220 ** Welcome to the CAL FTP Site ** 4.01 Transitional//EN">
Click a green square to see the Latin text. Click a blue square to see a commentary note.
THE HISTORY OF SCOTLAND, BOOK XV
HEN King Robert Bruce’s funeral rites had solemnly been performed in royal style, his David Bruce was declared king. But since he was scarcely of an age for such great responsibilities, Thomas Randolph was appointed the single regent of the realm, and all the management of the kingdom was entrusted to him. For (with the exception of Douglas, who was preparing for his departure to Jerusalem) no man at the time was comparable to him in virtue or prudence, and he had already administered everything for four years, while Robert was in hill health. Thomas’ first concern was to renew the treaty that had been made with King Edward of England. For the people of Scotland had not yet fully recovered from such great wars. Nor did the English king reject peace, having already learned to his cost what manner of man Thomas was in wartime. Therefore Randolph turned to the duties of peace. He gave instructions that the magistrates administer justice with great care, and meanwhile, so that they would not be entirely heedless of war, arms of all kinds should always be kept at the ready. For the English cultivated peace, not out of any sense of justice, but only when it was profitable and served their advantage. Furthermore, so that he might exercise in justice those of his subjects who were good men and create an opportunity to correct the bad ones, if they could not control themselves, he issued an order commanding them to leave all their horse furniture and farming implements outdoors night and days, and, should anything be lost or stolen, the governor of that district should make sure they were recovered, or make good the loss himself while meanwhile instituting a careful search for the thief and executing him when found.
2. By this device he so greatly restrained the spirits of those greedy for other men’s property that they did not dare steal openly, and did not even resort to furtive theft. For the common man’s spirits had grown so unrestrained in times of civil discord that they imagined they could enjoy the same freedom in peacetime, since during civil strife, at a time when no man is safe from his neighbor, men divide into factions. He likewise set a very wholesome example by forbidding stage-actors, vagabonds, men with no fixed abode, and entertainers to come into our cities, save for skilled flautists and trumpet-players who supported themselves by some other craft. He used to say that such men were useless when it came to war. By this command he cleansed all Scotland of an evil from which nearly all its districts suffered, namely an idle throng of rascals. It is remembered that in those day, when the lust for stealing other men’s goods was severely constrained, a certain peasant, although not disposed to filch other men’s property, hid away some tools of his own and asked his governor to indemnify their cost, complaining they had been abstracted. A few days later, when they were found at his own house, he was hanged as punishment for his bold-faced greed: such is the difficulty of reclaiming those once given over to vice. And wherever a governor would go for the sake of conducting an inspection, or administering justice in the towns of his district, he would bring along a great throng of armed men, so that if thieves, robbers, or layabouts were reported to be at any place, he could deal with them immediately. Those who obeyed their governor after a herald had been sent to deliver his edict went unpunished and were bidden to return to their work, and the care of that place was deputized to local magistrates. But when people scorned public authority, the governor would send in those armed men to kill them, or visit a heavy punishment on them afterwards.
3. Not long thereafter, this happened at the village of Halidon. For up to sixty men had assembled, and displayed contempt to a messenger serving as a herald. Each and every one was hunted down by the soldiers who followed along after the messenger, and were either put to the sword or hanged, and Randolph greatly praised those soldiers for their deed. Thereafter nowhere did any man dare resist. The result was that, with peace gained at home and abroad and the realm purged of the throng of thieves and robbers so inimical to its peasantry, thanks to the regent’s diligent and severe discipline, Scotland’s strength and wealth was not only restored, but even so greatly enhanced that it was evident that the Scots would soon be a terror to the English, let alone be able to protect their own interests with ease. Edward recognized this prosperity, and both envied it and feared lest someday they might come and take revenge for ancient wrongs. He began to think of how to free of his mind of this fear by committing a crime. He thought that Randolph was the one man who could obstruct his endeavors to gain control of the kingdom, but, with him removed, everything would be thrown into a state of collapse. For their king was a boy, and furthermore many men nursed a grudge, quietly hating the royal family because they had lost their fathers at the Black Parliament, and nobody who had seen those calamities of his elders or remembers what their leaders had suffered would have the strength of will or the necessary spirit to tolerate such things again or resist his own power. It was also opportune that James Douglas, no whit inferior to Randolph when it came to experience in war and energy, had been sent away fromt he kingdom. He therefore conferred with the agents of his felonies. But this was a business that could not be accomplished by main force, since Randolph was always surrounded by a numerous company of bodyguards, they decided that it required fraud and poison. It seemed risky to solicit Randolph’s household servants by letters or by some intermediary, for letters could be intercepted and, if they failed to persuade the servants, the matter would stand revealed. Therefore they had need of a bold and ready fellow who knew how to lie and dissimulate, how to have one thing in his heart and another on his lips, and was audacious to boot.
4. Out of the whole crew of villains, nobody appeared more suitable than a certain monk, a so-called friar, one of that kind of monks who wandered about by themselves, not content with any fixed abode, schooled by their way of life how to conceal their felonies under a monk’s cowl, since that kind of fellow has squandered and prostituted any sense of shame. He was therefore instructed in advance to pretend to be a physician with particular knowledge of remedies for the stone (a malady that caused Randolph a great deal of discomfort), and was supplied with a poison to mix in a cup with Randolph’s medicine. They sent him off laden down with promises of many rewards, should he carry out his instructions. As soon as he arrived in Scotland, he began boasting that he had been at the royal courts of both France and England, and restored many men vexed by the stone to good health: he had heard somewhere that Randolph, the world’s most outstanding commander, was seriously afflicted by that disease, and, if he were willing to entrust himself to his care, he had no doubt that he could quickly restore him to his previous good health. He had at his disposal an accomplice furnished by the king, who had come to Scotland to help him in this business. He pretended by be the victim of a particularly difficult case of the stone, which they physicians could not cure. Night and day he would give nobody any peace with his howls, such as are emitted by genuine sufferers of that disease, and, by prearrangement, the monk came along and gave him some weak potion, and was thought to have relieved him of his nonexistent malady.
5. When Randolph got word of this, he fetched in the monk and asked if he could do the same for him. When the monk made large promises, as he had been instructed, he prescribed a diet, forbidding him to consume certain things to which he was accustomed and adding some others, in all ways imitating the manner of skilled healers lest any suspicion arise that he was ignorant of medicine. At length he said that the stone had now ripened and he thought Randolph should consume something to dissolve it wholly. So he mixed in poison with a cup otherwise filled with the drugs he had received from the apothecaries, and offered it to Randolph. He poison was of such a nature and power that its effects were not felt immediately, and could not kill a man in any other way than by corroding his vitals over a long time: thus the prisoner could make his escape in safety. For this purpose, he pretended that Randolph had a nature quite dissimilar to his previous patient: his disease was stronger and more entrenched by its long endurance than the other man’s. Thus he would not immediately be cured by the concoction he had been given. But he had a very sovereign remedy in England, not to be used save in extreme cases, like a sacred anchor, when some particularly strong case presented itself. Therefore he received permission to depart and returned to England, promising to return as quickly as possible. Having thus carried out his instructions, he beat a hasty retreat to King Edward, saying that he had done his best to bring their ship safely into harbor. Randolph would not live much longer, so Edward should enlist an army as quickly as possible so that, when everything was thrown into confusion by the regent’s death, he might make a timely appearance and seize their kingdom.
6. Meanwhile, Randolph began to feel a griping of his guts, albeit a very mild one. Because he heard that any army was being prepared and England, and since the monk did not return on the appointed day, he began to nurse suspicions that he had been misled and deceived. When his disease grew more serious daily, he called in the physicians and finally learned that it was poison. He nonetheless commanded an army to be readied, and, since he could not stand being jounced on horseback, he ordered himself to be carried about on a litter. The king of England alleged as a opretext that the Scots in the borderland had violated the peace by making an inroad. But when, contrary to expectation, he saw the Scots coming against him, he sent them a herald suing for peace, if they would grant it. When the herald’s arrival was announced, although he was well aware he was a spy sent by his enemies to ascertain the state of his health, he nevertheless dressed himself in his finery, concealed his disease, and, seated on the royal throne, commanded the herald to be come to him and have him a hearing concerning peace. When he made some unjust requests he knew the Scots would refuse, he responded that he would soon show what right the English had to their unreasonable demands and sent the herald packing, rewarded with some of the precious garments he was wearing. When Edward learned that he was unexpectedly hale and spoiling for a fight, rather than half-dead (as he had hoped), he lost confidence in his forces and returned to England. There, thinking the monk had lied to him, he burned the man alive, inflicting a deserved punishment on him for the crime he had committed, and he did indeed desserve. When Randolph learned that his enemy had dismissed his army, he likewise sent his own one home. He himself prepared to go to Edingburgh, but four miles into his journey, his disease worsened and he died of it at Musselburgh.
7. After Thomas’ death, by common consent Patrick Dunbar Earl of Merch was made governor of the southern part of the realm, while the rest was entrusted to Donald Earl of Mar. When this war had been settled and Randolph was dead, another very serious war was kindled by the son of the exiled John Baliol (who had also been freed from English captivity and gone into exile in France), which had the following origin. Before Douglas had set off for Jerusalem and was still readying himself for the journey, Herford, an official of Glasgow, subjected to excommunication Twinham Lorison, born of noble stock but a rascal, who had received one or two admonitions for adultery but refused to submit to the authority of the Church. He took this sorely amiss, and waited until Herford left the town. Then he caught him as he was on the road to Ayr, imprisoned him, and did not let him go until he had paid two hundred pounds sterling. When Douglas learned of his hot-headed violence, he ordered him to be found for punishment. But he managed to avoid Douglas’ agents, preferring a voluntary exile in England.
8. But since I am speaking of James Douglas, I do not think I would be straying from my subject if I inserted something about this great man’s death. Receiving the heart of King Robert encased in a golden coffer filled with spices, Douglas entered Jerusalem in the company of many nobles, among whom the most noteworthy were William Sinclair and Robert Logan, where, after having buried it with due royal honor, Douglas joined the forces he had brought with himself to the the Christians and displayed many examples of his great martial virtue in fighting the enemy, bestowing great glory on the Christian name by his frequent victories. At length, when Christians’ affairs were to some measure settled rhere, in accordance with Robert’s mandate he was most generous in leaving donatives for priests and congregations of the pious. Then he set sail for his homeland, but was driven by a storm to the coast of Spain, where he learned that the king of Aragon was waging war with the local Saracen inhabitants. So that his name and virtue would not go unknown there either, he shouldered part of the burden of the king’s war, and on several occasions came off the winner in fights against the enemy. But (and this is something that often lures the best of men to their doom) his great good fortune gave birth to carelessness and disdain of his enemy, and so he was drawn into an ambush and killed, together with all his followers. This was the end of the most noble man of his age, who, had the fates returned him to his homeland, would have been of no small use to our commonwealth.
