Retreats to CarlisleThe army however, began again to be grievously in want of provisions; and the king, after having for fifteen days struggled against famine, was constrained to return through the middle of Annandale, and to be contented with the capture of Bruce's castle of Lochmaben,§ from which he proceeded to Carlisle.
Thus were the fruits of the bloody and decisive battle of Falkirk plucked from the hands of Edward, by famine and distress, at the moment he expected to secure them; and after leading against Scotland the most numerous and best appointed army which had perhaps ever invaded it, and defeating his enemies with great slaughter, he was compelled to retreat while still nearly the whole of the country beyond the Forth was unsubdued, and even when that part which he had wasted and overrun, was only waiting for his absence, to rise into a new revolt against him. At Carlisle the Earls of Norfolk and Hereford left the army to return home, under the pretence that their men and horses were worn out with the expedition, but in reality because they were incensed at the king for a breach of faith.
Edward, when at Lochmaben, had, without consulting them or their brother nobles, disposed of the Island of Arran to Thomas Bisset, a Scottish adventurer, who, having invaded and seized it, about the time of the battle of Falkirk, pretended that he had undertaken the enterprise for the King of England. This was done in violation of a solemn promise, that, without advice of his council, he would adopt no new measures; and to atone for so irregular a proceeding, a parliament was held at Carlisle, in which the king, who as yet was master of but a very small part of Scotland, assigned to his earls and barons the estates of the Scottish nobles. These, however, as an old historian remarks, were grants given in hope, not in possession; and even the frail tenure of hope by which they were held, was sooii threatened: for on reaching Durham, messengers arrived with the intelligence that the Scots were again in arms, and the king hastily returned to Tynemouth, and from thence to Coldingham, near Beverley.
His army was now much reduced by the desertion of Norfolk and Hereford; and the soldiers who remained were weakened with famine and the fatigues of war. To commence another campaign at this late season was impossible; but he instantly issued his writs for the assembling of a new army, to chastise, as he said, the obstinate and reiterated rebellions of the Scots; and he appointed his barons to meet him at Carlisle, on the eve of the day of Pentecost. He also commanded the speedy collection of the money granted by the clergy of the province of York, to assist him in his war with Scotland; and despatched letters to the nobles of England, ordering their attendance in the army destined against Scotland. Patrick earl of Dunbar and March, and his son Gilbert de Umfraville earl of Angus, Alexander de Baliol, and Simon Fraser, all of them Scottish barons, were at this time friends to Edward, and resident at his court, and to them were the same commands directed.