Greatest of the Anglo-Irish nobles, Richard de Burgh was a loyal friend of Edward the First and regularly supported him in his obsessive campaign against the Scots.
In one of life’s great ironies, his daughter Elizabeth became the wife of his enemy, Robert the Bruce. It was most likely De Burgh’s relationship with Edward that saved Elizabeth from much worse when she was betrayed into capture in 1306. She was held prisoner until released after Bannockburn, in exchange for noted English Lords and knights.
After the death of Edward I in 1307, De Burgh continued to support the English cause against his son-in-law, answering the call from Edward II, once more bringing an Irish army to join the campaign to relieve Stirling Castle.
It was he who recognised that Bannockburn was going badly wrong for the invaders and seeing the possibility of Edward’s death or capture, hastened the English king from the battlefield. Aided by Aymer de Valance, the second Earl of Pembroke, they tried first for the protection of Stirling Castle but Sir Philip Mowbray was clear he would be surrendering the castle to The Scots. They then sped south, reportedly crossing the border into England while the train of their abandoned army was still filing out of Falkirk, some 15 miles from the scene of devastation.