82 The Sucker Punch

Since the Treaty of Paris in 1259, England and France had been friends, united by a monarchy with close ties and relationships. So when in 1293 a dispute blew up over a sea fight in the Channel, Edward clearly didn't expect it to become a problem.  But in fact Phillip IV (the Fair) of France was keen to strengthen the power of the French monarchy – and that didn't include having Gascony controlled by a foreign king. 

82 The Sucker Punch

The Sucker Punch

Edward sent his brother Edmund of Lancaster  to negotiate with Phillip. Together it sounded as thought they'd stitched up a nice face-saving deal. Publicly, Phillip would confiscate Gascony from his  vassal, Edward Duke of Gascony, to keep his nobles happy and his brother Charles of Valois. But then he'd invite Edward to Amiens, where he'd hand them back again on favourable terms. 

Edward spent no time discussing any of this with his magnates; as far as he was concerned, Phillip was family and Edmund was of course his brother. So what could go wrong? Duly in 1294, Gascony and almost all its towns where handed over in 1294. 

To Edward's horror there was no invitation to Amiens – Gascony was confiscated, and stayed confiscated. With only Bourge, Blaye and Bayonne left in English hands, Edward had been suckered out of his French possessions and would have to win them back. 

The Cinque Ports

The cinque ports, and their delightfully medieval character, are a constant companion through English history. There's a great map and article at Wikipedia here

Scotland and 1296

John Balliol has gone down in history as a weak king, but there's no doubt he was in a hideous position. In 1294 Edward demanded he hand over 3 castles. In 1296, Balliol refused, and made alliance with the French. 

In response, Edward invaded with an army of 5,000 cavalry and 30,000 foot. His campaign was almost entirely successful – Berwick fell in March, and in April John of Warenne, Earl of Surrey, defeated the Scots at Dunbar. 

By August, Balliol had been stripped of his royal rank by Edward and imprisoned in the Tower of London, and Edward had established direct rule. 

1290-1327 Map of Scotland



2 thoughts on “82 The Sucker Punch

  1. Hi,
    I am so glad we’ve come to the Scottish wars of Independance.
    I am an Englishman abroad; that is, I moved to Scotland in 1994 at the ripe old age of thirty. Until then, I’d vauguely heard of Robert the Bruce and Bannock Burn. Something about a spider had been there too at the back of my mind.
    However, the minute the natives knew I was English I heard little about anything other than the wars of independance, William Wallace, Stirling Bridge, Robert the Bruce and Bannock Burn.
    Mind you, with Robert (well most of him) buried just down the road from my house in Dunfermline, I’m not surprised.
    It’s funny, but the locals don’t say much about the battle of Falkirk. I wonder why?
    I’m eager to hear my fellow Englishmans point of view of the whole matter.
    Still, they are a friendly bunch and I have enjoyed living here amongst them.

  2. Hi Les…yes, I can sympathise…I was an expat for 4 years, and it does come up SPOOKILY often. Presumably the battle of the Standard (1138), or Neville’s Cross (1346 – captured Scottish king), or Flodden (1513 -Scottish king killed, last British monarch to die on the field of battle)? All of these by the way were invaisions of unprovoked aggression…But truth to tell I think you have to grin and bear it; while Edward I wouldn’t agree with me, I figure he rather tried to exploit the situation and suffered as a result.
    Come and join us on Facebooks and see if there’s any response – though not sure how many Scots will be listening to a History of England. Anyone? http://www.facebook.com/groups/314746805305339/?notif_t=group_r2j#!/groups/314746805305339/

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