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THE HISTORY OF SCOTLAND, BOOK XVI
FTER King David Bruce’s funeral rites had solemnly been performed, the nobles of Scotland met at Lithquo to choose a successor. When the minds of the commons and a goodly part of the nobility were inclined to choose Robert Stewart, William Douglas appeared with a large army and claimed the crown was his by right. He avowed that for this right he was indebted to both Baliol and David Comyn, and, if it were not freely granted him, he would resort to arms in the attempt to gain it. But he met with the unfriendly resistance of George Dunbar Earl of Merch, James Lindesay of Glenesk, Hay the Constable, Arskine, the governor of the garrison at Dumbriton, and many others whom he had hoped would support himself, who made him see that, were he to make this attempt, he would come off the loser, so that he abandoned his demands. And so William accompanied Robert to Scone, and made no attempt to prevent him from being crowned by the common consent of the realm. For this gesture of good-will, Robert betrothed his daughter Eufemia, the first he had from his lawful wife, to his firstborn son and heir James Douglas. In this way the crown was transferred to the family of Stewart, in which family in still most happily resides in our times, worn by his seventh successor.
2. Robert Stewart was fifty-seven years old when he set his hand to the helm of state, and at this time he had for his wife Eufemia, the daughter of the Earl of Ross, with whom he had lived for many years, and had fathered three children on here: two sons, Walter and David, and the aforementioned Eufemia. And, a little after his coronation, she was solemnly crowned queen. But before marrying her, Robert had had for a mistress Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Adam Muir, who had presented him with three sons, John (who subsequently succeeded his father as king), Robert, and Alexander, as well as two daughters. The one of these had been secretly seduced by John Dunbar, the brother of George Earl of Merch, prior to her father’s accession to the throne, who, unbeknownst to her father, married her. A little later John Lyon married the other daughter. But in a parliament at Perth, after a number of things had been enacted for the advantage of both Church and realm (which I deliberately pass over, since they are common knowledge), there were some who egged on Robert to prosecute John Dunbar on a capital charge of treason for (as they said) having seduced his daughter without her father’s knowledge. But George Dunbar, pleading his brother’s cause, replied that his brother had married his daughter, by no means against her will, at a time when Robert was not yet king, but merely the Earl and Lord of Rothesay, Bortha, Renfrew, Bowkill, and Stuartston, the estates he held before becoming king. Some think that Douglas manufactured this slander to turn George’s mind against the king. But Robert remembered how much George had argued in his behalf in the debate over the kingship, not only chose to overlook this injury, but amiably created his son-in-law John Dunbar Earl of Moray, although he did remove some estates from that earldom, the ones commonly called Badzenot, Lochaber, Pette, and Brathley. This earldom only passed down to the second heir within that family, since the male line failed, and it passed through a daughter into the possession of Clan Douglas.
3. At the time when he was crowned and anointed at Scone, King Robert created a number of earls, knights, and barons. Among these, James Lindesay of Glenesk was made Earl of Crawford, and henceforth he became an intimate royal favorite. In the third year of Robert’s reign, his wife Eufemia succumbed to fate. Then Robert married that Elizabeth whom I have written to have been his mistress prior to his marriage with Eufemia, and he legitimized the children he had by her, since he loved them dearly. In the same year he bestowed lands on his sons, making John Earl of Carrick and Seneschal of Scotland, Robert Earl of Fife and Menteith, Alexander Lord of Badenoch, and David, his first born by Eufemia, Earl of Strathern, and Walter Earl of Athol. He furthermore arranged the line of succession as follows: John would succeed first of them all; then Robert, should he die without male issue; should he too die childless, Alexander would replace him; should Alexander have the same fate and leave no son, then David; should the same befall him, then Walter would succeed to the crown. But, mortal affairs being so parlous, if no male line were left at all, then the nearest man to the blood royal, whoever he might be, would come to rule Scotland. These things were enacted at a public parliament of the lords of the realm held at Scone, and they all swore that the would observe and defend this ordinance.
4. But Fortune begrudged Scotland such protracted happiness. Certain Englishmen of the borderlands, who had been accustomed to live somewhat expansively on the profits of thievery, were now reduced to poverty by the long peace. So, in order to disturb the peace, they murdered certain courtiers of George Earl of Merch at Roxburgh Fair. George, taking this insult amiss, sent a herald to Henry Earl of Northumbria, the Warden of the Marches at that time, demanding he hand over the murderers for their punishment and pay an indemnity for all the killing. But when he had sent a herald in vain for a second time, and then a third, and received nothing but a jeering reply, he delayed taking vengeance for the wrongdoing, and decided to wait for an opportunity in the following year. After a year had gone by, when Roxburgh was thronged with merchants once more, he joined forces with his brother the Earl of Moray and they set siege to the city, and not long thereafter took it without any great difficult. They killed whoever they found there, and, being chock-full of wares, the town had plenty of plunder to offer. Thinking he should not delay, he burned down the town and left. The English were outraged by this massacre and in their turn rushed into Scotland, They laid waste to the landed estates of Sir John Gordon, since they lay alongside those of the Earl of Merch, with slaughter and rapine. Sparing neither age or sex, the Scots and English savaged each other like mad dogs, taking no account of what they themselves suffered, as long as they could do their utmost to hurt their enemy.
5. To avenge this wrong, John Gordon summoned soldiers from nearby parts and, entering into England with a large army and encountering no resistance, drove off a great plunder of men and cattle. But as he was returning to Scotland, he was confronted by John Lilburne, in greater numbers than himself. Yet Gordon did not shrink from a fight. The opposing armies clashed with more spirit than strength. They fought with varying degrees of success, swapping victories, since five times the Scots were bested and obliged to retreat, and five times they proved victorious. In the end the Scots gained the day, killing many Englishman, and their commander, together with his son, a man most skilled in the arts of war, was taken and later brought back to Scotland. When Henry Percy Earl of Northumberland heard these things, he invaded Scotland with seven thousand men, and encamped at Duns. During the night, local shepherds and peasants sewed leather bags together in the form of bladders and filled them with pebbles. When they shook these, they so greatly frightened the horses the English had put out to pasture that they could not be kept under control by their grooms and the watchmen. And they managed to keep the English army fearfully awake all night, since they they thought their enemy was at hand. In the first light of dawn, these same shepherds shooed the horses away in different directions, so that their enemies, who had come to gain plunder, were plundered themselves. In the same dawn the Englishman Thomas Musgrave, the governor of Berwick, marching to the assistance of the Earl of Norhtumbria, came across John Gordon and his army, emboldened by their victory. He joined battle nonetheless: many Englishmen died, and the governor was taken prisoner and led to Scotland.
6. While the Scots were gaining these multiple victories in the eastern part of the kingdom, in the west Sir John Johnston was making many raids and fighting light skirmishes, always coming out the victor. At this same time a legate of Pope Gregory XI came to King Robert in Scotland, forbidding him, or any other Christian sovereign, to appropriate for his own use the incomes of any deceased bishop or priest. In this same time the cathedral of St. Andrews suffered a great fire, caused either by lightning or by a jackdaw (the story goes that it was set a fire by a bit of straw the bird brought back to build its nest, but this is uncertain). Berwick was also besieged and taken in a night-attack by a handful of soldiers, principally the work of John Gordon and six associates, although they did not long possess it. For their soldiers were let in the postern gate of the castle during the night, but were driven out of the town by the same route they had come in with the help of the townsmen, who began throwing down roof-tiles on them. Then Douglas invaded England with twenty thousand men at his back and ravaged Penrith at the time of its fair, and yet refrained from doing any killing. And so he came away with great plunder, but also with the plague, which for the two following years visited more death on Scotland than ever before. This is accounted the third time the plague was seen in Scotland, and this occurred in the year of Salvation 1380.
7. Soon thereafter the English followed after Douglas and entered Scotland by crossing the river Solway. But, after having collected a great amount of plunder, they were surrounded in a narrow pass, took serious losses, and were stripped of all their spoils. Four hundred were captured, and no fewer than that drowned while trying to swim the Solway after having thrown away their arms. The rest managed to save their skins by taking refuge in forests and hills, and made their way back to England at night. When word of these successes reached Charles VI in France (for he had recently been created king in place of his father), he sent ambassadors to Robert in Scotland, urging that, having enjoyed such happy success, he not desist from constantly vexing their common enemy, and that he would not allow the Scots to go unrewarded if they could eject the English from France (for at that time they were seriously pressing Charles). Their treaty was also renewed on the Scottish side, and Walter Wardlaw Bishop of Glasgow was sent to Charles along with the ambassadors, so that the treaty was confirmed by the French side as well. Thus all went as they wished, in the second year after the plague. In that same year John Lyon, a noble man endowed with great prudence, the son-in-law of King Robert, was evilly murdered by James Lindesay Earl of Crawford. They say that this John was a young man endowed by all the endowments of nature and Fortune, physically handsome and imbued with the best of manners, was a welcome figure to one and all, and for this reason was accepted as a familiar of Lindsay’s and made his secretary. Since he frequently came into the presence of King John, the king greatly admired the young man’s uprightness and, with James’ agreement, was accounted one of king’s friends, and appointed his secretary.
