The Crusades image
"One Christian Moir slew three pagan Moors."

Mores of the Knight Templar

During the crusade period; a few De La More and Mare, Moir and few others have joined the Christians to battle against the Muslims. The crusades were fought mostly in the middle east, but the Muslim Moors and the European Christians fought on mainland Europe. The following names of the knight Templars who served in the crusades are Richard de la More, Roger de la More, Guillaumede de la More, William de la More, Aimery de Sainte Maure, Barthelemy de Moret, Kenneth Moir, Ronald de la More and Sir John de More. Most of these knights were from England, Scotland, and France. There was also a Robert de la Mare who fought during the third crusades leaving in 1188 or 1190 fought under the banner of Caeur de Leon in Palestine. A Purchardus de Mure from Switzerland who was involved in the crusades.

The Battle of Ascalon

The Fatimids were led by Vizier al-Afdal Shahanshah, who commanded perhaps as many as 50,000 troops (other estimates range from 20–30,000 to the exaggerated 200,000 of the Gesta Francorum). His army consisted of Seljuk, Turks, Arabs, Perisians, Armenians, Kurds, and Ethiopians. He was intending to besiege the crusaders in Jerusalem, although he had brought no siege machinery with him; he did however have a fleet, also assembling in the port of Ascalon. The precise number of crusaders is unknown, but the number given by Raymond of Auguiler is 1,200 knights and 9,000 infantry. The highest estimate is 20,000 men but this is surely impossible at this stage of the crusade. Al-Afdal camped in the plain of al-Majdal in a valley outside Ascalon, preparing to continue on to Jerusalem and besiege the crusaders there, apparently unaware that the crusaders had already left to meet him.

On August 11 the crusaders found oxen, sheep, camels, and goats gathered there to feed the Fatimid camp, grazing outside the city. According to captives taken by Tancred in a skirmish near Ramla, the animals were there to encourage the crusaders to disperse and pillage the land, making it easier for the Fatimids to attack. However, al-Afdal did not yet know the crusaders were in the area and was apparently not expecting them. In any case, these animals marched with them the next morning exaggerating the appearance of their army.

On the morning of the 12th, crusader scouts reported the location of the Fatimid camp and the army marched towards it. During the march the crusaders had been organized into nine divisions: Godfrey led the left wing, Raymond the right, and Tancred, Eustace, Robert of Normandy and Gaston IV of Bearn made up the center; they were further divided into two smaller divisions, and a division of foot-soldiers marched ahead of each. This arrangement was also used as the line of battle outside Ascalon, with the center of the army between the Jerusalem and Jaffa Gates, the right aligned with the Mediterranean coast, and the left facing the Jaffa Gate.

According to most accounts (both Crusader and Muslim), the Fatimids were caught unprepared and the battle was short, but Albert of Aix states that the battle went on for some time with a fairly well prepared Egyptian army. The two main lines of battle fought each other with arrows until they were close enough to fight hand-to-hand with spears and other hand weapons. The Ethiopians attacked the center of the crusader line, and the Fatimid vanguard was able to outflank the crusaders and surround their rearguard, until Godfrey arrived to rescue them. Despite his numerical superiority, al-Afdal's army was hardly as strong or dangerous as the Seljuk armies that the crusaders had encountered previously.

The battle seems to have been over before the Fatimid heavy cavalry was prepared to join it. Al-Afdal and his panicked troops fled back to the safety of the heavily fortified city; Raymond chased some of them into the sea, others climbed trees and were killed with arrows, while others were crushed in the retreat back into the gates of Ascalon. Al-Afdal left behind his camp and its treasures, which were captured by Robert and Tancred. Crusader losses are unknown, but the Egyptians lost about 10–12,000 men.

King Richard the Lionheart

When King Richard the Lionheart left for the crusades to fight in the middle east; couple of English De la Mores went and fought along side with Richard the Lionheart. Richard was a central Christian commander during the third crusade, leading the campaign after the departure of Philip II of France and scoring considerable victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin, although he did not retake Jerusalem from Saladin.