9. I now return to my story. After Twinham had loitered in England for a while, he heard of the death of the regent Thomas Randolph, and betook himself to France. He was bent on provoking Edward Baliol, a young man of that age when ambition is strongest in a man, even if he and his father had already suffered much from ambition, to wage war against Scotland and regain his father’s throne. For this reason, since nothing of the kind had ever entered his head, his mind was wholly averse to rebellion. But Twinham often dinned in his ears how easily everything would go, once he had made a beginning, and what excellent things he would accomplish when they had been completed: namely that no few well-wishers of his father’s still lived; a number of men bore a grudge against the Bruces because of the killings done by Robert during the Black Parliament and his confiscation of their goods; Randolph, the one man who could stand in his way, had been murdered; the king was a young boy, so everything could be ventured with ease; even if all else did not go his way, he must nevertheless stake a claim on his liberty and reclaim his kingdom, and sooner or later exchange his exile for a better fortune; he would have an uncommon friend in King Edward of England, who would not object to supporting his endeavors with no small amount of help; indeed, because of innate English hatred of the Scots, and because of the personal injuries Scotsmen had inflicted on Englishmen a few years ago, “Edward would even take the lead in asking and urging you to come forth as the leader for chastising Scottish insolence.” It was impossible that such greater opportunities could arise at one and the same time without God’s singular providence: all he had to do was land his fleet in Scotland with a small band of soldiers, and heaven would attend to the rest.
10. By daily hammering on these themes and and others of the same kind, Twinham brought it about that Edward finally turned his thoughts to the crown, and began to hope that, with the help of his friends, he could regain that which of which he and his father had so long despaired. He therefore went to England, met with King Edward, and, opening his mind to him, begged for his assistance. He promised that, if everything went as he wished and his undertakings had a prosperous end, he would swear fealty to Edward and abide as his loyal vassal. King Edward accepted this proposal, in disregard of the kinship with David into which he had lately entered by the marriage of his sister, and gave Baliol six thousand men with whom to enter into Scotland and join forces with his supporters, and also ships sufficient for the transport of those men. At that time there existed in England a great number of Scottish able to produce letters from their friends as evidence that, if Edward Baliol were to sail to Scotland, many men would rally to his aid. Heartened by their words, and taking the soldiers he received from the king of England, together with a few more, Edward set sail from England and landed at Kilgorn in the Firth of Forth. When his forces had been set ashore, Alexander Seton appeared with very few men, imagining they would not come in such numbers and that he could attack them while they were still in the process of disembarking. Wrong in this opinion, even though he had but a few men, he spoke some words of encouragement and joined battle with Edward, as the situation demanded. Overwhelmed by the English, he was killed as he fled. And so the English, excited by their success and always hoping for a better future, hastened towards Perth.
11. Meanwhile Patrick Dunbar and Donald Earl of Mar enlisted a great army and marched to meet Edward Baliol with great eagerness, coming on with their forces divided. They thought they were not advance to a battle, but rather to punish some English felons, to their great pleasure. The regents had decided between themselves to meet at Ernedale, and then launch an attack on their enemy, and in the meantime they would maintain contact with each other by means of messengers. Although Edward saw that he was far outnumbered by the enemy forces approaching, he remained fearless, because matters had come to the point that it was too late to consider a retreat So not far from the river Erne he awaited his enemies at Dupplin, a village famous for having been the site of a great Scottish defeat. On that same night Donald halted with his great host of men in sight of the enemy, and Patrick encamped five miles away. But because they were contemptuous of their enemies’ small numbers, the Scots handled many things in an unskilled and downright barbaric manner. They neglected to keep watches, and everything was full of dancing, singing, and drinking-bouts, which were all the worse because they were doing these things within sight of their enemies, so that nothing could escape their notice. On the English side, all men were concerned about the outcome of their adventure, and there was no man who failed to consider what might advance their cause. Many spies went out and exercised full diligence, so that nothing went unnoticed, and whatever they heard or saw they reported to their commander. All of which was welcome to Edward, and he warned his soldiers to prepare themselves for a night encounter, tend to their bodies, await his signal, and then to assemble with as little commotion as possible.
green 12. When it was now deep in the night and his enemies, wearied by their feasting and dancing, had surrendered themselves to sleep, Edward roused his army and, summoning the captains of his companies, told them what they had to do. If he could have done so without creating a great disturbance, he would have delivered an encouraging harangue to his soldiers, but he was afraid the enemy would hear the commotion. So he told them that they themselves should quietly advise their men about the danger they were in, and the rewards that were offered them. If these things did not fire their spirits, any further words would be wasted. Saying this, he led the soldiers out of camp and led them around to his enemy’s rear by secret byways. For he had learned from his scouts that, although in other directions their look-out posts were lax, here there were none at all. Therefore he crossed the river Erne by a ford shown them by Andrew Murray of Tullibard using a pole, and crossed over to the camp. They penetrated to the middle of the camp as far as the commander’s headquarters, and nobody noticed their arrival. They pulled down the headquarters pavilion, first killed the sleeping commander, and then, raising as great a shout as they could, hurled themselves on the rest. A piteous massacre was inflicted on half-asleep men lying in their beds, or half-armed men come to meet them. Everything was in a state of confusion and turmoil, and nobody had any idea where this great mass of enemy had come from. They had not been increased by any notable addition of men (albeit during the day their numbers had been enhanced by a few out of England who joined Baliol for the first time, and some of his friends and dependents had come in), and they could not have told friend from foe in the darkness, unless Edward had foreseen this and instructed his men to wear white linen armbands. The English were so fiercely angry against the Scots: the present danger, which they could scarcely imagined themselves to be confronted on the previous day, so fired their minds and inspired them with such madness that the could not be sated with enemy blood.
13. Although they tried to surrender themselves alive, and promised great ransom if they were captured, nevertheless, since all of these were men with no experience in war, especially the Englishmen, they savaged those helpless fellows who they overcame, sparing no man they could reach with their swordpoints. And so a great slaughter was inflicted, such as had never before been seen, both on the common soldiery and the nobles, greater than can be described. The few who escaped their wearied hands huddled together, leaderless and disorganized, and again were butchered by their raging, blood-spattered enemy, and very few managed to escape. About three thousand nobles were slain, and countless commoners. The slain nobles who were most famed for their nobility and marital virtue were Donald Earl of Mar, the commander of the army, Robert Bruce Earl of Carrick, Sir Alexander Fraser, William Hay the constable, whose entire clan would have been obliterated had he not left a pregnant wife at home, from whom it could be restored, Robert Keith the marshall, together with many noble fellow-clansmen, David Lindesay of Glenesk with eighty nobles of his race, Alexander Beaton, Robert Straughan, George Dunbar, Thomas Halliburton, the standard-bearer John Scrimger, all of them knights. The Earl of Fife and a few others were taken prisoner, lest no witnesses to the catastrophe survive. Having gained the victory, the English were afraid lest they be overwhelmed by the other army if they lingered there, so they gave pursuit to those Scots who had survived the catastrophe and were fleeing towards Perth. They also took Perth with little difficulty: since some of its defenders had been killed in their army, and others were downcast with grief, nobody resisted and they entered the town.
14. It is remembered that some of the English were so inspired by their nation’s innate hatred of the Scots that, while the rest headed off towards Perth, they picked their way through the heaps of corpses to see if any had been left half-alive among the dead or had managed to hide themselves in dark places, so that they might butcher them. But when they saw such slaughter they turned to pity, saying that they had no idea they had killed so many, nor had even hoped to fall victim of such blood-lust. When Patrick Dunbar, whom I have said to have encamped five miles away with his part of the army, heard of the disaster suffered by his countrymen, he formed a column and marched to Perth, bent on besieging his enemy shut up there. But when he had filled the town’s ditches and victory was all but within his grasp, for some private reason which is unclear, he broke off the siege, to the great damage of the realm. There they could have been reduced to starvation by the siege alone, and been taken without any loss of life. Or the town could have been taken by storm by an assault on its walls, with them killed to the last man. But a sound mind is not always granted to everyone, and every man is swept alone by unkind fate, for good or ill. When the siege was lifted, great numbers of Scotsmen went over to Edward’s side. Therefore, in the company of Duncan Earl of Fife and William Sinclair Bishop of Dunkeld, who swore their fealty since nobody seemed prepared to oppose him, he went to Scone, where he compelled the young men of Scotland to take their oath to him and assumed the crown, in the year after Christ’s birth 1332, the same year in which the battle was fought at Dupplin. At the advice of his subjects, David Bruce, a boy of only nine years, retired into France with his bride, the sister of King Edward of England, where he received an honorable and magnificent reception from King Philippe VI, and was reserved for better days.
15. In the following year, the sons of those killed at Dupplin, of whom the chief were Robert Keith, Alexander Lindesay, and James and Simon Fraser, mustered their forces and besieged Perth. They took it in the third month, and captured and bound Duncan Earl of Fife, sending him to Castle Kildrummy. They beheaded Andrew Murray of Tullibard for his treason, and entrusted the town, defended by a garrison to that doughty man John Lindesay. Having been successful in this venture, so that they might accomplish the rest with no less good hopes, John Randolph, who inherited the earldom of Moray after the death of Thomas Randolph the regent, and Archibald Douglas, the brother of James Douglas, whom I have written to have recently died in Spain, assembled a great host and joined with them, and they all marched against Edward. Nor did their counsels escape the notice of their enemies. Therefore Edward too assembled as large a force as he could, and met his enemies near a village of Annandale. They came to blows when not much daylight remained. Aafter the victory had hung in the balance a little while, it eventually fell to the Scots. Baliol himself seized an unbridled horse, threw away his armor, and fled to the town of Roxburgh. Some nobles fell, among whom easily the most memorable were Henry Baliol, very outstanding among the men of his side for his bravery, John Mowbray, Walter Comyn, and Richard Kirkby. But Alexander Bruce Earl of Carrick and Galloway was taken alive, and spared by the kindness of John Randolph, for he had sworn his loyalty to Edward not long before.
16. Following this victory, that noble man Andrew Murray, powerful for his wealth and resoiurces, was chosen as a second regent. He met with his colleague Patrick Dunbar to discuss the common welfare of the realm, and, since they thought they would have the King of England as their open enemy, they placed Sir Alexander Seton in charge of the Berwick garrison. The Earl of Merch himself assumed control of the army, so that he might manage things against the English while Andrew dealt with Edward. Next, Andrew took a strong army and, while marching on Roxburgh, clashed with Edward Baliol at a bridge outside the crime. When he was over-keen in chasing the runaway English across the bridge, he and a few others were cut off by the bridge and, since none of his followers could intervene and rescue him, he was taken prisoner. Nevertheless, the Scots indisputably won the day, since they managed to attack the backs of their enemy as they surrounded their commander, imprudently slaying his foes. At this same time William Liddisdale, called The Flower of Chivalry by his men for his conspicuous martial vurtue, was wounded by an English spear as he was fighting a battle in Annandale, and, although seriously wounded, fell alive into his enemies’ hands. The rest of his army was put to rout by the misfortune of its commander. In the following year both of them were ransomed from prison, with difficulty and great expense.