8. They go on to say that, while living at the royal court, one of the daughters the king fathered by Elizabeth before his marriage to Elizabeth was smitten with the love of this young man, and frequently asked him to take her to bed. The more he refused, the hotter she burned, and she often urged him. At length his impressionable young mind was overcome by her constant wheedling, and he acquiesced to the girl’s desire. And when her belly grew swollen, lest an irate king punish this young fellow who, as I have said, was named John, James Lindesay, to whom he had revealed the deed, in order to divert suspicion from the young nobleman, asked the king to bestow his daughter’s hand on John, since was a friend of the king, and for him to be given as a dowry landed estates at Glamis and elsewhere. When this was obtained, the king also bestowed on John the surname Lyon. This is the origin of Clan Lyon, a very famous family among us. As evidence of this fact is that this family has as its coat of arms a lion with lilies and other bordering decorations such as our kings use, save that they have a black field instead of a red one. Henceforth the say that John became a much closer familiar of the king, and that he would transact public business with the king in the absence of James Lindesay. Hence it seemed to James that his authority with the king and his lords was quite diminished, a thing which made him secretly indignant, and it is said that, not far from Forfar, he took advantage of the opportunity of intercepting and foully murdering him. Then Lindesay himself went into exile, where he remained for a number of years and did not return until he had paid a great sum of money, was fined of his land, and obliged to spend a considerable amount on priests appointed to say pious daily prayers for the soul of John. His return was arranged by the intercession of the Earls of Douglas and Merch.
9. After these things, English ambassadors arrived in Scotland, by the far the most of important of whom as John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, requesting a three years’ truce. When they were granted this, on the way home they heard of a peasant uprising against England’s nobility led by a man named Jack Straw, and that London had been taken by storm and foully vandalized. And so, to keep as far away from this civil war as they could, men say that they returned to Scotland and received a hospitable welcome from the king until the leader of that rebellion had been caught and cut apart limb by limb, so that everything was pacified. After the truce expired, Archibald Douglas Earl of Galloway, exasperating that the peasantry of Annandale and Galloway were daily vexed by the English who held Lochmaben Castle, took as his allies the Earls of Merch and Douglas and besieged the English. This siege had lasted for three months when on one and the same day they scattered auxiliaries sent from Carlile and stormed the castle, compelling it to surrender, with its garrison given free leave to depart with their possession, and then leveled it to the ground. When these things were reported to King Richard of England, he feared lest Roxburgh suffer the same fate and not be able to withstand a protracted siege. So, at the urging of his lords, he immediately sent to the castle a garrison equipped with provisions, furniture, and all the necessities for enduring a lengthy siege, under the command of Sir Robert Greystock. But the Earl of Merch obstructed their march, captured them without a fight, and brought them to Dunbar. There the earl played the host and served their nobles a banquet on the dinnerware they had brought with them, and a certain jester, of the kind noblemen so adore, made a witty joke at the Englishmen’s expense, calling them fools for having turned over so much silver and pewter plate without a fight, but wise men for bringing with them the utensils with which they could eat and drink while in prison.
10. When he heard of this defeat too, the king of England enrolled a large army and placed in charge of it the Duke of Lancaster. Determined also to attack Scotland by sea, he sent a well-equipped fleet to Fife. Having wasted Merch and Lothian, the Duke of Lancaster came as far as Edinburgh and took the town. But when his soldiers wished to fire it, he accepted money from its townsman and prevented them from burning its houses. Then he led his army home. For its part, the fleet landed at Inch Colme, and its soldiers came ahore, wrecked the entire island and wasted it with fire. They also burned its abbey, but its chapel was spared by divine intervention. They say that a soldier thrice threw fire into the chapel, but thrice it went out of its own will, and that his sacrilegious fellow started gnawing on his own flesh and went mad, thus atoning for his crime. They then continued into Fife, devastating its fields and villages. But they were overwhelmed by the brothers, Thomas and Nicholas Erskine, Alexander Lindesay, and William Cunningame of Kilmaur with a few soldiers, and nearly all were slain. A few escaped to their ships. Four hundred of these clung to an anchor cable, wretchedly pleading withthe sailors to haul them aboard. But the enemy were close at hand and the ship would have been taken if did not set sail at once. So its captain cut the cable and went to sea, leaving those dangling from it to be drowned or swim ashore, where they were butchered by the enemy standing on the beach. These were the things done by the English that year, which was the year of the world’s Redemption 1385.
11. In the same year, after the Duke of Lancaster had quit Scotland, at the king’s command William Earl of Douglas took back Tweedale, which had been in English hands since the defeat at Douglas, driving them out and storming their castles. He also cleared all that region of the thieves and robbers who had existed there in great supply. This was William’s last achievement, a man unworthy of neither his ancestors or his clan. For a burning fever seized on him, and within a few days he died at Douglas Castle, and was later honorably buried at Melrose. His son James Douglas succeeded him, a man no whit inferior to his father either in spirits nor in successful action. Set in charge of the army by the king, he plundered his way to Newcastle, which was abandoned by the peasantry which, when they heard of his coming, took away as much as they carry during those troubled times and abandoned the city. But when he was about to march farther, a messenger arrived from the king halting his onslaught and bidding him return to Scotland for a parliament. For his success had been reported to King Charles VI of France, who sent two thousand choice soldiers to Scotland under command of the Admiral of France and Jean de Vienne Compte de Valence. They brought plenty of gifts sent by Charles to King Robert, together with a large stock of provisions and all manner of weaponry, sufficient to arm four hundred men, together with fifty thousand gold marks and a great supply of wine and wheat. Therefore, these captions had received a friendly reception and were treated to many formal banquets while awaiting the arrival of Douglas. After he had come, they all voted to use their full strength in mounting an invasion of England. Putting his hand to this project with a will, the king enrolled up to fifty thousand soldiers, and as commander of this army he appointed Robert Stewart Earl of Fife. The Earl of Douglas, the Earl of Merch, Archibald Douglas, and the other lords, and also the French delegates, were captains of parts of his army. They therefore entered into Northumbria, where they stormed and destroyed the castles of Wark, Ford, and Cornwell, driving off great plunder of both men and cattle, and then they headed back homewards, prevented by a rainy autumn from remaining in the field any longer.
12. At the beginning of the following summer, Stewart gathered his forces and invaded Cumbria by crossing the Solway, where, having first devastated the countryside, he set siege to Carlile. But soon this army was recalled by the king, who had decided to attack Roxburgh with all his forces. Nor was that affair handled in any happier way. For the siege had scarcely lasted a week when a quarrel arose between the French and the Scots, when the French demanded that, if the castle was taken in accordance with their advice, it come under the power of the King of France, whereas the Scots refused to allow this, since the French were mere auxiliaries and yet were demanding the best of all that they conquered. The French went back to Scotland, and not long thereafter to France, recalled by Charles, who was caught up in various wars. After the departure of the French, the Scots remained in England for two more months, wasting everything with their devastation. But when their food supply ran short, since the English had carried off the crops to their strongholds and spoiled what they could not carry, the army went back to Scotland. Then at length Richard enlisted a great army, having no doubt that, since the Scots were wearied by their frequent levies, they would not turn in their names for a new army that year. And indeed he encountered no opposition as he laid waste to Merch and Lothian with great freedom. He spared nothing secular or sacred, no age or sex, as he destroyed everything with his fire and befouled it with his murder. He burned down three famous abbeys, Melrose, Dryburgh, and Newbattle, butchering anyone he found within, although he did hold has hand from Holyrood Abbey at the behest of Patrick Earl of Longcastle. All the other holy places were either torn down or burned, including the most august church of St. Giles. And so he went home, inflicting no less slaughter than he had suffered. Amidst these events Elizabeth Queen of Scots died.