In September 1190 Richard and Philip arrived in Sicily. After the death of King William II of Sicily his cousin Tancred had seized power and had been crowned early in 1190 as King Tancered I of Sicily, although the legal heir was William's aunt Constance, wife of the new Emperor Henry VI. Tancred had imprisoned William's widow, Queen Joan, who was Richard's sister, and did not give her the money she had inherited in William's will. When Richard arrived he demanded that his sister be released and given her inheritance; she was freed on 28 September, but without the inheritance. The presence of foreign troops also caused unrest: in October, the people of Messina revolted, demanding that the foreigners leave. Richard attacked Messina, capturing it on 4 October 1190. After looting and burning the city Richard established his base there, but this created tension between Richard and Philip Augustus. He remained there until Tancred finally agreed to sign a treaty on 4 March 1191.

The treaty was signed by Richard, Philip and Tancred. Its main terms were: Joan was to receive 20,000 ounces (570 kg) of gold as compensation for her inheritance, which Tancred kept. Richard officially proclaimed his nephew, Arthur of Brittany, son of Geoffrey, as his heir, and Tancred promised to marry one of his daughters to Arthur when he came of age, giving a further 20,000 ounces (570 kg) of gold that would be returned by Richard if Arthur did not marry Tancred's daughter. The two kings stayed on in Sicily for a while, but this resulted in increasing tensions between them and their men, with Philip Augustus plotting with Tancred against Richard. The two kings finally met to clear the air and reached an agreement, including the end of Richard's betrothal to Philip's sister Alys (who had supposedly been the mistress of Richard's father Henry II).

Siege of Acre

The Muslims lay in a semicircle east of the city facing inwards towards Acre. The Crusader army lay in between, with lightly armed crossbowmen in the first line and the heavy cavalry in second. At the later Battle of Arsuf the Christians fought coherently; here the battle began with a disjointed combat between the Templars and Saladin's right wing. The Crusaders were so successful that the enemy had to send reinforcements from other parts of the field. Thus the steady advance of the Christian center against Saladin's own corps, in which the crossbows prepared the way for the charge of the men-at-arms, met with no great resistance. Saladin’s center and right flanks were put to flight. But the victors scattered to plunder. Saladin rallied his men, and, when the Christians began to retire with their booty, let loose his light cavalry upon them.

No connected resistance was offered, and the Turks slaughtered the fugitives until checked by the fresh troops of the Christian right flank. Into this fight, Guy's reserves, charged with holding back the Saracens in Acre, were also drawn, and, thus freed, 5,000 men sallied out from the town to the northward; uniting with the Saracen right wing, they fell upon the Templars, who suffered severely in their retreat. Gerard de Ridefort, Grand Master of the Templars, was killed. Andrew of Brienne was also killed and Conrad had to be rescued by Guy. In the end, the Crusaders repulsed the relieving army. Christian casualties ranged from 4,000 or 5,000 to 10,000 men. Saladin could not push them back without another pitched battle, and his victory remained incomplete.

Battle of Arsuf

On October 4, 1189, Saladin moved to the east of the city to confront Guy’s camp. The Crusader army of 7,000 infantry and 400 cavalry comprised feudal lords, many smaller contingents of European Crusaders, and members of the military orders. The Muslim army consisted of troops from Egypt, Turkestan, Syria, and Mesopotamia. At dawn on 7 September 1191, as Richard's forces began moving out of camp enemy scouts were visible in all directions, hinting that Saladin's whole army lay hidden in the woodland. King Richard took especial pains over the disposition of his army. The probable posts of greatest danger, at the front and especially the rear of the column, were given to the military orders. They had the most experience of fighting in the East, were arguably the most disciplined, and were the only formations which included Turcopole cavalry who fought like the Turkish horse archers of the Ayyubid army. The van of the Crusader army consisted of the Knight Templars under Robert de Sable.

They were followed by three units composed of Richard's own subjects, the Angevins and Bretons, then the Poitevins including Guy of Lusignan, titular King of Jerusalem, and lastly the English and Normans who had charge of the great standard mounted on its wagon. The next seven corps were made up of the French, the barons of Outremer and small contingents of crusaders from other lands. Forming the rearguard were the Knights Hospitaller led by Fra' Gamier de Nablus. The twelve corps were organized into five larger formations, though their precise distribution is unknown. Additionally, a small troop, under the leadership of Henry II of Champagne, was detached to scout towards the hills, and a squadron of picked knights under King Richard and Hugh of Burgundy, the leader of the French contingent, was detailed to ride up and down the column checking on Saladin's movements and ensuring that their own ranks were kept in order.

