Edward I - Hammer of the Scots
There is a lot of rubbish talked about Edward’s invasion of Scotland, so I am going to tell you the facts before you start.
An uncertain succession
By this time there were 13 claimants to the Scottish throne and in 1291, to avoid a civil war, the leading nobles of Scotland (who were called ‘the Guardians’) asked Edward I of England to judge between them.
Edward started by making all the Scottish nobles swear homage to him (which they did), and then, in 1292, he chose John Baliol (who, to be fair, probably did have the best claim). Edward then, however, proceeded to bully and humiliate Baliol, treating him – not as a fellow king – but as one of his nobles.
By March 1296 the Scottish nobles had enough. With (or without) Baliol’s agreement, they made an alliance with France and invaded England.
Edward was ready. He marched north and sacked Berwick, massacring the inhabitants. By October 1296 he had defeated the Scots, symbolically torn the royal coat of arms from Baliol’s coat, and forced 2000 Scots nobles to do homage; ‘a man who gets rid of a shit does a good job’ he is said to have remarked.
Edward raised another army, and marched into Scotland again, defeating Wallace at the battle of Falkirk in July 1298. But – with all the Scots in open revolt – the reconquest of Scotland proved a long and difficult affair.
A long and difficult war
But the Scots, too, were stretched to the limit. After seven years of war, in 1304, they surrendered. Wallace was captured and executed in 1305.
These are the facts of the matter, as far as I am able to tell the tale.
How you interpret this story, of course, is another matter and will depend, I suppose, to an extent upon whether you are 'Scottish' or 'English' in your sympathies.