Tag Archives: King Edward II

Thomas of Galloway -sixty years a prisoner.

DSC_0004John Baliol was an important man. He was also a very rich one thanks to his marriage to Devorguilla of Galloway 1223.   She and her husband had nine children.  It was through Dervorguilla that the Baliols made their claim to the Scottish crown. Such was her love for John that after his death she founded Sweetheart Abbey – she also had his heart embalmed…as you do. Whilst John may have been much loved by his wife I doubt whether her half brother Thomas – somewhat confusingly sometimes known as Thomas of Huntingdon- felt so warmly towards the man for a variety of reasons.

Devorguilla’s father, Alan of Galloway, died without legitimate male heirs meaning that his daughters, or rather their husbands, inherited – except in Scotland at that time the law did not restrict male heirs to those born inside wedlock. Alan’s illegitimate son Thomas was able to gain enough support and finance to make a bid for the lordship of Galloway. Unfortunately this was not what Alexander II of Scotland wanted at a time when he was trying to control an assortment of earls and lords as well as negotiate a peace deal with the English. By breaking up Alan of Galloway’s estates between the three sisters Alexander was able to weaken the power of the Lord of Galloway and prevent it from behaving as a semi-independent kingdom. It probably helped that the Anglo-Scottish lords that the sisters were married to were either jolly good friends of his or vaguely related to him.

Mathew Paris described the mini war that followed whilst The Lannercost Chronicle records that Thomas was captured in 1235 as well as the rest of his sorry tale.

Thomas, whose father had once tried to secure him the crown of the Isle of Man, soon found himself securely confined behind Barnard Castle’s stout walls in the heart of Baliol territory, not on the whim of John Baliol but on the orders of King Alexander II who was decidedly unimpressed by the people of Galloway who wanted Thomas in charge of them rather than the husbands of Thomas’s three half-sisters.  He put down their uprising against his authority with a degree of gusto.

In 1286 Thomas’s nephew also called John Baliol tried to have Thomas released but the Scottish council refused. Barrow suggests that Thomas’s plight reflects the fact that the ordinary people of Scotland wished to follow their Celtic traditions whilst the leadership of the country had an Anglo-Norman feudal agenda (Barrow:9).

Thomas remained in Barnard Castle for sixty years until he was released, aged eighty-eight, in 1296 by the Bishop of Durham on the orders of King Edward I who had his own reasons for upsetting the balance of power in Scotland. By that time Alexander III had hurtled off a cliff on his way home to his young bride, the Fair Maid of Norway had died on her way to Scotland and the country was knee deep in contenders for the crown.  Edward I suggested that he would choose who would be king and Scotland would recognise English overlordship as well as getting a king who owed everything to Edward – cue Scottish Wars of Independence. Thomas was sent home to Galloway with a charter listing the liberties on offer to the men of Galloway by Edward and which underlined the fact that Edward was not supporting the Baliol claim to the Scottish throne.

Barrow, G. W. S. (2005) Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univeristy Press

Oram, Richard (2012)  Alexander II: King of Scots 1214-1249. Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd

Watson, Fiona (1998) Under the Hammer: Edward I and Scotland, 1286-1307. Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd

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Byland Abbey

DSCN3786-2In 1135 twelve monks left Furness Abbey to found a daughter house.  Their leader was Abbot Gerald and their destination was Calder Abbey.  Sadly their neighbours, the Scots, proved rather rowdy. Three years later Abbot Gerald and his little band returned to Furness.  Gerald had no intention of stopping being an abbot so he and his followers were refused admittance.

Impoverished and homeless the monks set off for York believing that they might gain some help from Thurstan, Archbishop of York.  Footsore and weary the little band arrived in Thirsk – some twenty miles short of their destination.  In Thirsk they met Lady Gundreda de Mowbray who took a shine to the monastic posse.  She suggested that the monks go to Hood at the foot of Sutton Bank.  Her uncle, she explained, had a jolly nice cave that they could use.  His name was Robert d’Alney and he had been a monk at Whitby but had left to become a hermit.  Clearly she’d forgotten that hermits like their own company.  In any event Gerald and his monks joined Robert on the understanding that as soon as Gundreda’s son was of age that he would endow a monastery for them.

