Battles and Sieges

Raid on Dumfries

Raid on Dumfries, 22nd May 1482

Raids along the Anglo-Scottish border had been increasing in intensity from 1480 onwards. The earl of Angus had raided into England, assaulting Bamburgh Castle. In response, the Earl of Northumberland had marched across the border into Scotland. In early 1482 the Scots raided into the West March, an area for which the Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III, held responsibility.

The duke’s response was to plan a large scale raid across the border. On 14th May 1482 Richard wrote to the City of York and other towns asking for defensibly arrayed men to attend to him at Carlisle. Several hundred horsemen responded to his call to arms. On 22nd May, they crossed the border into Scotland. The defence of the borders made use of a beacon system, so as Richard’s force passed Annan Hill, warning fires were lit. This enabled the removal of animals and some goods to the hills but did little to save the town of Dumfries or other villages.

The Cely Letters refer to the raid. They say that 44 towns and villages, including Dumfries, were burnt. Edward Hall also refers to the raid, saying 6o towns and villages but not separating out this raid from the invasion that took place via the East March later in the year.

The riders who had travelled to join the raiding party from York had returned by 29th May. The raid had been swift and intent on reprisals. It took place as negotiations were taking place in the south that led to the Treaty of Fotheringay and the subsequent Invasion of Scotland which began in July of 1482.

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