The first Saracen attack did not come until all the crusaders had left their camp and were moving towards Arsuf. The Ayyubid army then burst out of the woodland. The front of the army was composed of dense swarms of skirmishers, both horse and foot, Bedouin, Sudanese archers and the lighter types of Turkish horse archers. Behind these were the ordered squadrons of armored heavy cavalry: Saladin's mamluks , Kurdish troops, and the contingents of the emirs and princes of Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia. The army was divided into three parts, left and right wings and center. Saladin directed his army from beneath his banners, surrounded by his bodyguard and accompanied by his kettle-drummers. The Itinerarium Regis Ricardi implies that the Ayyubid army outnumbered the Crusaders three to-one.

However, unrealistically inflated numbers, of 300,000 and 100,000 respectively, are described. In an attempt to destroy the cohesion of the Crusader army and unsettle their resolve, the Ayyubid onslaught was accompanied by the clashing of cymbals and gongs, trumpets blowing and men screaming war-cries. "In truth, our people, so few in number, were hemmed in by the multitudes of the Saracens, that they had no means of escape, if they tried; neither did they seem to have valor sufficient to withstand so many foes, nay, they were shut in, like a flock of sheep in the jaws of wolves, with nothing but the sky above, and the enemy all around them."

The repeated Ayyubid harrying attacks followed the same pattern: the Bedouin and Nubians on foot launched arrows and javelins into the enemy lines, before parting to allow the mounted archers to advance, attack and wheel off, a well-practiced technique. Crusader crossbowmen responded, when this was possible, although the chief task among the Crusaders was simply to preserve their ranks in the face of sustained provocation. When the incessant attacks of skirmishers failed to have the desired effect, the weight of the attack was switched to the rear of the Crusader column, with the Hospitallers coming under the greatest pressure. Here the right wing of the Ayyubid army made a desperate attack on the squadron of Hospitaller knights and the infantry corps covering them. The Hospitallers could be attacked from both their rear and flank. Many of the Hospitaller infantry had to walk backwards in order to keep their faces, and shields, to the enemy.

Saladin, eager to urge his soldiers into closer combat, personally entered the fray, accompanied by two pages leading spare horses. Sayf al- Din (Saphadin), Saladin's brother, was also engaged in actively encouraging the troops; both brothers were thus exposing themselves to considerable danger from crossbow fire. All Saladin's best efforts could not dislocate the Crusader column, or halt its advance in the direction of Arsuf. Richard was determined to hold his army together, forcing the enemy to exhaust themselves in repeated charges, with the intention of holding his knights for a concentrated counterattack at just the right moment. There were risks in this, because the army was not only marching under severe enemy provocation, but the troops were suffering from heat and thirst. Just as serious, the Saracens were killing so many horses that some of Richard's own knights began to wonder if a counterstrike would be possible. Many of the unhorsed knights joined the infantry.

Just as the vanguard entered Arsuf in the middle of the afternoon, the Hospitaller crossbowmen to the rear were having to load and fire walking backwards. Inevitably they lost cohesion, and the enemy was quick to take advantage of this opportunity, moving into any gap wielding their swords and maces. For the Crusaders, the Battle of Arsuf had now entered a critical stage. Garnier de Nablus repeatedly pleaded with Richard to be allowed to attack. He was refused, the Master was ordered to maintain position and await the signal for a general assault, six clear trumpet blasts. Richard knew that the charge of his knights needed to be reserved until the Ayyubid army was fully committed, closely engaged, and the Saracens' horses had begun to tire.

Goaded beyond endurance, the Master and another knight, Baldwin de Carron, thrust their way through their own infantry and charged into the Saracen ranks with a cry of “St. George!”; they were then followed by the rest of the Hospitaller knights. Moved by this example, the French knights of the corps immediately preceding the Hospitallers also charged. The precipitate action of the Hospitallers could have caused Richard's whole strategy to unravel.

However, he recognized that the counterattack, once started, had to be supported by all his army and ordered the signal for a general charge to be sounded. Unsupported, the Hospitallers and the other rear units involved in the initial breakout would have been overwhelmed by the superior numbers of the enemy. The Frankish infantry opened gaps in their ranks for the knights to pass through and the attack naturally developed in echelon from the rear to the van. To the soldiers of Saladin's army, as Baha alDin noted, the sudden change from passivity to ferocious activity on the part of the Crusaders was disconcerting, and appeared to be the result of a preconceived plan. Having already been engaged in close combat with the rear of the Crusader column, the right wing of the Ayyubid army was in compact formation and too close to their enemy to avoid the full impact of the charge. Indeed, some of the cavalry of this wing had dismounted in order to fire their bows more effectively.

