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Battle of Durham

After the Scots defeat at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333, the young King David II of Scotland was sent to France for safe keeping by Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, Guardian of Scotland.  When the English turned their attention to France in 1338, at the start of the Hundred Years War, the pressure was reduced somewhat in Scotland.  After the castles of Perth and Edinburgh had been re-captured in 1341, and Edward Baliol had been driven back to England, David II returned to Scotland.

In 1346, at age 22, David II invaded England with a strong army.  Philip VI, King of France, had appealed to David to attack England, hoping to take some steam out of England's invasion of France.  Philip VI had even characterized Northern England as a "defenseless void".  David soon found out that England was not defenseless.  England had left an army, although smaller than David's, to protect it's northern lands. 

The armies met at Neville's Cross, near Durham, on October 17, 1346.  David, wanting to avoid the tactics of the last disastrous defeat at Halidon Hill, chose a defensive posture.  But, the English troops did, also.  David soon found that the ground he had chosen to defend was in a weak position, if he needed to attack, since there were many obstacles between him and the English.  The English broke the stalemate by once again bringing out their long bowmen.  Those archers devastating assault caused David to attack.  Ther poor position, though, led to breaking down of their battle lines and led to the English victory.

Scotland had 2 Regents, handling the kingdom's affairs for the young King David II.  They were Robert Stewart, his nephew who later became King Robert II, and John Randolph, the 3rd Earl of Moray.  The Scots had divided their army into 3 battalions, one led by the king and one led by each of the regents.  When it became clear that the English would win the battle, Regent Robert Stewart fled along with the Earl of March, leaving David's battalion still on the battlefield.  By the time David's battalion started to retreat, it was too late.  the young king was captured and spent the next 11 years in the Tower of London.  Regent John Randolph, commanding the right wing of the Scots army, was killed in the early minutes of the conflict, along with his Chamberlain, Sir Nigel Carruthers, younger brother of Thomas Carruthers - 1st Laird of Mouswald, William Carruthers - 2nd Laird of Mouswald, and John Carruthers - the King's Chancellor of Annandale. 


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