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Battle of Halidon Hill

Although Robert the Bruce's reign in Scotland resulted in recognition of Scotland as a separate nation by Edward III in 1328, further wars with England were soon to follow.  The deep animosity between England and Scotland that hardened after the wars of Independence, led to intermittent warfare for much of the next three hundred years.  Scotland was handicapped in that, sometimes when a strong king was needed, they ended up have a weak king or a minor on the throne.  This power vacuum at the top, helped to create an environment where the more noble families of Scotland vied for the power.  The Earls of Douglas (the Black Douglases), the Earls of Angus (the Red Douglases), the Hamiltons and the Lennox Stewarts, were all related to the Scottish crown by marriage and battled for the power behind the throne.

On Bruce's death in 1329, he was succeeded by his 5 year old son, David II.  England lost little time in taking advantage of the presence of a minor on the Scottish throne.  Edward III provided encouragement and active support to Edward Balliol, the son of John Balliol, for claiming the throne.  In 1332, Edward Balliol invaded Scotland with a mainly English force and was crowned King at Scone, after routing a much larger Scots army under Donald, Earl of Mar as Guardian, at Dupplin Moor near Perth.  The disastrous defeat was due to incompetency of Mar, the use of long bows and their devastating effect by the English, and a guide with local knowledge, provided by a Murray of Tullibardine.

The following year, 1333, saw the Scots suffer an even more disastrous defeat at Halidon Hill, near Berwick.  In an effort to end the siege of the town of Berwick by the English, Sir Archibald Douglas, who had succeeded Mar as Guardian, ignored reasonable battle tactics.  They advanced across a bog, against a strongly held position on Halidon Hill, under heavy fire from the English archers with their deadly longbows.  They suffered enormous casualties and failed to even reach the English.  Douglas, and most of the other leading Scots nobles and fighting men were left dead on the field.

In 1334, Balliol acknowledged Edward III's overlordship and ceded the southern half of Scotland, from East Lothian to Dumfries, to England, an act which was to mean over a hundred years of warfare before they were recovered.  This resulted in the Lochmaben Castle being given to the English.  It also affected Thomas Carruthers, 1st Laird of Mouswald.  For his earlier support of Robert the Bruce, Thomas Carruthers had received in about 1320, a charter for all the lands of "Musfald et de Appiltretwayt cum pertinenciis".  This Thomas also received in the same year, a charter of half of all the lands, with pertinents, which belonged to "Robert de Applingdene in valle Anandie", due to his marriage to one of Robert de Applynden's daughters, Joan.  These lands formed the kernel of what was to become just 4 generations later, the 1st Carruthers Barony - Mouswald, which is located just a few miles south of Dumfries.  With Edward Balliol ceding the land of Dumfries to Edward III, Thomas Carruthers accepted an office under Edward III of England and relocated there, leaving his Mouswald land to his next oldest brother, William, now 2nd Lord Mouswald.  Thomas is assumed to be the founder of the Carruthers family in England, where the family appeared at an early date in Cumberland, Northumberland, Durham, and Yorkshire.


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