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Clash of Crowns (Hardback)

The Battle of Byland 1322: Robert the Bruce’s Forgotten Victory

Colour Books Military

By Harry Pearson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 16 colour illustrations, 104 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399035910
Published: 2nd May 2024


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The battle of Byland, on 14 October 1322, was a crucial battle in the Wars of Scottish Independence. This absorbing study from Harry Pearson sheds new light on one of the most overlooked battles in British history.

The area of the North York Moors National Park contains some of the most dramatic and scenic landscapes in the North of England, and none more so than the section of the Cleveland Way, which clings to the edge of the escarpment that marks the western boundary of the Hambleton Hills. On a clear day, the entire Vale of Mowbray can be seen. When visiting the area today it is hard to imagine thousands of English and Scottish troops engaged in bitter conflict there.

At first light on the morning of October 14th in 1322, the armies of two kings confronted each other over this same ground. The soldiers of King Edward II of England looked down from the heights at a force of several thousand men led by King Robert I 'the Bruce' of Scotland, as they deployed below Sutton Bank in the area around Gormire Lake, with thousands more approaching from the direction of Northallerton to the north-west.

Although a daunting sight for the English defenders, they no doubt had confidence in the strength of their seemingly impregnable position. The early morning air would have been thick with the call of shouted orders and war cries and the clamour of the readying of weapons, armour and harness as the Scots drew up into battle-formation, ready to attack up the steep, narrow, and heavily defended pass.

Complete with fresh research and over 100 images and maps, this new edition of Clash of Crowns tells the story of the ensuing battle, the dramatic circumstances which brought it about and the impact of the outcome on the history of the British Isles.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Clash of Crowns The Battle of Byland 1322: Robert the Bruce’s Forgotten Victory by Harry Pearson is a fantastic read of a history close to my heart being of County Durham, the Land of the Prince Bishops, also with a much under-reported history of the Wars of Scottish Independance.

Clash of Crowns describes the events leading up to, after and during the Battle of Byland, 14 October 1322 which was a crucial turning point in the wars for Scottish independance. The book is beautifully illustrated with detailed maps that enhance the already exhilarating experience of the account.

Well written, personable and intricately researched, this was an utterly fascinating read and highly recommended.

NetGalley, Ink Reads

Harry Pearson's Clash of Crowns covers a fascinating chapter in British history: the Battle of Byland in 1322.

This book is more than just a chronicle of the battle itself as Pearson provides a rich context for the conflict. He explores the tensions that led to the battle, and offers a nuanced take on the political landscape of the time. It is written in engaging and accessible language, painting a detailed picture of the combatants and their motivations.

Pearson's meticulous research, combined with his passion for the subject, makes Clash of Crowns an informative and thoroughly enjoyable read.

I highly recommend Clash of Crowns for anyone with an interest in medieval warfare or British history.

Anna Miller

About Harry Pearson

Harry Pearson volunteers with North York Moors National Park in a number of roles, and is a keen amateur historian. His other passions include shooting the traditional English longbow, writing poetry, and silversmithing.

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