13. These wrongs did not long go unavenged. For Robert Stewart Earl of Fife, joined by the other Scottish lords, immediately entered Cumbria and drove of a great number of men and cattle, and filled everything with his devastation. Then he returned by way of Westmoreland and Northumbria, despoiling their fields and burning whatever towns he could take, and led home his army, laden down with spoils and enriched. Included in the plunder was the deed of a royal grant of land written in these words: I kyng Adelstan gevis heir to Paulan Oddan ande Rodan als guyde ande als fair ab evir yai mine wayrande yarto witnerss Malde my wiffe. From these words it is evident that at the time this was drafted, far greater trust was placed in the word of kings or lords than in our unhappy age, in which a infinite confusion of words can do more (albeit with great difficulty) to protect a landholder from harm than can plain speaking. Back then, just about three words attesting to the land-grant sufficed to guarantee its secure possession.
14. On this expedition, Archibald Douglas of Galloway’s son William gained great repute and glory. For, in addition to other fine deeds, he and two companions slaughtered a large number of enemy while burning the suburbs of Carlile. He killed some men who were trying to keep him from crossing a bridge, tossed others into the river, and when where he wanted to go. Afterwards, when that town was under siege, he was a little too keen in pursuing some enemies while they were making a sally and was captured by them. Having thrown down his weapons, while was being led off, he knocked two of them to the ground with his fists and the other two took to their heels, so he safely returned to his own side. Moved by the young man’s great virtue, the king bade him be fetched. When he came, he bestowed on him his daughter Egidia, the greatest beauty of her time. For men remember that her appearance was so comely that, whenever she appeared in public, all men’s eyes would turn towards her as if in amazement, and they could not admire her beauty as much as it deserved. And so, hearing of her, the king of France was smitten, and they say that out of his lover for her he sent a painter to Scotland so that he might have the opportunity to observe her and paint her portrait. When he brought back an elegantly-drawn likeness, he was so ardently desired to possess this maiden that he immediately sent ambassadors requesting her hand. But he was forestalled by William Douglas and cheated of his hope.
15. At the same time, Irish adherents of England made secret night-raids on Galloway and took away a few cattle. When William Douglas heard of this, with the help of forces of Robert Stewart Earl of Fife under the command of his kinsman Robert of Durisdeer, he crossed over into Ireland by leave of the king, and mounted a number of attacks on the town of Carlingford. The townsmen, not trusting in their own strength, deceitfully compounded for a truce, promising a great sum of money. So they secretly obtained help, in the form of five hundred soldiers, from Dundalk and parts nearby, and, joined by these, a part of their forces attacked Robert as he was despoiling their fields and expecting nothing less than something of that kind. But he gathered his men, easily fended them off, and made them turn tail and flee, although few men survived the rout. Others who attacked William fought with the same bad fortune. So he quickly marched up to the walls and, encountering no resistance, took the city. Then he sacked and burned it, leading off its leading men as captives, and putting to the sword those from he could have gained only a trifling ransom, if any at all. Others were saved by flight. After this prosperous campaign in Ireland, William fired many buildings in various Irish harbors, seized a great number of ships both Irish and English, and crossed over into England. Meanwhile the English invaded Merch, ruining many men and structures in that district.
16. At this time, King Robert was visiting the north of Scotland for the purpose of administering the law. But when he heard about these English inroads, he hurried to Aberdeen and, in a parliament of nobles held there, he pronounced that they should invade England with their armies, and not let this insult go unpunished. He commanded that two armies should be recruited. As commander of one of these, he appointed Robert Stewart Earl of Fife, and gave him as his lieutenants the Earl of Monteith, Archibald Douglas of Galloway, and Alexander Lindesay of Walcop. It consisted of fifteen thousand man, and with that number Robert marched on Cumbria. And he ordained that James Earl of Douglas and George Earl of Merch should lead the other. Their helpers were James Lindesay Earl of Crawford, John Dunbar Earl of Moray, and the Lord Hay, the Constable. This army was none lesser in size, and these men attacked Northumbria. Nothing was left undone to make their work of destruction as foul as foul could be. Here you could have seen the slaughter of peasants as they scurried about, you could hear the wailing of women and children; and there, farmsteads shooting forth fearful flames; in another place, cattle being driven off; and yet elsewhere, everything being laid low. Both armies ranged about ravaging both regions, and then they met ten miles from Newcastle. There the nobles selected ten thousand preeminent for their martial virtue, for the storming of the town, which stands on the bank of the river Tyne. So they encamped on the side facing Scotland, and studied it all around to see where it could most advantageously be assaulted.
17. Within the town was Henry Percy Earl of Northumbria, unable to fight because of his old age, but he had with him his sons, in the flower of their youth, Henry , nicknamed Hotspur for the frequency with which he spurred his horse, and Ralph. Henry, fierce in his strength and knowledge of the art of war, came out of the town gate and challenged Douglas to single combat. Nor did our commander shrink from a fight, being by far the best man of his age for strength and experience in war. He armed himself and went out on the field, and the two tilted at each other with their lances. Douglas was careful to baffle his enemy, and, planting his lance beneath Percy’s chest, unhorsed him. Those who had come out of the gate in large numbers to watch the fight sprang forward, and dragged the prostrate man back inside. Douglas tried to make his way through the throng to Percy but could not, and, seeing his effort to be in vain, he took Percy’s lance and announced within the hearing of the English that he was going to take it back to Scotland. Thus great glory fell to the victor, and shame to the vanquished. Douglas called together his captains, and told them the place where he desired each of them to attack the walls. Then, at his signal, they threw into the town ditch wood, straw, and anything else that would serve to fill it up, and applied ladders to the walls. But the townsmen put up a fine defense, the attack failed, and Douglas, having received some wounds, recalled his men. When they gathered, he consoled his soldiers for their failed effort, saying that the reason was the scarcity of ladders long enough to reach the ramparts: they would try it again when they had acquired better equipment. But that night there arrived a great English army. Therefore Douglas abandoned hope of storming the town, and silently led his men back to the main army. And when they had retired a distance of five miles they halted at a suitable place, and Douglas bade his men rest. For, because of their siege work, they had no sleep during the night.
18. At sunrise, the English crossed the river and thought about joining battle with the Scots. They readied their armies both within the town and outside its walls. But when it was announced that their enemy had disappeared, they prepared for a pursuit and followed them throughout the night. Without delay, both sides readied themselves. In view of the shortness of the time, Douglas limited himself to a few words of encouragement to his men: let them remember their old virtue, and the great victories with which, for so many years, they had stoutly defeated their enemy; they should not fear their enemies’ larger numbers, since it would not be difficult to rout men they had so often bested, and the English army was no larger than their one at Bannockburn had been, where thirty thousand three hundred enemies had died almost to the last man; they should remember Wallace, the mere sight of whom the English could not withstand. But there was no need to delve into old history: he reminded them of the fine things each of them had done in recent years. Those would all be eclipsed by this single victory. They alone were destined to gain all the glory: they should not wait until the rest of their army came along and stole their honor and praise. He warned his horse and foot of these things as he put his battle-line in order. And, whenever he caught sight of some man who had distinguished himself by some noble deed, he would speak to him with kindness, and remind him of his prizes and glory. For he had been in the field for nearly all of his life, and knew them all individually. On his side, that excellent commander Henry Hotspur also spoke to arouse his men, reminding them that in this very hour they must fight for their nation, their parents, wives, and children, for their lands and home, and for all their fortunes; he had taken all provisions; they far outnumbered their enemy; as if by prearrangement, they had fled from his army when it had been prepared to fight, and then again when it gave chase, since the they daunted by the fact that they were outmatched, and by falling backthey had already conceded the victory. They only needed to consolidate thatvictory by energetically attacking their retreating foe. As soon as they did so, all would go their way, as their enemy would yield at the first collision, unable to withstand their power.
19. Having said these things, he commanded the bugler to sound the signal to fight. Both sides ran together with great force, and for a while the victory hung in the balance. But nightfall compelled both sides to cease fighting. They halted, not far from each other, waiting for the moonrise, which was soon to come. And when the moon shone in the clear sky, they rejoined the fight, with neither side abandoning its hope. In one part of field the English killed the Scotsmen fighting in the forefront and began driving our men back, and doubtless they would have captured the standards of the Earl of Douglas in that assault, so that it would have been all over for the Scots, had not Patrick Hepburn, together with his son Patrick and a company of his friends come a-running to the place where the enemy was pressing with his great force and, thanks to his martial virtue, restored the battle after it had been all but lost. Without delay Douglas came to the help of those engaged in the action: wielding an iron-shod club heavier than anyone else of of his time could carry, he rode into the mass of his enemies, and there he killed and routed so many that the victory gained by all the Scots that night could be attributed to him alone. The battle went on until dawn. Then, after Ralph Percy and their Marshal John Keith, and then Ralph’s brother Henry, had been taken captive and the enemy began to melt away. Then, having manifestly won the day, the Scots rushed forward, killing some and capturing others, although the greater number were taken captive. Fifteen hundred Englishmen died, of whom a great part were nobles. The captives were, as I have just written Henry Percy, their principal commander, and his brother Ralph, Sir Robert Ogle, Sir Thomas Albert, Sir John Lilleburn, Sir William Wauchlut, Sir Robert Helton, Sir John Colwell, and Sir Patrick Lovell, as well as many others distinguished for their nobility. Such was the number of the captives that they far outnumbered their captors. Having set down their arms, they were all bound.