17. While victory still hung in the balance, the minds of the common folk were divided into two factions. Ssome of them were keen for revolution and hoped to turn a profit from commotion and change, and these sided with Edward. Others, for whom peace and tranquility were dearer than anything else, and who had also learned by experience what a transitory thing good fortune is, and what evils attend upon turmoil, remained steady in their loyalty to David when once they had taken their oath to him. Nor could King of England remain the only man at peace amidst such great movements. He only restrained himself until some hope shone forth, and he kept saying that nothing is so difficult that, if you keep trying, you cannot achieve it, if not entirely, at least in good part. So he enlisted an army of Englishmen, Normans, men of Anjou, and also a fearsome number of Flemish mercenaries hired at great expense, and, angry at Scotland, invaded it at the place where Edward Baliol was opposed. He informed Baliol he was coming to the rescue, but, had he managed to make himself master of the situation, he would not have proved any more trustworthy to him than to anyone else. Since the Scots saw themselves to be all but overwhelmed by their enemies on every side, they sent John Randolph Earl of Moray to France as their ambassador to their King David, and also to request the assistance of King Philippe. Meanwhile Edward very sharply besieged Berwick both by land and sea, trying with all his might to storm it. But its townsmen and their captains were no less spirited in its defense than were its enemies in besieging it. Sometimes they made sallies and came off the victors. Meantime they attacked even the English ships, firing them, unexpectedly attacking the enemy, and committing a great deal of killing. They tried everything to raise their own spirits and increase their enemies’ despair. But in the heat of battle William Seton, over-enthusiastically pursuing his enemies, was cut off from his men. He repeatedly tried to cut his way through to them, but was captured by force. And his bastard brother, a very handy man, fell in the water and drowned while making a night attack on the ships.
18. Now those in the town had held out into the fourth month, thanks to their virtue and audacity, but their necessities had begun to run short, and they could withstand the siege no longer. Their governors sent ambassadors to Edward, informing him that, if he would stand down from the siege, they would surrender the city to him if help were not sent them before the twenty-ninth of July. As a guarantee, governor Alexander Seton sent his elder son Thomas to Edward as a hostage. While Berwick was being so forcibly besieged by the English, at a parliament Archibald Douglas was appointed regent in place of the captive Andrew Murray. In order to draw the English king away from the siege of Berwick, he assembled large forces and decided to invade England, to see if fear for his subjects would recall him to their defense. Hearing of this army, King Edward feared lest victory might elude his grasp, and so herepresentatives to Alexander the government telling him he must surrender the town forthwith. Otherwise, he had a way to compel him: he would hang his sons in his sight and that of the whole town. When these things were reported to Alexander, he first complained that the time of the truce had not yet elapsed, and the appointed day had not arrived. Then he appealed to the king’s good faith, saying he should not violate his word after it had been publicly given, that his demand was unjust and contrary to all humanity’s law, if there was to be no trust in his agreements. If he wished to end the truce, let him return the hostages and try his strength as best he could. When this reply had been taken back to Edward, he thought further debate was useless and that, if he only brought Alexander’s bound sons to the gallows, he could obtain what he wished from his enemy. So he commanded a gallows to be set up on a high place before the city, so that it would easily be visible, and for the boys to be brought in bonds to that place (one he had taken captive, and he held the other as a hostage). When his father saw them from a tower, he was moved with pity for his sons ,who would pay the penalty of death although they had done no wrong, a death which within his power to prevent by yielding to the tyrant’s will. But he was torn in the opposite direction by his patriotism and loyalty to his king. He could barely restrain himself from making an immediate surrender, and I have no idea whether this father would have been overcome by pity for his sons and yielded to his enemy’s criminality, had not his wife, the mother of his sons, been standing at side. She was a woman of more than manly character when it came to fortitude of mind, and by urging him, begging him, and sometimes reminding him of his loyalty to his country, she persuaded him steadfastly to endure the tyrant’s evildoing.
19. “My husband,” she said, “see what you are doing. If you comply with the tyrant’s greed, if you act contrary to your patriotism and your king, to whom you have sworn your oath, even if you do so out of fear of death, you should be aware that you will be inflicting great harm on your country. But if your sons die a brave death while you keep the faith, this will not only never be held against us, but will help us in all possible ways. See, I tell you, how dishonorably you would be acting, how unworthily of your family, and how contrary to your own best interests, you would be acting, if you betray everything to the criminality of that treacherous thief. He is punishing your sons, or rather our sons, as a crime ,so that he may compel us to commit wrongdoing ourselves. Should we betray our nation and our fellow townsmen, entrusted to our care, and deliver us all into servitude? Will he keep his word to us with better faith than he has his earlier promises? And if this perjurer abides by his word in the same way he has already done, are we not giving him this city, its churches, our home and those of all our fellow citizens for burning and plundering? Our virgins and matrons for raping? Our noble sons to suffer unworthy things? Inviting killing and murder to be inflicted throughout the city as the result of our folly? Is the killing of our two sons so costly that we think they are to be ransomed by the tragedies of so many men? And we would not even have them as free persons, since we received them back from the tyrant’s hands by means of a base felony. What what liberty can there be in a shameful life which we have ruined by our misdeed? Rather, I think we need to act like those whom holy Scripture provides as examples for our imitation. Think of Daniel and those three boys cast in the fiery oven because they refused to give offense to their God. Think of those seven Maccabee boys, who, together with their mother, were visited with every manner of torment by Antiochus in his raving madness, because they steadfastly refused to violate the Law by the eating of pork. I want you to remember, my husband, with what an eager countenance those boys suffered and disdained all the tyrant’s various punishments; and then with what a brave mind the mother, tormented by witnessing the agonies of her seven sons, having already suffered seven deaths in them, offered herself to her tormentors for flaying.
20. “Would that I were allowed to die for my country in a similar way, or that God Himself would place me under the same necessity that chance or misfortune has placed my sons, so that by my death I might free it from destruction! You would certainly not see me howling and weeping as I was dragged to my death by the executioners. I should run along happily and surpass those biblical characters in my eagerness to endure my punishment. For this is not a death, but rather an exchange of death for life everlasting. Now I think I am reaping my well-earned profit from the pangs I suffered in carrying them for nine months, and for the efforts, the troubles, and the cares I have expended on rearing them. Now that I think that my pondering, by day and by night, how I might raise them to be good men, has achieved the best possible result. For they are now repaying the one thing they received from their nation. Nor will I think I have lost my sons: I shall enjoy them in a new way when (as I should greatly hope) I see them bestow this on their country. And henceforth we shall not lack for sons. For by the grace of God we still have more alive, my childbearing years have not yet passed, and your old vigor for procreating children still thrives. So let us not consider something terrible for ourselves and our people, my husband. Let us not believe that the man who has already broken his word will keep it if he promises anything hew. nor let us permit ourselves and our people to suffer the things that usually befall the vanquished.”
21. When this wife, a woman better than nearly all men, said these and other things to her husband in order to console and deter him, she increased his resolve a little, and yet, seeing him to be downcast, she led him to their lodgings, lest he witness the cruel and undeserved death of their sons or be overcome with his woes and do something harmful to his city. For he was driven one way by the love of his sons, and in another by his patriotism, so she had no idea what direction he might take. His sons were soon hoisted up on the gallows and died a most honorable death for the sake of their nation. Three days later, while Archibald was leading his army into England, he heard of the cruel death of Alexander’s sons and, thinking he should avenge them with his own hand, he abandoned his earlier plan and immediately headed towards the enemy, and on the same day encamped not far distant from the camp of his enemy. There were some within his army who urged him to refrain from a battle: over and over they kept saying that the English king commanded a multitude of men, well outfitted, well-trained, and emboldened by their victories. The Scots, on the other hand, had been weakened by previous wars, their veterans had been killed in a number of defeats, and the soldiers they now led were new recruits unaccustomed to arms. They advised that such recruits first needed to learn not to fear the shouting of their enemies. Then again, they should consider whether to confront their enemy when they were not his equal in numbers. To these objections Archibald replied that the soldiers were fired by the recent display of cruelty against Alexander’s sons and hence not lacking in spirits, and they should not delay until this sense of indignation subsided: no amount of training could furnish them with greater strength than did their anger. And so he rejected their advice and commanded his soldiers to tend to their bodily needs with food and a good night’s sleep, for they would fight at dawn. And so at first light he led his forces out of camp and drew up his army in its fighting order. He assigned Hugh Earl of Ross command of the first rank, and gave him as his companions Kenneth Earl of Sutherland, James and Simon fraser, and John Murray, acting in place of John Randolph, who at the moment was laid low with disease. Alexander Lindesay led the second rank, to whom were joined Alexander Gordon, Reginald Graham, and Robert Kenneth. Archibald himself presided over the third, keeping with himself James and Alan Stewart, two brothers distinguished for their nobility and mutual piety, the sons of the Great Steward of Scotland.
22. Nor did the enemy shrink from a fight. They were familiar with the terrain thanks to their lengthy siege, and at the beginning of the battle they preteneded to flee, heading for a moderately steep hill, difficult to atack but very suitable for defenders. There they stopped their run, drew themselves up in order, and ceased their flight, and drove back the Scots, who were scattered and disorganized, so those who had just now been feigning flight were killing their hotly-resisting enemies in the valley beneath the hill. But the Scots did not die unavenged. For both sides fought with hatred more than strenth. The English thought they should take their entire revenge for old defeats, since henceforth there would be nobody left to fight, and the Scots were bent on punishing the English for wrongs both old an new and defending their nation against the tyrant. But they struggled in vain, fighting on unfavorable ground, and when they saw their commander run through by a spear, they turned tail. Afterwards great killing was inflicted during their rout, far more than in the fight itself. For the English enveloped them with one of their wings, cutting off their avenue of escape. Thus the Scots were piteously slaughtered both in their front and in ther rear, and only a few were taken alive. Exhausted by the fight, their enemy lacked the strength, if not the will, to kill them. Fourteen thousand men died that day, and nearly all of the nobles siding with David who had survived the defeat at Dupplin. These included the regent Archibald Douglas and the three brothers James, John and Alan Stuart, men of note in their day for their nobility and promptness of hand, Hugh Earl of Ross, Kenneth Earl of Sutherland, Alexander Bruce Earl of Carrick, and Andrew, James, and Simon Fraser. No few men were taken prisoner, and they were all beheaded on the following day by command of edward, save for those who were spirited away from the massacre by certain Englishmen corrupted by bribes, since the soldiers’ greed was in competition against the cruelty of their king. This fight was fought in the year of Christ’s birth 1333, and the place where it occurred is ennobled even in our own day by the name of Halidon Hill.
23. After this catastrophe had been suffered, Alexander Seaton and Patrick Dunbar, the governors of the Berwick garrison, despaired of their kingdom’s safety (for there was no source to provide new leaders or further aid) and surrendered on condition that that their lives and fortunes would be spared, and they would only be obliged to submit to the English yoke. So they came to Edward’s camp and swore their fealty to him. It was also enjoined on Patrick Dunbar that he rebuild Castle Dunbar at his own expense, for upon the arrival of the English, having no faith in its walls, he had pulled down, and that it should be garrisoned by the English. Then, leaving many English nobles with Edward Baliol (of these Richard Talbot was easily the most important), so that Baliol would manage everything in accordance with their dictates, King Edward returned to his own kingdom. Having gained control over all of Scotland, Edward Baliol made a progress through all its districts, shoring up many places with English garrisons and entrusting precious few to Scotsmen. He held all castles with his garrisons save four, namely Dunbriton, held by Malcolm Fleming of Cummerland, Lochleven, possessed by Alan Vypont, Kildrummy, commanded by Christian Bruce, and Urquhart, whose governor was Robert Lauder. There was also a tower in Louden, small in diameter but impregnable, which was held by John Chane. These were all faithfully held for David.
