Sir Andrew Murray – Guardian of Scotland

Battle of Dupplin Moor

Sir Andrew Murray’s father, also named Andrew, fought with William Wallace. Our Sir Andrew was married to Christina Bruce the sister of King Robert I although his two sons were the issue of a previous marriage. He came to prominence during the Second Scottish War of Independence which started when Edward Balliol, one of the so-called ‘Disinherited’ made his claim to the kingdom of Scotland during the minority of King David II. Having won the battle of Dupplin Moor near Perth, Edward was crowned king.

However, supporters of David continued to fight on. Amongst them was Sir Andrew. In December 1332 he won the Battle of Annan which sent Edward packing to Carlisle, dressed it was reported only in his underclothes – where he presumably spent a miserable Christmas trying to drum up local support as well as some new togs. Having promised Edward III all of Lothian the king marched north with an army and besieged Berwick – not quite breaking the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton as I don’t think he crossed the Tweed.

Rather than taking Edward and his army on and lifting the siege, the Scots tried to draw the king away by raiding England. Sir Andrew got himself caught and imprisoned in Durham in April 1333. His replacement Guardian was Sir Archibald Douglas who rather unfortunately lost the Battle of Halidon Hill in July. Rather bizarrely, and in what can only be described as an own goal, the English ransomed Murray and allowed him to return to Scotland in 1334 – where he proceeded to besiege Balliol’s ally Henry de Beaumont (both names betraying their Anglo-Norman ancestry.)

Edward III was unable to bring Murray to battle, as the wily knight recognised that this was a sure fire way to lose any advantage. Instead, Murray harried the English with guerrilla tactics. When Edward and his army left Scotland he resumed the capture of castles fallen to supporters of Balliol. It was March 1337 before he recaptured his own castle of Bothwell.

The way into England was now clear and the burghers of Carlisle were faced with a Scottish army.

Having made his point, Murray retired in 1338 to Avoch Castle where he died. By that time King Edward III of England had turned his attention to France but Murray’s actions turned the tide in David II’s and Scotland’s favour. Meanwhile in Bute, Robert the Stewart was also taking action to secure the revival of the Bruce cause.

After 1341 the Second Scottish War of Independence reached a stalemate and the seventeen-year old king returned from France where he had been sent for his own safety after Dupplin Moor. The Auld Alliance would see David invading England with disastrous consequences for his rule.

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