Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Boroughbridge

"...The best course, therefore, seemed to be to get into the great north road about Boroughbridge, and there take a place in the northern diligence, a huge old-fashioned tub, drawn by three horses, which completed the journey from Edinburgh to London (God willing, as the advertisement expressed it) in three weeks. Our hero, therefore, took an affectionate farewell of his Cumberland friends, whose kindness he promised never to forget, and tacitly hoped ene day to acknowledge by substantial proofs of gratitude. After some petty difficulties and vexatious delays, and after putting his dress into a shape better befitting his rank, though perfectly plain and simple, he accomplished crossing the country, and found himself in the desired vehicle vis-a-vis to Mrs. Nosebag, the lady of Lieutenant Nosebag, adjutant and riding-master of the--dragoons, a jolly woman of about fifty, wearing a blue habit, faced with scarlet, and grasping a silver-mounted horse-whip..."

Scott included Boroughbridge as setting in his novel "Waverley".  Boroughbridge is located on the Ure River, and historically was a point of access from York to the North.  It was also a focal point for Scottish forays, including raids in 1318, 1319  On March 16, 1322, the Battle of Boroughbridge took place.

This battle was not between Scots and English, but between the forces of English King Edward II and some of his nobles, led by cousin Thomas of Lancaster.  Lancaster organized a rebellion with some discontented lords, threatening a civil war.  Edward met the challenge, marching north, and forcing Lancaster ultimately to make a stand at Boroughbridge.  There, Lancaster met the forces of Sir Andrew Harclay, who'd cut Lancaster off from the north at the bridge.  With Edward marching from the south, Lancaster was forced to fight.

Harclay employed the schiltron formation with his pikemen, a tactic he'd learned from fighting against the Scots.  The battle did not last long.  Lancaster surrendered, and he and 30 of his followers were later executed.

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