The Weardale Campaign

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In 1327, Robert the Bruce and the 'Good' Sir James of Douglas frustrated attempts by a young Edward III to force the Scots into a pitched battle.

On the night of 3–4 August, Douglas led a night attack on the English camp. Douglas reached Edward III's tent which was collapsed with him inside and nearly captured the English king. Several hundred English were killed. The English were forced to keep constant improved watch after this. On the night of 6–7 August, the Scottish army quietly broke camp and headed back toward Scotland. The English did not pursue.

Sir James was accompanied by his younger brother, Archibald.

With part of the campaign being fought on Stanhope Park, this is sometimes referred to as the Battle of Stanhope Park.

The young English king returned to England in disgrace. This forced the treaty of Northampton in which England formally recognised Robert Bruce as King of Scots and Scotland as a free country.

The Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton was a peace treaty, signed in 1328 between the Kingdoms of England and Scotland. It brought an end to the First War of Scottish Independence.

After the Weardale campaign, the Dowager Queen Isabella, and Earl Mortimer of March, governing England on behalf of the underage Edward III of England, began to consider peace as the only remaining option. In October 1327 they sent envoys to Scotland to open negotiations. On 1 March 1328, at a Parliament at York, Edward III issued letters patent which set out the core of the agreement. On 17 March, the negotiations ended and a formal treaty was signed in the King's Chamber of the Abbey of Holyrood, Edinburgh. The Treaty was ratified by the English Parliament at Northampton on 3 May.

Isabel and Mortimer agreed in the treaty that they, in the name of King Edward III, renounced all pretensions to sovereignty over Scotland. Joanna, the six-year-old sister of Edward III, was promised in marriage to the four-year-old David, the son of Robert Bruce, and the marriage duly took place on 17 July the same year. In the quitclaim of Edward III of 1 March 1328 preceding the treaty Edward endorsed that the Anglo–Scottish border would be maintained as it was in the reign of Alexander III of Scotland and that Scotland, so defined, "shall belong to our dearest ally and friend, the magnificent prince, Lord Robert, by God's grace illustrious King of Scotland, and to his heirs and successors, separate in all things from the kingdom of England, whole, free, and undisturbed in perpetuity, without any kind of subjection, service, claim or demand." In return, the Scots would pay £100,000 sterling to England, which was raised by a special peace levy.

As part of the treaty, Edward III agreed to return the Stone of Destiny to Scotland. This was not in the treaty, but was part of a concurrent agreement, and Edward III issued a royal writ 4 months later, on 1 July, addressed to the Abbot of Westminster, which acknowledged this agreement and ordered the Stone be taken to his mother — it was not.

The treaty lasted only five years. It was unpopular with many English nobles, who viewed it as humiliating. In 1333 it was overturned by Edward III, after he had begun his personal reign, and the Second War of Scottish Independence continued until a lasting peace was established in 1357.

See also:
•  The Wars of Scottish Independence

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Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022