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What if Edward II had been as good as his son or father?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
    Bill,

    I am not sure how to break this to you, but Scotland, especially around the border with England was well populated until the Landlords found out raising sheep instead of family retainers was more profitable! Both sides had quite respectable populations. Yorkshire in particular was well populated until Cromwell went through it.

    I would suggest you read a good book on the Border region. It is called: "The Steel Bonnets", by George Mcdonald Fraser. You will find out why the English tended to invade by certain areas.

    By the way, during the later periods, many leading Scottish Lowland Families were receiving money from English government sources. That was one reason when English Armies invaded, these families often rode north with them!

    Pruitt
    Hmm we may be niggling here. Scotland on the eastern border, the area we call "The Borders" with towns such as Gala, Melrose, Jedburgh and Hawick were very well populated as you say as evidenced by the huge number of wealthy abbeys, the remains of which still litter the landscape, but as Frazer loves to point out, it was larely populated by Rievers and untamables like the Armstrongs, NIxon et al and a dangerous and / or expensive place to travel through. From The border down into England the land was pretty poor and undeveloped until after Durham and that was quite isolated until you reach Yorkshire. Two hours drive today on the A1 but a long cold hungry march in the middle ages with few ports for seaborne support.

    The barren area I refer to betwen Scotland and England was clear enough to stop the plague for a year on two occassions, so it must have been significant. This gave the need for an English springboard to invade Scotand hence the siezure of Berwick which is in England but has a strange positon vis a vis Scotland.
    What would Occam say?

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    • #17
      what if he was a good leader then the leaders after him actualy conquered France?

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      • #18
        England could possibly have conquored what we now call France and possibly held large areas for even longer than they did, but I doubt that they could have held it for long enough for it to have been meaningful to today - France existed because it had to exist and it would have shaken off an English yoke at some point, then expanded to fill its "natural boundaries".
        What would Occam say?

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        • #19
          The irrepressible Scots!

          Both Pruitt and Billscottmorri make these compelling and profound points concerning the blood-drenched and tumultuous Scottish Lowlands of the late 13th-mid 14th centuries. Though Pruitt was rather more accurate in his assertion that the Lowlands were very well populated, as they were filled with dozens if not hundreds of small villages that were always teeming with life while being terribly over-crowded and over-flowing.

          It's also true that the Scottish Lowlands of the late Middle Ages, if my memory serves me correct, had one of the highest population rates per square mile in all of Europe, as it was composed of these many overflowing, brawling towns where privacy was this rare luxury. Kudos to the late and magnificent social historian James Leyburn for providing that piece of info.

          I also know---to reinforce Pruitt on this particular point---that the Lowlands of that period was covered with these vast and teeming forests and these beautiful, lush green valleys---(I should know, for I've been to the Scottish Lowlands twice!!!)---that would time and again prove tactically, and strategically, advantageous for the Scottish rebels, like William Wallace, who could launch raid after raid into the invading English Army's supply trains and into their various reconnaisance parties.

          For the Lowlands were no where near as barren nor as desolate as Billscottmorri depicted them as, and I believe that there were more gleaming valleys and golden hued farmland than there was moorland, at least in the Southwestern part of the Lowlands.

          Yet as Billscottmorri earlier pointed out, it would've been near impossible for the English---if they had been victorious at the Battle of Bannockburn---to hold down and thoroughly pacifiy the wild and untamable Scottish Lowlands, for such a task would prove exceedingly formidable indeed! Not even the redoubtable and ruthless Henry the 8th, through his so called "rough wooing!" could fully accomplish that particular task of permanently subduing the Lowland Scots!

          For the various, periodically interconnected tribes of the Scottish Lowlands were way too fearsome, defiant and irrepressible, were invariably fighting for their very freedoms, and, if defeated on the battlefield, they were unbeatable in spirit. Also, when measured as a whole, those Scottish Lowlanders---(whose descendants would go on to shape and largely define the very social, cultural and political landscape of modern day America!)---were of this indomitable disposition that no force on Earth could break.

          So if Edward the 2nd had been as capable, ruthless, efficient, combat-tested and strategically savvy as both his Father and son I still strongly doubt that he would have been able to fully conquer the Scottish Lowlands because as a whole (with some few rare exceptions) the inhabitants of that region were impossible to subdue, savage as hell, always free in spirit, and way too resilient to hold down and effectively cow. For they were directly descended from the Picts, the Irish Gaels, other Celtic tribes and the Germanic Angles, most of whom not even the Romans could totally and decisively subjugate. Even all three Edwards combined would have had an extremely difficult time trying to conquer the turbulent Lowlands!