20. Nor was this a bloodless victory for the Scots. For Robert Hart fell in that battle, a man by no means inferior to the best of knights and a knight himself, and also William Lundy, Archdeacon of Aberdeen and a kinsman of Douglas, who did not abandon him even in death, with a few others. Above all else, the victory was made a sad one by the death of Douglas. For after the enemy had been scattered, the Earls of Merch and Moray went into his pavilion (where he had retired after the enemy had been routed, with what little strength he had left), and found the man half-alive, having been pierced by three missiles and having suffered a fatal wound in his head (in the heat of battle his helm had been dislodged, since it was not well fixed to his shoulders), still breathing. When they saw him stretched out, they were amazed at the strangeness of the thing and stood looking at him in wonder, and then they broke out in tears of lamentation. But Douglas gestured for silence and, as much as his sad condition allowed, so that he could barely be heard, he spoke these final words to them:
21. “Pray cease your lamentations, my friends, and be happy for this victory, which a benevolent heaven has granted us this day. For this is why we have exposed our bodies to the enemy, that by the grace of God we might achieve what we set out to do. So please change your tears into thanksgiving and hymns, rather than, if something unwelcome has happened, forgetful of all these good things, fixing your minds on this single thing and deploring it alone. If you care to thank me for these efforts and for the life I am spending on your behalf, then you should pray God Almighty to have mercy on my soul. I would have you particularly admonished that, as you do, you should always cultivate virtue as well as arms for the sake of our national liberty, and live in mutual concord and friendship, gratefully cherishing my memory.” When he had said these things and was attempting to address them individually, his spirit failed him, and he expired in his friends’ embrace, a man who by his virtues indeed served as an ornament to his nation both in life and in death. And, when it had heard of his passing, neither the victory, nor their spoils, nor anything else could restrain the weeping of the army, sad for the loss of such a great commander. And not long there after, when the Robert Stewart came along with the rest of the army, their lamentation was renewed. For, even if they all regarded their victory as a great one, as it indeed was, not a one of them failed to proclaim that he would gladly trade his life for that of Douglas.
22. But they attributed no small part of their victory to Patrick Hepburn for restoring the battle and defending the standards. They say that the origin of Clan Hepburn was a follows. During the reign of David II, while the Earl of Merch was riding a horse, the animal wildly and uncontrollably reared, not without danger to the earl’s companions. When all others shied away in flight, a certain captive Englishman alone summoned the courage to dash up and take hold of the horse’s bridle and bring it under control. The Earl of Merch pronounced that this act had saved his life, and he rewarded the Englishman with a tract of land in Lothian, albeit not a large une. But, thanks to the virtue of his decendants, his progeny grew into such a large can that, in addition to a number of knights in our day, there exist the Earls of Bothwell, second to no other earls when it comes to nobility and wealth. And a number of the members of this clan have possessed holy offices, and, although these have not been few in numbers or insignificant, easily the most worthy of them for his virtues has been John Hepburn, Prior of St. Andrews, who (as I have indicated elsewere) died a little before this writing, and is worthy of posterity’s constant praises for his accomplishments both civil and religious. But for the present, since I am pressed for space, I have thought 9t beter to keep silent about the man’s virtues rather than not to describe them all.
23. At the time when they met at Otterburn (for such was the name of the place where the battle was fought). the Bishop of Durham arrived at Newcastle with seven thousand Englishmen. Learning of the Scottish victory from refugees, he halted so as to consider what he should do. Meanwhile Lindesay of Walthop hotly pursued a certain nobleman named Matthew Redman, and when he caught him he made him swear an oath to come to him in Scotland. Then he dismissed him and returned with another batch of captives. Not knowing the way, he encountered the Bishop of Durham and was captured. When Matthew Redman came to the same bishop and saw that Lindesay was a prisoner, he freed him without accepting any fee. The grateful Scots were so moved by his kindness that, when Lindesay returned to Scotland, they sent back many Englishmen in exchange for this single captive, without exacting any ransom. And the Bishop of Durham rounded up Englishmen he collected from the rout, and joined them to his own soldiers at Newcastle. On that same day led his own forces, together with the remnants of that other army, directly against the Scots. But when he drew near and discovered that they were on their guard and heatedly calling for a fight, under cover of darkness he led his army back whence it had come. This battle was fought at Otterburn in the year of Salvation 1388.
24. At the death of James Earl of Douglas, Archibald of Galloway was made Earl of Douglas by hereditary right, and by royal gift he received Galloway, since he had driven the English out of there. After these things, since King Robert, all but ruined by old age, was no longer fit to govern, at Edinburgh, with the common consent of the lords, he appointed his son Robert Earl of Fife the regent of the realm. For at this time John, the oldest of the king’s sons, had been kicked in the shin by a horse, and lay abed with both his life and his foot endangered. And so, in accordance with the king’s will, all the lords swore their obedience to Robert. This was the same time when Henry Percy, I mean Hotspur, the Warden of the Marches, was created Earl Marshall of England. Puffed up by this new honor, he said hard and empty-headed things against the Northumbrians: that, being so superior in number to the Scots, about four times as many than they, they so disgracefully allowed themselves to be killed and captured by them. Nor did he refrain from insulting his captains, making jokes which were flattering to himself, but stinging for them. At length he bound himself by a solemn oath to the effect that, no matter how small a number he might be leading, as soon as he encountered the Scots he would attack them. But, as nearly all such talk and boasts are vain, just as he had sworn that oath lightly and in jest, so he displayed singular gravity and prudence in not abiding by it. For when Robert the regent led an army into England a little later and they had come close to joining battle, he lost confidence in his strength and retreated to a place of safety. And when Robert sent a herald asking him the reason why he did not honor his oath, he responded that he had received no command from his king that he should endanger such a large number of men in the flower of their youth unless he could lead them into battle with sure hope of victory. And so Robert once more plundered Northumbria and went home to Scotland a wealthy man, his army safe and sound.
25. After these things, there arrived in Scotland English and French ambassadors, requesting a three years’ truce. For they had made one between themselves with the proviso that it only go into effect when the Scots also consented to it. Therefore, by the decision of the regent and the lords of the realm, the ambassadors were given the response that their king agreed. Meanwhile Alexander Stewart, degenerating from the morality of his forefathers (for, as some tell it, he was a bastard not born of the king’s lawful marriage), surrounded by a large rabble of robbers and villains, set fire to the cathedral of Moray, that ornament of the Scottish north, because the Bishop of Moray had refused to consent to his unreasonable demands, which would entail great damage for the Church. Then he went to Aberdeen, where he dragged out Adam, the bishop of that place, a man notable for his piety, with the intent to kill him, claiming that he had supported and egged on the Bishop of Moray when he refused to submit to his will. But when the bishop voluntarily offered him his hoary head, Alexander’s accomplices were overcome by reverence for the man and interceded to spare his life. And not long thereafter, when Alexander had come to his father, he was accused of crime and sacrilege and cast in prison, where he was kept until his father’s death.
26. His father did not survive long thereafter. For he departed this life at Dundonald, dying of old age rather than sickness, in the year of the Incarnated Word 1390, the nineteenth of his reign, and the sixty-seventh of his life. He was buried before the high altar at Scone, a man who surpassed or at the very least equaled all the kings before him regarding the good success of his wars: even if he could not participate in any battle because of his advanced age, nevertheless during his reign no loss was suffered. And he left all other kings far behind himself when it came to just and piety. For there was such credit in his words that he kept even the most insignificant promise with good faith. And he was so devoted to justice that when he was about to be crowned at Scone and the hedges of the canons were trampled by a crowd, he immediately paid them a large sum for their ruined shrubbery, so that no man would suffer any loss in his name. Whenever he would leave some town, he would send around a crier asking its food-sellers and wine-mongers whether any member of his court had failed to settle his debts. If this had happened to anyone, he would bid his treasurer pay out that amount on the spot. He also gave a very fair hearing to the complaints of the poor, if ever they had suffered any wrong, and he would not rest until all the damage had been made good. He always held learned men and priests in great veneration. Whenever heard of a man’s repute for learning, out of his bounty he would relieve him of his poverty and the burdens of his expenses.
