Brechin and the Scottish Wars of Independence

Brechin and the Scottish Wars of Independence The ancient city did not escape the wars in the thirteen and fourteenth centuries that were the consequence of Edward I's attempts to subjugate the Scots and create a greater England.

When the death of Alexander III - one of the greatest of our kings - was followed in 1290 by that of his only direct heir, his granddaughter, Margaret, Maid of Norway, it left twelve claimants to the throne. The nobles decided to seek the help of King Edward to resolve the situation. This he was more than happy to do and eventually selected John Balliol on the understanding that he and his heirs would be the overlords of Scotland.

By 1295, however, Edward was becoming increasingly annoyed by King John's reluctance to acquiesce to English demands and when, instead of sending him an army to assist in his war against Philip IV of France, the Scots formed an alliance with the French, he sought to teach the Scots a lesson. The latter, seriously divided, were no match for the English who crushed them at Dunbar in 1296. Thereafter, Edward's advance northwards met with little opposition. King John fled to the Angus hills but in July, having little or no support, he intimated his willingness to submit to Edward and a few days later surrendered at Stracathro. The Bishop of Durham summoned the Scots to Brechin Castle where they were made aware of the English demands. It was probably on 8 July and in Montrose that the King of Scots appeared before the English king to make the formal surrender of his kingdom. Edward humiliated him by having his royal insignia ripped from his surcoat, an incident that provided history with Balliol's soubriquet Toom Tabard (i.e. empty coat).

© Copyright Brian Mitchell 2000

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The Battle of Mons Graupius.
Centre of Religion
Hugh de Brechin: The Amorous Priest
Royal Connection: Henry de Brechin
Battle of Stracathro
Brechin and the Scottish Wars of Independence
Sir Thomas Maule: Hero of the Castle
Treason at Brechin
Walter Stewart, Lord of Brechin