Andrew Moray

Andrew Moray

Infobox Person
name = Andrew Moray

caption = An engraving of Andrew Moray in chain-mail. His surcoat displays the Arms of the Morays of Petty.
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death_date = "c." September 1297
death_place = in or in the vicinity of Stirling
death_cause = due to wounds received in Battle of Stirling Bridge
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residence = Avoch and Bothwell castles
nationality = Scots
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known_for = jointly leading the Scots to victory with William Wallace at the Battle of Stirling Bridge
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children = Andrew, born 1298, later lord of Petty and Bothwell, and Guardian of Scotland. d.1338.
parents = Father: Sir Andrew Moray of Petty, d.1300; Mother: not known.
relatives = Uncle: Sir William Moray of Bothwell, d.1300; Uncle: David Moray, bishop of Moray, d.1326.

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Andrew Moray (La: "Andreas de Moravia"), (died c. September 1297), also known as Andrew de Moray, Andrew of Moray, or Andrew Murray, was a military and political leader during the Anglo-Scottish conflict of the late 1290s, known as the Scottish Wars of Independence. He was responsible for leading the rising in northern Scotland in the summer of 1297 against the rule of King Edward I of England, successfully regaining control of this area for Scotland's king, King John. He merged his forces with those of William Wallace and jointly led the combined army to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, where he was mortally wounded.

Origins of the Morays of Petty

Andrew Moray was born into the Morays of Petty late in the second half of the thirteenth century. [Andrew Fisher, ‘Murray, Andrew (d. 1297) ’, "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 2 Aug 2007] ] The exact date and place of his birth is unknown as is whether he had any siblings. The Morays of Petty were a wealthy and politically-influential baronial family whose powerbase was in the province of Moray in north-eastern Scotland. They could trace their origins in the area to Freskin, a man believed to have Flemish origins, who had been granted lands in Duffus in the Laich of Moray during the twelfth-century reign of King David I of Scotland. [Oram, David I, pp.104-5] Freskin subsequently built a Motte-and-bailey castle at Duffus on the northern shore of Loch Spynie (this sea-loch has subsequently been significantly reduced in size and almost erased from the landscape as a consequnce of being successfully drained during the agricultural improvements of the 1700s and 1800s to release many hundreds of acres of land for farming).

Moray had long struggled against subsumption within the Scottish king's realm. Several royal armies were defeated in Moray, including one under the command of King Dub who was killed when his arrmy was defeated at Forres in 967. Moray was an especially sensitive source of resistance for the mac Malcolm kings of Scots (whose dynasty sprung from King Malcolm III, who reigned from 1058 to 1093) as it was the heartland of the rival royal line, whose last king had been the stepson of MacBeth, Lulach.

Resistance to Scottish royal rule amogst elemets of Moravian society dragged on into the 12th-century. In 1130 a rebellion was led by Mormaer Óengus of Moray, a descendant of Lulach. Óengus' army was defeated at Stracathro and this resulted in the province being taken into direct royal control; Moray's independence would not be restored until 1312 when King Robert I granted the lands and title of earl of Moray to his nephew, Thomas Randolph. King David's response to Moray's entrenched refusal to accept his authority was the ‘planting’ Flemish and other Anglo-Norman loyalists in the area. In the aftermath of Óengus' rising, many rebels were forced from their lands. Consequently, the subsequent settlers occupied the same military, political and administrative rôle as the Old English along the Gaelic frontiers of Ireland; and like the Old English in Ireland, time gradually wore away any cultural and linguistic difference between them and the remaining native people. Although King David and his successors worked hard to impose their authority on Moray, it long remained restless under royal rule. King Malcolm IV, David's grandson and successor, also resorted to uprooting the local populace and expelling them from their homes. In 1163, according to the Chronicle of Holyrood, “king Malcolm transferred men of Moray”. [Chronicle of Holyrood, ed.M.Anderson, p.190.] It was not until 1229, when William Comyn of Buchan, at the head of a royal army finally, and brutally, pacified the province for King Alexander II. Comyn was rewarded by a grateful king with the lordship of Badenoch.

The final, and most unmerciful, action of mac Malcolm kings' long campaign against the old Celtic royal dynasty was perpetrated against the infant-child in whom the its claim to the Scottish Crown resided: the three-year-old girl was publicly murdered by the king's men, who, after the reading of a proclamation, smashed her head against the market-cross in the burgh of Forfar. Only now did the province of Moray finally accept Scottish royal rule.