As a result, they suffered great numbers of casualties, the knights taking a bloody revenge for all they had had to endure earlier in the battle. Baha al-Din noted that "the rout was complete." He had been in the center division of Saladin's army, when it turned in flight he looked to join the left wing, but found that it also was in rapid flight. Noting the disintegration of the right wing he finally sought Saladin's personal banners, but found only seventeen members of the bodyguard and a lone drummer still with them. Being aware that an over-rash pursuit was the greatest danger when fighting armies trained in the fluid tactics of the Turks, Richard halted the charge after about 1 mile (1.6 km) had been covered. The right flank Crusader units, which had formed the van of the column, including the English and Normans had not yet been heavily engaged in close combat and they formed a reserve on which the rest regrouped.

Freed from the pressure of being actively pursued, many of the Ayyubid troops turned to cut down those of the knights who had unwisely drawn ahead of the rest. James d'Avesnes, the commander of one of the French units, was the most prominent of those killed in this episode. Amongst the Ayyubid leaders who rallied quickly and returned to the fight was Taqi al- Din, Saladin's nephew. He led 700 men of the Sultan's own bodyguard against Richard's left flank. Once their squadrons were back in order, Richard led his knights in a second charge and the forces of Saladin broke once again. Leading by example, Richard was in the heart of the fighting, as the Itinerarium describes: "There the king, the fierce, the extraordinary king, cut down the Turks in every direction, and none could escape the force of his arm, for wherever he turned, brandishing his sword, he carved a wide path for himself: and as he advanced and gave repeated strokes with his sword, cutting them down like a reaper with his sickle, the rest, warned by the sight of the dying, gave him more ample space, for the corpses of the dead Turks which lay on the face of the earth extended over half a mile."

Alert to the danger presented to his scattered ranks, Richard, prudent as ever, halted and regrouped his forces once more after a further pursuit. The Ayyubid cavalry turned once again, showing they still had stomach to renew the fight. However, a third and final charge caused them to scatter into the woodland where they dispersed into the hills in all directions, showing no inclination to continue the conflict. Richard led his cavalry back to Arsuf where the infantry had pitched camp. During the night the Saracen dead were looted.

Battle of Juffa

By July 5, 1192, Richard began his withdrawal from the Holy land. Having realized that Jerusalem would not be defensible if it were to be captured, he began the retreat of Crusader forces from hostile territory. Almost immediately after Richard's withdrawal, Saladin, still smarting from his recent defeat at Arsuf, saw a chance for revenge and, on the 27 July, laid siege to the town of Jaffa which had served as a base of operations for Richard during his previous march inland towards Jerusalem. The defending garrison, although taken by surprise, fought well before the odds against them proved too great.

Saladin's soldiers successfully stormed the walls after three days of bloody clashes; only Jaffa's citadel held out and the remaining Crusaders managed to send word of their plight. Richard subsequently gathered a small army, including a large contingent of Italian sailors, and hurried south. Upon seeing Muslim banners flying from the walls, he falsely believed the town to be a lost cause, until a defender swam out to his flagship and informed him of the citadel's dire situation. Still in his sailor's deck shoes, Richard leaped into the sea and waded through the waves to reach the beach.

The King again showed his personal bravery and martial prowess, leading fifty-four knights, a few hundred infantrymen, and about 2,000 Genoese and Pisan crossbowmen into battle. The Muslim army began to panic at the sudden offensive launched by Richard's newly arrived force; they feared it was but a spearhead of a much larger army coming to relieve Jaffa. The English king fought in person at the forefront of his attack, and Saladin's men were routed. Many of the Christian prisoners who had surrendered earlier also seized their arms and resumed combat, for their captors were in such disarray that they were unable to stop them. Saladin's fleeing army spilled out of Jaffa and escaped in a disorderly manner; Saladin was unable to regroup his forces until they had retreated more than five miles inland.

