Hugh de Cressingham
Hugh de Cressingham
|Died||11 September 1297|
Alice de Cressingham
Sir Hugh de Cressingham (died 11 September 1297) was the treasurer of the English administration in Scotland from 1296 to 1297. He was hated by the Scots and did not seem well liked even by the English. He was an adviser to John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. He suggested a full-scale attack across the bridge, which cost the English the battle and led to his death.
Cressingham was a son of William de Cressingham. Hugh was a clerk and one of the officers of the English exchequer, was employed in a matter arising from some wrongs done to the abbot of Ramsey in 1282; he was attached to the household of Eleanor of Castile, queen of Edward I, was her steward, and one of her bailiffs for the barony of Haverford. In 1292 the king employed him to audit the debts due to his late father, Henry III, and in that and during the next three years he was the head of the justices itinerant for the northern counties. He was presented to the parsonage of Chalk, Kent, by the prior and convent of Norwich, and held the rectory of Doddington in the same county (Hasted); he was also rector of ‘Ruddeby’ (Rudby in Cleveland), and held prebends in several churches (Hemingburgh).
In 1296 Edward appointed Cressingham treasurer of the kingdom, charging him to spare no expense necessary for the complete reduction of Scotland.
Cressingham was killed during the Battle of Stirling Bridge on 11 September 1297. According to legend, his body was flayed by the Scots as he had flayed Scottish war prisoners, and William Wallace made a sword belt out of his skin. The Lanercost Chronicle states the Scots dried and cured his hide and
of his skin William Wallace caused a broad strip to be taken from the head to the heel, to make therewith a baldrick for his sword.
The Scalacronica merely states that
the Scots caused him to be flayed, and in token of their hatred made thongs of his skin.
Walter of Hemingburgh recorded,
The Scots flayed him and divided his skin among themselves in moderate-sized pieces, certainly not as relics, but for hatred of him.
Family and issue
He is known to have left a daughter Alice, who married Robert de Aspale and had issue.
In popular culture
In the 1995 film Braveheart Cressingham is portrayed by the actor Gerard McSorley, and dies by being beheaded by the Scottish rebel leader William Wallace. Unlike real history, his name in the film was 'Lord Cheltham' and he was ordered to lead a battalion of English infantry by a superior, who is presumably the film's equivalent of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey.
- William Wallace & Andrew Moray defeat English
- Gage, p.45.