The Morays' place in Scottish society

At the outbreak of the Anglo-Scottish Wars of the late thirteenth century (popularly known as the Scottish Wars of Independence) the Moray family was well-established in northern and southern Scotland. Sir Andrew Moray, the head of the Petty branch of the family, held extensive lands in the province of Moray, including the lordship of Petty,Barrow, Robert Bruce, p.74] which was controlled from Hallhill castle on the southern bank of the Moray Firth, the lordship of Avoch in the Black Isle, which was controlled from Avoch Castle situated to the east of Inverness and overlooked the Moray Firth, and the lordship of Boharm, which was controlled from Gauldwell castle. Amongst Sir Andrew's estates at Petty were lands at Alturile, Brachlie and Croy, and at Boharm were lands at Arndilly and Botriphnie. [Barron, Scottish Wars of Independence, pp. 33 & 204] Andrew Moray the younger was heir to these lands and castles.Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland, ed. J. Bain, vol.2, no.1178, p.300]

Extensive landed wealth of this nature was accompanied by a significant degree of political influence. Sir Andrew had acted as the king's chief law-officer in northern Scotland (the Justiciar) and may have been co-opted as one of the six Guardians of the Realm in the crisis following the premature death of King Alexander III. [Barrow, Robert Bruce, p.27] Sir Andrew's personal connexions went to the top of most powerful family in Scottish society. In the 1280s he married his second wife - Andrew's stepmother - Euphemia Comyn, [Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland, ed. J. Bain, vol.2, no.307, p.84] the sister of John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, nephew of King John Balliol and one of the most politically influential men in Scotland. The Morays of Petty also possessed connexions to the Douglases of Clydesdale. [Barrow, Robert Bruce, p.83.]

The influence of the Moray family was not confined to north-eastern Scotland. In the south of the kingdom, Sir William Moray of Bothwell, Sir Andrew's brother, held extensive lands in Lanarkshire and at Lilleford in Lincolnshire. [Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland, ed. J. Bain, vol.2, no.725, p.168] Sir William, who was known as "le riche" due to his extensive personal wealth, was constructing Bothwell Castle overlooking the River Clyde. Its design was influenced by the very latest trends in castle construction to be found in continental Europe and was clearly intended as an unequivocal statement of his personal power and influence. Andrew Moray the younger was also recognised as his uncle's heir.

The Morays of Petty, in addition to widespread and influential connexions in secular society, also possessed influence in the Scottish mediaeval church. A forebear of Andrew Moray, also named Andrew, had been bishop of Moray in the early years of the thirteenth century, and it was Bishop Andrew who was responsible for the transfer of the seat of the bishopric to Elgin in 1224 and the establishment of the town’s fine cathedral. The present generation of Morays also had an active connexion with the church. A brother of Sir Andrew, David, was currently a rector of Bothwell church in central Scotland, and a canon of Moray. [Barrow, "The Kingdom of the Scots", p. 218] David de Moray would subsequently be consecrated as Bishop of Moray in the summer of 1299 by Pope Boniface VIII, [Barrow, Robert Bruce, p.116] and would go on to be one of the most loyal and unwavering supporters of King Robert Bruce's kingship.

A Kingdom in Turmoil

The late thirteenth-century marked a time of dramatic upheaval for Scotland. On 19th March 1286, King Alexander III, died after being thrown from his horse as he made his way Kinghorn, in Fife, from Edinburgh Castle to be with his young Flemish queen, Yolande. [Oram, Kings & Queens of Scotland, p.89] Although the king had been married previously to an English princess, his children from that marriage had all predeceased him and there was currently no issue from his latest marriage. [ Oram, "Kings & Queens of Scotland", pp.89-90] In the aftermath of Alexander’s death, the Crown passed to his three-year-old granddaughter, Margaret, Maid of Norway. The child-queen was never enthroned but died during the sea-passage to Scotland. [Oram, "Kings & Queens of Scotland", p.93]

Scotland now entered an uncertain period as the leading nobles vied for the vacant crown. The Bruces of Annandale made an early attempt to seize it by means of an armed "coup"; this was quickly suppressed by the Scottish political community. In this time of violence and confusion, Scotland's leaders turned for support to their nearest neighbour and brother-in-law of their former king, King Edward I of England.

