A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen/Baliol, Edward

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BALIOL, Edward. King John Baliol had two sons, Edward and Henry. The former seems entitled to some notice in this work, on account of his vigorous, though eventually unsuccessful attempt to regain the crown lost by his father. When King John entered into the treaty with the King of France, in 1295, it was stipulated in the first article that his son Edward should marry the daughter of Charles of Valois, niece to the French monarch, receiving with her twenty-five thousand livres de Tournois current money, and assigning to her, as a dowry, one thousand five hundred pounds sterling of yearly rent, of which one thousand should be paid out of King John's lands of Baliol, Dampier, Helicourt, and de Hornay, in France, and five hundred out of those of Lanark, Cadiou, Cunningham,[1] Haddington, and the Castle of Dundee, in Scotland. This young prince accompanied his father in his captivity in the Tower, and was subsequently carried with him to France. After the death of John Baliol, Edward quietly succeeded to the French family estates, upon which he lived unnoticed till 1324, when Edward II. commanded that he should be brought over to England, apparently for the purpose of being held up as a rival to Robert Bruce. Whether he now visited England or not is uncertain; but it would rather appear that he did not, as, in 1326, he was invited by Edward III. for the same purpose. At this time, the English monarch was endeavouring to secure a peace with the King of Scots, but at the same time held himself prepared for war by mustering his barons at Newcastle. He seems to have thought that a threat of taking Baliol under his patronage was apt to quicken the desires of the Scots for an accommodation. Nevertheless, in the summer of this year, the Scots made a bold and successful incursion into England, under Randolph and Douglas, and King Edward was obliged, April 1328, to consent to the treaty of Northampton, which acknowledged at once the independency of the Scottish crown, and the right of Robert Bruce to wear it. No more is heard of Edward Baliol, till after the death of Bruce, when he was tempted by the apparent weakness of Scotland under the minority of David II. to attempt the recovery of his birth-right. Two English barons, Henry de Beaumont and Thomas Lord Wake, claimed certain estates in Scotland, which had been declared their property by the treaty of Northampton; Randolph, the Scottish regent, distrusting the sincerity of the English in regard to other articles of this treaty, refused to restore those estates; and the two barons accordingly joined with Baliol in his design. That the English king might not be supposed accessory to so gross a breach of the treaty, he issued a proclamation against their expedition; but they easily contrived to ship four hundred men at arms and three thousand infantry at Holderness, all of whom were safely landed on the coast of Fife, July 31, 1332. Only eleven days before this event, the Scottish people had been bereft of their brave regent, Randolph Earl of Moray, who was almost the last of those worthies by whom the kingdom of Bruce had been won and maintained. The regency fell into the hands of Donald, Earl of Mar, in every respect a feebler man. Baliol, having beat back some forces which opposed his landing, moved forward to Forteviot, near Perth; where the Earl of Mar appeared with an army to dispute his farther progress. As the Scottish forces were much superior in number and position to the English, Baliol found himself in a situation of great jeopardy, and would willingly have retreated to his ships, had that been possible. Finding, however, no other resource than to fight, he led his forces at midnight across the Erne, surprised the Scottish camp in a state of the most disgraceful negligence, and put the whole to the route. This action, fought on the 12th of August, was called the battle of Dupplin. The conqueror entered Perth, and for some time found no resistance to his assumed authority. On the 24th of September, he was solemnly crowned at Scone. The friends of the line of Bruce, though unable to offer a formal opposition, appointed Andrew Moray of Bothwell to be regent in the room of the Earl of Mar, who had fallen at Dupplin. At Roxburgh, on the 23rd of November, Baliol solemnly acknowledged Edward of England for his liege lord, and surrendered to him the town and castle of Berwick, "on account of the great honour and emoluments which he had procured through the good will of the English king, and the powerful and acceptable aid contributed by his people." The two princes also engaged on this occasion to aid each other in all their respective wars. Many of the Scottish chiefs now submitted to Baliol, and it does not appear improbable that he might have altogether retrieved a kingdom which was certainly his by the laws of hereditary succession. But on the 15th of December, the