With King David II, the son of Robert the Bruce still underage Sir Archibald Douglas, brother of Sir James Douglas gathered a Scottish army to relieve Berwick which was under siege from an English force led by Edward III, a force which also included Edward Balliol, son of John Balliol, who had been raised in England.
The English took up a position on Halidon Hill which afforded a view of Berwick and the surrounding countryside. The Scots had to approach over marshy ground before climbing the hill to face the English and all the while they were showered by arrows from the large detachment of English archers. By the time the exhausted Scots reached the English spears they were in bad shape and were easily beaten.
English knights pursued the routing Scots and few escaped. Archibald was counted among the dead along with a number of other lords and many knights and Berwick inevitably fell soon after. The English delighted in their first victory over the Scots for several years. Edward Balliol tried to claim the throne but he had little support in Scotland and did not last long.