Friday, 22 February 2008

The Treaty of Northampton (1328)

The treaty’s terms were:
  • England to recognise Scotland’s independence and Robert Bruce to be acknowledged as the legitimate King of Scotland.
  • A mutual defence alliance, by which the Scots agreed to aid England against any enemy except the French.
  • The Scots paid £20,000 compensation for damage they had inflicted during raids in the north.
  • No English lord could hold land in Scotland, and vice versa.
  • The borders at the time of King Alexander III of Scotland (d. 1286) to be recognised.
  • All English actions against Scotland at the papal curia to be dropped.
  • Edward III’s sister, Joan, to marry Robert Bruce’s son and heir, David.

The treaty in many ways was a sensible recognition that fighting the Scots was futile. However, Edward III felt that Scotland was rightfully his, and although he was compelled by his mother and Roger Mortimer to ratify the treaty, he made it very clear afterwards that the “shameful peace” was not his wish, and refused to attend his sister’s marriage – and on hearing of Edward’s refusal to attend, Bruce said he would not attend either.

The most controversial clause, in the eyes of the northern English lords, was the one which compelled them to give up their Scottish lands – although in reality these lands had been lost to them since Robert Bruce had seized effective control of Scotland in the period leading up to and including the English defeat at Bannockburn. This lost Isabella and Mortimer many of their allies, and from this time onwards, their actions became more and more ruthless as they attempted to keep hold of power.

They did not help themselves by appropriating for themselves the £20,000 that Robert Bruce paid as part of the treaty, which only increased their reputation for greed and rapacity.

Had the treaty been concluded by an adult English king of his own free will, the treaty would probably be remembered as a great act of statesmanship, which freed England from fighting a war which could not be won, and which had cost many lives, including the death of the Earl of Gloucester at Bannockburn which so changed the course of Edward II’s reign. Under the circumstances in which it was signed, however, the treaty has come forever to be remembered as “the shameful peace”, and that peace did not last, either – a direct result of the treaty not being valid in the eyes of the 15 year old Edward III.

3 comments:

Alianore said...

Welcome to blogland, Carole, and great first post!

Thanks for linking to my blog, btw - I've added a link to yours on mine, too.

Lady D. said...

Great post Carole and welcome from me too! It's nice to see another Medievalophile (?) on the net! Thanks from me too for linking to me blog. I shall put yours up on mine too :-)

I look forward to more posts!

Susan Higginbotham said...

Hi, Carole! Thanks for linking--I'll reciprocate! Happy blogging!