Earl of Moray.
1322- Wear ferry
A ferry is known to have been operating across the River Wear at Hylton near Sunderland by this time.
March 1322 – Scots plunder Stockton and Hartlepool
Edward’s forces under Andrew Harclay defeat the Earl of Lancaster at Boroughbridge in Yorkshire. The Earl of Lancaster has been a supporter of Robert the Bruce. The towns of Stockton and Hartlepool are plundered by the Scots and on October 14, Edward II is almost captured during a raid at Byland near Thirsk.
1323 – Harclay’s limbs at Newcastle
Andrew Harclay is executed for visiting Robert the Bruce in Scotland to make peace without Edward’s consent. Harclay’s limbs are displayed on York bridge and at Carlisle and Newcastle Castles.
1324 – Peace treaty fails
A peace treaty drawn up between England and Scotland at Bishopthorpe near York last year loses the support of Bruce.
1325 – Dalden Tower
Jordan Dalden is granted a licence to build a tower at Dalden near Seaham for protection against the Scots. Meanwhile Durham City’s defensive walls are restored. It is a sign of troubled times when defences are being built and strengthened in Durham.
Jan 25, 1327 – EDWARD III
Parliament agrees to depose Edward II who is imprisoned in Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. Edward abdicates and his son, King Edward III, succeeds him.
Aug 1327 – Scots leave 10,000 shoes in Weardale
Robert the Bruce invades Northumberland and Durham and evades the new young English king Edward III in Weardale where a Scottish camp making a hasty escape leave behind 10,000 pairs of shoes and many other items. Edward encamps in Weardale for a month hoping to encounter the Scots.
Sept 1327 – Edward’s nasty death
The recently deposed King Edward II is murdered at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire in an incident involving a red hot poker.
1328 – Pallion : Le Pavylion
1329 – Mine deaths
June 7, 1329 – Robert the Bruce dead
Robert Bruce of Scotland dies at Cardross in Strathclyde and is succeeded as king by his son David Bruce (King David II) who is only five-years-old.
1331 – Warkworth Percys
King Edward III sells Warkworth on the River Coquet in Northumberland to the Percys. It is a well-defended location situated in a loop of the river. The ‘wark’ of the name Warkworth signifies earthworks of fortification.
Sep 24, 1332 – Edward Balliol is Scottish king
King David II is forced into exile as Edward Balliol becomes the King of Scotland and crowned at Scone. Balliol will be deposed (by supporters of King David) and then restored on a number of occasions during his reign as follows: deposed in December 1332; restored in 1333; deposed in 1334; restored in 1335 and finally deposed in 1341.
Feb-Jul 1333 – Berwick under siege
King Edward III of England besieges the Scottish town of Berwick in support of Edward Balliol, the deposed King of Scotland who had come to Edward for help. The English blockade the port with ships off shore. The siege of Berwick continues into July. In the meantime sections of the English army were ordered to harry and plunder the Scottish Lothians. Edward’s brutality is further demonstrated by the hanging of two sons of the Berwick governor Seton outside the walls of the town. Seton had handed the boys over to Edward as hostages.
April 1333 – Queen asked to leave cathedral
Edward III arrived in Durham on April 1 on his way north to assist with the military campaign at Berwick. He was joined here a few days later by his wife, Queen Philippa who arrived from Knaresborough. The queen entered the confines of the Durham Cathedral priory and dined with the king before retiring to sleep there. Under the strict Benedictine rules of the cathedral the presence of women within the confines of the cathedral and its priory buildings is forbidden. The cathedral’s monks draw this to the attention of the king, who not wishing to offend, has his queen awoken. She leaves the cathedral in her under garments and finds sleeping quarters in the castle. Strictly, women are only allowed to enter the Galilee Chapel (the Lady Chapel) of the cathedral and may only enter a little way into the main body of a cathedral where a black line of Frosterley marble marks the point beyond which they may not cross.
July 19, 1333 – Battle of Halidon Hill
On July 19, a Scottish army from the north advanced upon Berwick in four columns headed by the Earl of Moray, Sir Archibald Douglas, Sir James Stuart and the Earl of Ross. The English had taken up positions on Halidon Hill just north of Berwick and the Scottish forces were heavily defeated in a large part due to the onslaught of the English longbowmen.
July 20, 1333 – Berwick back in English hands
The day after the Battle of Halidon Hill, the town of Berwick surrenders and passes once again into English hands.
1334 – Newcastle fourth wealthiest town
Newcastle is the fourth wealthiest town in England after London, Bristol and York.