27. As had already been arranged, John Stewart immediately succeeded to the place of his deceased father, and was solemnly crowned on the Sunday before the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. But since John seemed an unlucky name, inasmuch as King Jean of France had been taken prisoner, he assumed the Christian name of Robert, the same as his father’s. In that same year, William Douglas, a noble man renowned even in foreign lands for his virtue. He had been elected by the lords of Prussia to lead a fleet of two hundred and forth ships to fight the infidel. But when he had come to Danzig, he fell victim to the deceit of an Englishman named Clifford, who challenged him to single combat and stabbed him on a bridge of that city. Thus the endeavors of this great man and the best of princes were baffled by envious Fortune. Not long after the king had been crowned, it was reported to him that Duncan Stewart, the son of his brother Alexander, had assembled a large band of thieves and rascals and had done much harm to Angus. When Walter Ogilvy, the Sheriff of Angus, assembled his friends, sons, and a great number of soldiers to confront them, they were all but killed to the last man. And so Duncan was emboldened by this successful victory, and grew all the more insolent in harassing the peasantry and people. So that this growing evil might be checked, the king sent the Earl of Crawford with a strong company of soldiers to fight the robbers. But when they learned that the earl and his army had arrived, they all melted away to places where they imagined they would be safe. A few were overtaken by the swiftness of their pursuers and cast in chains, and during their flight some were overcome and killed by the people of Angus.
28. After this disturbance had been quelled, another arose. For a number of years, the two families Clan Kay and Clan Chattan had suffered from a feud fought under the leadership of Stratberge and Christy Maclain, and had often raided and plundered each other’s lands. When Robert still been Earl of Fife and regent, he had by no means been able to suppress it, since these clansmen protected themselves thanks to the difficult terrain they inhabited. When Thomas Dunbar Earl of Moray and David Lindesay, who had succeeded to the earldom of Crawford in place of his father, could not resolve the issue forcibly, they attempted to do so by an act of cleverness. They met with the faction leaders and told them that an ending should be made to their quarrels: they themselves were suffering from great internal evil, and were inflicting greater damage on each other every day, so they needed to find a device which would make them come to an agreement. They replied that they were all in favor if peace, if one of the two clans were willing to submit to the other. But, since both leaders laid claim to the authority of the other, Thomas said, “Since you can never settle your feud without resorting to arms, if you care to take my advice, I have a means for resolving it with the least possible killing.” They all immediately cried out that he should reveal his idea, and they would be happy to put into action, if it was an honorable proposal. So he said, “You should fight it out for domination, to determine who will gain its honors and advantage. So have thirty men from either clan come to the field unarmed, save for bringing their sharpest swords. Those who come out the victors will not only prevail, but also avenge themselves on their enemies. And this, I know, will give them no less satisfaction than will the glory of gaining the power.”
29. After he said this, they cheered, and all of them approved of his proposal. They named a day when they would fight it out for control of the two clans. In the meantime, each man prepared and sharpened his sword, and those who were less practiced at sword-fighting took instruction from those with better skill. When the appointed day was at hand, the fighting men of both sides took the field. The place chosen for the fight was located in the northern part of the town of Perth. The umpires sat as spectators on a high place built to be safe. A single man from one of the tribes failed to make his appearance, frightened by the coming battle, and his place was taken by a large-sized peasant who had no part at all in the quarrel, lest the battle not be fought, or at least delayed, because their numbers were not equal. He did so for a small fee, and, snatching up a sword, volunteered to join the fight. Their fighting-lines were drawn up, and they stood facing each other, no less hostile than if they were the armies of two peoples who had already inflicted harm on each other and were now ready to join battle. When the umpires gave the signal, both sides charged forward. Neither side bothered to defend itself, as long as they could strike their enemy. The fight was hot for a while, with the victory inclining to neither side. If a man fell, another would take his place so as not to yield it to an enemy, as if he were intent on invading his homeland. But more men of Clan Kay fell, and, being a little stronger in numbers all though they were all wounded, they did not cease until they had killed everybody and only one man of Clan Kay survived. They themselves had eleven remaining, but they had all received serious wounds, to the point that they could scarcely hold the swords in their hands. The sole surviving Kay clansman was terrified by the bodies of the dead he saw before him, and by the number of his enemies, so he fled, plunged into the river Tay, and swam across it as quickly as he could. Thus when those who had staked their claim to predominance had gained it, they found an end to their feud. This fight took place in the year of Christ’s birth 1396.
30. Three years thereafter, the king convened a general parliament at Perth, where, after other things advantageous for the realm had been enacted he created his firstborn son David, at that time eighteen years of age, Duke of Rothesay, and his brother Robert, the former regent and Earl of Fife, Duke of Albany. These were the first dukes in Scotland, since Scotsmen had previously not employed that title of rank. But henceforth nobody in Scotland was inspired by that exceedingly excellent dignity to imitate the virtues of his ancestors, nor to use his wealth for the cultivation of probity, but rather, to the detriment of one and all, it ushered in the plague of ambition, a vice from which we had not previously suffered, since hitherto each man had preferred to excel in virtue rather than honors. Since public peace prevailed between the English and Scots, members of the knighthood of both nations who excelled in the martial arts, both Englishmen in Scotland and Scotsmen in England, swapped boasts and issued each other many challenges to jousts. Among which, the most memorable was that fought on London Bridge, in which David Lindesay Earl of Crawford came out the winner. For when the Lord Welles was performing an embassy in Scotland on behalf of King Richard, and when at a banquet he and his Scots host had argued much back and forth about the martial virtue of their two nations, he said “Enough of this debating. If someone wants to make trial of English virtue, let him name himself. For I am ready to joust with him at any time and any place.” Then, turning to David, he said “I challenge you, for you have said the most against me, and you seem more boastful than the rest.” David’s reply was “I will gladly do so, if my king’s consent can be arranged.” With the king’s approval, the Englishman was allowed to choose the place, and, being as he was on foreign soil, he chose London Bridge. David picked the time, and he selected St. George’s Day, since St. George had been a warrior. And so Welles went back to England.
31. David procured the best armor he could. When the day approached, he set off for London with thirty-two men of excellent physique. Upon his arrival, he was received by King Richard with great honor. When the day of the tournament arrived, both contestants, clad in armor, were very honorably escorted to the bridge by their followers. Noble spectators sat around on every side, among whom Richard occupied the most prominent place. The common folk also assembled in large numbers, excited by the novelty of the thing and the reputation of the combatants. When the signal was given, both spurred their horses and gave them free rein, and swept together with great force, their lances at the ready. Neither was unseated, and their lances were shattered. The crowd, which favored their own man, shouted that David was an unskilled jouster and had made his appearance tied in his saddle: that why he had not been unseated. Hearing this, David immediately leapt down from his horse and then, albeit wearing heavy armor, sprang back upon it without any assistance. Taking another lance, he entered the lists once more, and again it was shattered. Then they collided once more, this time using sturdier ones. Thereupon the Englishman was unhorsed and fell on the ground with a great crash, unconscious, as the English spectators groaned. Having proven victorious, lest he might seem to have been fighting in anger rather than to prove his glory among the best of men, David quickly dismounted and ran to his prostrate opponent and tended to him for a while until he revived and the physicians made their appearance. Then he did not let a single day go by without paying a visit to the ailing Welles, and he addressed him in a kindly manner, as if he were his dearest friend. At the king’s behest, he remained in England for three months, treated by Richard with no mean honor.
32. Meanwhile (as happens in such circumstances) the attendants of these noblemen had their own disputes, as each sounded the praises of his own nations, until a certain English courtier challenged Donald, a Scotsman from the Highlands and the superintendent of Lindesay’s stables, to a single combat employing only swords, with neither of them to be protected by armor. With the consent of the king and his lords, Donald chose the Market Place at London, and the other the day after tomorrow. The place of the fight would be marked off by a cloak, and they agreed that neither man would exit that space until the victor had been decided. At the appointed time, Donald made his appearance in the Market Place and spread out his cloak. But the Englishman, seeing Donald’s boldness and fearing for his life, begged off the fight. Thus David and his happy companions, on the verge of going home, gave a magnificent banquet. But not even then did the English, albeit bested, refrain from their raillery and their vain and foolish boasting. For when the English heralds (who in everyone’s opinion surpassed all others in their prudence concerning military matters) had spoken many a word in praise of David, one of the English lords took this amiss and said, “No wonder that the nowadays the Scots should seem to surpass everyone else in nobility and strength, since a few years ago Scotland was occupied by English arms, and they are born of the blood of our nobility.” To which, David’s pert response was, “Beware lest, while you mock us for being born of your blood, you, who are now the lords of this realms, convict yourselves of being fathered by monks and priests, or at least of peasants and grooms, while, as you say, your noblemen were off in Scotland and suchlike folk left the whores alone and were abusing other men’s wives.” When the banquet was concluded, they returned to Scotland, escorted by many noblemen. And since Lindesay did not believe he had gained this victory without the divine intercession of St. George, on whose day he won it, he appointed a college of seven priests, supported by a donative of lands at Dundee, to worship St. George by singing perpetual hymns to the Virgin. This is maintained even in our times, to the singular credit of that man. Some write that this aforesaid David was the first Earl of Crawford, created by Robert III, but since I find it attested in old volumes that his father James had been so created by Robert II, I have provided a different account of that family’s history.
