The Battle at Dunbar

April 1296


Prehistory

After John Balliol refused to support Edward I. in the fight against France, he wanted to make an example. He marched in March 1296 with about 35,000 Soldiers and an approximately 5,000 men strong Cavalry in Scotland and took after a two-day massacre Berwick -upon Tweed. In retaliation for Berwick, the Scots attacked Northumberland and occupied the Dunbar Fortress on their way home.

Eduard ordered John de Warenne to bring them back into English hands with a force.

The Battle

The Crew was preparing for a siege, while Balliol rested with the main army 20km away in Haddington. After learning of the arrival of the English, the fortress crew asked for Help from Balliol, who then sent a large part of the Army, led by John Comyn, to the fortress. At the end of April, the armies met. Immediately, De Warenne began attacking the Scots with an archers attack, but left a small Crew behind for further siege. While advancing, the English were forced to cross a Valley and a River, causing the ranks to break. Comyn underwent the misconception that they would withdraw and ordered the Attack. As they pushed forward, the Scots discipline wavered and were surprised when the British regrouped and stormed into the Scottish ranks.

After a short Fight, the Battle was lost to the Scots.

Consequences

With the defeat so to say Scotland’s campaign ended and the fortress was returned to England. Also, some nobles including John Comyn, who sought refuge in the fortress after the battle, were imprisoned in the ‘Tower of London’ and ‘Chester Castle’. Meanwhile, Balliol fled with the rest of his Army – pursued by the English – to Scotland.

With no chance to turn around the situation Balliol gave up in July 1296 and abdicate as King. On the way back, Eduard seized the opportunity and took the Stone of Scone with him, locking Balliol with his son in the Tower of London and using De Warenne as steward of Scotland.