King Edward, who would become notorious as ‘the Hammer of the Scots’, was at this time a mature and widely-respected king, and the relationship between him and recently-deceased King Alexander had been good. The power and influence that he possessed allowed him to preside over a court which assessed the merits of the claims of the nobles who sought the vacant crown. This became known as 'The Great Cause'. King Edward, through the military might of his kingdom, had the power to enforce his decision. The most serious claims were advanced by John Balliol, the half-English lord of Galloway, and Robert Bruce, lord of Annandale and grandfather of the future king. King Edward's assistance came, however, at a price: the claimants had to acknowledge him as Overlord of Scotland, which they did with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Eventually, after lengthy deliberations, King Edward's court found in favour of John Balliol of Galloway.

The newly-enthroned king dutifully acknowledged King Edward I of England as his feudal superior, and thereby, sowed the seeds of his demise. King Edward was determined to ensure his status as overlord was not ignored, becoming a constant presence in Scottish legal and political affairs. This was a shock to the Scottish political community and by late 1295 King John had renounced his fealty to his English overlord and entered into a treaty with France. King Edward was enraged by such defiance, making hostilities between the kingdoms inevitable.

Invasion and Defeat

By the spring of 1296 Scotland was at war with England. Andrew Moray, together with his father and uncle, joined the feudal host assembled for the impending conflict. The first act of war was performed by the Scots. A small force, led by the earls of Atholl, Ross and Mar and John Comyn the younger of Badenoch, entered the English county of Cumberland. They marched to Carlisle, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The "St. Edmundsbury Chronicle" records the destruction of 120 villages and townships during this raid. When the raiders reached Carlisle they found it held against them by their compatriot, Robert Bruce, lord of Annandale, the son of the recently-deceased Bruce-claimant the Crown. Bruce, mindful of his loyalty to King Edward, kept the gates of Carlisle firmly shut. More Scottish raiders crossed from Jedburgh and rampaged through Northumberland, burning homes and farms as they went. They reached Corbridge and Hexham. According to Pierre de Langtoft, an English chronicler:cquote|"Mar, Ross, Menteith ... have destroyed Tindale to cinders and coals, The town of Corbridge, and two monasteries, Of Hexham and Lanercost, they have annihilated by burning; They have made slaughter of the people of the country, Carried off the goods driven away the canons."

King Edward assembled a large army for the invasion of Scotland. He was able to depend on the support of a faction of Scottish lords, who joined him on the Anglo-Scottish border. On 25th March, 1296, a number of them, including Robert Bruce of Annandale, and his son, Robert, the twenty-one-year-old earl of Carrick and the future Scottish king, swore fealty and solemnly pledged on “"the Holy Gospels"” that they would “"be faithful and loyal" ... "to King Edward, King of England"”. [ Stones, Anglo-Scottish Relations, no.22, pp.137-9.]

Scottish defiance of King Edward quickly crumbled in the face of this invasion. The English army initially marched on the prosperous Scottish port of Berwick, which then lay on the Anglo-Scottish border. By 30th March, King Edward's army was camped outside the port. It fell quickly, with the king personally leading the assault against its feeble defences. A bloody slaughter ensued. The king permitted the slaughter and rapine of the port's inhabitants to continue for three barbarous days before he finally called an end to it. The English Lanercost Chronicle condemned the slaughter as a “"crime"” and recorded that fifteen-thousand “"of both sexes perished, some by the sword, others by fire, in the space of a day and a half"”. [Chronicle of Lanercost, ed. H.Maxwell, vol.1, p.135.]

The Scottish army, albeit capable of raiding England, was unable to defeat an English army. It had been many years since Scottish society had been mobilized for war, and at the Battle of Dunbar the Scots were overwhelmed in matter of minutes by elements of King Edward's army led by John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey. The author of the "Chronicle of Bury St. Edmunds" records the death of eight-thousand Scottish soldiers at Dunbar.

In the aftermath of the Scottish host's defeat at Dunbar, the realm quickly capitulated. No further meaningful resistance was offered. Edward I deposed King John at Montrose Castle: the symbols of he Scotish kingship were stripped from him, including the ripping of the royal coat of arms from his surcoat (thereby earning him the enduring title Toom Tabard (Empty Coat)). King Edward, having dealt with this treasonous vassal, rode north from Montrose on an extended march that took him all the way to Elgin, which he reached on 26 July, 1296. He remained in the town’s castle for a few days, taking the fealty of a number of Scots nobles, including Bishop Robert Wishart of Glasgow, [Calendar of Documents, ed. J.Bain, vol.2, no.789, p.182.] before he turned south to return to England.