33. The next year, the Englishman Sir Robert Morley arrived in Scotland, challenging any comer to a joust. Archibald Adamston fought him and was defeated, and then Hugh Wallace had the same misfortune. Then the Englishman competed for a third time against Thomas Trail at Berwick and was unhorsed by his adversity. Many other jousts were fought by noblemen of both countries with varying results, some in England and other in Scotland. Meanwhile Isabella, the daughter of the king of France, was betrothed to King Richard of England. But, since she was not yet of marriageable age, at the urging of his lords he retired to Ireland until she matured. So when Richard was absent from his realm, Henry Earl of Derby, the Earl of Northumberland, and other English peers entered into a conspiracy and attempted to depose him. When this plot was revealed, he crossed over into Wales and, then, being invited back to London by nobles who falsely informed him that all would be well in the future, he was ambushed by Henry while on his way, brought to London, and compelled to abdicate by fear of imminent death. They pretended that the reason for their action was the unlawfulness with which they had been taxed by his ministers’ exactions and extortions, although this should by no means have been imputed to Richard, being still young and inexperienced monarch: if any wrong had been done, it was his ministers who deserved the punishment. In his place was set Henry, the son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. After having been imprisoned for a while in the Tower of London, he was transferred to Leeds Castle and suffered great mistreatment by certain scurvy villains. Then, with a second change of prison, he was placed in yet straighter circumstances, as if he were going from riches to rags, and when he had suffered wrongs yet worse than ever, some say that he was murdered by a some felonious man, and others that he was starved to death. As a result, down to our own century there have been struggles for the crown between these families. But King Henry VII of England, of most happy memory among the kings of this world, married the daughter of Edward IV, the rightful heiress of the kingdom, and made an end to them, since their children inherit the right to the throne possessed by both their families.
34. Thus far, English annals and our own are in agreement about what I have recounted, save that the writers of our chronicles tell a very different story about Richard’s death, as I shall relate below. They say that when King Henry IV was first crowned, a certain bearded Anchorite, moved by divine inspiration, appeared to him and warned that he should hand over the crown to its rightful heir, and, if he failed to do it, he and the entire house of Lancaster would be stricken with dire blows. Fearing, lest this come to the ears of the gullible, easily-swayed common folk and stir up some rebellion, Henry murdered the man immediately. Meanwhile Robert King of Scots betrothed his son David to Elizabeth, the daughter of the Earl of Merch, in exchange for a great some of money. Archibald Earl of Douglas took it amiss that Merch had been preferred to himself, and argued that this had been done without the advice and consent of the lords of the realm, and bribed the regent. The regent arranged for the king to convene a parliament, in which he gave his daughter Marjorie to Prince David, and did his utmost to hurry the marriage along. But before it could be performed, the Earl of Merch went to the king and asked him whether it was worthy for a king not to stand by his agreements: was he willing to repudiate his earlier arrangements and agree to these ones? But when he had received an answer not to his liking, it is agreed that, as he was leaving the kingdom, he issued the treat that he would soon return and take just vengeance on this perfidy.
35 And so he went straightway to England, entrusting Castle Dunbar to Robert Maitland, his nephew by his sister. But Robert allowed himself to be overawed by a herald, fearing, if he gave him a rebuff, he might offend the king, and admitted Archibald Douglas, the one known as The Grim, and his garrison into the castle, with the result that when George Earl of Merch returned to Dunbar from England he found himself locked out. So he took his wife, children, and a large part of his family and went back to England, despoiling the Scottish land lying alongside the English border. King Robert, anxious about the earl’s departure, sent a herald recalling him to Scotland to plead his case. When he refused, on this same embassy the herald went to King Henry of England, requesting that he expel George from his borders, nor, if he wished to maintain peace with the Scots, allow robbers of the Scottish kingdom to lurk in his realm, as if it were a den of thieves. When Henry refused to comply, war was declared. And so, having enlisted an army, Henry Percy and the Earl of Merch staged a raid into Scotland, killed a large number of men, and drove off much plunder. But in the meantime Archibald, who had had a presentiment of their arrival, prepared soldiers and the necessities for waging war, and attacked them not far from Berwick, taking all their plunder. Killing some Englishmen and capturing many others, he chased the fugitives as far as Berwick. He brought back the captured plunder to Edinburgh, where he was given a joyous reception by one and all.
36. Not long thereafter he fell victim to an acute fever and succumbed to fate, a man acceptable and beloved to both God and men for his notable piety. For he treated monasteries of the pious and the clergy with singular generosity and veneration. He founded a college of clerks at Bothwell and transformed the convent at Lincluden into a college of clerks because the nuns were ill-observant of the rules of their predecessors. By royal authority his second son Archibald was named Earl of Douglas in his father’s place, for his firstborn son William had predeceased his father, on Christmas day of the year 1400. In that same year King Henry of England enlisted as large an army as he could and entered into Scotland, but did next to no damage. For he besieged no castle, and only demanded of their governors that they display his banner from a lofty tower in the sight of his army. The Scots had never experienced such a gentle enemy. At Haddington he was shown hospitality, since they had heard of the kindness he had displayed towards the royal abbey and the convent there, because of the hospitality they had extended to his father when he was an exile at the beginning of Richard’s reign, and hoped that now he would be no more savage towards themselves, and for this he warmly embraced them. He displayed the same gratitude towards Holyrood Abbey at Edinburgh. They say the reason this modesty of his on enemy soil, when he might have been expected to have invaded with his army for the sake of ravaging everything, was because he had not engaged in this war of his own volition, but at the urging of his nobles, who thought themselves to be growing feeble from idleness.
37. Nevertheless, the regent Robert Earl of Fife gathered a large army and made ready to march against the English. But when he received a false report that Henry was besieging Maidens’ Castle, whose governor was David Duke of Rothesay, a man he would wholeheartedly have liked to see captured or killed, he dismissed his army so as not to raise the siege, and went home to Fife. Henry did not long tarry in Scotland, and went back to England. A few days after the departure of the English from Scotland, Queen Annabelle died. John’s firstborn son David had been kept under her control, so that when she died he was freed of his fear and commenced to wallow in every manner of pleasure-seeking. No virgin, no matron, no nun dedicated to chastity was safe from his lust. He raged through every bedroom, employing seduction and corruption, or, when that failed, resorting to violence. Not content with these misdemeanors, he piled crime atop crime, until his fathers’ ears were beset by complaints lodged by those who warned him that he put fetters on this young man, who was running riot in his youth, and Lord knows what he might dare once he gained the impunity of a king, and that he should place him in the charge of the gravest noblemen and, most particularly, of learned tutors, who might restrain and control him. But neither the tutors who were assigned him, nor those who offered him good advice managed to make any headway, for he broke every restraint, once he abandoned his sense of shame.
38. At length the king wearied of fresh complaints and entrusted him to the care of his brother, Robert the regent, with the idea that his presence would hold the boy to his duty, since he was his uncle. Robert was pleased with this mandate, since he had long wished David dead, and arrested him between Dundee and the castle of St. Andrews and brought him into the castle. From there he transferred him to another one, called Falkland, placed him in strict confinement, and kept all food away from him. But a certain handmaiden pitied David and prolonged his life for a while by feeding him porridge through a hole in the wall. But when she was caught and put to the question, she paid for this with her life. A second girl pitied him and could not bear the idea of his death. Since she was then serving as wet-nurse to her nephews, she would take no bread with her, nor anything else edible, but rather, as if she were visiting David to console him, she would feed him her own breasts’ milk through a pipe, and gave him a slight amount of extra life, but at the cost of her own. For she too was caught and died the same death as the other woman. And so David was destitute of all human help, and ate whatever he could find in his cell that he could manage to get in his belly, including the most disgusting of things, and finally his own fingers. Cursing his own slow death, he finally succumbed to this very hideous fate. He was buried in the chapel of Lindores Abbey, and was famous for a number of years for his miracles. But when King James I undertook to avenge his death, the miracles ceased.