When Saladin received reports that more of the Franks were coming down from Caesarea, he decided to launch a counterattack on Jaffa to recapture it before these additional reinforcements could arrive. On the early morning of August 4, Muslim troops massed around the walled town, concealing themselves in the fields and intending to attack at dawn the next day. Just before sunrise, however, a Genoese soldier out for a stroll discerned the hidden enemy; the neighing of horses and glinting of armor only served to confirm his suspicions. The sentries promptly raised the alarm, and Richard quickly assembled his knights, infantry and crossbowmen for battle.

He ordered his infantry, including unmounted knights, to form a defensive hedge of spears by kneeling and driving their shields and the shafts of their spears or lances into the ground, with the spearheads pointing towards their opponents. The crossbowmen stood behind the protective wall of spearmen, working in pairs, one shooting whilst the other loaded. In front of the infantry sharp tent pegs were hammered into the ground to help deter horsemen. Richard kept his handful of mounted knights as a reserve in the rear.
The lightly armored Turkish, Egyptian and Bedouin cavalry repeatedly charged. However, when it was evident that the Crusaders were not going to break ranks, they veered away from the spears without coming to blows.

Each Ayyubid attack lost heavily to the barrage of missiles from the many crossbows. The amour of the Christians proved better able to withstand the arrows of the Saracens than the amour of the Saracens could withstand crossbow bolts. Also, being entirely cavalry, the many horses of Saladin's force were particularly vulnerable to missile fire. After a few hours' onslaught, both sides began to tire. Having suffered considerably from the barrage of crossbow bolts without having been able to dent the Crusaders' defenses, Saladin's cavalrymen were in a demoralized state and their mounts were exhausted. They were put to flight by a charge of the knights, only 10 to 15 of whom were mounted, and spearmen led by the king himself. While the battle raged, a group of Ayyubid soldiers were able to outflank the Crusader army and enter Jaffa.

The Genoese marines who had been entrusted to remain behind and guard the gates offered little resistance before retreating to their ships. Before the Muslims could exploit their success, however, Richard himself galloped into the town and rallied all of its fighting men. By evening, it had become clear to Saladin that his men had been soundly defeated and he gave the order to withdraw. Saladin's forces had suffered 700 dead, and lost 1500 horses; the Crusaders lost 2 dead, though many were wounded. However, as for many Medieval battles, the recorded figures for losses may not be entirely reliable. Leaving their dead on the field, the Ayyubid force began a long, weary, march back to Jerusalem. Once back in the city Saladin strengthened its defenses in case Richard were to advance against it again.

Sir Kenneth Moir: The Crusade to Spain

Sir Kenneth Moir was a champion knight and Knights Templar who, in 1330, rode with James Douglas, Lord of Douglas and the Crusaders to Spain with the heart of Robert the Bruce to defeat the Moors who had laid siege to the fortress at Battle of Teba in Andalusia. Sir Kenneth and Sir James Douglas rode out on Crusade with Sir Simon Locard of Lee, Sir William Keith of Galston, Sir William de St. Clair and his younger brother John of Rosslyn, Sir Symon Glendonwyn, Sir Alan Cathcart and the brothers Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig and Sir Walter Logan. Locard would as a result of this Crusade became known as Lockhart. There was also a young William Borthwick.

Having been granted a promise of safe conduct from Edward III of England, the party sailed from North Berwick and made for Luys in Flanders in the spring of 1330 remaining there for 12 days and attracting more followers from all over Europe. The Knights Templar had been outlawed and ordered killed by this time. There are no written records of who joined the party of Scottish knights. There is circumstantial evidence that at least one knight from Germany joined in Flanders. Their intention was to then sail to Cape Finisterre in the north west of Spain to visit Santiago de Compostela which had been ordained as a holy town by Pope Alexander III following the discovery of the remains of the Apostle James. A pilgrimage to Santiago captured the imagination of Christian Europe on an unprecedented scale as it was the third holiest site in Christendom and, at the height of its popularity in the 11th and 12th century, attracted over half a million pilgrims each year.

However, before they could set off for Santiago word reached them that the King of Castile and León, Alphonso XI, in his efforts to drive the Nasrid dynasty (Moors) out of Granada had laid siege to the Castillo de las Estrellas (Castle of the Stars) at Teba which was occupied by the Saracen army of Muhammed IV, Sultan of Granada. The knights travelled 2,000 km (1,200 mi) to Seville and offered their support to Alfonso for his Crusade to rid the Iberian Peninsula of non-Christians. They marched the short distance to Teba.
On 25 August 1330, south east of Seville in a saddle high above the river the knights came to Teba in al-Andalus. There, three thousand of Muhammed IV's cavalry made a feigned attack on the Christians.