24. Meanwhile King Philippe of France’s ambassadors begged the pope to use his authority to restrain England’s furious rage against the Scots. But the English held his papal legates in such contempt that they did not allow them even a hearing. So, their business unaccomplished, the legates went home to Rome in disgrace. After their departure, Edward Baliol held a parliament at Perth, where nearly all the Scottish nobility assembled, declared him king once more, and promised always to adhere to his party. But a heated argument arose between the lords which came close to endangering the entire meeting. For Henry Beaumont had married the sister of Alexander Mowbray, and laid claim to certain estates in her name. The matter was considered by Edward Baliol during the parliament, and he passed sentence in favor of Alexander. Henry Talbot and David Comyn pronounced for Henry Beaumont, claiming the verdict supporting Alexander had been unjustly handed down. Hard words were exchanged in the parliament, and the matter came close to being decided by arms. But the parliament was abruptly ended, and the quarrel quickly subsided. Taking Alexander Mowbray with him, Baliol quickly went off to Berwick. Indignant that Edward had rejected his suit, Henry Talbot headed back to England, but in Lothian he encountered friends of King David, was taken to Dunbriton, where, according to some writers, he died in confinement. Henry Beaumont went to Dongard, the strongest castle of Buchan, and, holding it with a strong garrison, he compelled the surrounding region to obey his command. David Comyn went to Athol, and there he very strongly fortified all his castles. Therefore Edward, fearing that this affair might have serious consequences, or because he was afraid to offend King Edward of England, very faithlessly and basely changed his mind, and now ruled for Henry Beaumont rather than Alexander Mowbray. This was how his justice had come to depend on self-advantage rather than truth.
25. Since he vacillated and ruled now for the one side and now for the other, it was inevitable that he create enemies. Stung by Baliol’s insult, Alexander Mowbray joined himself to the governor Andrew Murray, who had been ransomed for a great sum and was still loyal to King David, whereas Henry Beaumont and David Comyn Earl of Athol, having been the beneficiaries of Edward’s kindness, henceforth were his closest associates. For he bestowed Alexander’s lands which were the object of contention on Henry Beaumont, and gave all of Robert the Steward’s estates on David Comyn Earl of Buchan in order to gratify and win him over. Next the regent Andrew Murray set siege to Dongard with the help of Alexander Mowbray, and received its surrender not long thereafter. Henry Beaumont was granted leave to go to England, on condition that he bind himself by oath never to return to Scotland unless as a follower of King David, and that he should always do his utmost to induce King Edward of England to make a peaceful reconciliation with Scotland. At this same time Baliol went to the royal town of Renfrew. Then, having gained control of all the castles, he traveled to the islands of Bute and Rothesey. There, having gained control of its castle and garrisoned it, he shared out all its lands among his friends. He also appointed magistrates of his own choosing, replacing those who did not favor his counsels with new ones. He did his utmost to hunt down for the killing Robert the Steward, the late king’s nephew, to whom and to David all men had sworn their allegiance during the lifetime of Robert Bruce. But, being a lad of fifteen years, he was conveyed to Castle Dunbritton by the help of his friends, where, as I have said, Malcolm Fleming was governor, and so was rescued from Edward’s clutches.
26. For this reason Baliol took it hard that certain Scottish castles were still forcibly held in David’s name, serving as refuges for his enemies and as seedbeds for new revolts. At the advice of King Edward of England, he enlisted an army and added certain Englishmen as he readied to attack the castle located at Lochleven, bringing along all manner of machinery useful for sieges. But since he imagined this business would take a long time because the place was well defended by its location, he appointed captains for the army, supporters of himself and King Edward of England, namely Michael Heriott, David Vanes and Richard de Malville, as well as many others. Arriving at the loch, they surveyed the terrain in search of a suitable place for their camp, and occupied the church of St. Servanus and its cemetery. In that place they committed many an outrage, bringing whores into the church and sullying it with all their lusts, tying their horses to its altar, and befouling that which had been consecrated to God, regarding sacred and profane things as one and the same. The castle was stoutly defended by two men excellent in all respects, Alan Vypont and James Lamby. At the beginning, their enemies made every attempt to take the castle by storm, but, thanks to the virtue of its defenders, they made small progress, and the most energetic of their soldiers received many a wound. So they adopted what they regarded as a clever plan, by which they could defeat their enemies effortlessly. They tried to dam the mouth of the river issuing from the loch, so that the water would rise and flood the castle. So they heaped together whatever they could carry, rocks, trees, and turf, and all the army turned to the task. To complete the work all the quicker, they hit on the plan of diverting other local by digging new channels in order to increase the water.
27. But it chanced that, for the sake of some religious observation, their leader John Sterling took the greater part of the army and went off to Dumfermline, leaving behind only as many men as sufficed for the siege. When those in the castle learned this (for they had level ground all around them, so everything was exposed to their sight), Alan, the governor of the garrison, took some comrades and in the deep of night conveyed himself and his men to the dam in three rowboats. As silently as they could, they bored a hole in it and then returned to the castle quicker than the telling of it. The water flowing through it gradually increased the size of the hole, and at dawn the dam broke and disgorged its waters widely through the adjacent fields, where the enemy were encamped. Before they realized that the dam had burst, a part of the army, together with its baggage and some horses, were swept to the sea by the force of the water and perished. It is believed that St. Servanus gave the water its violence, since the had foully violated the church sacred to his name a little earlier, and helped them punish their enemies for such great sins. Meanwhile Alan kept his men under arms, and, when he saw the deaths of the enemy and the water returned to its normal level, he made a sally and attacked his remaining enemiest. He killed many and routed the remainder, and took some of them captive, together with their plunder and provisions (of which they found a great deal in the camp), and returned to his castle. When John Sterling learned of this catastrophe, he indignantly returned to the siege, swearing an oath not to depart before he had hanged all within the castle. And yet, when the siege lasted longer than he had anticipated (for when its defenders had gained their victory they had brought in a large amount of provisions from the enemy camp), he was overcome by tedium and, having lost many of his soldiers in night ambushes, he made as best a peace he could with the garrison and lifted the siege.
28. For the rest of that year nothing memorable was done either by the English or the Scots. In the following one, King Edward of England invaded Scotland by two routes. He ordered seventy ships filled with his soldiers to attack the Firth of Forth. But a storm drove them onto reefs between the island of Inch Keith and the north side of the Forth, where they were shattered. He himself joined Baliol in taking fifty thousand soldiers to Glasgow, where he convened a parliament of nobles. Seeing that little remained to be done, and thinking those that were to be beneath his dignity, he left David Earl of Athol to protect his interests and besiege the castles not yet within his power as soon as possible, and went back to England, taking Edward Baliol with him. He did this so as always to retain Edward in his control and, since all of Scotland was occupied by his garrisons, at length claim the kingdom for himself. David, who he had left behind as lieutenant of his army, claimed to be doing everything in both their names. He did the same in his documents, either because he thought that if he said this he would make the lords of the realm more favorable and obedient, or because he did not wish entirely to hand over the realm to a foreign king. Governing with greater determination, he seized all of Robert Stewart’s estates, together with Buchan and Moray, and compelled their inhabitants to swear their loyalty to himself. Those who objected to his rule had their goods confiscated and were executed, which had the effect of alienating many of the people. Divining their sympathies, Robert Stewart sent them secret messages from Castle Dunbritton, urging them to avenge the wrongdoing of that traitor.
29. They agreed, and on the appointed day they met and, under the leadership of Dungal Campbell of Lochquhow, they forcibly took the castle of Dunoon, killing the entire English garrison. When this victory had been gained under the auspices of Robert Stuart, the common folk of Bute and Arran (in that age of the world they were commonly called Brendans) collected and attempted to join with Robert. But they were restrained by Alan, the Sheriff of Carrick, John Gilbert, the governor of Brodick Castle, and other supporters of the English. A battle was fought and many of the commoners were slain. For their part, they killed Alan and captured John alive. When they came to Robert, they showed him the head of the one commander and produced the other still alive, and as a reward for their good success they requested that henceforth they be given immunity from the annual grain-tax. They not only obtained this with ease, but many other privileges were added, and he commanded that each of the men in their forces be given a generous bounty. When word of this spread through Scotland and hope for recovering the realm from the English shone forth, Thomas Bruce Earl of Carrick and William Canther assembled no mean band of peasants and rebelled from the English, associating themselves with their lawful sovereign. At this time John Randolph Earl of Moray returned from David in France and, landing at Dunbritton, went to the castle, where he was received by Robert Stuart with many honors. For he was a man distinguished for every manner of virtue and no unworthy son of his father Thomas. When he had reviewed all of Robert’s forces, he appreciated that they had no mean strength for recovering the realm. So he urged that Robert devote all his energies to this single thing, saying this was no time to protect himself behind his walls and keep the enemy from his throat, but rather that he ought to be threatening theirs, at a time when all minds were averse to the English because of their pride and tyranny.
30. Daily additions of new supporters came in, with soldiers and horsemen sent to nearby places who induced some to side with David by displays of kindness, and others by a show of main force. Soon, therefore, Renfrew and Clydesdale became David’s, and Cunningam and Kyle followed suit, together with the earldom of Ayre. And the men of Moray and Buchan could no longer tolerate the tyranny of David Comyn, who had claimed these districts for himself, John Randolph mustered all his forces and hastened to Aberdeen, where he was informed by certain townsmen who secretly favored David Bruce where David Comyn was staying, so Randolph immediately headed there. In all districts, once the hope of taking back the kingdom from the English arose, an increasing number of soldiers came a-flocking in, and Comyn grew frightened by their numbers and took to his heels, not once putting his fortune to the test. John pursued him, and in Lochaber he was reduced to such a wretched state that in his great poverty for a while he was obliged to sustain life by consuming roots and water. In the end, when no hope of getting away remained, he threw away his arms and, almost naked, humbly made his appearance and begged for pardon and mercy. This he easily obtained: so that he might win over a man so well-connected and powerful by a show of kindness, John accepted his oath of fealty to King David and sent him off to Moray as free as he pleased, urging him to devote as much effort to reconciling the Scots as he has once invested in their subjugation: thus he would enjoy as much honor with the king of Scotland (whom he now acknowledged as the rightful king, having sworn his oath to him) as he previously had with the English. If not, he should bear in mind the that penalties of treason awaited him, should he once more play the turncoat.
