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Timeline of Scottish History

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Earl of Surrey advances to Roxburgh

Having waited in vain for the Scottish nobles whom Edward had summoned to attend—an order which, as the result showed, the dread of Wallace rather than the love of their country compelled them to disobey—the English nobles appointed a general muster of their forces to be held eight days after, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, purposing from thence to march against the enemy. Here they accordingly met, and the army, both in numbers and equipment, was truly formidable. There were two thousand heavy cavalry, armed both horse and man at all points, along with two thousand light horse, and a hundred thousand foot, including the Welsh. With this force they marched across the border, and advanced to Roxburgh. This important fortress was then invested by Wallace; and the garrison, worn out by a long siege, were in a state of great distress, when the army of Surrey made its appearance, and the Scots thought it prudent to retire. After relieving "their wounded countrymen," the English skirmished as far as Kelso, and returned to occupy Berwick, which had been in the hands of the Scots since the battle of Stirling. They found it deserted, and brought a joyful relief to the castle, the garrison of which had stoutly held out, whilst the rest of the town was in possession of the enemy.

Edward, in the meantime, having learnt in Flanders the strength of the army which awaited his orders, was restless and impatient till he had joined them in person. His anger against the Scots, and his determination to inflict a signal vengeance upon their perfidy on again daring to defend their liberties, had induced him to make every sacrifice, that he might proceed with an overwhelming force against this country. For this purpose, he hastened to conclude a truce with the King of France, and to refer their disputes to the judgment of Boniface the pope. He wrote to the Earl of Surrey not to march into Scotland till he had joined the army in person; arid having rapidly concluded his affairs in Flanders, he took shipping, and landed at Sandwich, where he was received with much rejoicing and acclamation. Surrey, on receiving letters from the king to delay his expedition, had retained with him a small proportion of his troops and dismissed the rest; but the moment Edward set his foot in England, he directed his writs, by which he summoned the whole military power of the kingdom to meet him at York, on the Feast of Pentecost, with horse and arms, to proceed against the Scots. He also commanded all the earls and barons, with two knights of every shire, and the representatives from the towns and burghs, to attend his parliament to be held in that city; and summoned the nobility of Scotland, unless they chose to be treated as vassals who had renounced their allegiance, to be there also on the day appointed. To this summons they paid no regard. Those who had accompanied him in his expedition to Flanders, on his embarkation for England, forsook him, and resorted to the French king; and the rest of the Scottish barons, although jealous of Wallace, dreaded the vengeance which his power and high authority as governor entitled him to inflict on them.

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