500 Years of Conflict

Cnut ruled as King of England from 1016 until 1035, first and for a very short time, as joint ruler with Aethelred the Anglo-Saxon king.

1066 was the next cataclysmic event in the British history when, after the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror replaced Anglo-Saxon with Norman rule.

After the Norman invasion a line of defensive Castles were built along the River Tweed and deeper into Northumberland.

Bastilles and defensive towers were constructed in the centuries following, but these were not, in the main part, the same sort of cross Border defences. They were more in the times of the Border Reivers which are better classified as family squabbles than international conflict.

The Battle of Carham was followed by some 500 years of cross border conflict.

There are some 50 battles in Scotland and the North of England which can be considered as border conflicts.

The border saw raiding and invading forces cross both from north to south and from south to north but winning a battle did not lead to successful and long term occupation of the land and the border remained relatively unchanged. eThe one exception was the town of Berwick upon Tweed which has changed hands some fourteen times, but not always as a result of conflict. On occasion the town was taken but not the castle. Berwick was sold and bought back, was given away and then reclaimed by force.

On the last occasion it changed hands the gate were thrown open to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who later took the throne as Richard III, and it has remained in English hands ever since.

In 1402 the Battle of Homildon Hill near Wooler was not a straight forward England versus Scotland conflict. The English contingent consisted of the Northumbrians under Harry Hotspur who was allied to George Dunbar, the Scottish Earl of March, and against the invading force of the Scottish Earl of Douglas.

In those days alliances could be fickle because the following year in 1403, at the battle of Shrewsbury, Hotspur was allied to his erstwhile enemy Douglas, whilst fighting against the forces of Henry IV of England who now had George Dunbar as an ally.

The last major border conflict between England and Scotland was the Battle of Flodden in 1513 which resulted in James IV becoming the last reigning monarch in the British Isles to die in Battle. But 90 years on from this conflict the crowns of England and Scotland were united when James VI crossed the River Tweed at Berwick on his way south to become also James I of England.

There have been many other battles involving English and Scottish troops, but these were part of The Wars of The Roses or the English Civil War which is also often referred to as the war of three nations and should not be considered as cross Border conflicts.

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