          For an indispensable and invaluable source of info and facts concerning the Scottish Lowlanders and their rather complex, often direct, sometimes subtle and in many ways multi-faceted impact upon the evolution of American culture than I would recommend James Webb's spectacular and rivetting book "Born Fighting---On how the Scots-Irish shaped America." It's a great and fascinating read, as it's filled with these compelling facts, figures, personal anecdotes and other truly interesting references that will both thrill and inform the reader from page one to the last chapter. It's a must read, for Senator Webb's beautiful and flowing prose is 2nd to none!!!
          Last edited by Taylor Ahern; 05 Sep 08, 20:18.

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          • #20
            Let me clarify my point on this barren wasteland business. The barren bit is mostly in ENGLAND from a line in Yorkshire across to mid Lankashire up to and beyond the border with Durham being an isolted exception. Hexam, Chester-le-Street and all those places were small scale communites with little abilty to support a passing army.

            Over the border into God's own country there was little in the west south of Lanark although the east was densly populated right down to Berwick so the barren bit was, and still is along the path of Hadrian's wall, on the southern side and on the Scottish side too with the exception of the eastern end from around Coldstream to Berwick.

            To get to the rich bits like Roxburghshire and the biggish towns like Melrose, Jedburgh etc, you had to cross the reiver's land which was no small barrier in itself using calling or hefty bribes to get past.

            Central Scotland, and the Southern Uplands had many large burghs like Lanark and Linthigow which were reasonably large and prosperous, but fairly poor in relation to their equivalents in the low countries and the southern German principalities.

            Moving up through England an invading army could easilly be supplied locally, but after Yorkshire it had a long cold lonely treck until Berwick and the good looting territory in Scotland's central lowlands
            What would Occam say?

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            • #21
              Originally posted by billscottmorri View Post
              Let me clarify my point on this barren wasteland business. The barren bit is mostly in ENGLAND from a line in Yorkshire across to mid Lankashire up to and beyond the border with Durham being an isolted exception. Hexam, Chester-le-Street and all those places were small scale communites with little abilty to support a passing army.

              Over the border into God's own country there was little in the west south of Lanark although the east was densly populated right down to Berwick so the barren bit was, and still is along the path of Hadrian's wall, on the southern side and on the Scottish side too with the exception of the eastern end from around Coldstream to Berwick.

              To get to the rich bits like Roxburghshire and the biggish towns like Melrose, Jedburgh etc, you had to cross the reiver's land which was no small barrier in itself using calling or hefty bribes to get past.

              Central Scotland, and the Southern Uplands had many large burghs like Lanark and Linthigow which were reasonably large and prosperous, but fairly poor in relation to their equivalents in the low countries and the southern German principalities.

              Moving up through England an invading army could easilly be supplied locally, but after Yorkshire it had a long cold lonely treck until Berwick and the good looting territory in Scotland's central lowlands

              And yet numerous Endlish armies went north over the centuries with out supply problems.

              If you look at the English side of the border you will see numerous large castles, e.g.Warkworth, Alnwick etc. These are proper military castles not your French (or Scottish) fortified houses. In addition the Marcher Lords maintained standing armies for the defence of the border. The lord's who controlled the border were to become the power brokers during the Wars of the Roses. The border region of England would already be militarised even before a campagin started.

              Thus on the English side of the border there would be little problem in keeping an army in the field.

              http://www.touruk.co.uk/castles/castle_bamburgh.htm
              Last edited by Surrey; 06 Sep 08, 14:54.
              "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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              • #22
                Bill,

                Yorkshire used to densely populated and the vegetation was different. A guy named Oliver Cromwell got in his head that there was a lot of Royalists in Yorkshire and he cleaned them out in the name of God! Once again they cut down the timber and started raising sheep in formerly heavily populated areas. Like in the Amazon, once you remove the timber, the micro-climate changes a bit and different vegetation takes over.

                There is an excellent reason why the British Army had more Regiments raised in Yorkshire than any other county! There were enough people and they tended to like military life. The Border region of England and Scotland depopulated because the economy, which was based on border warfare, collapsed and many emigrated. A similar effect was had in the Highlands, but the Highland Regiments had to switch over to recruiting in the large towns to survive.

