The Battles of Berwick

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The 1296 Massacre of Berwick

1296 (30 Mar) Berwick 
Edward I bt Scottish Nobles (Sir Wm Douglas, Le Hardi) and afterwards massacred the towns 16,000 inhabitants.


King John Ballioli, who ascended to the throne in 1296, was a weak king, but he was nevertheless a king, something Scotland hadn’t had since 1286.  Edward I (Longshanks) had already conquered Wales, and he looked to Scotland as his next conquest. In 1296 he marched with 30,000 infantry and 5000 cavalry intent on defeating the troublesome Scots. There he massacred most of the inhabitants of Scotland’s main trading post. He had ordered his men to kill 7,500 souls of both sexes, and to make the mills "flow with the flow of their blood." The Massacre of Berwick forced the survivors of the region to submit to English rule.


See also biography of Robert Douglas


The 1318 capture of Berwick


The Capture of Berwick was an event in the First War of Scottish Independence which took place in April 1318. Sir James Douglas, Lord of Douglas took the town and castle of Berwick-upon-Tweed from the English, who had controlled the town since 1296.


Following the decisive Scots victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, the Scots had recovered all their strongholds, with the exception of Berwick. In September 1317, King Robert Bruce attempted a siege of Berwick, which lasted until November before he withdrew. The following April, an English sergeant was bribed to allow a party of Scots to climb the town wall. The raiding party, led by Sir James Douglas, and possibly the Earl of Dunbar, took the town after a fight. The castle was warned when they lost control of their men, who began to plunder and failed to capture the castle. King Robert soon arrived with an army, and after an eleven-week siege, the castle garrison capitulated due to a lack of supplies. The English burgesses were expelled, and King Robert re-established Berwick as a Scottish trading port, installing his son-in-law Walter Stewart as Keeper.


The retaking of Berwick was a significant victory for the Scots. Historian Michael Brown notes that "symbolically, the capture of town and then castle marked the completion of King Robert's realm and kingship." However, Berwick would change hands several more times in the years to come, before permanently becoming part of England when the town was captured in 1482.


See also:
•  Berwick Castle

•  Sir James Douglas slays the Peacock of the North

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Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022