31. These things accomplished, John Randolph returned to Robert Stuart at Edinburgh, where by the common agreement of the nobles they were appointed regents. William Douglas joined them there, just now returned from England after having been ransomed for a great fee. At the same time Alexander Ramsay, regarded by soldiers as the best man of his age in the military arts, defected to King David from the English, as did Sir Lawrence Preston, Sir John Herring, and Sir John Haliburton, who henceforth remained firm adherents of David. A few days thereafter the regents convened a public parliament of all Scotsmen at Darcy to consider the advantage of the commonwealth. Alexander Muray, recently freed from England, Patrick Earl of Merch, Alexander Mowbray, William Douglas, and David Comyn Earl of Athol were in attendance. But since they appeared to have come to the parliament with unreasonably large retinues, a number of men grew indignant and hurled reproaches at them. Nothing important was accomplished, and they all were dismissed.
32. In the following year, having heard of the Scottish rebellion King Edward of England and Edward Baliol prepared to invade Scotland by both land and sea. They enlisted an army of fifty thousand horse, and with these they marched by land. By sea they sent one hundred and eighty ships into the Firth of Forth. The king himself encamped at Perth, from which he sent out squadrons of robbers more than fighting men into all the surrounding districts, while he waited for David Earl of Athol. For that man had changed sides yet again. Their ships arrived at Inch Colme and ravaged the entire island, not abstaining from its sacred precincts. For they stripped the abbey consecrated to St. Columba of its precious ornamentation, its silver chalices intended for Mass, its silver incense vessels and candelabra, and all its holy equipment, as well as some images and books. Their sacrilegious greed did not long go unpunished. For when they were ready to return to England, a gale suddenly blew up with wonderful strength, and all these church-robbers’ ships were scattered and storm-tossed: some capsized and others shattered on reefs. Those on the other ships were moved by religious awe, believing that the saints were taking vengeance for their wrongdoing, and vowed to return whatever they had stolen from St. Columba with handsome interest to boot. And so, after the storm had abated, they returned everything and lavishly discharged their vows. At this time, as Edward was stopping at Perth with his army, the Duke of Gilder, who had made his way through England with his forces, arrived in Scotland, bearing aid to King Edward. But he was met by the regents in the borderland and defeated in a hard-fought battle. He fled to Maidens’ Castle in the dead of night, but, finding himself surrounded on the following day, he surrendered on condition that, losing everything else, he could keep his life.
33. But the regents used their victory with kindness, gave him back all his property and, having received his oath that he would not come back to the English, let him go unharmed. When the spoils of the dead were being gathered, a woman of great size was found. At the battle’s beginning she went before the others and met and unhorsed Richard Shaw in single combat, and then fought bravely in the forefront, killing many before being killed herself. Since the Duke of Gilder had mentioned his friendship and alliance with King Philippe of France, as a mark of respect John Randolph, one of the regents, and a small band of soldiers escorted him to the border of English. Then he was ambushed and intercepted by the English and their Scottish allies, and brought to Edward. At this time, since the regent had been captured, David Earl of Athol, saw that Fortune’s wind was blowing in favor of the English once more, although he had previously been of uncertain mind about which side to support, so he finally leaned towards the English and Edward, and came to Perth, which had been taken by the English king’s siege a little earlier. And so, binding himself by his oath, he was appointed viceroy once gain by both King Edward of England and Baliol. For Edward was weary of the war and went back to England, taking along Edward Baliol. For he feared lest, if Edward took advantage of his good fortune and succeeded in gaining control of Scotland’s government, he would not remain loyal. Therefore, once more puffed up by his royal powers, David Comyn (who was unmindful of our our human fate and of the oath he had recently taken for David) exercised his tyranny afresh over those who refused to side with the English. He deprived some of their heritages, and no few of their fortunes, and condemned others to their deaths so that he might get his hands on their goods, doing everything in a highly tyrannical manner.
34. The Scottish nobility was indignant over this calamity: that this man, who in the previous year had been reduced to such poverty that he was compelled to dine on plants and roots, and who, when he played the suppliant, they had subsequently loaded with such great benefits as virtually no man who had remained constantly loyal to David enjoyed, that, as I say, he had twice changed sides (although he was nearly a thousand times a turncoat in his thoughts), was now a perjurer exercising such a tyranny over the common folk. They regarded the wrongs inflicted by this arrogant man as intolerable. They therefore took heart and hoped that, even if they were not his equals in number, they could nevertheless overcome him by their fortitude.They gathered their forces and prepared to move against him. Their captains were Patrick Earl of Merch, Andrew Moray, and William Douglas. At this time David Comyn was setting siege to Kildrummy, and on their arrival they engaged him in a fight. At first the battle’s outcome was doubtful, and David appeared likely to prevail thanks to his numbers. But in the middle of the fight John Craig, the governor of Castle Kildrummy, came to their aid with three hundred of his bravest men. Fighting with fresh soldiers fighting against weary ones, Craig not only righted the situation, but even gained the day, killing many of the enemy. Their commander David himself, mindful of what his enemies’ captains had told him when they released him and aware of his misdeeds, saw that the day was lost. Lest he come into his enemies’ hands alive, he gathered a company of his sturdiest young men and plunged into the thick of the fray, where he was cut down by the hand of Alexander Gordon. In this battle also fell Walter Bride, Robert Comyn, and many others, noble and ignoble alike. Sir Thomas Comyn was taken alive and condemned to death the next day. Robert Menzies escaped to his castle of Canmore. But since he had entered it with a large number of men, he had no provisions sufficient for withstanding a siege, so on the following day he surrendered to those encircling the castle. Gaining pardon, he took his oath for David.
35. After this victory had been gained, Andrew Murray was appointed regent in place of the captive John Earl of Moray. For at this time Robert was ailing and had retired to Dunbritton. So Andrew gathered his forces from all sides and prepared to besiege Castle Cupar. But when the siege had gone on for a while, it was announced that the Comyns were harassing the north part of Scotland, and the regent felt it necessary to aid his fellow countrymen and restrain these robbers’ ventures. At the first collision, therefore, he scattered them and gained the day. Those slain were not as good as they were noble: Robert Comyn William Comyn, Thomas Calder, and a number of other disturbers of the public peace and welfare. This victory brought all of northern Scotland under David’s control. Only a few held out in Dongard Castle in Buchan, but he took the castle and slew them all. But when its governor, Henry Beaumont, swore an oath never to return to Scotland, he allowed him to return to England unharmed. Next the regent went to besiege Castle Lochindor. In this were hidden the wife of David Earl of Athol and his sons. When she saw she was under attack, she hastily sent a messenger to King Edward and Baliol in England, informing them of the insults and injuries she was suffering for their sake and the danger she in which she was placed. King Edward was moved by her pleas, and at the same time Edward Baliol was urging him to retake Scotland, so he enlisted forty thousand men and invaded the north of Scotland by land and sea, in the effort to reduce it.
36. So at his first arrival he terrified his enemies by his numbers and broke the siege, allowed the countess to go wherever she wished, and strengthened the castle with a strong garrison. Then he widely wasted Moray with fire and sword, sparing only its sacred places, and as he returned he inflicted no less devastation on Mar. He found the city of Aberdeen abandoned by its population and leveled it to the ground. For many Englishmen had been ignominiously ejected from there by the supporters of David Bruce. His fleet landed in the Firth of Forth and set ashore its soldiers, who harassed all of Fife with their devastation. Nor had they been sufficiently instructed by previous events, so they did not refrain from plundering the sacred precincts of St. Columba. Once again, that saint did not let those sacrilegious folk get off unpunished. For they loaded all the plunder from his church on a single ship, and when it first set sail it sank, although the weather was fair. Returning to Perth from northern Scotland, King Edward commanded that town to be surrounded by new and very strong walls with a large number of turrets, and pulled down its old ones. This project was to be subsidized by the incomes of six abbeys, those of Arbroath, Cuper, Lindores, Balmerino, Dumfermline, and St. Andrews. They were greatly burdened by the cost but were afraid to oppose his command, and so complied. He also commanded that destroyed or damaged castles should be rebuilt: the one called St. Andrews, over which he placed Henry Beaumont, who had returned to Scotland with Edward in violation of his oath, Lucres Castle, placed in the care of the Englishman Henry Ferrers, Sterling Castle, to be governed by William de Montacute, a Norman, and Roxburgh, held by Wiliam Felton: all of these governors were knights. And he gave Perth Thomas Uthred, an Englishman by birth, as its governor.
37. While King Edward of England was supervising these things, there came to him his brother John of Eltham, who in the west of Scotland had been inflicting great wrongs even on the adherents of England, killing some and proscribing others, and entirely ranging through that entire region like a madman. With his fire and steel he ravaged Carrick, Kyle, Cunningame, and other regions, just as if they were hostile, not even sparing those took refuge at the saints’ holy churches, nor the churches themselves. He burned down the church of St. Machar with a thousand men who had taken refuge there to save their lives. Edward was stung by these outrages, and when Eltham came to him at the church of St. John at Perth, he rebuked him, and when he answered insolently, Edward drew his sword and cut him down in front of the altar, saying, “Thus let those die who treat sacred and profane, friend and foe, as one and the same. This holy place offered you no protection from suffering an immediate punishment for your sacrilege, for you foully murdered all those thousands of men, together with their churches.” Then he left Perth and, taking along Edward Baliol and his army, went back to England.
38. At this same time, Henry Beaumont cruelly butchered all he could find who had participated in the fight at Kilblane or their friends, in retaliation for the killing of David Comyn. When Andrew Murray learned that Edward of England had gone off with the greater part of his army, he came out of the mountains where he had been lurking until that time, and staged night-raids against the English with a small band, concealing himself in forests during the day. Then he called on others for help, and after he had assembled no mean force he set siege to the castle of Kinclevin, and not many days passed before he took it by storm and leveled it to the ground. But when he became aware he was about to be subjected to an English attack, he hastily retired to Merne, where, having taken Castle Illness, he demolished it in the same way. Going on, he took Dunnotir and fired it. Nor did the English captains pursuing Andrew in those parts do any lest damage. Thus it came about that both armies did their best to ruin Merne, Angus, Stermund, and Gowrie, which were visited by pitiful calamities. At length, after his forces had been enlarged by men from Mar, Buchan, and Moray, Andrew halted in his retreat and fought his enemy at Panmure in Angus, killed a great number of them, and came away the victor. Henry de Montfort, recently sent out of England by Edward as commander, and up to four thousand others were killed, the greater part of them noblemen, so that England suffered a great tragedy, to the sorrow of that nation. And for the moment, the loss of so many noblemen did much to weaken their strength, and the regent was not behindhand in taking advantage of his victory. For he passed through Angus and entered into Fife, where he took the castle of Lucres and destroyed it, and visited the same evil on all the other castles in Fife as well, save Cupar. Hearing of his enemies’ victory, Edward responded by immediately sending two commanders leading two armies in aid of Baliol. One was led by William Tallboys. He was met and defeated by William Keith, who killed many and captured their leader, whom he kept in prison until he had paid out two thousand marks. The other was led by Richard de Montfort, who was confronted by Laurence Preston and Robert Gordon with an eager host, who all but obliterated his army, together with its commander.
