Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bannockburn and a Long Legacy of Savagery and Myth; Historian JOHN SADLER Marks the 700th Anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn - and Looks at How It Helped to Shape the Complex Relationship between England and Scotland

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bannockburn and a Long Legacy of Savagery and Myth; Historian JOHN SADLER Marks the 700th Anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn - and Looks at How It Helped to Shape the Complex Relationship between England and Scotland

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN SADLER

LAST September, whilst I was taking a battlefield tour group around two of the key sites in the long and bloody course of the Anglo-Scottish Wars, we came to the visitor centre at Bannockburn, (at that point closed for a makeover).

I remember this from my boyhood in the sixties as a rather ad hoc and latterly, very tired, structure.

The replacement, however, rises like a temple of modernity, vast, gleaming and undoubtedly very expensive.

This year marks the 700th anniversary of this most significant of con-flicts and, hardly by accident, will witness the key referendum on future Scottish independence.

Last year was the 500th anniversary of Flodden where the visitor centre consists of a converted telephone kiosk. Flodden is of course, in England.

To most English living south of the Tees say, Flodden was just another dust-up in a long series of confusing brawls that make up the history of Northern England.

Bannockburn was one more, remarkable because it was one of the very few the Scots can claim to have won.

This is important, not just for the nationalist agenda which, in the way of such propaganda is a distortion of history, but for an understanding of the true nature of Anglo-Scottish relations.

After the battle of Carham in 1018, the Tweed was generally agreed as the eastern border, questions of sovereignty remained trickier. Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us that Brutus of Troy, father of 'Britain', divided his patrimony between his older son Locrinus who inherited what is now England and the younger Alba who received the lesser portion of Scotland.

The junior was intended to be subservient to the senior but Alba ignored his brother and engaged a Germanic invader with his own warband, with fatal consequences. Much later Alfred's grandson, Athelstan, united England under the House of Wessex, kings of Scotland bending their knee to him. William the Conqueror obliged Shakespeare's Malcolm to submit in 1072.

Nearly a century later, William the Lion was captured at Alnwick and did homage to Henry II. When Alexander III tumbled to his death in 1286 and the Scottish estates, fearful of civil war, turned to Edward I to adjudicate on sovereignty, Longshanks made it a condition precedent that all claimants acknowledged him as feudal superior; none demurred. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.