The great body of his army took a circuitous route to fall, unexpectedly, upon the rear of Alfonso's camp. With the Christian troops otherwise engaged, the Templar Knights faced overwhelming odds. Templar Knights did not retreat and Sir James gave the order to charge[citation needed]. Sir James Douglas, Sir William St. Clair, Sir John de St. Clair, Sir Robert Logan and Sir Walter Logan died in battle. To be a Templar Knight requires giving up family name in devotion to Christ. These Scottish knights followed the practice of Sir Kenneth. Instead, of going into battle with the family coat of arms, the knights, like Sir Kenneth were marked by crosses and stars. After the battle families would buy back the captured knights.

Unfortunately for the fallen knights, the Moors would have preferred to gain wealth by returning captured knights. Lochard did take a Moorish knight captive and was given a jewel that would become known as the Lockhardt penny for the knights release back to his family.

Scottish knights Errant

In 1329, as Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, lay dying he made one last request of his friend and lieutenant, Sir James Douglas. The King charged that, after his death, Sir James should take his embalmed heart and bear it with him on crusade, thus fulfilling the pledge that Bruce had been unable to honor in his lifetime. The projected campaign in Spain offered Sir James the ideal opportunity. In the spring of 1330, armed with a safe conduct from Edward III of England and a letter of recommendation to King Alfonso XI of Castile, Douglas set off from Berwick and sailed first to Sluys in Flanders. Here, according to the contemporary Walloon chronicler Jean Le Bel, Douglas' company consisted of one knight banneret, six ordinary knights and twenty esquires. It is not clear whether the knight banneret was Sir James himself.

Other knights named by the Scottish poet John Barbour included Sir William de Keith, Sir William de St. Clair of Rosslyn and the brothers Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig and Sir Walter Logan. Others alleged at one time or another to have accompanied Douglas are John de St. Clair, younger brother of Sir William, Sir Simon Lockhart of Lee, Sir Kenneth Moir, William Borthwick, Sir Alan Cathcart and Sir Robert de Glen but evidence is lacking. There appears to be no historical basis for claims that any of these men were connected with the Order of the Knights Templar, dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1312, eighteen years previously.

Le Bel relates that the Scots party remained at Sluys for twelve days, with Douglas holding court on board ship as if the late king were present. It may be he was awaiting news of the planned crusade and on learning that, despite the withdrawal of his allies, King Alfonso still intended to go to war, he finally set sail for Spain. After a stormy passage, the party arrived at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, probably sometime in late June, and disembarked upstream at Seville.

March to Teba

Douglas presented his credentials to Alfonso XI. According to John Barbour, the King offered Douglas riches, fine horses and armor. Sir James declined these gifts, declaring that he and his men were prepared to offer their arms in the service of the king as humble pilgrims, seeking absolution for their sins. Alfonso accepted and assigned experienced soldiers, accustomed to the style of fighting on the Frontera, as advisors to Douglas and his fellow knights. While the Scots rested after their long voyage and waited for the expedition to depart, many foreign knights who had come to seek service with Alfonso of Castile paid their respects to Douglas, including a number of Englishmen who were particularly keen to meet the man who until recently had been their nemesis.

Alfonso formed up his army for the advance south. Barbour claims that Douglas was given command of the lead division, the 'vaward' or vanguard. It may be more likely that he was put in charge of all the foreign knights in the Castilian army. The Christian host, its size unknown, marched to Ecija then to Osuna on the frontier. Once across the border, Alfonso continued south to the meadows of Almargen, five miles west of Teba, from where he advanced to set up camp and invest the fortress. King Alfonso waited for his siege engines to come up from Ecija, the Granadan forces in Malaga prepared to react. These were under the command of Uthman bin Abi-l-Ulá, a Berber noble fighting in the service of the sultans of Granada, who set off with six thousand cavalry and an unknown number of infantry to the relief of Teba.