39. Meanwhile the two English Earls of Arundel and Salisbury appeared with a strong force to besiege Castle Dunbar. But with her man-like spirit, that famous heroine and countess nicknamed Black Agnes warded off the enemy siege for six months, until the enemy grew tired and departed, their task unfinished. And after their departure the regent besieged the castles of Edinburgh and Sterling. But there too those within put up a fine resistance, so that the besiegers accomplished nothing. During the following year all Scotland suffered from a great famine: for its fields partly lay fallow after the deaths of its tillers, and partly had been devastated, and no foreign grain was imported from elsewhere. So many died of the dearth, and others were gravely afflicted and barely survived starvation. For want of provisions, the garrison of Cupar Castle abandoned it and disappeared. They were let aboard ship by some sailor at Kinghorn, but at night, as the tide started to run out, the sailor managed to run them aground, and when the tide rose again they all drowned. Nor did things go any better at Edinburgh. By a piece of English injustice, a certain nobleman named Robert, who appeared to be a supporter of King David, was consigned to evil servitude in the castle workshop. He was put to work in the quarry and required to carry great rocks on his shoulder every day. When he grew exhausted and refused to carry any more, the overseer hit him over the head so hard with his staff that he drew blood. Robert was annoyed rather than daunted by this mistreatment, and for that day he bided his time. On the following day, he found his opportunity and melted away into the marketplace, where he met the overseer who had hit him and cut him down. Then he managed to run out of the city and mounted a horse he found in a field, and galloped off to William Douglas, who was not far away. He urged him to attack Edinburgh as quickly as he could: everything there was in a state of negligence and disarray, since the garrison was only interested in gluttony and drunkenness. William was persuaded by his words, and came to Edinburgh at night with a lightly-armed force. Finding everything to be just as Robert had described, he killed many men in their cups or asleep, and so taught the English to be more vigilant in keeping watch.
40. But the Scots suffered no small loss by the death of that most excellent man, the regent Andrew Murray. While he was visiting his estates across the mountains, he fell ill of a grave disease and breathed his last a little later. Andrew was buried at Rosmarkie in the year of the birth of our Lord Christ 1338. After his death, Robert Stewart shouldered all the responsibility for managing the realm pending David’s return from France. He summoned William Douglas, and with their joint forces they attacked the English and forcibly ejected them from Tiviotdale, Tweedale, and Nidisdale, recovering those districts for King David. Stung by such great reversals, the English gathered their men and marched against Robert under the command of the Lord Barclay. At the start of the fight, for some unknown reason the Scots panicked and took to their heels, and the pursuing English inflicted such a slaughter that barely a third of Robert’s men got away, all the others having been killed. But he collected new strength and and fought successfully against the Englishman John Sterling, thereby erasing his own disgrace by routing his enemy. But he went no more than a few days without confronting a new danger, for while he was on the march, John Sterling and a few followers attacked him, and at their first onslaught threw his men into confusion because of the novelty of the thing. But he recovered from their fear of the imminent peril and he and his men put up such a stout resistance that thirty enemy were killed and their general was put to rout, and four hundred were captured alive.
41. A little later, William Douglas took the castle called The Hermitage and expelled its English, and also captured a supply-train of provisions sent from England to their army encamped at Melrose, together with its wagons, carriages, and pack-animals, and all their gear. Helped by these things, he strengthened the well-defended castle with his garrison. On the selfsame day, he fought five skirmishes against William Abernethy. Bested four times, he came out the victor on the fifth, captured their commander, and triumphantly sent him to the regent, and at Robert’s order Abernethy was sent to Dunbritton for safekeeping. A few days an ambassador went to David in France, bearing Robert’s mandate to discuss certain matters. And with Fortune running in their favor, Robert decided to set siege to the town of Perth. He therefore gathered all his forces and made a fourfold attack on its walls, setting four captains over four divisions of his army. He himself took charge of the first, comprised of Scotsmen from the west country. The second he bestowed on Patrick Earl of Merch. The third was commanded by William Earl of Ross. And fourth was presided over by Maurice Murray Lord of Clydesdale. In the first rank the regent had with him as his lieutenants Sir John Gordon, Sir William Hay, Sir Thomas Straughan, and Sir William Keith. For some time, they attacked Perth with great forth. But the English put up a fine defense and they were repulsed, not without loss of life. Meanwhile William Douglas returned from France with auxiliary soldiers and a great amount of warlike equipment, to the great joy of one and all, and renewed their hope of regaining the town. Meanwhile William Bullock seized Castle Cupar and ejected its garrison. Douglas was therefore immediately sent with part of the army and recaptured it, granting William Bullockpermission to depart with his property. But the Scotsmen who he had with him went over to David’s side, and swore him their allegiance.
42. Meanwhile the siege of Perth did not slacken. Both sides managed to inflict wounds on the other, but those within the town suffered the worse from the missiles shot by Scottish machines against its defenders. The Englishman Thomas Oughtred, governor of the garrison, compounded that he and his men might depart with all their goods, and surrendered the town in the third month after the siege began, in the year following the death of Andrew Murray. In that year both England and Scotland suffered from famine, to the point that, for want of anything else, men ate horses, dogs, cats, and suchlike animals. It is recorded by some historians that there were those who were so beset by famine that, unable to tolerate their hunger, they kidnapped children from their vicinities and did not spare them a horrible end. After Perth had been retaken and fortified by a garrison, the regent took all his forces and attacked Sterling with a very vigorous siege. After a week, he received its surrender on condition that its governor, Thomas Fulke, was given free leave to return to England with his wife and children. In the face of such Scottish good fortune, Edward Baliol, having for a while escaped danger by moving about, was at last obliged to take refuge with King Edward in England to elude their grasp.
43. Not long thereafter, the castle at Edinburgh was taken by a stratagem devised Douglas’ lieutenants William Bullock, Walter Fraser, Walter Towers, and John Sandelands. This Towers, a very wealthy man, was a dependant of Douglas, and, as commanded by Douglas, he sailed into the Forth, pretending to be a merchant bringing wine out of France (and, in accordance with this scheme, he had brought along some casks). On the following day, he filled some flagons from a cask, went to the castle, and called out the steward. When he emerged, Towers gave him some wine to taste, which was miuch to his liking, there having been a shortage of wine for some time. So he asked him if they would like some casks of the same vintage to be brought. “Indeed,” replied the steward, “you would be doing us a great favor, for being so kind to us when we have such a shortage of wine that for some time now we have not been able to buy it at any praise.” To guarantee delivery and to avoid any haggling, he paid his money down and bade Towers deliver the wine on the morrow, and he promised he would bring it at dawn. On the following day, when it was still half-flight, he brought two casks on a cart. The gates were immediately opened, as part of the scheme the cart broke downwith a bad axle in the middle of the gateway and Douglas and a few followers made their appearance, for he had been waiting in the darkness with a company of soldiers. He killed those gatekeepers who offered resistance and took the forequarter of the castle, and it was not long before the rest of his followers came a-running at the sound of his bugle. Then the killing began everywhere, with a great deal of shouting and commotion of those dashing about and seeking refuge. Some locked themselves in the castle keep and defended themselves, others attempted to make their escape, but the Scots either cut them down without any great difficulty or hurled them from the walls.
44. Finally the kingdom was pacified in all its parts when all the English and Baliol had been ejected and no enemy remained. Therefore the regent convened a parliament of the lords of the realm and by their common decree ambassadors were sent to King David in France for the sake of recalling him. They were received to King David’s great joy and King Philippe’s congratulation, and a little later ships were assembled, and David secretly set sail, escorted by Philippe with much honor. After a fair voyage the fleet landed at Inverbervie, and when David disembarked from his ship together with his wife Joan, he was received with solemn pomp. Escorted by the people, he entered Perth like a triumphant Roman general. At his arrival, Alexander Ramsay, a nobleman who was easily the best warrior of his age, gathered no small force of soldiers and invaded England, minded to carry the war to them. The English in the borderland called out their garrisons and managed to assermble what amounted to a regular army, and prepared to meet him. Alexander stationed the greater part of his army in an ambush, and led on the rest with this order, that when they had all passed by the place of the ambush and caught sight of the enemy, then they should short as loudly as they could and hurl themselves upon the English. So he advanced against the enemy army with banners flying, and when they saw the fewness of his numbers they contemptuously joined in the fight. To increase their self-confidence, and also to lure them into the trap, the Scots pretended to flee. But when they thought that the English had come past the ambush, they halted and bravely withstood their attack, and at the same time those in the ambush ran against the English from every quarter and did their killing from in front, from the rear, and from both sides. The enemy could no longer withstand them, and those who a little earlier had laughed at their pretended flight themselves now fled in earnest. Every man ran off in the direction he thought safest, separating himself from the army, and the more they scattered, the more of them died. For the Scotsmen had them outnumbered, so many men were surrounding individual Englishmen. No few were captured as well, including the Earl of Salisbury and the governor of Roxburgh Castle, noblemen both.
45. Alexander learned from prisoners that a large portion of the English army had been composed of the men of the Roxburgh garrison, and so he immediately marched to set siege to that castle. By bringing up ladders, he easily took the lower part of the town, and then stormed the castle keep with no great difficult. After the castle had been taken, he sent ambassadors to the English concerning an exchange of the Earl of Salisbury for John Earl of Moray, who had for some time been an English prisoner. When John returned, Alexander was happy to see that great man. Then he hastened to King David at Perth, to the great joy of his army and with the congratulations of all men who saw them pass. When he arrived there, the king received him with great praise and honor, appointed him governor or Roxburgh, and granted him Tevedale as a gift. But since William Douglas had previously had the responsibility for Tweedale, and for his good deeds and loyalty to his king had wanted this for himself, he took it sorely amiss that he had been passed over, although for the moment he concealed his vexation. Three months later he attacked him from ambush in the church at Hawick, wounding and capturing him, and then he brought him bound to The Hermitage, imprisoned him, and starved him to death.
46. King David felt both sorrow for the loss of such a great man and indignation over the crime, and he was stung by the example set for others. For even if he was reluctant to have to destroy such an excellent man, famed for his recent victory, no whit Alexander’s inferior when it came to martial virtue, and also loyal to himself, nevertheless, if such a great wrong were to go unpunished, he would be inciting others to dare the same thing. So he commanded that he be hunted down for punishment. But he, having recovered from his wrath, hid in the Scottish mountains until Robert Stewart and other nobles persuaded the king to overlook his misdeed and restore him to his honors. They kept reminding him of Douglas’ virtue and achievements, the things he had often endured, how often he had scattered the enemy, and said this was not yet the time when such men could be held in disdain or cast aside. So he was reconciled with the king and got back his former control of Tevedale. Then, since the enemy had been driven away and a breathing-space was offered, King David convened a parliament where, in order to win over the people’s minds by a show of kindness, he decreed that those who had fallen for their nation at Dupplin or Hallidon Hill, or who themselves had shown any fine demonstration of virtue anywhere, should submit their names. And so, when everybody had gathered, he considered their individual petitions and meted out ample rewards in proportion to each man’s virtue. He have some lands, and others money, as each of them pleased, so much so that they almost forget those earlier catastrophes, and went away no less happy with their present rewards then downcast over the loss of their kinsmen. There was no man who could show that his father or kinsmen had perished, or who himself had earned a prize by his virtue, who went away empty-handed. Among the others, my great-grandfather Hugh Boece, whose father had fallen at Dupplin, was made Baron Drysdale by the kindness of the king, and was married to a maiden who was heiress to part of the barony of Balbride, which even nowadays is possessed by the fourth in line of succession from him.
