The History of England from the Accession of Henry III. To the Death of Edward III. (1216-1377)

By T. F. Tout | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV.

THE FALL OF EDWARD II. AND THE RULE OF ISABELLA AND
MORTIMER.

DURING the deliberations of the parliament of York, the truce with Bruce expired, and forthwith came the news that the Scots had once more crossed the border. On this occasion Bruce raided the country from Carlisle to Preston, burning every open town on his way, though sparing most of the religious houses. At Cartmel, Lancaster, and Preston, favoured monastic buildings alone stood entire amidst the desolation wrought by the Scots. No effective opposition was offered to them, and after a three weeks' foray, they recrossed the Solway.

As in 1314 and 1318, the restoration of order was followed by an attempt to put down Bruce. In August, 1322, Edward assembled his forces at Newcastle and invaded Scotland. Berwick was unsuccessfully besieged and the Lothians laid waste. The Scots still had the prudence to withdraw beyond the Forth, and avoid battle in the open field. By the beginning of September, pestilence and famine had done their work on the invaders. Unable to find support in the desolate fields of Lothian, the English returned to their own land, having accomplished nothing. The Scots followed on their tracks, but with such secrecy that they penetrated into the heart of Yorkshire before Edward was aware of their presence. In October they suddenly swooped down on the king, when he was staying at Byland abbey. Some troops which accompanied him were encamped on a hill between Byland and Rievaux. They were attacked by the Scots and defeated ; their leader, John of Brittany, was taken prisoner, and Edward only avoided capture by a precipitate flight from Byland to Bridlington. All Yorkshire was reduced to abject terror, and Edward's hosts, the canons of Bridlington, removed with all their valuables

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