On 13 July 1174, in the midst of the Revolt of 1173-74, King William of Scotland charged English troops at the Battle of Alnwick, shouting: “Now we shall see which of us are good knights!”
He was almost immediately captured.
William was taken in chains first to Newcastle, then to Northampton, and finally sent to Falaise in Normandy while Henry II of England sent troops to occupy Scotland. In order to regain his kingdom, William had to sign the Treaty of Falaise, a harsh document that acknowledged William as his feudal superior and forced the Scots to pay for the English occupation of their own country through increased taxes. It also gave Henry the right to choose William’s wife. The lucky lady was Ermengarde de Beaumont, a granddaughter of Henry I of England, whom William married at Woodstock Palace in 1186. Although the marriage was not deemed a success, they did have four children together, including the future Alexander II of Scotland. Edinburgh Castle was her dowry.
The harsh terms of the treaty triggered at least one revolt, in Galloway, which ended in 1186 and prompted the construction of a castle at Dumfries.
The Treaty remained in place for 15 years. Then, Richard the Lionheart agreed to terminate it in return for 10,000 silver marks to help finance his participation in the Third Crusade. The Scots duly paid up and regained their independence, but relations with England remained…tense, to say the least. And it mostly could have been avoided if William had exercised just a little sense in battle.