47. When these things had been done, generously and right royally, David, who was fond of warbecause of his youth and vigor, and was also heartened by the good fortune of his father, which had always run in his favor once he regained his kingdom, thought about waging war himself and avenging the wrong that had so long gone unpunished, by an invasion of England. Some of his advisers were of sounder mind, and urged him not to go beyond the borders of his realm. For, besides the consideration that this would not be without its danger, they kept saying that this was the time for the peasantry to return to their homes, for so many of them had been killed in never-ending fighting that they were again faced with famine since insufficient crops were being sown. He therefore needed to bide his peace for a while, so that his people could refresh their lost strength and repair all their broken tool: afterwards, if anything needed to be done, he would have a more willing people and could act with greater success. David’s response was that he needed to put his fortune to the test. Those whom he would lead into battle would return laden down with plunder and wealthy. He was intent on repaying the English for the slaughter they had so often inflicted on himself, so that when his enemies contemplated the slaughter of their own people they would also pity him for his. Therefore he bade each man prepare himself, and he himself organized the army. When they entered English territory, he commanded that no royal standard be displayed, that the Earl of Moray be designated the army’s commander, and that everything be managed under his auspices. Having ravaged a large part of Northumbria, he went home during the second month, gladdened by the success of this first expedition. Not long thereafter, he led a expedition, this time showing his own standard and waging the war in his own name. Being outmatched in strength, the English feared to fight him in the open and kept themselves in safe places, only worrying his forces with light skirmishing to keep him from doing great damage. They set ambushes for each other, and finally the English sprang out of concealment and captured five young men, newly knighted by David, when in their enthusiasm for giving chase they rode out too far in front of their own men. These the king ransomed, and their surnames were Stewart, Eglinton, Craig, Boyd, and Fullerton. But the king saw that he wasting time and not being offered a fight, so he led back his army towards Scotland. But he suddenly wheeled about so that he might suddenly overwhelm the English and devastate everything before they could come to the aid of their fellow citizens.
48. And so not long thereafter he led a third expedition, but the weather was inclement and stormy, and the rivers were so swollen by constant rain that, far from being able to devote himself to his work of ravishing, he could scarcely protect himself and his army by constantly shifting his position. The weather was so bad that they could not help shivering in the sight of the enemy, as they did too, so their armies presented a ridiculous spectacle to each other. He did demolish some castles, so as not to appear to have accomplished nothing, and went home. At this time King Edward of England was besieging Calais, then held by King Philippe of France. Philippe therefore sent ambassadors to King David in Scotland, requesting that, in accordance with their treaty, he invade England and recall the enemy from their siege. At the same time, King Edward’s ambassadors arrived in Scotland requesting a truce, promising they would hand over both Berwick and Edward Baliol, for whose sake they had thus far been fighting. A parliament of nobles was therefore convened, and various opinions were offered, according to whether each man’s character was warlike because of his youth and vigor, and his ingrained hatred of the English, or wearied by such great evils and eager for peace and quiet. These latter argued that they should not scorn a peace so urgently requested by their enemy and bringing such great rewards, such the English had never before offered during all this time, so desperate were they. “Now, since we have the opportunity to grant peace to our enemy at his request,” they said, “we should not become too elated by our success, and forget the past. Once it has passed us by, we shall never again have such an opportunity. Who can doubt that this peace will be enduring, once the man for whose sake these great wars have been fought is out of the way?” To these things, the king and those who shared his opinion replied that the memory of Philippe’s countless favor to him was not yet faded, nor should he show himself an ingrate towards a king who had so kindly received him when he was a refugee and protected him for all that time. Then too, they must consider the treaty, renewed by his father Robert, because of which, if they were good men and if they were not bound by similar ties to others who had stood them in equally good service, they should be at the throats of the English.
49. And so, to the king’ great pleasure (for he was wonderfully spurred to achieve something memorable by the glory of his father), they decided on war. The English ambassadors, failing in their attempt, went away declaring hostilities, as did Philippe’s, but they were full of hope. While his forces were gathering, David Earl of Ross ambushed Reginald Lord of the Hebrides and killed him together with seven of his highest noblemen. Having done so, Ross immediately returned to his forces. Many imagined this commotion would lead to a civil war, but the king’s punishment was delayed, and all remained tranquil. Before beginning his campaign, in a solemn ceremony David created William Douglas Earl of Douglas. Then he entered England for the fourth time and wasted everything with steel and fire. They say that in a dream the king was warned to keep his hands off the fields of St. Cuthburt, or otherwise his rashness would come to a bad end. But whenhe awakened from his sleep, he pronounced this an idle dream and issued orders that no land or farmstead should be spared, and everything destroyed. Eventually in his very cruel devastation he went as far as County Durham, of which St. Cuthbert is said to be the patron saint, and went through it so violently that he emptied it of all its property and inhabitants, and also stormed and demolished the castle of Liddesdale. And so the English, obliged by their misfortunes, enlisted an army under the Earl of Northumbria and King Edward furnished a company of his soldiers out of France for this purpose. But they thought that they ought to try everything first, and once more sent ambassadors to David, telling him that, if he would consent to return to Scotland, they would dismiss their forces. If he refused, he should bear in mind that heaven avenged the wrongs of its people. For he had not held his hand from children, or priests, whom it was impious to harm, nor from church lands, and that was a sacrilege. If, while he was living in France, he had not hear report of the catastrophe inflicted on their own men by divine wrath, he should ask his friends who had first witnessed their storm-tossed fleet, partly being dashed on the rocks and shattered, and partly getting away with great difficulty. And later, when they had once more carried off church spoils in a ship, as soon as it had set sail, albeit on a clear day, it sank in the deep with all hands.
50. King David paid no more heed to their words than he had to his dream or his vision, and divided his army into three divisions under three captains. Over the first he set Robert Stewart, the former regent, his nephew by his sister, and Patrick Earl of Merch; over the second, the Earl of Moray and William Douglas; and he himself commanded the third. In the morning, before battle was joined, William Douglas went forward with some horsemen to scout, and lost five hundred of the noblest of Scotland’s youth, barely getting away safe himself. The enemy likewise arranged their forces in three divisions. And when they were at no great distance from each other, David Graham took a squadron of horses and attempted to charge the English archers, but barely got back to his own side, having suffered great losses among his followers. Thus, having suffered two reversals on the same day, the Scots assaulted the enemy, albeit not with their usual high spirits. When they had fought inconclusively for some time, and neither side appeared ready to fall back, Robert Stewart and Patrick Earl of Merch saw that their men were weary and shirking the fight, sounded the retreat, and gradually withdrew their men to safety, something that brought destruction on the rest of the army. For after the wing of the army which had opposed them gained its victory, it attacked the center, where the king was stationed, and they were all overwhelmed and put to rout. There the king failed to do nothing which was the duty of a good general and a doughty soldier, beseeching now these, those, railing in them and calling them back to the fight: it would be a vain thing to have expended so much effort on driving out the enemy from Scotland if now they were to throw away all their victories in a single battle, for there was no other army to withstand their victorious onslaught or keep them out of their nation. What else would they be doing, if they retreated then, than exposing their nation once more to the great evils which they had so long suffered at English hands? It would be more shameful now at last to be bested by their enemy, whom they had so often defeated, routed, and killed, and lose that which they had gained in so many fights then never to have gained a thing.
51. Using words of this kind, he called on them all to be men, and meanwhile the took a band of choice young fellows and ran where he saw the enemies pressing his front the hardest, doing no little to restore the fight. Where he was, everything was performed correctly by his soldiers, but they were holding off the enemy more at the urging of their sense of shame than because they were in good spirits, and shame did not have the same strength as their exultation in victory inspired the enemy. And so they all fled, leaving their king abandoned, and he continued to resist the enemy with a few men. But he was surrounded by their large numbers and had received two wounds. With the darts still sticking in his body, he was unable to cut his way to freedom, and yet did not want to surrender, thinking it base for himself alone to survive as a prisoner when so many of his subjects had been killed. So he left nothing undone in provoking the enemy to kill him. But they held his royal majesty in veneration, and when they saw he could not escape, they preferred to capture him. A certain knight named John Copeland leapt down from his horse and demanded that David yield himself. But he was still unconquered in his mind, and since he had no weapon in his hands, with his fist he smashed his captor in the face with such force that he knocked out his two front teeth.
52. The fighting went no better on the other wing, where John Randolph and William Douglas were in command. For the one was killed and the other captured, and here the killing was greater, so that few managed to escape. On this wing, in addition to one of their commanders, were the Count Wallerstein, Hay the constable, Keith the martial, Strachan the royal chamberlain, Lindesay of Glenesk, Roger Carron, William Fraser, Alexander Gordon, Thomas Vaux, Michael Scot, John de Bonville, Dongal Campbell, and Alexander Bodewell, called The Flower of Chivalry by his men, who did not abandon his king’s side as long as he lived. Also John Merton, accounted one of his chief courtiers, Robert Lesbey, and a large number of other noblemen, as well as countless common soldiers. Four earls were taken together with their king, those of Fife, Sutherland, Wigton, and Menteith. An arrow stuck in the king’s leg could not immediately be pulled out, until he visited St. Ninian, and then it appears the leg opened and the arrow fell out. This battle was fought in the year 1348.
53. Having won this great victory, the English retook Roxbugh and The Hermitage, and, with nobody resisting, they subjugated Annandale, Galloway, Merch, Tevedale, Tweedale, and Forfar, and advanced the borders of their nation to Cockburnspath and Soutra Aisle. In the following year Baliol and the Earl of Northumbry foully ravaged Lothian and Gliddisdale, and often brought back fine plunder Galloway, where he headquartered himself. At length, when they were barely recovered from such tragedies, the Scots elected Robert the Steward regent. He immediately app[ointed David Lindesay, the brother of the earlier David Lindesay killed in the fight at Durham governor of Maidens’ Castle. At the same time William Douglas, the son of Archibald’s brother William, who had died fighting the Saracens in Span, came back from France, and when he found that the lands and estates of Douglasdale were occupied by the English, he killed many and evicted them all. Happy with this success he went further and took back Ettrick, Forfar, and Tweedale, throwing out the English. Hearing of these things, John Copeland scraped together what forces he could and attacked William Douglas. But, meeting a stout rebuff, with many of his men scattered and some killed, he retired to Roxburgh. In the same year, after these things had been done, a terrible plague raged through all Scotland, consuming a third part of the population, and this was the second visitation of the plague in Scotland.