39. As soon as George Earl of Merch had left Scotland, he joined forces with the Earl of Northumbria, and with a small company of soldiers he wreaked much havoc on farmsteads and their inhabitants, and drove off a great deal of plunder. To suppress him, it was decided that those men of Lothian subject to the Earl of Douglas should form a double army, that would take turns in raiding England. Commanders were chosen for this, namely Haliburton of Dirleton, Patrick Hepburn of Hailes, Adam Gordon, John Seton, James Douglas of Dalkeith, and William Abernethy of Salton. The first to make a foray into England was Thomas Haliburton of Dirleton, who enjoyed good success and brought back his army, unharmed and rich with plunder. After this prosperous venture, Patrick Hepburn of Hailes entered into England with a great number of men and collected no less plunder than his predecessor. But when advised by his friends that he should immediately take back his army with its spoils while it was still intact, and not await the arrival of their enemies, Patrick declined to take their advice. Therefore, at the halfway point on his homeward march he was cut off by the enemy and obliged to fight. A very sharp battle ensued, and at a time when it seemed that the Scots would gain the day, George Dunbar, the firstborn son of the earl of Merch appeared with a hundred fresh soldiers and wrested the victory out of the Scots’ hands. Patrick Hepburn was killed in that fight, together with many noble members of his clan. John and William Cockburn, Robert Lauder of the Bass, and John and Thomas Hablington were captured but came home after having been traded for host rages, where they soon died of the flux. This defeat was suffered at Nesbit.
40. It was followed by a second, which was far more serious. As a means of expunging the disgrace inflicted by the English, Archibald Douglas recruited an army of ten thousand and, with the regent’s permission, taking along as his companions the Earls of Fife and Angus, marched into England, going as far as Newcastle and doing damage to men and farmsteads with fire and steel. In that army was Mordach Stewart, Thomas Earl of Moray, George Earl of Angus, and very many noblemen of the aforesaid districts. But as they were returning home with great plunder of all times, they encountered Henry Percy, the so-called Hotspur, and George Earl of Merch. George’s archers threw their van into confusion and it fled. After having been sharply rebuked by Adam Gordon and John Swinton and returning to the fight, they still could not hold their ground, and when they fled once more, they were all killed. The rest put up a hot fight, as their captains urged them not to let their comrades go unavenged or expose themselves to similar destruction by taking flight. But the English were far greater in numbers and gained the victory. Many men died, of whom the noblest were John Swinton, Adam Gordon, John Livingston, Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, and many others. Mordach Stewart, the regent’s son, was taken prisoner, as was Archibald Earl of Douglas, who lost an eye in the combat, Thomas Earl of Moray, the Earl of Angus, Abernethy of Salton, and twenty-four knights.
41. Elated by this victory, Harry Hotspur decided to make Lothian and Merch subject to English rule, since he had either killed or captured all the nobles of those districts. Therefore he increased his forces and, in the company of the Earl of Merch, entered into Tweedale, inflicting death on its peasantry, and surrounded Cocklavis Castle with his army. But John Greinlay, the governor of the castle, put up a stout defense, and Hotspur found the lengthy siege tedious, so he came to an agreement with the governor that he would yield the castle into English hands if no help came within the space of three months. Therefore the English commander dismissed his army. John Gladstone set off to the regent, requesting aid for the castle. A counsel was convened, in which many favored forfeiting the castle rather than once more exposing so many young men and nobles to danger, to such an extent were some men downcast by the former defeats. The garrison would have been abandoned to its fate by these timid noblemen, had not the regent chastised them all for their fear and taken an oath that he would not desert the castle, even if none of the noblemen followed him. Moved by the regent’s determination and their own sense of shame, they all swore the same oath. But Henry Percy’s rebellion against King Henry of England relieved them of the necessity of coming to the castle’s aid. For he assembled an army under the pretext of intending to invade Scotland, and, together with his allies the Duke of York and the Earl of Stanford, assembled a large army and marched against King Henry. Henry for his part gathered his own forces and met his enemies at Shrewsbury. But when Henry want to fight them that very day, he was prevented by the Scotsman George Earl of Merch (who had abandoned the conspirators and gone over to the king’s side a little earlier), who recommended that he request that the battle be put off to the following day, and that Henry should pretend that, if the lords of his realm agreed, he would abdicate the throne rather than suffer such a loss of his subjects’ blood. When he had sworn his oath to that effect in the presence of his enemies’ representatives, the enemy leaders divided their forces so that they could more easily provide them with provisions, and ordered their army to encamp in separate places.
42. When he saw that this had been done, Henry made a sudden attack. Many of the leaders of the conspiracy were killed, including Henry and Thomas Percy. The Earl of Douglas had taken Henry Percy’s side after making an agreement that he would receive Berwick and the greater part of Northumbria if they prevailed, gave a fine showing as a brave fighter in that battle. For when he had killed three men wearing the royal surcoat (this was done so the true king would not be recognized), and caught sight of a forth, he said “It is stranger how many kings have come to the rescue.” After having been taken prisoner, he alone was spared by the kindness of King Henry, being reckoned by the heralds as one of the most outstanding men in Albion when it came to martial virtue. But Henry did not win a bloodless victory, for four knights died fighting for him, Stalwart, Blank, Massey, and Pottock. He also lost seventy ordinary soldiers, but his enemies lost countless more. Therefore Henry Percy Earl of Northumbria, an old man who had lost two sons in the battle, abandoned hope in his affairs and, together with no small part of the conspirators, went to Scotland, taking with him his grandson by his son Harry Hotspur. As our annals tell the story, the Scots also took in Richard. After he had been deposed and imprisoned for a while, he eluded his guardians and, dressed as a woman, was led to Ireland by a certain groom. Discovering that there too he was being hunted by the king’s agents, he crossed over to Galloway, and entered the service of a certain nobleman of that district named Macdougal. But he was recognized by a courtier and brought to Robert III, who treated him with royal honor, and this was not displeasing to the regent. And so he remained for a while at Robert’s court. But Richard had lost all ambition, having experienced both good and bad fortune, and in the end he devoted himself wholly to God, spending all his effort on prayer, works of charity, fasting, and other pious endeavors, and died in Sterling Castle. He was buried in the Dominican abbey at the side of its high altar, as is even nowadays attested by a plaque.
43. Henry Percy was received by Henry Wardlaw, Bishop of St. Andrews (a few days later he had recovered ownership of the castle, having dismissed its royal garrison because he had heard of the civil war in England, and afterwards of the arrival of the English refugees), and was treated magnificently and almost in royal. style. At the same time King Robert was informed of the death of his son David (the regent had ensured that the news be broken to the king after the longest possible delay). Deeply saddened by this, the king summoned the regent and railed at him most bitterly, accusing him of murder since it was being commonly said that David had been killed in prison. The regent employed many ambiguous words and specious arguments to shift the blame onto others, and promised the king, if he would consent to come with him to Edinburgh, he would produce his son’s murderers so he could punish them. Trusting the regent’s words, the King left Bute, where he chanced to be, and was carried to Edinburgh in a carriage. For he was an old man, and could not withstand the jouncing of riding a horse. The regent convened an inquest at Craggalt, summoning none who he did not know to be his supporters, and t produced a few men who indeed were rascals, but who had had no hand in this affair, to the extent that they had never even laid eyes on David. They were accused and convicted by prearrangement with the bribed judges, whereas the regent and his courtiers were accused in the presence of the king, and found not guilty by those same judges. And yet the regent did not go without suspicion in the king’s eyes, for it seemed to the king that his plan was to eliminate his children and seize the throne. For this reason, the king prayed God, that Avenger of the innocent, that He would visit his vengeance on the man who had murdered David, either by his own hand or by his counsel, together with all his family. Then he went back to Bute, from whence he had come.
