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The Great Raid of 1322.

Robert the Bruce and his Scottish army invaded England through Carlisle. Holm Cultram Abbey was plundered even though the Scottish King’s father was buried there. Homesteads were burnt and pillaged in Allerdale and Copeland. The army then crossed Duddon sands and arrived at Furness Abbey. Abbot John Cockerham, the twenty fourth abbot heard that Robert the Bruce was on his way and met him at the abbey where he paid him ransom money on condition that the Manor of Low Furness should not be plundered.

Initial Letter of Charter of Edward II to Carlisle 12th May 1316

Illustrating Warfare of the 14th Centuary

After spending the night at the abbey the King of the Scots and his army left Furness “They seized all the manufactured iron they could find and carried it off with the greatest of joy although so heavy of carriage  and preferred it to other plunder” (The Lanercost Chronicle).

Cartmel Priory was partly destroyed. Morecambe Bay was then crossed and Lancaster was attacked and looted before Preston was reached. The successful Scottish army returned home by way of Carlisle, reaching Scotland on 24 July with great booty and many prisoners.  

 As a result of the Great Raid, much hardship was caused in Furness. Before this invasion most of the parishes in the area had paid quite respectable sums of money towards the building of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome ( Peter’s Pence), But  20 years after the Great Raid, parishioners could barely afford to scrape together a few pounds to send to Rome. .


Peter’s Pence before the Great Raid                             After the Great Raid

Dalton sent £8                                                          Dalton sent £2

Aldingham sent £53.6s.8d.                                        Aldingham sent £!0

Pennington sent £5..6s.8                                           Pennington sent £2.6s.8d.

The Scots had destroyed crops, as well as houses and famine and disease spread through the land.

A legend claims that the Mater Dolorosa ( Mother of Sorrows), on the tower of Urswick Church, commemorates the people who were killed in the Great Raid. (see below).

Sources: The Chronicle of Lancercost.

The Furness Collection, Cumbria Record Office has a document entitled the

Inquisition of the Wapentake of Lonsdale, 18th January 1341, illustrating the raid of Robert the Bruce to Furness and Lonsdale in 1322.( Z 24/2) Furness Collection.

Many castles were built as a direct result of the Scottish wars; these strong crenellated stone buildings provided a refuge against sudden attacks by the Scots. The walls varied in thickness from three to ten feet. The roof was normally flat so that arrows could be fired at the raiders.