The subjugation of Scotland

Edward I was furious with the Scottish nobles and blamed King John for not keeping them under control. He decided to take action and invaded Scotland.

Action 1 - The Siege of Berwick

Edward I crossed the River Tweed on 12 March 1296 and besieged the Scottish town of Berwick. The town had a strong garrison and other Scottish forces had been sent for.

Consequently, when Edward gave the people of Berwick three days to surrender they did not respond. This would have been seen as an insult. Edward ordered his troops to attack. Berwick was overrun and ransacked, and 10,000 of the population were killed.

Action 2 - The Battle of Dunbar

One of Edward I’s nobles, Earl Warenne of Surrey was sent to capture Dunbar Castle for the English.

The Earl in control of the Castle had already agreed to surrender the Castle, but his wife gave it to the Scottish forces.

Warenne decided to meet the Scottish army in battle near the Castle. While the English troops were manoeuvring, the Scots mistook this for a retreat and attacked. The Scots were completely defeated because they had broken ranks.

Many Guardians and Scottish nobles were captured. This resulted in a lack of leadership in Scotland and a fall in morale.

Action 3 – King John surrenders

By midsummer, Edward I had captured the majority of important Scottish castles, as far north as Elgin.

King John had fled north towards his family's lands to avoid Edward’s wrath. However, it was clear that even his own nobles were not supporting him, so John surrendered to Edward on 10 July 1296.

Back view of The Stone of Scone
Scottish kings were crowned on the Stone of Scone

Action 4 – The loss of Scottish independence

Edward I removed the Royal Badge from King John’s clothing, after which John became known as 'Toom Tabard' ('Empty Coat').

The English King also took the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Black Rood of St Margaret and the Stone of Scone on which Scottish Kings were crowned.

Edward ordered that these and Scottish government documents be taken to London. He also broke John’s Royal Seal, symbolising John’s loss of authority.

Action 5 – The Ragman Roll

In August 1296, leading Scottish nobles and other important Scots swore a personal oath to the English King. They were made to add their seals to a document that became known as the Ragman Roll.

This meant that they were accepting Edward as their overlord.

Edward I of England was now in complete control of Scotland.

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