[DE BRUS FAMILY IN NORTH EAST ENGLAND - Before 1350

Monument north of Northallerton.

          (Grid Ref SE 362 979)


 







The Battle.


  •            1. First major engagement of the English and Scottish armies since the Norman Conquest. The English were organised by Archbishop Thurston of York as a holy crusade to repel the Scots.
  •             2. The Scottish army was a mixture of true Scots, part Scottish, part Saxon and Lothian Scots who were descendants of Anglo-Saxons, who had left England in disgust after 1066. This interesting ethnic mix would have catastrophic repercussions in the conflict that followed. 
  •             3. The English army (about 10,000) adopted a compact formation, shield joined to shield and side pressed to side around their standard.
  •              4. Both armies were on foot and included knights - horses were kept to the rear.
  •              5. The extent of the battlefield was such that the English line would fit neatly between what is now the A167 and Brompton Lane. The Scots were on the other hill.
  •               6. To the south the natural boundary of the battle was Scot Pits Lane, where the English horses were protected and there was an area of fierce fighting. Large numbers of Scots were killed, hence the name. The bones were dug up during ploughing for  centuries.Scot Pits lane is now an overgrown lane close to the "Battle of the Standard monument.
  •                7. The battle was largely over and the Scots fled after the first surge of Glaswegians failed to break the English ranks and the men of Lothian fled - a resounding English victory.


After the Battle

   There must have been reconciliation between David I and Robert de Brus I, since Robert de Brus II eventually returned to Annandale and founded the Scottish branch of the de Brus dynasty. In 1295 his great grandson, Robert V the Competitor died in Lochmaben, but was buried in Gisborough Priory with his ancestors. A cross border dynasty had lasted for 300 years. Its most famous ancestor, King Robert the Bruce, descended from Robert de Brus II.

Battle of the Standard  - August 22 1138

 

The Battle of the Standard (sometimes called the Battle of Northallerton) was fought between the English and the Scots near Brompton, which is just outside Northallerton in  North Yorkshire. (Grid Ref NZ 360 977).


 Background

        During the reign of Henry II there had been relative peace between England and Scotland. King David I of Scotland had been brought up in the Anglo-Norman court and counted Robert de Brus I as his friend and mentor, giving him the lordship of Annandale in Scotland. Robert I was a cross-border lord with lands in both countries. He had built Gisborough Priory as his family's spiritual home in about 1119 and Skelton Castle as his fortress in about 1140.

         On the death of Henry I in 1135, King David seized the opportunity to renew his claims on the Northern Counties with an invasion while King Stephen was down in the south fighting rebels. Robert de Brus I had to choose to support either his friend and Scottish King David or Stephen, King of England, where most of his lands were. It is recorded that he gave an impassioned speech before the battle, pleading with David to withdraw his forces, so breaking his chain of fealty to the King of Scotland. He was about 70 years old at the time with Adam I, his oldest son and heir at his side and his youngest son Robert II amongst the Scots. Robert II was a minor at the time of the battle and after being captured, was later returned by King Stephen to his mother. The transgression of David I across the River Tees was a step too far for Robert de Brus I.