The advance

The English army marched some 13 miles north to Myton, close to Boroughbridge, where they now knew from a captured spy that the enemy were camped. The Scottish army probably chose a location on the Ure and west of the Swale so that these two substantial rivers would have given them protection from surprise attack from the south and east. With just a small number of guards posted at the bridges at Boroughbridge and Myton, and any nearby fords, they would then have forewarning of an enemy advance.

As with any inexperienced force, even where it significantly outnumbered the enemy, if it was facing battle hardened troops then one of its best chances was to advance by stealth and to catch the enemy unawares. This was the tactic that the English army attempted at Myton. They appear to have advanced by the quickest route, that leading from York along the east side of the river Ure, which was a major route in the 14th century passing less than 2 miles to the east of Myton. Several sources actually state that the English advance quietly through the fields, rather than in battle array, in an attempt to achieve surprise.

The English army then crossed the river Swale, over Myton bridge, to engage the enemy. The Scots are usually considered to have been deployed less than a mile to the west of the river, around the present Clott Hill Farm. However it seems more likely that they were a considerable distance further to the west, otherwise it is difficult to see how the English were allowed an unopposed crossing of the Swale, a manoeuvre that would have taken a considerable time for such a large force, even if this was a substantial medieval bridge.


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