Neville's Cross

The Scots attempted an attack on the "postern gate" whilst Edward III's forces were campaigning victoriously in France. A final major battle was fought against the Scots at Neville's Cross, near Durham. It would take Scotland over a century to retake what was lost here. The Scots lost 20,000 along with the 'flower of Scottish knighthood', the English lost about 4000.

At Neuille Crosse nere Vnto Durham, a sore battaill was fought betwixt the English & Scots wherein David Bruse King of Scotland with many of his Nobility were taken prisoners by Queen Phillip wife to the Victorious prince King Edward 3, whoe in person was present in the fielde, The Lords, Mowbray, Percie, & Neuill, managing the battaill, wherein the manhode and service of Jhon Copland an Esquire hath bene euer since made memorable. October 20 & 20 of E.3. Anno.1346
- John Speed 1610

Capture of David II. In 1346 David II, son of Robert de Bruce, invaded England whilst Edward III was campaigning in France at Crecy. An army assembled at York under its archbishop William de La Zouche and marched north to Neville's Cross2  David had reached as far as York, Queen Philippa was at this time keeping her court at York, she summoned the barons and  peoples of the north. The two armies met in combat at "Red Hills" outside the walls of Durham Castle.on 17th October 1346. Another source says Edward III's wife Queen Philippa, raised an army under the Lords, Mowbray, Percy and Neville. During the Battle David II was captured after being wounded in the head or face by an arrow. For David de Bruis's successful capture John Coupland was awarded the princely sum of £500 per year.  King David II  was not released back to Scotland until 1357
Queen Philippa then took him to London. King David was incarcerated in Windsor Castle14He David II [Bruce] and his wife Joan, sister of Edward III. was imprisoned for a total of 11 years [1346-1357] in one of the caves beneath Nottingham Castle, some drawings on the walls of which are purported to be his. Joan Plantagenet, his wife was permitted visits to her husband by Edward III, her brother. Edward III later built a new prison for the Scottish prisoners at Nottingham. Joan was popular in Scotland but when David King of the Scots was released, his infidelities led her to return to England, where she died in 1362.

                                                        David II of Scotland [David de Bruis]
Was married firstly to Joanna of the Tower, Prince Edward's [later Ed. III] sister under the control of Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer as part of the hated treaty of Northamptonshire [4th May 1328] with the Scots on the 17th July 1328. David was at this time only 4 years old and she about 7 years of age. 
Both were crowned at Scone on the 24th November 1331 at the ages of 7 and 10 respectively when Edward III was a 19 year old king. Upon David's release from prison and his subsequent infidelities to Joanna, they were divorced. Joanna returned to London where she died in 1362.
David de Bruis married secondly, Margaret Drummond [d. 1370]

Scotland was given up, much to the dismay of the Northern English who desired peace from the incessant raids into Northern England and who would now be under the control of Robert de Bruce.
Edward raised no troops from the north for his Crecy campaign, he "kept the postern gate well guarded". Earls, Percy and Neville kept the Northern Marches safe2

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1.Speed, John; The Counties of Britain, 1610.
2. Johnson, Paul, The Life and Times of Edward III, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London,1973.


Copyright © Tim Midgley, January 2002 revised August 2023.