Andrew de Moray – A Fleeting Glimpse At A Hero
©Diana Cosby 2015
The Battle of Stirling Bridge evokes images of William Wallace, a man of firm beliefs, and a warrior who inspired both commoner and noble to raise their sword for Scotland’s cause. But in this era of shifting loyalties and political subterfuge, I believe it’s important to recognize another warrior whose tactical expertise and intelligence made a significant impact in Scotland’s fight for freedom — Andrew de Moray.
Born to one of Scotland’s greatest houses in the province of Moray, Andrew de Moray would have studied in Europe, his knowledge of military tactics learned from Swiss mercenaries. In the spring of 1297, recently married, and a man who despised King Edward’s illegal occupancy of Scotland, de Moray escaped his imprisonment at Chester Castle. With his father and uncle locked in the Tower of London, and a man greatly influenced by his uncle, David de Moravia, parson of Bothwell and one of the most ardent patriots of his time, it is easy to understand why upon his return to Avoch Castle Andrew de Moray raised the standard of revolt.
Frustrated by the choke hold of the English, with de Moray’s stand, many Scots, including Alexander Pilche, burgess of Inverness, cast away any semblance of allegiance to King Edward I and joined de Moray. Though de Moray’s initial assault upon Urquart Castle failed, he demonstrated the enormity of his threat as he led his growing army north to Ross. A cunning strategist, he divided his troops, placing half beneath Alexander Pilche’s command. Their combined efforts allowed them to harass English forces with destroying precision, capture weaponry and ultimately, Boharme Castle, a strategic stronghold that severed the northeast in two. With this major victory, de Moray pushed on to seize numerous strongholds including Urquart Castle.
Focused on his upcoming military campaign in Flanders, at news of Andrew de Moray’s uprising, King Edward I sent a message to Scottish nobles whom he’d freed in return for their joining his fight in Flanders to now find and squelch Andrew de Moray’s rebellion. Though John Comyn, Earl of Buchan, agreed, neither could England’s king dismiss that the Comyn’s were major contenders along with Robert Bruce to become the Scottish king, nor overlook Comyn’s blood tie to Andrew de Moray. Factors that in the end swayed Comyn to step back and see if de Moray would be the victor.
In this time of upheaval it is crucial to note the importance of the Guardians of Scotland, in specific, the role of the Bishop Wishart. A powerful man, Bishop Wishart utilized every available option to ensure Scotland’s freedom. With the long-reaching power of the church, Wishart’s connection with Andrew de Moray’s uncle David de Moravia, parson of Bothwell who would later become the Bishop of Moray, it is easy to understand how Andrew de Moray’s actions were guided by more than by his patriotism to Scotland, but by Wishart’s hand.
On 7 July 1297, when outnumbered, the Bishop Wishart, Robert Bruce and Sir William Douglas surrendered to Sir Henry de Percy. Though a blow to the Scots in their fight for independence, battle plans were already in motion; de Moray was en route to join Wallace to keep the English forces from reaching Stirling Castle.
With continued troublesome reports of Andrew de Moray, before sailing to Flanders, King Edward I employed an often used military tactic to stop de Moray’s interference. The king offered de Moray’s father, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London, freedom — if he agreed to fight with him in Flanders, and if his son, Andrew de Moray, replaced him as a hostage in the tower of London. De Moray’s father agreed. King Edward I’s letter of safe conduct and the personal letter from de Moray’s father were sent to de Moray, but not until after King Edward I had departed for Flanders. It is unknown if the offer ever reached Andrew de Moray’s hands. If so, de Moray’s future decisions proclaimed his reply.
On 11 September 1297, John de Warenne, the Governor of Scotland, and Hugh de Cressingham, the Treasurer of Scotland, readied their army on the south side of the Forth. Though both de Moray and Wallace stood before their men that day, it was the tactical expertise of de Moray which led the Scottish force, a strategist whose campaign in Moray built and swept south to create this defining moment in Scottish history. Andrew de Moray, having ordered the simple timber construction of Stirling Bridge weakened, waited until enough attacking infantry and knights had crossed, then he and Wallace gave the order for their spearmen to cut the English army in two. Without room to maneuver, the English were massacred. De Warenne fled for his life, but Cressingham was killed.