While King Edward marched through the subdued realm, the Scots nobles captured at Dunbar were taken south in chains. The most important prisoners, such as Sir Andrew Moray of Petty, were taken to the Tower of London.Calendar of Documents, ed. J.Bain, vol.2, no.742, pp.176-8.] Andrew the younger, considered to be of much less significance, was imprisoned in Chester Castle, the northernmost stronghold to which the Dunbar captives were taken; he would not, however, long remain a captive.


The consequences of defeat were not long in being felt as the English King began to impose his will on Scotland. The victor of Dunbar, the earl of Surrey, was put in charge of Scotland by King Edward. [Calendar of Documents, ed.J.Bain, vol.2, no.871, p.229.] English soldiers controlled Scottish castles and English tax-collectors followed in their wake, imposing heavy taxes to fill their king's coffers. The latter, notorious for their corruption, exploited the Scots to enrich themselves.

King Edward appointed an efficient, if notoriously obnoxious, administrator, Sir Hugh de Cressingham, as Treasurer of Scotland. Cressingham, went about his task with energy. By the end of May 1297, had dispatched "£"5,188 6s. 8d. to King Edward. [ Prestwich, Edward I, p.476.] Cressingham's greed quickly created a sense of discontent ripe for exploitation. King Edward was also keen to exploit the Scots for manpower to fill the armies being raised to fight in Flanders. He began planning to conscript Scots to serve overseas, including the nobility of the defeated realm. [Documents Illustrative of Scotland, ed. Rev.J.Stevenson, vol.2, CCCCXXIX, pp.167-9.] News of this draft caused widespread alarm. A combination of these factors meant Scotland grew increasingly restless and resentful under English rule.

While the Scots suffered Engish occupation, Andrew Moray was dealing with the humiliation of imprisonment. But sometime in the winter of 1296-97, he escaped. Eventually he returned to his father's lands, though it is not known how or by what means he made his escape. Although there is no way of knowing how the trauma of defeat and imprisonment affected him, it would quickly become clear that the man who returned to Scotland was a ruthless and determined leader of men.

Andrew Moray was back at Avoch castle in May 1297. "In the month of May of the same year", the Hemingsburgh Chronicle notes, "the perfidious race of Scots began to rebel"." This first act of this rebellion was marked by two events: Andrew Moray proclaimed his defiance of English rule at Avoch Castle; and William Wallace marked his rebellion against English rule with the murder of the English Sheriff of Lanark.

News of Moray's return quickly drew supporters to him. Sir William fitz Warin, the English constable of Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness, later wrote to King Edward in July 1297 that cquote|"Some evil disposed people have joined Andrew de Moravia at the castle of" [Avoch] " in Ross"." Although Sir Andrew Moray of Petty remained imprisoned in the Tower of London - where it appears he would die as King Edward's prisoner - many of his tenants willingly joined his son in arms. Andrew the younger was also joined Alexander Pilchie, a burgess from Inverness, and a number of other burgesses from the town.

Attack on Castle Urquhart

Although the Scottish kingdom had been easily conquered by King Edward, it lay restless under his rule. It was scarred early in 1297 by scattered outbreaks of violence against the English occupiers and their Scottish allies. Some outbreaks of discontent were so serious that officials on the ground sought assistance from the king. The provinces of Argyll and Ross were both riven by violence early in 1297. On the west coast, Lachlan and Ruarie MacRuarie of Garmoran were in rebellion, killing royal officials and destroying royal property. [Watson, Under the Hammer, pp.42-3.] The violence was not limited to northern Scotland. Rebellion gripped Galloway in south-western Scotland in April 1297, with the rebels seizing castles held by the king's men. [Calendar of Documents, ed. J.Bain, vol.2, no.894, p.234.] There was strife in Fife, where MacDuff of Fife and his sons led the rebellion. [Documents Illustrative of Scotland, ed. Rev.J.Stevenson, vol.2, CCCCLXXII, p.217.]

