As a squire William Douglas went on Crusade; serving in the retinue of Earl Adam in the Levant in1270. Trusted for his military prowess he was appointed Governor of Berwick in 1295. Sadly this brave hero was forced to surrender in the spring of 1296 when Edward gained access to the Royal Burgh by ruse; commanding an army of 60,000 on foot and 5000 on horse. Lord Douglas was imprisoned in HogsTower and held until May of 1296. Here the knight plotted his revenge. William le Hardi decided to show temporary accord with the English king. With this bold action Lord Douglas became the only Scotsman to be reseised to his land holdings both in Scotland and in England. When the spring of 1297 afforded him opportunity the Douglas laird sought the partnership of his Crawford cousin, William Wallace; becoming the first nobleman to join the rebel in his patriotic cause. Saor Alba!
Known for his physical prowess that earned him the sobriquet of le Hardi, William Lord Douglas was a laird of great determination and moral courage; his immense size, penetrating dark eyes and his swarthy good looks made him a formidable opponent in the joust
The Royal Burgh of Berwick on Tweed boasted nearly all the trade of 13th century Scotland; the equivalent of 25% of England's annual treasury in 1296 making it obvious why the Butcher of Berwick, Edward Plantagenet set his sights on acquiring the ancient burgh for his own
Brian Harrison, FSA Scot writes about prisoners' wall carvings that date to medieval times; the firm etching of WD can be found in this chamber of Beauchamp Tower where le Hardi was held in 1297 before being moved to the White Tower
East Hill at Fawdon Manor; a Douglas stronghold for over a century; held by Sir William le Hardi Douglas from 1274 until 1298; reseised to his son James Lord Douglas in 1328; one of several 13th and 14th century Northumbrian estates of the Douglases
In this private chamber in the Tower of London Prince Edward Caernarvon signed in the prisoner William le Hardi Douglas to his final confinement on 12 October 1297; the Crusader Knight and hero was murdered on 6th November 1298 by men at arms in service to Sir Henry de Percy