On This Day in History
4 August 1327
Battle of Stanhope Park
The Battle of Stanhope Park, part of the First War of Scottish Independence, took place during the night of 3–4 August 1327. The Scots under James Douglas led a raid into Weardale, and Roger Mortimer, accompanied by the newly crowned Edward III on his first campaign, led an army to drive them back. Douglas led, among other ambushes, an attack into the English camp, with 500 cavalry, and almost captured the king.
The Scots had taken up a strong defensive position by the River Wear. The position was too strong for the English to attack but they attempted to get the Scots to fight by drawing up their army on level ground and inviting the Scots to fight and by skirmishing with men-at-arms and archers. Douglas sent them the message that they would stay where they were as long as they liked. This stand-off lasted for three days. On the night of 2–3 August, the Scots decamped overnight moving a short way to a better position within Stanhope Park proper. The English shifted camp to be nearer the Scots.
On the night of 3–4 August, Douglas led a night attack on the English camp. Douglas reached Edward III's tent which was collapsed with him inside and nearly captured the English king. Several hundred English were killed. The English were forced to keep constant improved watch after this. On the night of 6–7 August, the Scottish army quietly broke camp and headed back toward Scotland. The English did not pursue.