News of these acts soon began to reach the English Court and the king responded by ordering that the rebels were dealt with firmly. Edward's loyal supporters in Argyll and Ross were to assist “"his chosen and faithful subject Alexander of the Isles"” to suppress the rebellion there. [Barron, Scottish War of Independence, pp.19-20.] The rebellion in Galloway was suppressed by Donald mac Can and other loyal chieftains, who were thanked by the king on 13th June for their work. [Documents Illustrative of Scotland, ed. Rev. J.Stevenson, vol.2, CCCCXXXVII, p.177.] The English Sheriff of Aberdeen, Sir Henry de Latham, was orderws on 11th June to deal with rebels in the north-east. [ Barron, Scottish War of Independence, p.60.] King Edward considered the situation so serious that he dispatched men from England, including Henry Percy and Walter Clifford, to help suppress the rebels. [ Documents Illustrative of Scotland, ed. Rev.J.Stevenson, vol.2, CCCCXXXI, pp.170-3.]

Andrew Moray quickly plunged the province of Moray into chaos. At this time, King Edward's principal follower in Moray was Sir Reginald Cheyne, the Scots sheriff of Elgin. Although the active support of some Scottish lords allowed King Edward to rule Scotland without deploying large numbers of soldiers and administrators, their ultimate loyalty was frequently questioned by English officials and chroniclers. Cheyne was quickly alarmed by the growth of Moray's rebellion and wrote to the king requesting assistance. Edward responded by instructing him to vigorously suppress the rebels. [Barron, Scottish War of Independence, p.35 & p.42.] Sir Reginald ordered his principal lieutenants to a meeting at Inverness Castle on 25th May 1297 to discuss how to deal with Andrew Moray. One participant was Sir William fitz Warin, constable of Urquhart Castle standing on the western shore of Loch Ness.Calendar of Documents, ed. J.Bain, vol.2, no.922, p.239.]

After the meeting Sir William fitz Warin returned to Urquhart Castle accompanied his escort of men-at-arms. A few miles to the south of Inverness, Sir William was ambushed by Andrew Moray and was fortunate to escape with his life to the safety of the loch-side stronghold. Next day, Sir William awoke to find his castle besieged by Moray, who demanded its surrender. The Countess of Ross unexpectedly arrived on the scene with her retinue. The countess, whose husband was held in the Tower of London, advised him to surrender. She did not move against Moray. Although her advice was ignored, the supplies she sent into the castle were welcomed warmly and her actions were later commended to King Edward by Sir William. Moray, with no heavy siege equipment available to him and having failed to take the castle in a night-attack, was forced to abandon seige. He left Sir William in possession of the castle to lick his wounds and send an account of this mêlee to his king.

King Edward fights back

Although Andrew Moray was thwarted by the walls of Urquhart Castle, he continued to prosecute a vigorous campaign against his enemies in Moray. Sir Reginald Cheyne's lands were wasted, goods despoiled and his castle at Duffus burned. It was subsequently reported to King Edward that Moray and [Documents Illustrative of Scotland, ed. Rev.J.Stevenson, vol.2, CCCCLVII, p.212.] cquote|"a very large body of rogues swept through the province of Moray towards the Spey, destroying the lands of Duffus, laid waste and captured the castle". Eventually, Cheyne was taken prisoner by Moray. Moray's camapign during the summer of 1297 bore fruit as he drew new supporters to his banner and English-held castles across Moray and northern Scotland fell to him. Eventually, even mighty Castle Urquhart fell to him.

Little of Moray's spectacularly successful campaign is recorded by history. Indeed, some of his deeds were apparently co-opted by Blind Hary and attributed to William Wallace. One such event was Wallace's attack on the port of Aberdeen, in which, according to Blind Hary, he burned English ships moored in the harbour. There is no evidence that Wallace actually ever attacked Aberdeen and it has been recognised that this deed should more properly be attributed to Andrew Moray. [Ferguson, William Wallace, p.38.]

King Edward I of England, whose attention was fixed on preparations for his impending campaign in Flanders, sought to deal with the threat posed by Andrew Moray by making use of loyal Scots nobles recently released from his prisons to serve in Flanders. The English king, in response to Sir William fitz Warin's description of the assault on his castle, issued orders on 11th June, 1297 to a number of Scots lords to raise their retinues. They were to march into the province of Moray to relieve fitz Warin and to restore royal authority. Amongst in receipt of the king's orders were Henry Cheyne, Bishop of Aberdeen, Sir Gartnait of Mar, heir to the earldom of Mar and whose father was currently held by King Edward in the Tower of London, and John Comyn, Earl of Buchan and Constable of Scotland, together with his brother, Alexander. The Comyn brothers were instructed by the king to remain in the north-east until all signs of the rebellion had been stamped out.

