the remains of pre-reformation Ayton Old Church or St
William Wallace, following
his betrayal by some Scottish nobility, was captured and then
executed by the English. He was hung, drawn and quartered, i.e. he
was hanged by the neck until he was almost dead, cut down, his bones
half pulled apart by horses, then he would have been disembowelled
while still alive, probably beheaded and then his body was cut into
four quarters with one of these being hung from the gates of
Berwick’s town walls, as a warning to the rebellious Scots.
Robert Bruce, son
of Robert detailed in the 1286 entry, becomes King of Scotland.
Edward I, England's ageing king, sent his half cousin De Valence to
subdue the new King and his supporters. Robert's wife was captured
taken down the great north road to Berwick, where she was placed in
a cage and suspended from the towns
England's new King, Edward II, attempted
to curtail King Robert Bruce's growing influence and lead an army
into Scotland. Declining battle, Robert pursued a Fabian course of
action until England's army withdrew. Robert's army marched down the
great north road and moved into Northumberland looting and pillaging
in a revenge raid.
By this date King Robert Bruce had
retaken all of Scotland, with the exception of Stirling Castle which
was under siege. Edward II in an attempt to relieve the castle
assembled an army of 17000 at Wark in Northumberland. This army
moved up the great north road, the English fleet in close support.
Scotland's army had prepared a battlefield with concealed pits and
traps at the Bannock Burn. The Scottish foot soldiers were deployed
in 4 divisions with Sir John Douglas's borderers in the 3rd
division. In the 2-day battle, which followed, the English army was
defeated with 4000 dead and Stirling Castle fell into Scottish
hands. This victory became known as The Battle of
King Robert slays Sir Edward de Bohun
Artists impression of English knights faltering on he spears
of Scottish foot soldiers
Berwick once more becomes Scottish
as Bruce's army retakes the town.
Declaration of Arbroath was signed
by Scotland's aristocracy, including Patrick Dunbar, the Earl of
Monastry on Holy Island records show that
in 1326 William de Prenderguest - being a border reiver -
rendered himself notorious by plundering the brewhouse and
bakehouse of that religious establishment. This was the only
recorded time in 400 years of reiving that the monastry was
The Battle of Halidon
was fought because Scotland was
attempting to lift the siege of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Sir Archibald
Douglas the Scottish commander attacked England's King Edward III's
army at Halidon Hill. The attack failed due to the accuracy of
England's archers and Berwick surrendered. Scotland's losses were up
to 10,000, while English losses were no more than a few hundred.
rout which followed the battle continued for 5 corpse strewn miles
as the English knights killed at will. Probably the first rear-guard
defence was organised around Ayton using the River Eye as a natural
defensive barrier. The English installed Edward Balliol as a puppet
king and the legitimate air (young King David) was sent to France
Edward III again
sent an army north in support of the puppet king
Edward Balliol, who Scotland continued to resist, and laid waste as
far as Lochindorb in Moray.
Black Agnes Countess
of the East March defied an English army for five months from the
walls of Dunbar.
King David, in response
to King Philip of France plea, moved his Scottish army through the
East March and descended on Northumberland pillaging as far as
Hexham and Lanercost. Edward III's northern barons Neville and Percy
organised a defence by deploying a 15,000 strong army close to
Although Sir William Douglas' borderers stumbled across this army
and were put to flight, they managed to reorganise and Douglas
commanded the right flank of the Scottish army at the Battle of
Neville's Cross. The English archers caused havoc in the Scottish
ranks, whilst the English cavalry outflanked the Scots. In the
carnage which followed King David was captured and remained in the
Tower of London for 11 years, until a ransom was agreed.
Scotland was not subdued by the defeat at Neville's Cross and, in a
minor battle at Nesbit Hill near Ayton Parish, they defeated an
English army and briefly retook Berwick.
III retaliated to the defeat at Nesbit Hill with vigour and his army
rampaged through the Scottish East March laying waste as far as
Haddington and Edinburgh.
King David was released in 1357 he signed the Treaty of Berwick with
The Black Death, also
known as the English pestilence hit the parish of
Ayton for the first time, causing the population to remain virtually
constant for nearly 150 years. Due to their remoteness, the Scottish
rural communities were less affected than England, where a third of
the population was wiped out. The black death visited the area again
in both the late fourteenth and late fifteenth centuries.
1388, 19th August,
Battle of Otterburn (to add)
Battle of Homildon Hill
(now Humbleton, near Wooler): the new Earl of
Douglas and Sir Alexander Hume join forces and raised an army of
10,000 which looted and pillaged as far as Newcastle. As they
withdrew this army encountered Hotspur Percy, who, learning from
Otterburn, deployed his Welsh mercenary longbow men with great
Douglas showed no leadership as his lightly armoured border spearmen
fell in the arrow storm. The Scottish lines broke, following the
death of about 500 spearmen, and in the rout which followed as many
as 500 drowned in their escape across the river. Both Douglas and
Hume were captured and held to ransom.
should be noted that once released the two shared life ups and downs
and they both met their end in 1424 at the Battle of Verneuil where
they were part of a Scottish mercenary army which fought with the
French against an English army. This was the first serious attempt
to tackle the famous English longbow men blow for blow as the
Scottish army entered the fray with a large contingent of their own
longbow men. In the battle which followed and to quote a chronicler
of the time, the arrow fight was 'murderous' and 'horrible to watch'
and although the English incurred large losses the Scottish army was
The Earl of
Northumberland, England's East March Warden, at
the head of 4,000 riders, attempted to raid the Scottish East and
Middle Marches. Douglas, Warden of the Scottish Middle March, with
his riders intercepted the Earls army at Piper Dene near Wark in the
English East March and put them to flight.
