Hundred Years War

English invasion of Scotland
English invasion of Scotland ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1385 Jul 1

English invasion of Scotland

Scotland, UK

In July 1385 Richard II, king of England, led an English army into Scotland. The invasion was, in part, retaliation for Scottish border raids, but was most provoked by the arrival of a French army into Scotland the previous summer. England and France were engaged in the Hundred Years' War, and France and Scotland had a treaty to support each other. The English King had only recently come of age, and it was expected that he would play a martial role just as his father, Edward the Black Prince, and grandfather Edward III had done. There was some disagreement amongst the English leadership whether to invade France or Scotland; the King's uncle, John of Gaunt, favoured invading France, to gain him a tactical advantage in Castile, where he himself was technically king through his wife but had trouble asserting his claim. The King's friends among the nobility – who were also Gaunt's enemies – preferred an invasion of Scotland. A parliament the year before had granted funds for a continental campaign and it was deemed unwise to flout the House of Commons. The Crown could barely afford a big campaign. Richard summoned the feudal levy, which had not been called for many years; this was the last occasion on which it was to be summoned. Richard promulgated ordinances to maintain discipline in his invasion force, but the campaign was beset by problems from the start.

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