                Pruitt
                Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                • #23
                  This thread is certainly going off in some interesting directions! Some ripostes:

                  English armies tramped up the country to invade Jockland as reguarly as a train service but not without supply issues, once they reached the but I keep referring to as a barren barrier (north of Durham fo trhe sake of argument) they had issues thus making the taking of Berwick essential since land supply from from further south or supply from local sources was a real problem.

                  In evidence I would point to the failure of the plague to leap the border for a full season on two occassions pointing to a gap in population and trade.

                  Yorkshire makes a great place to put the miltary for a few reasons. Many of the army establishments were set up during Wellington's day and he made a strong point of having the army out of sight and out of mind of London. Land was very cheap because there were very large areas of empty space compared to the rich southern English counties.

                  The bit around Hardian's wall was a wind blasted heath in Hadrian's time, it was sheep territory for centuries and it is pretty empty now and during Edward ll's day it would have been a lot less comfortable to yomp around in than Brugandy which I think was the option to English kings of the time.

                  Anyway, I have seen Braveheart twice, know all the verses of Flower of Scotland and have booed Jimmy Hill so I am highly qualified as an expert in this area.
                  What would Occam say?

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                  • #24
                    There were always significant number of English troops in the border region. Since the time of William I the Marcher Lords had been assigned to defend the border regions. These barons were able to raise significant forces locally, sufficent to repel Scottish invasions on a number of occsions without recourse to reinforcement from the south. Further as I previously stated there were sufficient rescources in the north of England to allow the Marcher Lords - Percy's and Nevilles spring to mind - to decide who ruled England in the c15th.
                    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                    • #25
                      Further to the premise that invading Scotland from England was a significant logistical challenge due to the relative lack of resources and population in the north of England and the western Scottish border, I have picked a couple of sample sources in support. The first is one of the first books I read about Bannockburn, written by and for English in the 19th century and taken liberally from Foisart

                      The country through which they marched would afford insufficient support and accommodation for such a multitude ; and they were accompanied with a vast train of provision-wagons and of carriages and horses laden with tents and pavilions
                      The Popular History of England, Charkes Knight, p 432, published 1856

                      The second is from the excellent Osprey book.

                      An immense amount of food and equipment was brought north by sea and, as the English had no securesupply bases left in Scotland, a hiuge wagon train was assembled to cast the army’s supplies overland. Everything needed for the campaign had to be stockpiled and transported…
                      Bannockburn 1314, Armstrong & Turner Osprey 2002

                      Given that English armies could and did live off the land in their many adventures in France, trundling up the path of A1 was a bit of poor option once past the coastal eastern midlands / south Yorkshire coast. Crossing the last northern stretch of England or the western Scottish border areas of Dumfries and Galloway was no easy feat. Edward ll's month long halt at Berwick does imply a respite and regrouping after difficult task.

                      This is an exellent thread by the way. Congratulations to all contributors.
                      What would Occam say?

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                        Edward II's father Edward I was a great warrior king, fighting in the Crusades, defeating the rebel Simon de Monfort, conqueror of Wales and Hammer of the Scots.
                        Edward II's son Edward III crushed the much larger French army at Crecy, defeated the large French fleet at Sluys, his armies roamed through Scotland at will, defeated the Spanish as well as defeating the French even when outnumbered by seemingly absurd odds.

                        Yet Edward II was an effeminete weakling, unable to control his army and defeated at Bannockburn, overthrown by his wife and her lover and ultimately despatched with a red hot poker up the posterior.


                        But what if Edward II had been more like Edward III or I? Would the conquest of Scotland have been completed? Would the 100 years war have started a generation earlier when the French usurped Edward's son's claim to the French thrown?
                        Edward II seems to be the right king at the wrong time. Fond of boating, fishing and swimming he did make a bad choice of a favourite, but would have been as good as any of the Georges for example. And better than the 3rd probably.

                        The poker bit does not appear in any gossip until much later. First reports say he was starved the smothered with a mattress iirc.
                        How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                        Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                        • #27
                          What kind of person has the imagination to think up that poker thing?
                          What would Occam say?

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by billscottmorri View Post
                            What kind of person has the imagination to think up that poker thing?
                            There are plenty out there, even today .

                            However, go to this site for more basic info surrounding his death.

                            http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1688677
                            How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                            Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                            • #29
                              There is one chain of thought that Edward II survived and went into exile after Mortimer's execution. This is the theory put forward in 'The Perfect King' by Ian Mortimer
                              "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                              • #30
                                Ian Mortimer any relation to the executed Mortimer?
                                How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                                Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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