Gerald took the opportunity to travel to Savigny where the monks from Furness Abbey originated.  He negotiated the new abbey’s independence from Furness.  The abbey which he would build would not be a daughter house.  It would be independent.  Gerald, parchment of independence in hand hurried home – where he promptly died.DSCN3794

Robert d’Alney  clearly wasn’t cut out to be a hermit because having shared his cave with the monks not only did he throw in his lot with them he became their next abbot.  He would remain in charge for the next fifty-four years.

Robert’s great-nephew, Roger de Mowbray, now come into his inheritance, gave the monks land at Old Byland.  Unfortunately the new monastery was too close to the abbey at Rievaulx.  This in itself wouldn’t have been a problem.  The difficulty lay in the fact that the monks kept slightly different hours.  The bells of one abbey interrupted the services of the other.  The monks of Old Byland who’d only been there a year moved once more in 1147 to more land provided by Roger de Mowbray.

By 1150 Byland had a reputation equal to that of Rievaulx and Fountains. It was at this point that the abbot of Furness Abbey tried to reassert the authority of Furness over Byland- presumably the abbot had his eye on reflected glory and lots of loot.  By this time the Savignac monks had merged with the Cistercians.  The case was sent to Aelred of Rievaulx for judgement. Aelred ruled that his neighbours were independent.  It probably helped that Abbot Aelred was friends with the abbot of Byland at that time.

DSCN3800If internal political wrangles weren’t bad enough the monks of Byland (they moved the name with them) also had to drain marshes and cope with those rowdy Scots.  In 1322 the rather disastrous King Edward II spent the night at Byland Abbey.  His army was firmly trounced by the Scots and he fled to York on hearing the news, leaving the monks to face the victors of the battle who were intent on a spot of pillage.

History darkened Bylands door once more in 1536 when Cromwell sent his commissioners to survey all the monasteries.  Byland had an income of £295.  In addition to the abbot there were twenty-five choir monks. According to Page, “The abbey received, it is not known why, Letters Patent dated 30 January 1537,  to continue, but it surrendered 30 Henry VIII, when pensions were granted to the abbot (£50) and twenty-three monks; one other, John Harryson, received no money pension quia habet vicariam de Byland.”  The ink well thought to have been used at the signing of the surrender can be seen in the museum attached to the abbey ruins.

Today the ruins, in the care of English Heritage, are set in a tranquil vale on theDSCN3805 edge of Sutton Bank.  The church, which follows the basic Cistercian floor plan is cross shape.  It’s majesty lies on its West Front with the ruins of what was once a glorious rose window.  By the time the monks of Byland built their church the Cistercians were moving away from the austerity of their early years.  It must have been a magnificent building with its symmetric green and white tiles. Tiles from Byland Abbey are on display in the British Museum as well as being found in situ.  Click on the image of the  circular pattern of tiles to the right to open up a photograph of the British Museum tiles in a new page.

The size of the church reflects the two groups of monks that populated Cistercian monasteries.  The choir monks were literate and spent most of their time in prayer and reflection.  They used the east end of the church.  Unlike the Benedictines who used tenant farmers and servants the Cistercians used a second tier of monks.  Lay brothers took monastic vows but their role was that of labour.  For them there were simplified services at the beginning and the end of the day.  They learned their prayers and they were not permitted to learn to read or write.  The lay brothers used the west part of the church.  DSCN3830

The two groups of monks remained separate not only in their worship but also in their quarters.  Cistercian monasteries follow a different pattern to Benedictine establishments. The huge cloister was at the heart of the monastery.  The choir monks had their quarters to the east.  This range of buildings included a first floor dormitory with a staircase leading into the south transept of the church facilitating the night services.  The south range of the cloister housed the kitchens and the refectory whilst the west range was home to the lay brothers.  Like the choir monks they had their own reredorter (monastic toilet block).