George Hume, son of Sir Alexander
Hume of Dunglass, was granted the land around Ayton and so became
the ancestral home of the Humes of Ayton.
1473 Sir Alexander Hume
becomes Lord Hume.
The Duke of Albany committed
treason and conspired with Edward IV of England's forces and Berwick
changed hands for the last time.
Battle of Sauchieburn, near
Glasgow: King James III had attempted to curb the financial powers
of the Scottish nobles. In response to losing the revenues from
Coldingham Priory, Lord Alexander Hume along with other disaffected
nobles conspired against their sovereign. At the Battle of
Sauchieburn these disaffected nobles defeated the Kings army. The
King died in the battle, with Humes East March spearmen contributing
to the defeat and death of James. Immediately after the battle
Alexander Hume jnr becomes the second Lord Hume.
Lord Hume, at James IV
behest, invaded Northern England in support of
the pretensions of Perkin Warbeck. Durham and Northumberland were
ravaged; in retaliation the Earl of Surrey, the renowned General of
Henry VII, laid waste to the estates of the Humes and to quote the
chronicler Ford 'demolished old Ayton Castle, the strongest of their
forts'. Although much damage occurred, the village survived,
however, Ayton ceased to be a strategic stronghold of the Hume
family. In relation to this event Scott notes down in Marmion:
I have not ridden in Scotland since
James back'd the cause of that mock Prince
Warbeck, the Flemish counterfeit
Who on the gibbet paid the cheat
Then did I match with Surrey's power
What time we razed old Ayton Tower
September of this year, and probably to alleviate Lord Humes
problems, James IV and Henry VII met at Ayton and agreed the terms
of a seven year truce. This truce was probably agreed at Ayton
church as by this time the castle had been destroyed.
Alexander Hume III,
son of the second Lord Hume becomes the third
Lord Hume and also the Warden of the East March.
The third Lord Hume, at
James IV request took 5,000 East March riders
into England's East March pillaging and burning as they went. Whilst
returning to Scotland, laden down with booty, the rearguard was
attacked by Sir William Bulmer's force near Wooler. Estimates on
Scotland's casualties range from 200 to 600 and 200 were take
prisoner, including Sir George Hume brother of Lord Hume.
1513, 7 September
The Battle of Flodden. A
certain mystique revolves around Flodden, as well as a couple of
unanswered questions. Like (look at the entry for 1497 above): if
England had won the battle so decisively, why did the same not
happen again? Henry VIII, who was more aggressive and bombastic than
his father, was now on the thrown and the Earl of Surrey was still
in charge of the army. Why is it that the tradition of the riding of
the bounds in Hawick, Selkirk, etc, stems from turning back the
English army after Flodden? It has been suggested that while
England's losses were numerically not as bad as Scotland, a large
proportion of their best fighting men were either dead or injured.
Scotland lost a King, much of its aristocracy and possibly 10,000
men, yet the English military position was so weakened due to their
losses that they were not strong enough to pillage the Scottish
irony of the battle is that it did not need to be fought in the
first place as James IV was married to Henry VII daughter and yet he
still went to war in defence of a French quarrel with England. In
addition James IV was interested in science, particularly artillery,
and had developed some of the most advanced artillery pieces in
Europe at Edinburgh Castle. So the scene is set. Scotland, for once
a better equipped army than the enemy, are on the high ground at
Flodden. Step forward the chivalrous idiosyncratic James IV and as
they say the rest is history.
It should also be noted that controversy
still surrounds the role that Lord Hume and his East and
Middle March men played in the battle. Lord Hume's men
operated under the leadership of Lord Huntly and formed the
left flank vanguard for the Scottish army.
James ordered them to advance and they
charged forward into England's right wing, comprising mainly
levies (conscripts), who were being marshalled by Sir Edward
Howard and began to rout them.
IV seeing this success committed a masterpiece of reckless folly by
placing himself at the head of the centre division, leaving his army
without a commander, and charging towards the English centre and to
his death. Now here is the controversy: post battle allegations
alleged that following the rout of Howard, Lord Humes men took no
further part in the battle and in so doing neglected their duty by
failing to assist the King. Yet this allegation runs contrary to
a letter written by Lord Dacre, the commander of the English reserve
who, upon seeing Howards predicament, advanced forward to give him
support. The letter then details the Humes who fell in the battle
fighting his reserves along with details of the own men captured by
Interesting characters also took part in the battle.
English side was the bastard Heron, an outlaw, who aided Howard when
his levies were being routed. On the Scottish side were the seven
spears of Wedderburn. These 'spears' were seven Hume brothers from
Wedderburn in the East March who fought alongside their father. It
should be noted that the father and the eldest brother died in the