Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Anglo-Scottish War (1214–1216)

Anglo-Scottish War (1214–1216)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Scotland (with backing of
English barons) vs. English forces of King John I

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): The north of England


MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Scotland’s King Alexander
II invaded England at the behest of the English barons to
pressure England’s King John I into yielding more power
to them.

OUTCOME: John’s supporters in the north of England were


CASUALTIES: No figures available, but losses were
certainly very light.


Around the turn of the 12th century, the English barons
were pressing England’s king John I (“Lackland”) (1167–-
1216) to grant them significantly expanded rights, and in
1214 they prevailed upon King Alexander II (1198–1249)
of Scotland to invade northern England and harass King
John’s supporters there. This Alexander did, adding to the
pressures that prompted King John in 1215 to conclude
the Magna Carta, which ensured feudal rights and guaranteed
that the king would not encroach upon baronial privileges.
However, when the king persuaded Pope Innocent
III (1160–1216) to nullify the Magna Carta, the barons
continued to support Alexander’s raids as part of their
general revolt against John.
Although the war spanned two years, no major battles
were fought, and the action was limited to raids in the
north of England, near the Scottish border. Alexander succeeded
in suppressing John’s partisans in the border region
and also eliminated there various contenders for his own
throne. John’s death in 1216 ended the hostilities, however,
and Alexander established friendly relations with
King John’s successor, Henry III (1207–72), whose son-inlaw
he became.

See also ANGLO-FRENCH WAR (1213–1214); ENGLISH
CIVIL WAR (1215–1217).

Further reading: Frank Barlow, The Feudal Kingdom
of England, 1042–1216 (London: Longman, 1972); David
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe: The Medieval Kingdom
and Its Contacts with Christendom, c. 1214–1545 (East Linton,
U.K.: Tuckwell, 2001); Rosalind Mitchison, A History
of Scotland, 3rd ed. (London and New York: Routledge,
2002); Raymond Campbell Paterson, My Wound Is Deep: A
History of the Anglo-Scottish Wars (Edinburgh: John Donald
Publishers, 1997).

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