Harrison, Stuart A. Byland Abbey. London: English Heritage

‘Houses of Cistercian monks: Byland’, in A History of the County of York: Volume 3, ed. William Page (London, 1974), pp. 131-134 http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/vol3/pp131-134 [accessed 22 July 2015].

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Margaret de Moulton and her two would be husbands…

IMG_3926Robert de Clifford, 3rd Baron de Clifford  (5 November 1305–20 May 1344) was Roger Clifford’s brother. Roger had been hanged in the aftermath of the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322. The family properties and titles taken back by the crown. Following the downfall of Edward II, Robert was reinstated to the lands and titles which belonged to the Clifford family. He married Isabel de Berkeley at Berkeley Castle in 1328  (yes, I know we’re back to red hot pokers but just let’s ignore that link shall we?) and they had seven children.  It would appear that the early years of the reign of Edward III was a quiet one for the Cliffords.

 

However a little digging reveals yet another shady marriage linked to the power politics of the north and hurtles the blog straight back into the chaotic times of Edward II. Here’s what Yerburgh had to say in 1912 from his text entitled Some Notes on Our Family History. The comments in italics are mine:

 

There is not much to be said about Robert de Clifford (damned by faint praise). In the account of the Dacres of Gillsland his betrothal to Margaret de Multon and her elopement with Ranulph de Dacre will be found. He rose with the fortunes of Edward III., and he recovered the inheritance which his elder brother’s troubles and misfortunes had lost for a while. He was a favourite with both the Edwards of England and Scotland, and he made a great match for his young son to a family of great power in the North, and died after he had been Lord of Skipton in possession twenty-eight years.

 

Not an exciting twenty-eight years then…except of course this is a man who was involved with the politics and interminable war with Scotland.  So his ‘quiet’ was probably our ‘quite exciting’, all things considered.The Collectanea Cliffordiana by Arthur Clifford offers some further information which confirms this. Just as his forefathers had played their role on the borders so to did the third baron. He entertained Edward Baliol who was King of Scotland at Brough and at Appleby and when he wasn’t entertaining the king he was conducting warfare against him (must have made for interesting after dinner conversation). He is recorded as having taken his turn as warden of the West Marches in the eighth year of Edward III’s reign. His co-warden was a man called Ranulph de Dacre which brings us back to Yerburgh’s so-called ‘elopement’ which turns out not to be a romantic interlude but to be the abduction of a minor in order to acquire land and more importantly power.

 

Margaret de Moulton’s family held the Barony of Gilsland. She was her father Thomas’s only heir. She had been married at the age of seven to Robert Clifford in that an agreement was reached – the actual ‘marriage’ would have taken place when Margaret came of age.  In the meantime she clearly remained at home.  Other young brides might have found themselves being brought up in the houses which they would one day supervise.  It depended entirely upon the families, the arrangements and the fastness of the contracts that the two groups made.  As it was the Clifford family were going through tricky times. King Edward II, who always had his eye on ways to make money, claimed her as his ward and sent her to Warwick Castle, from where Ranulph abducted her when she was thirteen. The Barony of Gilsland was right on the edge of England.  It was an important feature in the geography and politics of the borders.

 

Ranulph de Dacre was pardoned at the end of October 1317 “for stealing awai in the nighte out of the king’s custody from his Castell of Warwick of Margaret, daughter and heir of Thomas of Molton of Gilsland, whoe helde of ye Kinge in capite, and was within age, whearof the sayd Ranulphe standeth indighted in Curis Regis.” Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmoreland Antiquarian, V4, P470.  The marriage and the accruement of power was one of the factors which turned Dacre into Lord Dacre.  The other factor was the salient point that border barons could behave rather badly in their own time so long as they kept the Scots out of England when required to do so.

