BATTLE OF BOROUGHBRIDGE
For over ten years, King Edward II and his cousin Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, had been on such bad terms that the outbreak of open hostilities between them appeared only a matter of time. When Thomas finally did rise in revolt, he was thwarted by the King at Burton on Trent and retreated northwards, hoping to reach safety in Northumberland. On reaching the Ure at Boroughbridge, the rebels found the Warden of Carlisle, Sir Andrew de Harcla, at the head of a 4,000-strong force, barring their path.
The rebels were repulsed in their attempts to cross both at the bridge and at a nearby ford. Dispirited, the rebel force melted away. Lancaster and the leaders of the rebellion were captured and later executed.
The demise of Lancaster might have enabled the King to make a fresh start to his troubled reign, but he failed to take advantage of the situation. Within a few years, Edward had been deposed and murdered.
At the time of the battle, Boroughbridge was a market town crowded with stone- and timber-built houses and shops. To the west, the fields were cultivated in strips, the ridge and furrow system, which survives in places. To the east, the land close to the river has always been liable to flooding and was open pasture. The bridge itself was probably a wooden predecessor of the current structure.
Public access along the river banks allows easy appreciation of the two key areas of the battle. In 1852 the monument traditionally associated with the battle - an ornate column - was moved to Aldborough.
The battlefield is close to an earlier battlefield, at Myton-on-Swale. The two are linked by the riverside walk. The Scots ransacked Boroughbridge during the campaign leading to the Battle of Myton in 1318.
Much of Boroughbridge is a Conservation Area. The Devil's Arrows, south-west of the town, are Scheduled Ancient Monuments. The Boroughbridge area is indicated as an area of concentration for water-borne recreation.
Brie, F W D (ed), 1906, The Brut or Chronicles of England
Rothwell, H (ed), 1975, English Historical Documents 1189-327
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment to the Selected Sources on 10/04/2019