In 1332 during an Anglo-Scots peace, Edward Balliol sailed with eighty-eight ships from the Humber to Fife and fought his way to Scone. His father John had abdicated in 1296 and Edward, claiming his family as still the true royal line, had himself crowned King of Scotland.
David II’s claim had the endorsement of the Scottish Parliament and so Sir Archibald Douglas, guardian of David II, immediately swept Edward out of the country ‘with one leg booted and the other bare’.
The puppet-king returned in 1333 leading an English army across the border and laying siege to Berwick. Edward III joined with him in the May and together their men set in upon Halidon Hill, a perfect vantage point giving command of all approaches to Berwick. Sir Archibald Douglas was in Northumberland and made for the town to relieve it.
The only means of attack for the Scots was by working their way through a bog before clambering up the hillside. As they attempted this the English archers picked off their targets at ease.
By the end of that 19 July Sir Archibald, six Scottish earls, seventy barons, five hundred knights and an unknown number of spearmen were dead, while England’s dead numbered fourteen.
Unsaveable, Berwick fell.