King Edward II and York
1307AD - 1327AD
Edward I failed to conquer the Scots. His son Edward II often visited York in the early years of his reign to meet the threat from Robert Bruce, king of Scotland from 1306-29.
Edward II rode through the city on his way to the humiliating defeat at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Suddenly York was at imminent risk of Scottish invasion.
The worst moment came in 1319 when a hastily assembled army of citizens had to march out to meet the Scottish forces in the Vale of York. The York contingent was an odd mixture of men thrown together to meet the emergency, including priests and monks. Perhaps unsurprisingly they were annihilated, with losses reported of 3,000, among them Nicholas Flemyng – the only city mayor ever killed in action.
Three years later a Scottish raiding party terrorised what chroniclers called ‘the suburbs of the city’. York’s fear of Scottish attack remained until a truce was agreed with Robert at a great council held at Bishopthorpe, York, in 1323.