The relief column departed from Aberdeen sometime in early July 1297. When Andrew Moray learned of its advance against him, he marched east to confront it. The two forces met on the banks of the Spey at Enzie, where the road from Aberdeen to Inverness forded the waters of the River Spey, the eastern edge of the province of Moray. [Barron, Scottish War of Independence, p.50.] There is no surviving account of the meeting of the two forces, but it appears the meeting essentially replayed Moray's earlier 'dance' with the Countess of Ross. An extremely ambiguous account of events was subsequently sent from Inverness to King Edward by Bishop Cheyne on 25th August, [Documents Illustrative of Scotland, ed. Rev.J.Stevenson, vol.2, CCCCLVII, pp.211-3.] relates that after some discussion, Moray and his rebel-army withdrew into cquote|"very great stronghold of bog and wood" [where] "no horseman could be of service". This was a highly uninventive explanation when one considers the Comyn-family pacified the province of Moray in the early thirteenth-century. It appears more likely that neither side wished to fight mean that they did not consider their enemies and they simply went their separate ways.But if Bishop Cheyne thought he would be able to save face with this letter, he failed to reckon with Hugh de Cressingham, who was the most able and most energetic of the king's administrators. Cressingham, having seen this letter, wrote to the king on 5th August: cquote|"Sire, the peace on the other side of the Scottish Sea " [the Firth of Forth] " is still in obscurity, as it is said, as to the doings of the earls who are there". Cressingham clearly did not believe that the Scots lords tasked with dealing with Moray had done their duty and was especially dismissive of the account of confrontation at the Spey: [Documents Illustrative of Scotland, ed. Rev.J.Stevenson, vol.2, CCCCLXVII, pp.225-7.] cquote|"Sir Andrew de Rait is going to you with a credence, which he has shown to me, and which is false in many points ... you will give little weight to it". Cressingham had recognised the obvious double-game that many of the Scots nobles were playing.

While Andrew Moray seized control of northern Scotland and William Wallace rampaged through west-central Scotland, a rising led by Scotland's traditional feaudal leaders was taking place in the south of the realm. Amongst its leaders were James, the High Steward of Scotland, and Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow. Robert Bruce of Carrick, the future king, was also a participant in this rising. But in contrast with the vigour and aggression which characterised the risings of Moray and Wallace, this rising was feeble and it quickly collapsed, the participants surrendering at Irvine in July when an English army arrived in its vicinity

King Edward, having failed to deal with Moray by force of arms, now resorted to more subtle methods to neutralise him. The king proposed to release Sir Andrew Moray of Petty from imprisonment in the Tower to serve in Flanders, if his son was prepared to take his father's place as a hostage. A safe-conduct allowing Andrew the younger to come to England was issued under the king's seal on 28 August 1297. [Documents Illustrative of Scotland, ed. Rev.J.Stevenson, vol.2, CCCCLXVIII, pp.227-8.] It is not known if the letter and the accompanying safe-conduct ever reached Andrew Moray but, if it did, it was ignored and his father was forced to remain in the Tower.

The Battle of Stirling Bridge

By the late summer of 1297, King Edward possessed little authority over Scotland. The reality of the breakdown in royal control was described in a letter to the king from Cressingham: [Documents Illustrative of Scotland, ed. Rev. J.Stevenson, vol.2, CCCCLV, p.207.] cquote|"by far the greater part of your counties of the realm of Scotland are still unprovided with keepers, as [they have been killed or imprisoned] ; and some have given up their bailiwicks, and others neither will nor dare return; and in some counties the Scots have established and placed bailiffs and ministers, so that no county is in proper order, excepting Berwick and Roxburgh, and this only lately."

Of the castles north of the River Forth, only the castle of the port of Dundee remained in English hands and even it was under siege in early September 1297. King Edward’s authority over Scotland could only be reimposed by a full-scale armed invasion. Such an event would force Moray and Wallace to combine their individual forces into a single army, which it is believed they did sometime in the autumn of 1297.

