Born 1231, John de Warenne, the sixth Earl of Surrey, was one of the more important English noblemen who featured in the First Scottish War of Independence, which started in 1296. Born into a prominent English family his early life was blighted by the deaths of both his father and mother by the time he was eight years old.
Following this, the young de Warenne was made a ward of the royal court and had a guardian appointed to safeguard his interests. He was later to marry Henry III’s half-sister.
During The Second Barons War, de Warenne changed sides on a number of occasions, which was not uncommon in medieval times, but finally settled on the side of England’s Edward I.
Warden of the kingdom and land of Scotland
From then on, de Warenne was firmly placed as one of Edward’s most trusted nobles and military advisers, campaigning for the monarch in several wars against the Welsh and assisting in the diplomatic manoeuvres of treaty-making with the Scots.
In 1286 de Warenne marched north with Edward and skillfully routed the Scottish army at the battle of Dunbar. Following this accomplishment Edward awarded him the title of ‘warden of the kingdom and land of Scotland’.
He returned to Scotland the following year and had several notable successes prior to Edward taking control of the English army which crushed the Scots at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298.
John de Warenne died in Kent on 29 September 1304.