54. After this year had past, Clan Douglas was riven by a serious feud. William Douglas, that great-minded man who had been captured near Durham together with the Earl of Douglas, was still being held in England, murdered Sir David Barclay by the agency of John St. Michael. Soon thereafter, this same William, after having been ransomed and returning from England together with the earl, was ambushed and slain by a certain William Douglas, his godson, for the murder of Alexander Ramsay, whom he had previously killed, and the recent death of David Barclay. So for a time that clan was beset by the evil of internal discord. Meanwhile, since Jean, the son of King Philippe of France, who inherited both the kingdom and its war upon his father’s death, was hard-pressed by the fighting, he sent to Scotland, Eugene de Garencieres, a man most skilled in all the arts of war, with four hundred excellent and ready men, laden down with much gold, bearing an urgent request not to tire of fighting the English: the time would come when he could repay them for their benefits. And at the same time he used the money to persuade their leaders to wage another war in England. The men he brought were of great use to the Scots in managing that war, since they had lost so many captains capable of fighting it in the defeat at Durham. So they enlisted forces, and William Douglas and Patrick Earl of Merch harried England.
55. Of all the Scottish leaders, William Ramsay of Dalhousie brought home the most plunder. When he was returning back to the army with the companies he commanded, he was furiously pursued by Englishmen bent on recovering the spoils he had taken, but they were lured into an ambush, a fight ensued, and many of them but few Scotsmen were killed, namely John Halliburton and James Trumbull, and a few others. Of the English, Sir Thomas Gray and his son Thomas, John d’Arras, a very noble man, and many others were taken captive. Some of the French arrivals purchased Englishmen, took them behind a hill, and slaughtered them as revenge for the killing of their fathers by the English in France. Excited by this success, Patrick and Douglas decided to try their luck at Berwick. They set ladders to its walls and gained the town, but not without losses of their own. For among the Scots were killed Andrew Scot of Balwery, John Gordon, Thomas Vaux, William Sinclair, Thomas Preston, Robert Bodewell, and Alexander Mowbray, all knights. On the English side died the governor of the town Alexander Ogle, Thomas Percy, the brother of the Earl of Northumberland, and Edward Gray. The English continued to hold the castle keep, and, having taken the town, the Scots attacked it with all their might. But Edward heard that Berwick had been taken and its keep was endangered, so he came with a great army quicker than anyone imagined possible. When the Scots learned of his arrival, inasmuch as they had destroyed much of the town walls during their assault and had no time to repair them, and also suffered from a lack of provisions while their enemy continued to defend the keep, they sacked the town, fired a large part of it, and went away, carrying a great amount of plunder.
56. Seeing Berwick to be taken, sacked, and damaged by fire, Edward collected artisans and bid them repair the town. Meanwhile he himself turned aside to Roxburgh. Coming there, Baliol assigned to Edward all the right he claimed over Scotland, on condition that Edward fight to avenge the insults the Scots had committed against himself. Thanking Edward Baliol, the king went as far as Haddington, killing many men, burning their estates, and ruining their crops. There he awaited his fleet, and in the meantime he despoiled and ravage Scotland all around. When his ships arrived, they landed and despoiled a chapel of the Holy Virgin called the White Church, not far from Haddington, and when they returned in their ship, carrying the spoils, such a great northerly suddenly blew up that their fleet was driven onto reefs and, with the exception of a few men who swam to safety stark naked, they all suffered death by drowning. The English king was stung by these troubles and, just as if he were warring against heaven, he began to rage against Haddington’s churches, monasteries, and abbeys, and in his great indignation ruined whatever else in Lothian had survived his recent rage. They say that, while he was busy plundering the ornaments adorning a statue of the Virgin at White Church, and was triumphantly going about the church showing off his spoils, his brains were dashed out when a cross suspended above his head fell, so that he paid the penalty for his sacrilege. These things were done in the year of our Salvation 1355, on the day after the celebration of the Purification of the Holy Virgin Mother of God, when many candles glow in the churches. But since at that time everything was aglow with burning houses, that day was henceforth remembered as the Burnt Candlemas. After that, William Douglas invaded Galloway, taking part of it by force, and partly because of the locals’ good-will towards David, and Kirkpatrick did the same in Drysdale.
56. At the same time these things were a-doing in Scotland, Richard Prince of Wales, the son of Edward III, who succeeded his father on the throne of England, defeated King Jean of France in battle and brought him to England as a prisoner. When his father was told that he had arrived bringing the noblest captive in all Europe, he was unaffected, as if he were very unmoved by good news, and only remarked that his son had managed the business well if he had done everything properly, and continued on to hunt in a forest, giving the command that King Jean be received with the greatest possible honor and festivity. Some of the Scottish nobility had been fighting alongside King Jean in France, including Sir Andrew Stewart, Sir Robert Gordon, Sir Andrew Haliburton, and Sir Andrew Vaux, were killed in battle. William Douglas, the nephew of the regent William Earl of Douglas, the commander of a hundred knights, contrived to make his escape. Archibald, the son of the William Douglas whom I have said to died fighting the infidels, a man of great authority with King Jean, was taken prisoner together with his manservant William Ramsay. By pretending to be Ramsay’s servant, and sometimes serving as the object of his anger and buffets, he tricked the English into letting him go for a very small ransom, although he could have afforded a handsome sum.
57. King Edward was in his glory, having the two noblest and most powerful kings in the world for his captives. At Christmas, the one day his nation celebrates with preposterously lavish feasting, he bade one king sit at his right hand and the other on the left during his banquet, so his glory would be celebrated by posterity. He ws forgetful of the human condition, as if the same could not befall him too, or as if he had managed everything by his virtue, or else as if it were necessary that he who did things with the greatest good fortune necessarily did them the best. Afterwards negotiations for David’s ransom were opened, and, so that they might more easily come to an agreement, David was brought to Berwick by the Earl of Northampton, where members of Scotland’s foremost clans also came. But since they could not come to an agreement, he was returned to London. Meanwhile Roger Kirkpactick was hospitably received by James Lindesay, but then treacherously murdered by him. The reason he did this is not recorded. He fled in the night, and he imagined he was sufficiently far away from the castle where he had done the deed, but he was followed and arrested by Robert’s henchmen,brought to Robert Stewart, and paid the price with his head. Not much later, by the mutual agreement of the two realms, David was freed, in the eleventh year of his captivity, when fifty thousand marks sterling were paid down in hard money, and he promised to furnish the like amount again in installments. As a pledge, he gave hostages, but nearly all of them died of the plague in England.
58. When David returned to Scotland, he was by no means forgetful of those who had begun the catastrophe (or rather, who were the reason for it) when they deserted the field, and so he began by fining those commanders. Having been abandoned by him in battle, David took away the prerogative of Robert Stewart, whom had been designated next in line to the succession by his uncle King Robert Bruce by the common counsel of the realm, and transferred it to his sister’s son Alexander Sutherland (for Robert Stewart had been born to a daughter of Robert Bruce’s first wife), and compelled all the nobility to swear an oath of loyalty to him. Alexander’s father, thinking that the scepter would be bequeathed to his posterity, very generously shared out the better part of his estates to his friends and followers, namely the noble estates of Boine and Ainze, and also Kincardin and various others of no mean quality. But his son Alexander died of disease not long thereafter, so he was baffled in his hope. Nonetheless, the descendants of those to whom he gave those lands continued to hold it by hereditary right, I mean the families of Hay, Sinclair, Ogilvy, and Gordon. Afterwards, since he had no closer or more worthy kinsman that Robert Stewart, he appointed him heir to the throne once more, and again willed the nobility to swear their loyalty to him. He likewise fined the Earl of Merch, the other commander of the army fighting with Robert, of part of his lands, lest this evil habit of deserting the king in battle, if he overlooked it, would grow common and all military discipline would be destroyed, to the detriment of royal rule. In this same parliament, with the agreement of the metropolitan of Scotland and his bishops, a tenth part of Church revenues were generously conferred on David.
59. While these things were transpiring in Scotland, the kingdom of France was being remarkably hard-pressed by the English war, and they greatly missed their king. So they sent a delegation to England, bringing his sons to serve as hostages in his stead. When King Jean had come to Paris, he convened his senate and in sad tones greatly bewailed his fortune and the calamities of his realm. Among other things, in a querulous voice he complained that he could find no Rolands or Gawains. In response, one of his elder lords who had distinguished himself for martial virtue in his youth, responded that there would be no shortage of Rolands if only there were a Charlemagne. This wounded the king’s heart more deeply than anyone could have imagined, for he thought he was being accused of cowardice. And so he immediately dismissed his senate and did nothing thereafter. And not long thereafter he went to England for the sake, as he gave out, of visiting his sons, but some say that he chose to go into voluntary exile because he hated his subjects. He sent his sons back to France and did not long survive, dying at London. In Scotland, David convened a second parliament. For he had made a promise to King Edward of England, if such could be done by common agreement, to bequeath the kingdom of Scotland to his son. But when he made this proposal before a parliament of the lords of the entire realm, such indignation arose that with a single voice they shouted they would not allow this as long as their hands could carry weapons. At the moment, this reply was highly unwelcome to the king, but in time he grew to be very pleased by it.
60. The dissolution of this parliament was followed by a revolt of some noblemen. For they thought the king was angry at them for certain over-free things they had said, and decided to act before they could suffer. But when they had assembled their forces and the king went to counter their endeavors, they abandoned their stiff-necked thoughts and came to him, begging his pardon for what they had said and done. This they obtained with ease. At the same time Joan, David’s queen and consort, died while traveling to England for the sake of visiting her brother, leaving behind no child. After a year had passed David took a second wife, Margaret Logie, the daughter of Sir John Logie, the most beautiful of all the maidens of her time. He did so, he said, more because he was smitten with her beauty than out of any hope for having children by her. Nevertheless, when she had passed her twenty-fourth year without presenting him with a child, he divorced her. But when he appealed his case to the see of Rome and had spent much money there, she died. Meanwhile he repaired the castles, towns, and much else which had been destroyed or damaged during the war. At Edinburgh he rebuilt nearly the entire Maidens Castle: evidence of this still remains today in the form of its finest tower, called David’s Tower. He also devoted a great deal of effort to reconciling the petty kings of the Hebrides and the Highlands, and in recalling them to their loyalty, for during the time of trouble some of them had not held their peace. When he could not obtain this by giving them gifts, he bribed some of their magistrates to kill them, and by so doing he managed to pacify everything without any trouble.
61. Now that everything was quiet, he decided to visit the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. But while making the necessary preparations for his journey, he was forestalled by fate and died in Maidens’ Castle, at the age of forty-seven, the thirty-ninth of his reign, which was the year of Man’s Salvation 1370. During his reign, a number of prodigies were seen in Albion. Crows, jackdaws, and that kind of bird were found to give birth in the winter of that year, but not in the summer, and in that year the sheep dropped no lambs. There was such an infestation of mice, both in the country and in cities, that buildings could scarcely be cleansed of them, and if you did so, they would come back in no less numbers than they were before. In his twenty-seventh year there was such flooding from continual rains in the autumn that rivers overflowed their banks, and lochs rose to the point that many buildings and villages, and even very strong towers, were washed away. At about the time of the beginning of the reign of King Robert, the father of the David I have been discussing, lived Duns Scotus, a man who lived according to the very holy rule of St. Francis, a man of such genius that his century could be regarded as not having deserved him, and his near-contemporary Richard Middleton, both regarded as more important than anyone else when it came to scholastic theology, as their writings amply attest. They were soon followed by William Occam, an Englishman by nationality, Gregory of Rimini, Buckingham, and many other members of the faculty of the University of Paris, who gained uncommon glory.