King Edward's lieutenant in Scotland, the earl of Surrey, finally appears to have recognized the need to take decisive action late in the summer of 1297. He had done little to act against the rebels and was subsequently vilified by chroniclers for his indolence. One English chronicler, Walter of Guisborough, said of Surrey:cquote|"The earl [of Surrey] ... to whom our king committed the care and custody of the Kingdom of Scotland, because of the awful weather, said that he could not stay there and keep his health. He stayed in England, but in the northern part and sluggishly pursued the exiling [of the] enemy, which was the root of our later difficulty".Surrey mustered an army and marched into central Scotland. Moray and Wallace, hearing of his advance, marched to Stirling, where they waited for its arrival to the north of the River Forth close to the old bridge at Stirling and under the shadow of Stirling Castle.

Surrey's conduct of the ensuing battle, which was characterized by his arrogant and unimaginative adherence to chivalric convention, was inept and was easily outmanoeuvred and outfought by Moray and Wallace. He sent the vanguard of his army across the narrow bridge under the Scots’ gaze, who, rather than wait myopically for the entire army to cross the bridge and deploy for battle, struck when it was only partially deployed. In the ensuing carnage of the Battle of Stirling Bridge, Surrey's isolated vanguard was hacked to pieces. The remainder of his army was isolated on the southern bank, which soon they began to flee the scene. The flight was apparently led by Surrey, whose “"charger never once tasted food during the whole journey"” according to Walter of Guisborough.

The defeat of Surrey’s army at Battle of Stirling Bridge on 11th September 1297 represented the crowning moment of Andrew Moray’s rebellion. But Moray was not, of course, a talented soldier by accident. It is likely that the training that he received in his youth as he embarked on the path to knighthood would have laid special emphasis on equipping him with the skills to fulfil a leading role in the command of Scotland's feudal-host, such was his place in thirteenth-century Scottish society. It is no accident that he possessed the ability to direct large groups of soldiers and it is to him that much of the credit for the victory at Stirling Bridge should be assigned.

It is estimated that Surrey lost one hundred knights and five-thousand infantrymen in the slaughter at Sirling. [Fisher, William Wallace, p.55] The most notable English casualty was Cressingham, whose corpse was mutilated by the Scots. The Lanercost Chronicle records that Wallace had: [Chronicle of Lanercost, ed. H.Maxwell, vol.1, p.164.] cquote|"a broad strip [of Cressingham’s skin] ... taken from the head to the heel, to make therewith a baldrick for his sword" Another account of its fate was recorded in the chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft: [The Chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft, ed.T.Wright, vol.II, p.301.] cquote|"Hugh de Cressingham, not accustomed to the saddle, From his steed in its course fell under foot, His body was cut to pieces by the ribalds of Scotland, And his skin taken off in small thongs, As an insult to the king". Scottish casualties went largely unrecorded as the Scottish army was largely made up of humble infantry soldiers. There was, however, one irreplaceable loss on the Scottish side: Andrew Moray.


The death of Andrew Moray robbed Scotland of a gifted military leader at the time of great need. Moray's achievement in the summer of 1297 was immense, the importance of which is finally being recognised. One historian recently described Moray's actions in 1297 as "the greatest threat to the English government". [Brown, The Wars of Scotland, p.183.] If Moray had lived it is likely that, his position in Scottish feudal-society and his contribution to the campaign of 1297 would have meant, he, like Wallace, would have been knighted and appointed to the guardianship of the realm, a belief all but confirmed by the documents issued in his name after his death.

It is widely believed that Andrew Moray was only wounded in fighting at Stirling, dying sometime in the winter of 1297-98 of his wounds. This belief rests on circumstantial evidence drawn from the survival of two letters bearing his name. The first letter was sent from Haddington on 11 October to the mayors of Lübeck and Hamburg, two of the towns of the Hanseatic League, by: [Source Book of Scottish History, eds. W.C.Dickinson, G.Donaldson & I.A.Milne,. vol.1, pp.136-7.] "Andrew de Moray and William Wallace, leaders of the kingdom of Scotland and the community of the realm"." The second was issued to the prior of Hexham on 7 November by: [Stones, Anglo-Scottish Relations, no.26(a), p.155.] "Andrew de Moray and William Wallace, the leaders of the army and of the realm of Scotland"." The name of Andrew Moray does not appear on any other later document. It is, therefore, deduced that he must have succumbed to his wounds around this time. But this theory is undermined by the lack of any mention in English or Scottish chronicle-sources of Moray's presence at Hexham. Walter Guisborough's chronicle, which contains a detailed account of this invasion, makes it clear that it was led only by Wallace. It appears that these letters may have been issued in Moray's absence.

