Harrying of Buchan


Harrying of Buchan

The Harrying of Buchan "(aka. the Herschip [modern; hardship] or Rape of Buchan)" took place in 1308 during the Wars of Scottish Independence. It saw vast areas of Comyn ruled Buchan in the north-east of Scotland, burned to the ground by Robert the Bruce and his brother Edward, immediately following their May 1308 success at the Battle of Barra.

After defeat in battle; John Comyn, Earl of Buchan fled to England but until after Bruce's men had chased his as far as Turriffcitebook|url=http://www.quillnews.com/CullodenExcerpt.pdf|title=White Monkey – A Journey Upstream (REFERENCE ON PAGE 4 OF .PDF LINK, PAGE 126 IN ACTUAL BOOK)|author=R. Thomas Collins|date=2003|language=English|publisher=RavensYard Publishing Ltd. (Fairfax, Virginia, USA)|isbn=1-928928-07-2] , a distance of 16 miles (25 km). Before heading south to lay siege to Aberdeen Castle, the Bruces "destroyed by fire his whole Earldom of Buchan" including all the castles and strongholds, principally Rattray Castle and Dundarg Castle.

Savagely, Bruce's men proceeded to kill those loyal to the Comyns, destroying their homes, farms, crops and slaughtering their cattle. Terrorising the locals, Bruce prevented any possible chance of future violent hostility towards him and his men. The Comyns had ruled Buchan for nearly a century, from 1214, when William Comyn inherited the title from his wife. Such was the destruction however, the people of Buchan lost all loyalties to the Comyns and never again rose against Bruce's supporters.

It took thirty years before John Comyn's successor to the Earldom, Henry Beaumont made an appearance in the area. Between 1333-34 he repaired Dundarg Castle which Bruce had destroyed during the harrying, only for it to be laid siege to and destroyed by Andrew de Moray in winter 1336. Finding little support, he left after the siege to England where he died in 1340, his son John refused the Earldom, ending the Comyn lineage and the first creation, Mormaers of Buchan.

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