Balliol, Edward

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Balliol, Edward (c.1280–1364). Son of John Balliol, king of Scots, and himself titular king of Scots (1332–56). He had good prospects in youth, being betrothed in 1295 to the niece of the French king, and recognized as heir to the Scottish throne as late as 1301. But the Wars of Independence marginalized the Balliols, and after his father's death in 1313 Edward lived in obscurity in Picardy.

Edward III's coup in England (1330), and his distaste for the settlement with Robert I which Isabella and Mortimer had accepted in 1328, opened up new possibilities. There were others who had lost Scottish estates in the wars, and in 1331, Balliol returned to England and put himself at the head of a group of ‘disinherited’, who hoped to take advantage of the youth of David II. Landing at Kinghorn they were at first dramatically successful: after a victory at Dupplin Moor outside Perth (11 August 1332), Balliol was made king at Scone. By the end of the year, however, he had been forced to flee ignominiously to England. This provoked Edward III to intervene in person, defeating the Scots at Halidon Hill outside Berwick (19 July 1333), and reimposing Balliol as king. In 1334 Balliol had to pay the price, performing liege homage to Edward for his kingdom, and ceding much of southern Scotland to Edward III's direct rule.

There followed five years of devastating guerrilla warfare before Balliol's attempt was proven to have failed. Though he himself took part in several expeditions, he was evidently only the agent of Edward III, and for much of the time remained in England. However he did not abandon his claims, and after David II's capture at Neville's Cross (17 October 1346) even made moves to reassert his position; but to no avail. In 1356, disgusted with his prospects and burdened by age, he resigned his title to Edward III in return for a pension.

He has been slightingly treated by many Scottish historians, but he had little opportunity to reveal his abilities and there is no contemporary comment on his character.

Bruce Webster

Edward Balliol

views updated May 29 2018

Edward Balliol. See Balliol, Edward.

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Edward Balliol

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