 

It is possible to surmise that Edward II cannot have been very happy about pardoning Dacre as Ranulph was involved in the judicial murder, of Edward II’s favourite, Piers Gaveston, in 1312. Ranolph was pardoned for any part he had taken in the death of Piers in 1313, as were the other conspirators including Ranulph’s father and brother.

 

As for Ranulph and Robert Clifford, they clearly arrived at a consensus given their roles as joint wardens and indeed survivors of the nasty political games of the period. The Lannercost Chronicle recorded the marriage between Robert and Margaret but also that there had been a pre-contract between Thomas de Moulton and William de Dacre before the Clifford contract which again wasn’t unusual and reflects the way in which families negotiated with one another and jockeyed for position within society.  The concept of negotiation, pre-contract and contract were important ones because a pre-contract was as legally binding as the actual thing – so having promised Margaret to the Dacres, Thomas should not have arrived at an arrangement with the Cliffords – turning Margaret’s abduction from a moral blackspot into a fine and chivalrous deed (the sentence is best read in an ironic tone) .

 

As for Isobel de Berkeley, well it turns out that women who married into and out of the Clifford family weren’t always particularly good at doing what the monarch, or even their fathers, wanted them to do.  She married again after a brief widowhood.  In 1345 she had to pay a fine and receive a pardon for marrying a chap called Sir Thomas de Musgrave without getting royal permission to do so first.  I’d like to think it was a love match but no doubt a bit more digging will uncover an unpleasant matrimonial tale …it makes me glad to come from a long line of peasants.

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Roger de Clifford – the Second Lord Clifford.

IMG_3982Roger Clifford, the 2nd Baron Clifford born in 1299 at Appleby Castle inherited the title, estates and inherited role of Sheriff of Westmorland upon the death of his father at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 at the age of fourteen. It was never a good idea to inherit as a minor as it could play havoc with estate income but 1314 was a particularly bad time to inherit property in the North of England. The Scots took advantage in the military ineptitude of Edward II to raid the borders, into Durham and on into Yorkshire. Skipton Castle was soon withstanding Scottish marauders.

 

Little wonder then that Roger, when he attained his majority, found himself drawn towards Thomas of Lancaster, Edward II’s cousin (His father was Edmund Crouchback, Edward I’s brother) a man of sound military experience. Through a complicated series of manoeuvres King Edward II was forced to form a council with Thomas of Lancaster at its head. The goal was to try to make some sense out of the chaos that followed Edward’s policies and reliance upon his favourites – Piers Gaveston and then Hugh Despencer.

 

Not that the council’s policies did much good. Berwick was lost to the English in 1318 and Edward’s favourite, the avaricious Hugh Despencer, so successfully irritated the nobility (who were already a tad tetchy about Edward II’s whole management style) that they revolted. The flames were first fanned into open revolt on the Welsh Marches where nobles including the Earl of Hereford and Sir Roger Mortimer found that their land was prey to Despencer and his father.

 

The Earl of Hereford was, according to the Lannercost Chronicle, Roger Clifford’s father-in-law so it was almost inevitable that he should have been drawn in to the conflict. As is always the case, history is not necessarily clear-cut. Another source states that Roger Clifford was unmarried at the time of his death, his marriage having been annulled but more of that shortly. It should also be added that Despencer had helped himself to some land belonging to Roger’s mother the heiress Maud de Clare giving Clifford more than enough reason to take up arms.

 

 

Edward realizing that he was on the verge of loosing his kingdom exiled Despenser and called on his loyal subjects to tackle Thomas of Lancaster and his cronies. Mortimer and the Welsh marches were subdued in January 1322. A northern army led by Thomas of Lancaster posed more of a threat.

