'There is an awful unanimity of testimony to the merciless use made of the victory. The writer who knew best of all describes the King as rabid, like a boar infested with the hounds, and issuing the order to spare none; and tells how the citizens fell like the leaves in autumn, until there was not one of the Scots who could not escape left alive, and he rejoices over their fate as a just judgment for their wickedness.'
The gallantry of the Flemings in defence of their Red Hall only ensured their destruction. 'Thus it was on the community among whom the protection of the Lord Superior was first sought that his vengeance first fell.' Berwick, 'the great city of merchant princes,' a 'second Alexandria,' was reduced to a common market-town. 'Such a massacre,' says Pearson, 'had not been witnessed within the four seas since the ravage of the North by the Conqueror. From this time a sea of blood lay between the English King and his Scottish dominion.' The castle was surrendered the same day by Sir William Douglas, on guarantee of the lives of the garrison. Edward remained at Berwick nearly a month, actively refortifying the town.
It was in Berwick Castle, on April 5, that Edward received John's formal renunciation. John bluntly complained that he had been vexatiously cited to England at the trifling instance of anybody and everybody; that, without fault on his part, Edward had taken possession of his and his subjects' castles, lands, and possessions within his kingdom of Scotland; that Edward had taken his and his subjects' goods by land and sea, and resetted them in England; that Edward had killed merchants and other inhabitants of his kingdom; that Edward had forcibly carried off subjects of his from Scotland, and detained them in prison in England; that Edward had paid no heed to his representations; and that Edward had publicly summoned his army, and had now come with 'an innumerable multitude of armed men' to strip him and his subjects of their inheritance, and had approached with hostile intent the boundaries of his kingdom—nay, had crossed them, and had committed atrocities of slaughter, arson, and violence by land and sea. John therefore resigned fealty and homage on behalf of himself and all others of his realm that might adhere to him. 'Has the felon fool done such a silly thing?' the King is said to have exclaimed. 'If he will not come to us, we will go to him.' But it is far from apparent why Edward should have manifested any such surprise.
On March 26, while Edward lay at Wark, a large body of Scots, under Comyn, Earl of Buchan, made a foray from Annandale into Cumberland, assaulting Carlisle (where Bruce of Annandale was governor), and burning a large part of the city. On April 8, too, a foray was made by the same body from Jedburgh into Northumberland, wasting Coquetdale and Redesdale, and burning Corbridge, Hexham, and Lanercost. These expeditions were futile and inglorious efforts of retaliation. The troops returned to Jedburgh, and then took possession of Dunbar Castle, to reduce which Edward despatched a strong force under Warenne. The governor of the castle, Sir Richard Siward, agreed with Warenne to surrender unless relieved within three days. On the morning of the third day, Balliol's army came in sight, and, mistaking an irregularity of movement of the English troops for a retreat, rushed upon them from a stronger position, and was defeated, with fearful slaughter. Barons and squires crowded for refuge in the castle; Sir Patrick de Graham, whose fruitless valour extorted the unanimous admiration of Englishmen, died sword in hand. The castle surrendered next day to Edward himself, who consigned the flower of the fighting strength of Scotland to a score of castles in England and Wales. There is much reason to doubt whether Siward did not prove a traitor; and it looks as if the Scots nobles were entirely ignorant of his agreement for surrender.
Scotland lay prostrate before the invader. Having appointed constables of the eastern border castles, Edward marched on Edinburgh, which surrendered after an eight days' siege. At Stirling he encountered no opposition: all had fled. Yet the record of the gaol delivery at Stirling on June 19 affords an interesting glimpse of the spirit of resistance. Thomas, the chaplain of Edinburgh, who was charged with publicly excommunicating the King with bell and candle, confessed frankly that he did so in the King's despite; and Richard Gulle, charged with ringing the bell, likewise confessed. Both culprits were, by order of Edward, delivered to the Archdeacon of Lothian.
On July 7, in the churchyard of Stracathro, John renounced his treaty with the King of France. And on July 10, in Brechin Castle, he formally resigned his kingdom and people, with his royal seal, to the Bishop of Durham, on behalf of the King of England. There was an end of 'Toom Tabard' as King of Scotland. He was kept in England at Hertford, the Tower, and elsewhere, till July 18, 1299, when he was delivered by Sir Robert de Burghersh, Constable of Dover, to the Papal Nuncio, Reynaud, Bishop of Vincenza, at Wissant in France, 'for disposal by his Holiness.' He lived to hear of the decisive victory of Bannockburn.
From the middle of March onwards to autumn, homage and fealty were performed up and down Scotland to Edward and his representatives. Edward himself passed north to Elgin, and after a triumphal progress of twenty-one weeks returned to Berwick on August 22. He appointed John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey and Sussex, Governor of Scotland; Sir Hugh de Cressingham, Treasurer; and Sir William de Ormsby, Justiciar. He committed the subordinate wardenships, castles, and sheriffdoms to English officers. He made arrangements for the establishment of a new Treasury at Berwick, on the model of the Treasury at Westminster. He broke in pieces the ancient Great Seal of Scotland, and substituted a new seal. He had enforced his 'property and possession' of the realm of Scotland. Yet he left behind him the active germs of retribution.
Among Edward's spoliations were two notable national possessions. One was the Black or Holy Rood, 'a certified fragment of the true Cross preserved in a shrine of gold or silver gilt.' It had been brought over by St. Margaret, who left it as a sacred legacy to her descendants and their realm. The other, an even more honoured possession, was the Stone of Destiny—'the palladium of Scotland.' It was reputed to have been Jacob's pillow what time he saw the vision of the angels ascending and descending the ladder, and to have been brought to Scotland by the eponymous Scota the daughter of Pharaoh. It was enshrined in the coronation chair of the Kings of Scotland. Edward had it similarly enshrined in a chair that became the coronation throne of the Kings of England. His superstition might have been overawed by the prophetic couplet—Boece says inscription—