The Battle of Byland – King Robert’s forgotten victory

On 14 October 1322, a Scottish army commanded by King Robert the Bruce won a spectacular victory on the heights of Sutton Bank in North Yorkshire, overwhelming their English foes, who thought by commanding the high ground that they would be impregnable from attack. Instead, the Scots outflanked the English and their cavalry, under the command of Walter Stewart, and almost captured King Edward II at his headquarters at Rievaulx Abbey.

Byland was the final victory in the field for King Robert. The war of indepenrobdence dragged on for a few more years until his kingship was confirmed in 1328.

Seven hundred years later, the North York Moors National Park has installed a memorial cairn and a new trail to mark the battle. Author Harry Pearson, who has written an account of the battle, was joined by Adam Bruce, acting for his father, the Earl of Elgin, chief of the Bruce family, to unveil the memorial.