 

Of key importance to Edward II’s victory over his subjects in 1322 was Sir Andrew de Harcla, the hero of the Siege of Carlisle, who marched south with an army of borderers upon hearing that Lancaster had turned to the Scots for support. The Lannercost Chronicle contains an account of the Battle of Boroughbridge:

 

 

On Tuesday, then, after the third Sunday in Lent, being the seventeenth of the kalends of April [16 March 1322], the aforesaid Earls arrived in force, and perceiving that Sir Andrew had anticipated them by occupying the north end of the bridge, they arranged that the Earl of Hereford and Sir Roger de Clifford (a man of great strength who had married his daughter) should advance with their company and seize the bridge from the pikemen stationed there, while the Earl of Lancaster with the rest of the cavalry should attack the ford and seize the water and ford from the pikemen, putting them to flight and killing all who resisted; but matters took a different turn.  For when the Earl of Hereford (with his standard‑bearer leading the advance, to wit, Sir Ralf de Applinsdene) and Sir Roger de Clifford and some other knights, had entered upon the bridge before the others as bold as lions, charging fiercely upon the enemy, pikes were thrust at the Earl from all sides; he fell immediately and was killed with his standard‑bearer and the knights aforesaid, to wit, Sir W de Sule and Sir Roger de Berefield; but Sir Roger de Clifford, though grievously wounded with pikes and arrows, and driven back, escaped with difficulty along with the others.

 

 

The Chronicle records the overnight armistice between Lancaster and de Harcla, who had once served Lancaster. It continues:

 

But during that night the Earl of Hereford’s men deserted and fled, because their lord had been killed, also many of the Earl of Lancaster’s men and those of my Lord de Clifford and others deserted from them.  When morning came, therefore, the Earl of Lancaster, my Lord de Clifford, my Lord de Mowbray and all who had remained with them, surrendered to Sir Andrew, who himself took them to York as captives, where they were confined in the castle to await there the pleasure of my lord the King.

 

Roger had been seriously wounded but it didn’t save him from Edward II’s wrath. In March 1322 the motte and bailey castle at York gained a new name when Roger Clifford was hanged in chains from its walls. Clifford may have given his name to Clifford’s Tower but his lands from Hartlepool to Westmorland were confiscated by the crown.

 

A man found guilty of treason not only forfeited his life but also the wealth of his family.  In this case the third lord was Roger’s brother, Robert (the good news is that everything was restored in 1327). The king played fast and loose with the laws of the land when he confiscated many of the Clifford estates. There were rules about dower lands and entails which should have resulted in Robert, who was a minor, keeping more than he did but wars cost money and besides, Edward II had favourites to please. Two thirds of the Clifford estates were bagged by the crown. The third that remained had come into the family along with Maud de Clare.

 

Roger died without legitimate heirs although folklore, as recorded by William Wordsworth (yes – the William Wordsworth) notes that Roger had a mistress by whom he had a number of children (allegedly). Julian of the Bower (yes I know it’s a boy’s name) is supposed to have been so beloved of Roger that he had a house built for her near Penrith in the Whinfell Forest. Julian’s Bower is not without controversy. The name is given to turf mazes across the country and Julian’s Bower near Penrith may or may not be the remnants of a medieval love nest given that Nicholson and Burn in their county history identify its origins as Roman.  There is no reason given for Roger’s marriage being annulled but then much of Roger’s personal life seems to be as nebulous as will o’ the wisp.

My next post will take an overview of Edward II’s reign which is convenient as I have just started a book called ‘The Cup of Ghosts’ by Paul Doherty about Matilda of Westminster, a fictional confidante of Isabella of France – Edward II’s wife and personal ‘She-wolf.’

 

 

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The Battle of Boroughbridge

DSC_0006Thomas of Lancaster was not Edward II’s favourite cousin.  After all, it was Thomas who was responsible for capturing Edward’s favourite Piers Gaveston and it was Thomas who handed Piers over to the Earl of Warwick and it was Thomas who sat with Warwick in judgement on the favourite.  It wasn’t a happy outcome for Gaveston who found his head separated from his shoulders.

