IT was arguably the second most important battle of Scotland’s Wars of Independence, but while people remember the most important battle at Bannockburn in 1314, fewer know of the Battle of Byland in 1322 which ensured that Robert the Bruce kept his crown and the English stayed away from Scotland for many years.

The 700th anniversary of the battle, also known as the Battle of Old Byland or Battle of Scawton Moor, will take place next year and the North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority has applied for permission to erect a memorial to mark the battle site.

The Darlington and Stockton Times reported The Battlefields Trust had recently concluded the main battle, previously thought to have taken place to the east at Scawton Moor, was actually close to the main Thirsk to Scarborough road.

The Trust states: “The main action was fought at Sutton Bank, where a medieval track climbed the escarpment, close to where the modern road runs today. The landscape has been considerably altered due to the blasting of rock to accommodate the A170, but there can be little doubt as to the location of the fighting when one matches the unique and dramatic topography with the contemporary accounts.”

The National:

King Edward II was roundly defeated by Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce

What a battle it was, too. King Edward II, the loser at Bannockburn, was determined to undo that shame and invaded Scotland with a large army in August, 1322.

Robert the Bruce ordered a scorched earth policy from the Border into the Lothians and eventually the tired, diseased and hungry English army was forced to retreat down the east coast, harried all the way by the Scottish light cavalry led by Sir James Douglas.

By October 13, Edward had set up camp in Rievaulx Abbey and it was there that Douglas and his troops almost captured him.

The Battlefields Trust states that Edward ordered his field-commander the Earl of Richmond to post an advance guard along the escarpment of the Hambleton Hills, particularly at Sutton Bank where the medieval track climbed a narrow pass, so as to prevent the Scots gaining the high ground.

“The Scots made a forced overnight march from Northallerton with the hope of catching the English unaware. However, on the morning of the 14th of October the Scots army arrived at the foot of Sutton Bank, only to find the heights defended by a strong and alert English force.

“English resistance was finally broken when King Robert sent a flanking force to scale the more lightly defended cliffs to the south, after which the breakthrough became a rout.”

Bruce demanded huge ransoms for captured knights and forced English abbeys to pay reparation for the burning of Scots abbeys.

Edward slunk south and never invaded Scotland again.