Tragically, amidst the fighting, Andrew de Moray was gravely wounded. Some believe he died on the battle field. Proof he not only survived, but played an active role in Scotland’s continued fight for freedom is confirmed by de Moray’s signature in several documents, including the letter written at Haddington on October 11th, and as his status dictated before Wallace’s, “Andrew de Moray and William Wallace, leaders of the army of the realm of Scotland.” Most likely, after the Battle of Stirling Bridge, de Moray was brought to Cumbuskenneth Abbey or farther north to be treated and recover. The last time his name appears on a document is November 7th, indicating that soon after, he succumbed to his injuries.
Andrew de Moray may have walked but months in the scope of Scotland’s history, but his steps were those of a brilliant leader, a skilled warrior who drew thousands to Scotland’s cause, and a champion who alongside another great man, William Wallace, overcame overwhelming odds and won the Battle of Stirling Bridge, forever changing the course of Scotland’s history.
The Scottish War of Independence by Evan Macleod Barron
Robert Bruce & The Community of The Realm of Scotland by Geoffrey W.S. Barrow
About the Author
A retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series are translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.
After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. With the release of her first two books in her new Scottish medieval The Oath Trilogy, An Oath Taken and An Oath Broken, both which hit bestseller lists in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as the release of the e Box Set of the MacGruder Brothers series, she is now preparing for the release of the last book in The Oath trilogy, An Oath Sworn on 23 December, 2015!
Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.
An Oath Sworn
Colyne MacKerran is on a mission for his king, and he’s well aware that spies are lying in wait for him everywhere. Wounded en route, he escapes his attackers and is aided by an alluring Frenchwoman…whose explanation for her presence in the Highlands rings false. Even if she saved his life, he cannot trust her with his secrets. But he won’t leave her to the mercy of brigands, either—and as they race for the coast, he can’t help but wonder if her kiss is as passionate as she is.
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“Who is he?” Colyne MacKerran asked.
He far from understood the importance of the question he asked. “What does it matter who it is or the reason his men are searching for me?”
Colyne shot her a wry grin. “If I am going to risk my life escorting you, I need to know what I am up against.”
Hope stumbled through Lady Marie Alesia Serouge. “You will escort me?
The Scot held up his hand, any trace of humor gone. “To my friend’s home as I offered before. Nay more. Once you are in safe hands, I must go. I have my own business to attend to.”
Colyne’s reaction to the knights who’d ridden by flickered in her mind.
Uneasy, she cleared her throat. “You believed the men were after you?”
His expression grew shuttered.
Marie tensed. Was this Scot a threat? She didn’t want to believe she’d miscalculated to such a degree. But if she was wrong . . .
Long seconds passed as he stared at her, his deep gaze assessing. “Aye, they are.”
“Why?” she asked.
A grim smile touched his mouth. “Well now, lass, I have my own reasons. Ones I will nae be sharing. And,” he paused, “you will have to trust me as well.”
My sincere thanks for share my article about Andrew de Moray on your blog. He was an amazing leader, and I truly hope one day he receives the recognition he deserves. Though de Moray’s influence during Scotland’s fight for Independence lasted but a brief time, his decisions were those that helped change the course of Scotland’s history.
Fascinating information Diana! I’m always moved by the stories of those who fought for freedom. Each and everyone no matter where they lived in their little segment of history moved our world closer to the freedoms we enjoy now. I just pray that there will always be those who defend and protect us!
Thank you for your stopping by and your kind words. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. Andrew de Moray made a significant difference in Scotland’s freedom, and I believe he deserves greater recognition. I, too, pray that there will always be those to defend and protect us. Take care, and I wish you the best!
Diana Cosby, AGC(AW), USN, Ret.