The royal cousins patched things up in the short-term but following the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 when Edward was a rather inglorious runner-up – or perhaps that should be runner away. Lancaster was able to take the moral high ground and wrested power from the king’s hands.  Matters weren’t helped by the fact that the barons were resentful of the king’s bad governance, his failure to beat the Scots and the fact that moderate nobles such as the Earl of Gloucester died at Bannockburn.  It was inevitable that there would be some form of civil conflict.  The trigger was Edward’s new favourite, Hugh Despenser – a particularly unpleasant individual if the chronicles are to be believed.  He acquired land that had belonged to Gloucester on the Welsh Marches and then took the opportunity to help himself to a bit more as well.  Men such as the Mortimers, Cliffords and even the Earl of Hereford found their land holdings in Wales threatened by Despenser and Lancaster found himself with several very enthusiastic supporters.  The time seemed ripe.  He elicited support from the Scots and gathered his army.

Luck, however, was not on Lancaster’s side.  First he lost many of his stores while trying to ford a flooded river.  The king’s army, under the command of the Earls of Surrey and Kent, was larger than expected and Lancaster found himself moving north rather than south.  He wasn’t blessed with particularly talented scouts either.  No one spotted the King’s northern army under the command of Sir Andrew de Harcla heading south to join with the main army.  Lancaster found himself trapped between two forces loyal to the king.

The rebels had no choice but to take the bridge at Boroughbridge if they wished to escape but when they arrived they discovered that de Harcla had got there first. The bridge was guarded by his knights and men-at-arms while the river banks were lined with his archers.   At first, the exchange was limited to arrows singing across the river. It was stalemate, until that is, the Earl of Hereford attacked the bridge in heroic style.  It was unfortunate that armour did not protect the lower regions because Hereford was disembowelled by one of de Harcla’s spearman who’d climbed under the bridge.  There was a moment of panic that saw Roger de Clifford the heir to the castles of Appleby, Pendragon and Brougham felled by an arrow.  The rebels withdrew but in good order.

Thomas of Lancaster was forced to parley with de Harcla.  He reminded the knight that he’d gained his spurs from Thomas himself.  He promised that if de Harcla changed sides that there would be other and greater rewards.  De Harcla refused.  Finally Thomas agreed that he would surrender the next day or suffer the consequences.  Thomas went off for a good night’s sleep in Boroughbridge. De Harcla and his men spent an uncomfortable night watching the bridge.  Personally, I like to think that de Harcla wanted his old mentor to slip through the lines and make his escape because the next morning hostilities didn’t recommence until the arrival of the Sheriff of Yorkshire.

De Harcla began his attack on the town (the image of the battle with the burning houses gives some indication of Boroughbridge’s plight).  There was no more choice in the matter.  Lancaster’s army fled.  Lancaster himself sought sanctuary in a chapel just off the market square.  His sanctuary was not respected.

DSC_0004These days Boroughbridge is much more peaceful I’m pleased to say and the ramshackle wooden bridge that crossed the River Ure is decidedly more solid these days.  Where de Harcla’s men once lined up to stop Lancaster’s army there’s a picnic area.  There are some handy interpretation boards with some delightful illustrations along the way and at Aldborough there’s an opportunity to view Boroughbridge’s Battle Cross.  Up until the Victorian period it had stood in the market square for five hundred years – one of the country’s earliest war memorials perhaps?DSC_0003

When we set off on the four mile walk around the site of the battle the sun even shone – it was the beginning of June and although we didn’t realise it at the time but it was one of the few hot summer days of 2012.  Having said that we did have to pick up our pace over the last mile or so on account of the rather heavy storm cloud that threatened.  Better a soaking  though than the fate that befell Thomas of Lancaster.  He was dressed in his servant’s clothes, paraded through the streets of York, pelted with mud and then tried in his own castle – Pontefract.  When they executed him – they made him face in the direction of Scotland.