1334 – Newcastle berthing banned at Gateshead
1334 – Gateshead Fair
Gateshead was the home to a fair from at least as early as 1334 when the fair was confirmed by the Bishop of Durham.
Aug 18, 1335 – Scots attack Hartlepool
Scots invade the Tees valley via Cumberland as far as Hartlepool. Hartlepudlians take refuge at sea. Scots resent the rule of Edward Balliol, an English puppet.
1340 – Anchorage at Gateshead
The Bishop of Durham establishes an anchorage for an anchoress (or female hermit) near Gateshead church.
1342 – King David besieges Durham
Edward Balliol is deposed as King of Scotland and replaced by King David II who attacks Newcastle but cannot break the walls. David enters and plunders Durham after a seven day siege before returning to Scotland.
1342 – Etal Castle
Sir Robert Manners gains a licence to crenellate (build a castle) at Etal in Northumberland from Edward III.
1344 – Chillingham Castle
Chillingham castle is commenced after a licence to crenellate was granted to a Thomas De Heton.
1344 – Newcastle merchants wreck quays
1344 – Newcastle sends letter to Stockton
Stockton’s shipping activity has caught the attention of the powerful mayor and bailiffs of Newcastle who have sent a lengthy letter to the town of Stockton instructing on the legal obligations of customs and trade. Newcastle, however seems to have little influence this far to the south even though shipping on the coast as far south as Whitby falls under Newcastle’s jurisdiction.
Aug 1346 – Towns provide ships for siege
Newcastle, Hartlepool and Bamburgh provide ships for the siege of Calais following victory over the French at the Battle of Crecy. Newcastle provides 17 ships and 314 men; Hartlepool five ships and 145 men; Bamburgh one ship and nine men. Edward III captures Calais and so now has control of both sides of the English Channel.
Oct 1346 – Scots invade Durham
After raiding in Cumberland, the Scots under King David II attack Hexham and Blanchland and head for Durham via Ebchester. They come in support of their allies, the French, who are currently under attack from the English on the continent. Assembling at Bearpark (the Durham Prior’s park and manor of Beaurepaire in the Browney Valley) the Scots prepare to engage in battle.
Oct 17, 1346 – Battle of Neville’s Cross
A battle commences between the Scots and English at Crossgate Moor overlooking the Browney Valley to the west of Durham City just north of Neville’s Cross. Here the battle site overlooks the valley of the little River Browney just west of Durham City. The nearby cross called Nevilles Cross which symbolised sanctuary in the city, will give its name to the battle. The Scots outnumber the English but are defeated by the English who are commanded by the Archbishop of York as the English king is absent on military campaigns in France.
Oct 17, 1346 – King David taken prisoner
David, the Scottish king is found hiding under a bridge over the River Browney at Aldin Grange near Durham following the battle. David, the son of Robert the Bruce, will be held prisoner for 11 years.
1346 – Sunderland shipbuilding
Thomas Menvill of Hendon is recorded as a shipbuilder in Sunderland this year.
1349 – Black Death strikes
The Black Death is sweeping north. It is so virulent it is likely that it will wipe out many villages.
1349 – Blenkinsopp’s castle
Thomas Blenkinsopp is granted a licence to crenellate (create a castle) from his existing manor house called ‘Blenekensope’.
1350s – Monks are miners
1350 – Langley Castle
Langley castle is built is built by Sir Thomas De Lucy. It is thought to stand on the site of an earlier residence that belonged to the Tindal family who took their name from Tynedale of which they were barons.
Oct 17, 1357 – Treaty of Berwick : David’s ransom
In the Treaty of Berwick, the English agree to hand over David II to the Scots in return for a ransom. David is handed over but the Scots never pay the ransom.
1360 – Trinitarian friars in Newcastle
Trinitarian Friars are established at Pandon in Newcastle at a site called Wall Knoll once occupied by Whitefriars.
1367 – Keeper of coals
1368 – Scott’s Wood
A man called Richard Scott was granted permission to enclose a wood to the west of Newcastle.
1371 – Stewart succeeds David Bruce as king
The Scottish king David Bruce (David II) dies at Edinburgh Castle and is succeeded by his nephew Robert II, a less effective king who reigns until 1390. Robert’s father was the High Steward of Scotland and from that title he took the name Stewart. Robert is the first member of the Stewart (or Stuart) dynasty of Scottish kings who would rule Scotland and subsequently rule England.
1372 – Populous Newcastle
With 2,637 tax payers, Newcastle is the 11th largest town in England.