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Tours > Northumberland Battlefields > Halidon Hill

David Ford, History Editor
The Battle of Halidon Hill
July 1333
On the north side of the A6105, two miles north-west of Berwick-upon-Tweed

by David Nash Ford BA, Editor, History on Britannia

The Fortifications at Berwick Berwick is an English town, despite being north of the Tweed. In 1318, however, it was taken by the Scots and remained in their hands for some fifteen years. King Edward III was not happy with this situation and, upon the death of Robert the Bruce, he decided to take Berwick back. The Scots, however, were expecting such a move and garrisoned the town well with stores of supplies. The siege that followed took longer than expected and Edward ravaged the Scottish lowlands while he waited.

Lord Archibald Douglas tried to entice the King away by attacking his wife at Bamburgh; but Edward would not budge and Douglas finally moved north to force the fight. The two sides met on Halidon Hill just outside Berwick. There was a contest of single combat. Then the real battle began. The two sides were evenly matched in numbers, but the English archers proved decisive against the close-packed Scottish troops. The spearmen followed through and the Scots fled in panic. The slaughter was terrible and thousands of Scotsmen were killed, giving the battle the reputation as one of the greatest disasters in Scottish history. The surrender of Berwick followed immediately afterward.

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