Marching up the Guadalhorce valley, Uthman's force crossed over into the valley of the river Turón where they pitched camp between Ardales castle and the supporting fortress of Turón, ten miles south of Teba. Meanwhile the siege engines arrived at Teba and operations began to open a breach in the walls of the castle. The Christian army was hampered by a lack of water and they were forced daily to drive their herds out of camp and eastwards down to the Guadalteba, an abundant river flowing two miles south of the castle. Uthman quickly identified this weakness and sent raiding parties to disrupt the watering details. Alfonso in turn set up a defensive screen of patrols to hold them off and there were regular skirmishes on the river and in the hills to the south. It is possible that Sir James Douglas was killed in one of these encounters.

The 'Gran Cronica de Alfonso XI' refers to "the death of a foreign count through his own error", although some commentators prefer to think Douglas died in a more decisive encounter some days later. Alfonso had other problems. The five hundred Portuguese knights declared their term of service was about to expire and withdrew, and one night the garrison of Teba sallied out to attack the siege lines and retired leaving a siege tower in flames. Uthman too faced difficulties. He had concluded he could not defeat the Christians in open battle and so devised a stratagem to force Alfonso to abandon the siege.

The Battle of Teba

Under cover of darkness, three thousand Moorish cavalry prepared to make a diversionary attack across the river while Uthman took another three thousand upstream to make a flank attack on Alfonso's camp. At dawn, Uthman's river contingent occupied the watering grounds of the Guadalteba. Alfonso, however, having been warned by his scouts of the enemy's movements, kept the main force of his army in camp while he sent troops to check the assault developing on the river. Some argue that Douglas and his contingent must have been part of this reinforcement.

With battle joined, Uthman believed that his ruse was working and, emerging from the valley where he and his men had been concealed, rode up to attack the Christian camp from the west. When he reached the col overlooking the Almargen valley he saw the camp bristling with Alfonso's men armed and ready while at the same time saw his men on the river downstream beginning to fall back. He instantly abandoned the attack and rode back to support his right wing but arrived only in time to join in the general retreat.

The Moors on the river had been unable to withstand the weight of the Christian counter-attack. When Alfonso, having seen Uthman's move east, sent a further 2,000 men to intervene, the Granadan withdrawal turned into a rout. John Barbour, in his description of Douglas' last battle, describes a similar rout, with Douglas and his contingent pursuing the fleeing enemy closely. There is, however, no mention of the siege of Teba in Barbour's account, which describes the Christian army advancing from Seville to repel an invasion from Morocco.

According to Barbour, Sir James outruns the rest of his men and finds himself far out in front with only ten or so followers. Too late, he turns back to rejoin the main body. The agile Moorish cavalry see their opportunity, rally and counter-attack. In the running fight that follows, Douglas sees Sir William St.Clair surrounded by a body of Moors, trying to fight his way free. With the few knights still with him, Douglas rides to the rescue but all are killed, including Sir William St.Clair and the brothers Sir Robert and Sir Walter Logan.

The Castilian sources do not mention any Moorish counter-attacks during the pursuit, despite the Moors' notorious capacity for turning on unwary pursuers. The Castilian forces pursued the Moorish army back to their camp in the Turon valley. The chance of a more comprehensive victory was lost when the Christians stopped to loot the enemy tents and baggage. Despite further skirmishes, Uthman made no further attempt to raise the siege and shortly afterwards the garrison of Teba surrendered. The aged Berber general died some weeks later. Barbour tells how Douglas' body, together with the casket containing the embalmed heart of Bruce, were recovered after the battle. His bones, the flesh boiled off them, and the casket were taken back to Scotland by Douglas' surviving companions. Douglas was buried at St Bride's Kirk, at Douglas, South Lanarkshire. The battle was not decisive. While Teba remained secure in Castilian hands, the Guadalteba and Turon valleys continued debatable land for the next hundred and fifty years.

However, in response to Alfonso XI's victories of 1327-1330, the Marinid sultan of Morocco Abu Hasan sent forces in support of Muhammad IV to re-establish control of the Straits. Gibraltar was re-captured from the Christians in 1333 but Abu Hasan's attempt to re-take Tarifa in 1340 led to his disastrous defeat by allied Christian forces at Rio Salado. This was the last intervention by North African powers in the defense of Muslim Granada. There were probably more of our clansmen who were knight Templars and fought in most of the crusade wars. There is a claimed that Reginald de la More of Scotland were Templars. It isn't known how many clansmen of clan Muir had join the crusades.