adherents of the opposite dynasty surprised him in his turn at Annan, overpowered his host, and having slain his brother Henry, and many other distinguished men, obliged him to fly, almost naked, and with hardly a single attendant, to England. His subsequent efforts, though not so easily counteracted, were of the same desultory character. He returned into Scotland in March, and lay for some time at Roxburgh, with a small force. In May, 1333, he joined forces with King Edward, and reduced the town of Berwick. The Scottish regent being overthrown at Halidon Hill, July 19, for a time all resistance to the claims of Baliol ceased. In a parliament held at Edinburgh in February, he ratified the former treaty with King Edward, and soon after surrendered to that monarch the whole of the counties on the frontier, together with the province of Lothian, as part of the kingdom of England. His power, however, was solely supported by foreign influence, and, upon the rise of a few of the opposite hostile barons, in November, 1334, he again fled to England. In July, 1335, Edward III. enabled him to return under the protection of an army. But, notwithstanding the personal presence and exertions of no less a warrior than the victor of Cressy, the Scots never could altogether be brought under the sway of this vassal king. For two or three years, Edward Baliol held a nominal sway at Perth, while the greater part of the country was in a state of rebellion against him. The regent Andrew Moray, dying in July, 1338, was succeeded by Robert Stewart, the grandson of Bruce, and nephew of David II. who having threatened to besiege Baliol in Perth, obliged him to retreat once more to England. The greater part of the country speedily fell under the dominion of the regent, nor was Edward III. now able to retrieve it, being fully engaged in his French wars. The Scots having made an incursion, in 1344, into England, Baliol, with the forces of the northern counties, was appointed to oppose them. Two years after this period, when the fatal battle of Durham, and the capture of David II. had again reduced the strength of Scotland, Baliol raised an insurrection in Galloway, where his family connections gave him great influence, and speedily penetrated to the central parts of the kingdom. He gained, however, no permanent footing. For some years after this period, Scotland maintained a noble struggle, under its regent Robert Stewart, against both the pretensions of this adventurer, and the power of the King of England, till at length, in 1355-6, wearied out with an unavailing contest, and feeling the approach of old age, Baliol resigned all his claims into the hands of Edward III. for the consideration of five thousand merks, and a yearly pension of two thousand pounds. After this surrender, which was transacted at Roxburgh, and included his personal estates, as well as his kingdom, this unfortunate prince retired to England. "The fate of Edward Baliol," says Lord Hailes, "was singular. In his invasion of Scotland during the minority of David Bruce, he displayed a bold spirit of enterprise, and a courage superior to all difficulties. By the victory at Dupplin, he won a crown; some few weeks after, he was surprised at Annan and lost it. The overthrow of the Scots at Halidon, to which he signally contributed, availed not to his re-establishment. Year after year, he saw his partisans fall away, and range themselves under the banner of his competitor. He became the pensioner of Edward III. and the tool of his policy, assumed or laid aside at pleasure: and, at last, by his surrender at Roxburgh, he did what in him lay to entail the calamities of war upon the Scottish nation, a nation already miserable through the consequences of a regal succession disputed for threescore years. The remainder of his days was spent in obscurity; and the historians of that kingdom where he once reigned, know not the time of his death." It may further be mentioned, that neither these historians nor the Scottish people at large, ever acknowledged Edward Baliol as one of the line of Scottish monarchs. The right of the family of Bruce, though inferior in a hereditary point of view, having been confirmed by parliament on account of the merit of King Robert, this shadowy intruder, though occasionally dominant through the sword, could never be considered the legitimate monarch, more especially as he degraded himself and his country by a professed surrender of its independence, and even of a part of its territory, to a foreign enemy. He died childless, and, it would also appear, unmarried, in 1363, when he must have been advanced to at least the age of seventy.

  1. "John Baliol is known to have possessed in Cunningham the following lands: Largs, Noddesdale, Southannan. Dalry, Giffin, Cumsheuch, Dreghorn, the great barony of Kilmarnock, together with Bondinton and Hartshaw; extending in all to about L9,900 Scots of valued rent, or about L15,000 real rent at present."—Robertson's Ayrshire Families.