There is, however, firm evidence Andrew Moray was killed in the fighting or, at the very least, died in its aftermath. A formal inquisition into the affairs of Sir William Moray of Bothwell, who had died in poverty in England, was held in Berwick in November 1300. It was determined in these proceedings that Andrew Moray was: "slain at Stirling against the king." It seems unlikely that this was anything other than a reference to Moray's death at the battle.

Although Moray appears to have died in the battle, Wallace seems to have felt compelled to continue to issue documents jointly in the name of his deceased co-commander. Moray's death not only robbed him of a comrade, but also of a shield against the jealousies of the traditional Scottish feudal-elites. Moray was a blue-chip noble with connexions to the highest echelons of Scottish society; without him, Wallace, the former outlaw, was exposed to the political intrigues of nobles who felt he had usurped their right to exercise power. Wallace's continued association with the name of Andrew Moray, added a much-needed measure of political gravitas to his actions prior to his formal appointment to the guardianship of the realm. Only once Wallace was knighted and appointed as Guardian of Scotland some time prior to March 1298, did it become unnecessary to issue letters jointly with Moray. [Taylor, ‘History Scotland’ - Fighting for the Lion. September 2005.]

A combination of Andrew Moray's early death in battle and his close association with Wallace, a man who has become a near mythical figure in Scottish history due to the embellishment of his deeds by Henry the Minstrel in the advancement of the political aims of his patrons, has meant that Moray's spectacular achievements are little known in Scotland today. This was only exacerbated when he was not featured in the largely historically inaccurate Academy Award-winning film "Braveheart". While there are many statues to Wallace scattered across Scotland, from Aberdeen in the north-east to Dryburgh in the Scottish borders, there is nothing similar to commemorate the brief life and heroic exploits of Andrew Moray.

The name of Andrew Moray did not disappear from history. A few months after his death, his widow, whose identity is lost to us, bore him a son, also named Andrew. The child acceded to the lordships of Petty and Bothwell and played a decisive rôle in resisting the attempts of Edward III of England, grandson of the so-called 'Hammer of the Scots', to conquer Scotland in the 1330s. Sir Andrew would twice be regent for King David II, the son of King Robert I and would display a remarkably similar aptitude to that shown by his father for leading the armies of the kingdom of Scotland in the face of English aggression. And, like his father, he would also die prematurely in defence of the realm.

ee also

*The First War of Scottish Independence (1296-1306)
*Clan Murray
*History of Scotland
*Timeline of Scottish history
*Kildrummy Castle



* Barron, E. M., "The Scottish War of Independence", Second Edition. 1934;
* Barrow, G.W.S. "Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm", Second Edition, 1988;
* Barrow, G.W.S. "The Kingdom of the Scots", Second Edition, 2003;
* Brown, M., The Wars of Scotland 1214-1371, 2004;
* "Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland", Four Volumes, ed. J. Bain, 1881-1888;
* “A Source Book of Scottish History.” Three Volumes. Second Edition, eds. W. C. Dickson, G. Donaldson and I. A. Milne, 1958;
* "Documents Illustrative of Scotland 1286-1306," ed. Rev.J.Stevenson, 2 vols.1870;
* Ferguson, J, "William Wallace", ed T. Rymer, 1938;
* Fisher, A, "William Wallace", 1992;
* "Foedera, Conventiones, Litterae", ed T. Rymer, 1816;
* Oram, Richard, Ed., "The Kings and Queens of Scotland", Stroud, 2001;
* Oram, Richard, "David I: The King who made Scotland", Stroud, 2004;
* Prestwich, M., "Edward I", 1990;
* "The Chronicle of Lanercost 1272 - 1346", ed. H. Maxwell, 1913;
* "The Chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft", ed. T Wright, Two volumes. (1866-8).
* "The Chronicle of Walter of Guisborough", ed. H. Rothwell, 1957;
* "Chronicle of Holyrood", ed. M. A. Anderson, 1938;
* Anglo-Scottish Relations 1174-1328: Some Selected Documents, ed. E. L. G Stones, 1970;
* Taylor, J. G., "Fighting for the Lion: The Life of Andrew Moray", in History Scotland, Sept/October, 2005;
* Watson F. J., "Under the Hammer: Edward I and Scotland 1286-1306", 1998.

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