Battle of Northallerton 1138


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
North Yorkshire
Hambleton (District Authority)
North Yorkshire
Hambleton (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 36202 98054



The Battle of Northallerton resulted from an attempt by King David I of Scotland to profit from the civil war endemic in England during King Stephen's reign.

An invading Scottish army commanded by King David had its path southward barred three miles north of Northallerton by a local force raised by Archbishop Thurstan of York. The Yorkshiremen, gathered on a hill around the standard - a ship's mast mounted on a wagon from which sacred banners were flown - threw back the Scottish attacks and put the enemy to flight.

The Battle of Northallerton ensured that Northumberland was not held by the Scots, even temporarily. Because the battle took on the character of a religious crusade for the English, it is well documented by the contemporary chroniclers.

The battle was fought over moorland, which has since been improved and enclosed with hedges. The tradition of Scots' burial pits has led to the naming of the Scotpits Lane, which helps to confirm the location of the battlefield.

AMENITY FEATURES There is a roadside monument to the battle with a small lay-by adjacent to it. At present, footpath access across the battlefield is very limited. The grave pits along Scotpits Lane have been obscured by ploughing. A tall tree screen bisects the battlefield, making it difficult to appreciate the course of the battle.

OTHER DESIGNATIONS The battlefield lies within a special landscape area in the Local Plan. The trees and woodland are subject to policy E14 which seeks to encourage improved management.

KEY SOURCES Translation of Ailred of Rievaulx, in Anderson, A O, 1908, Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers AD 500 to 1286 Translation of Richard of Hexham, in Douglas, D C & Greenaway, G W (ed.), English Historical Documents 1042-1189

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment to the Selected Sources on 10/04/2019


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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English Heritage Battlefield Report: Battle of Northallerton 1138 (Published 1995), accessed 10th April 2019 from


This battlefield is registered within the Register of Historic Battlefields by Historic England for its special historic interest.

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