 

 

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Andrew de Harcla

Andrew de Harcla or Harclay was knighted in 1303 by Thomas of Lancaster.  As the fourth of six sons he would have to make his own way in the world and by 1312 he was on his journey to success.  He was sent to Parliament as a knight for Cumberland.  It wasn’t long before he became the ‘custos’ for Carlisle and the castle.  He started to hold other castles for the king, including Pendragon Castle.  Following the death of Robert de Clifford in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn he also found himself responsible for Appleby and Brougham Castle while Roger de Clifford was deemed too young to hold the castles in his own name.

images-18De Harcla found himself responsible for the security of the north at a difficult time.  Robert Bruce seeing the difficulties that Edward II managed to get himself into with his assorted favourites and bolshy barons (the Lord Ordainers) decided to snaffle some territory.  The lifestyle of raiding and warfare was on its way to being endemic by the end of the period. Prior to Bannockburn in the year 1313 Edward Bruce raided the land around Carlisle and following Bannockburn de Harcla found himself besieged for some ten or elven days in 1315 by the Scots with siege engines.  Only the rumour that the Earl of Pembroke was on his way with a relieving army and that Edward Bruce had been killed in Ireland sent the Scots on their merry way once more.   This initial letter from the Carlisle Charter shows Sir Andrew defending the castle.

King Edward II initially recognised the importance of de Harcla as a stabilising force in the north of the country.  In 1320 he gave de Harcla the right to help conserve a recently made truce with the Scots.  This meant that there was a degree of interchange between the two sides to ensure that justice was met according to the treaty.  This was reinforced in 1322 when Edward gave Sir Andrew power to treat with the Scots – again, initially this seemed to be of benefit to the King.  Letters from Thomas of Lancaster to the Scots revealed that the king’s cousin was fermenting rebellion.

In 1322 de Harcla found himself taking the field against Thomas of Lancaster at the Battle of Boroughbridge.  Thomas knew that he had to cross the river but when he arrived at the bridge it was held by the king’s men.  After a ferocious battle the two leaders made terms.  Lancaster tried to remind de Harcla that he owed his knighthood to him and that if he joined the rebellion against Edward II he would be further rewarded.  Andrew said no and the two armies settled down for a sleepless night – although unusually it was de Harcla who spent the night out in the cold guarding the bridge while Lancaster and his men were billeted in Boroughbridge.  Lancaster is said to have cursed de Harcla saying he would die a traitor’s death within the year.

At first this seemed unlikely, Edward loaded Sir Andrew with rewards for his service including making him the first Earl of Carlisle.  Unfortunately de Harcla was not left in peace to enjoy his new title.  Before long the Scots were on the march.  They laid siege to Norham Castle in the East and pushed south to Byland where an English army were soundly beaten.  Edward II did what he did best – he ran away.  The Scots plundered Ripon and did nasty things to Beverley.

It was the final straw for de Harcla, despite the fact that his permission to make treaties with the Scots had probably expired by that point he had a cosy little chat in Lochmaben Castle about the possibility of recognising King Robert Bruce and bringing the war to an end.  The Lanercost Chronicle roundly denounces de Harcla as a traitor- as indeed did the king- but at least the Chronicle makes the point that the ordinary people would have been very grateful for a bit of law and order and the chance to grow things without the Scots coming along and causing chaos.

Edward had de Harcla arrested in the great hall of Carlisle Castle by Sir Anthony de Lucy.  De Lucy was probably quite gleeful about this as he’d had a bit of a land dispute with de Harcla and now got all the property that he wanted…think Monopoly but a bit more dangerous.  Sir Andrew was stripped of his earldom and his knighthood and then he was taken out to the gallows at Harraby Hill where he was hung, drawn and quartered and all without the benefit of a trial beforehand.  His decapitated head was, apparently, taken to Knaresborough Castle for Edward to inspect before it was placed on a spike with a nice view over London Bridge.

Eventually de Harcla’s sister was allowed to collect up the scattered body parts from their various locations – Carlisle, Newcastle and London to name but three and his remains were interred in the church at Kirkby Stephen.

Ironically Edward was eventually forced to recognise King Robert of Scotland – in part because he’d had his best commander in the north executed for trying to protect Edward’s subjects.

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