44. The king entrusted his second son James to the care of Walter Bishop of St. Andrews. He brought him to the castle of St. Andrews and joined him to the grandson of the Earl of Northumbria, for they were of about the same age. But that very prudent gentleman appreciated the fact that the regent was plotting to take James’ life, so he went to the king and they deliberated the best way to guarantee the youngster’s safety. After much discussion, they elected to sent him either to England or France, so that at least he would be protected by the distance and it would be more difficult to set snares for him. Then they readied a ship and wrote letters of introduction to both kings, so that he would be equipped with these wherever his fortune might take him. And so, in the company of Henry Sinclair Earl of the Orkneys and some others, they set sail from the very strong castle of Bass. James was an inexperienced sailor, so that, although he would have preferred to go to France, after having covered a certain distance at sea he could no longer tolerate his seasickness, and so he commanded that he be set ashore in England. They landed at Flamborough Head. While making their way to King Henry, they were placed under arrest and imprisoned, and it did James no good to produce his father’s letter of recommendation to King Henry. But not long thereafter he was brought to King Henry. Arriving there, he paid due obeisance to the king, and handed him his father’s letter. It was written to this effect:
45. Robert King of Scots sends great greetings to King Henry of England. Although I had previously heard of your magnanimity and clemency, as well as your countless other innate virtues, from the accounts of others, during your late expedition into your kingdom I learned of it by direct experience. For although you appeared to have invaded our kingdom in order to commit hostile acts, upon your arrival we all but gained more advantage from the singular gratitude you displayed towards those who had extended to your father at a time when he was a refugee and an an exile, than we suffered harm by your depredations of our fields. And so I cannot help but praise you, acknowledge that your disposition is right royal, love you, and attend you with my affection as long as I live. For, although our realms and nations may compete with each other concerning glory, virtue, and power, nothing prevents us kings from doing the opposite of our subjects, as is most fit for kings, and engage in a constant contest of good will, embrace each other with mutual kindness, and do as best we can to show ourselves friendly to each other. I for my part will do my utmost to resolve the quarrels between our kingdoms as quickly as possible. In the meantime, since I am, in the person of my children, oppressed by a need not entirely like that which once beset your father (although, by the grace of God and the virtue of my people, I am defended with no difficulty from foreign evils, I cannot keep myself safe in my own kingdom against the devices of those who are all but clasped to my bosom), I am compelled to call on foreign help, for they can be saved from those plague by no power on earth save for the good faith of good men. For this world is nowadays filled with such great malice and depravity, that wherever gold and silver, those sources of evil, are to be found, there are to be found hirelings ready to commit any felony.
46. Inasmuch as I am convinced you are endowed with so many and such great virtues, such magnanimity, good faith, kindness, mercy, and justice, and that you display all the chorus of the virtues, and also that you have such power, such wealth, that your equal is not to be found in these times, these good points of yours induce me to ask especially for your protection and kindness. For as I suspect, and as rumor has it, although it cannot be proven for a certainty, it is no enemy, no thief, no criminal of any kind, nor again any angry friend, but rather the man who was supposed to have protected him, I mean his uncle and my brother, who not only killed my firstborn son David, but even went so far as to imprison him and subject him to the most cruel and pitiful of deaths. He who should have protected me from other men’s wrongs has treated me with supreme contumely, supreme wrong, supreme harm. He whom I appointed regent of the realm to ward off the violence of foreign enemies is bent on attacking my children, and, I suspect, myself after them. Wherefore I beg and beseech you again and again, in the name of the justice you mete out to humankind in accordance with divine will, by your sons, that you permit this one survivor of my self, while he remains alive, to take shelter with you. I pray you consent to protect this one single hope of my reign from the evil machinations of his kinsmen and those who would set traps against him, being mindful of your father’s erstwhile fortune and the hospitality our countrymen were so kind as to extend to him, and also remembering how swift and unexpected are the vicissitudes of good men, so that you may flower one day, but wither and die the next. I would also have you think on this: if kings lack the support of foreign friendships, they are obliged to depend on popular favor, which is more changeable than any wind, for everything is mutable and fragile. But if they are supported by the bonds of mutual friendships, and employ good faith in defending each other from harm, no people are so strong that they can overthrow kings defended by the friendships of the mighty. It remains, if it strikes your mind as not expedient to give a friendly hearing to my request (which, I know, your prudence will never permit), for me to request that at least you will not refuse that which was stipulated by the terms of our recent pace, namely that those who carry letters to and fro will be given safe conduct, so that you will not deny that to the bearer of this one. And so I pray that you maintain your good faith inviolate, in accordance with the greatness of your mind. Farewell.
47. Having read this letter, Henry convened his privy council and read it aloud to them, and deliberated with them about what was to be done with James, the son and heir of the king of Scotland. They offered various opinions. Some, those who were already sated with war, said that they would never be granted a better opportunity for peace, one that should not be rejected when it freely presented itself. Others, whose view prevailed, argued that by rights he should be held as a captive, since he had arrived in time of war, and his father had not only allowed enemies of the English to live in his realm, but had even maintained them in the highest honors, and also because no few Scots had come to help their enemies in their recent war with France. They therefore voted to keep him in captivity, but by the king’s kindness he was furnished with tutors who were very upright and learned in all respects. They instructed him in the liberal arts, but he was not corrupted by the flattery which princes encounter in their own courts, so that he turned out to be a man of such moral probity and expertise in all of the goodly arts that he appeared to be as adept in any one of them as if he had been schooled in it alone. He learned down to his fingertips how to ply a sword and spear to the extent that, had you seen him engaged in a fight, you would have pronounced him an athlete. He was very nimble, light-footed, and graceful at the dance, and he had a precise understanding of music and everything pertaining thereto. He played the lute most adroitly, and was adept with all instruments of that kind. And he had an excellent command of the humane arts of grammar, rhetoric, and poetry, such as they existed in those times. In the vernacular, he composed such elegant verse that you would have thought him a born poet. In accordance with the current standard, he wrote the uncouth Latin of those barbaric days, but it was full of grave thoughts, so that it was evident how he would have turned out, had better tutors then been available. He understood the arcane secrets of physics, and his knowledge of theology and law was second to none.
48. He absorbed all this during the eighteen years of his captivity in England, thanks to the unique care of King Henry, and while he lived there he was deeply admired by Englishmen for his wide learning. So he should not be thought to have stumbled into captivity by happenstance, but rather, by God’s guidance, to have found the greatest happiness that can befall mortals on this earth. Some say that before he was brought to the king he was imprisoned for a somewhat long time after having been captured by pirates. Be that as it may, it is well established that he lived at the king’s court for many years, and it was by the king’s arrangement that he was given teachers and grew up the kind of many I have described. When his father King Robert learned that he was being held captive in England, the disease from which he had long suffered was increased by his sorrow, and he died three days later, in the sixteenth wear of his reign the year of Christ’s birth 1406, and was buried at Paisley. Robert was tall of stature, with a liberal countenance, friendly and affable, but, as I have said, he was lame, and he was very mild towards the common folk and intolerant of extortions laid on them, being first and foremost merciful towards God and the poor. If his damaged foot had permitted him to go about the realm administering justice, the realm would never have flourished as much as it might have during his reign, albeit he was obliged to endure some seditions and uprisings. But his brother Robert did a far better job of administering the realm after he had died and his son was imprisoned, when the regency was again entrusted to him.
49. At this time, the castle of Jedburgh was won back by the inhabitants of Tweedale, after it had been taken and held by the English following the battle of Durham. After they had completely rifled it, they leveled it to the ground. Hearing of King Robert’s death. Archibald Douglas persuaded the King of England, where he was held captive, to let him go, with part of his ransom being paid and part forgiven by the king’s generosity, and send him home to his nation as quickly as possible so that he might look after his affairs. Not long thereafter a parliament was convened and it was proposed to restore George Dunbar Earl of Merch to his erstwhile dignity. After a lengthy debate in which some defended George on the grounds that he had been unjustly insulted by the king and had deservedly retaliated, while others exaggerated the evils he had inflicted by means of the English, they all finally agreed that this settlement, that he should be deprived of some land, namely Annandale and Lochmaban Castle, which then accrued to the Earl of Douglas as recompense for his effort and the losses he had suffered, and be fined of four thousand marks, to be paid in to the public fisc, and then take back his earldom and former dignity. Thus George Earl of Merch was received back on those conditions, and was allowed the renewed enjoyment of Dunbar and his earldom.
50. Next arose a war with the Hebridians, led by Donald of the Isles, who had been insulted by the regent. For William Earl of Ross, the son of that Hugh whose death in the battle at Hallidon Hill I have described, had two daughters, the elder of which he bestowed on Walter Leslie, a right noble man, giving him the earldom of Ross as a dowry. By her Walter had a son, Alexander, whom he created Earl of Ross, and a daughter, whom he bestowed on Donald of the Isles. Alexander married the daughter of Robert the regent and they had a only a single daughter, named Eufemia, who was only an inexperienced young girl when her father died. The regent persuaded the girl (whether by blandishments or threats is unknown) to resign the earldom of Ross to himself, and then to take it back on condition that, should she die without issue, it would devolve upon his second son. If he were to die without male issue, then his brother Robert would succeed to the earldom; if he too were die without issue, then it would revert to the king. When he had made these shrewd and canny arrangements, Eufemia died not long thereafter, still a virgin, and it is said that she was murdered by the regent so the earldom would pass to his son. Thus John, already the Earl of Buchan, acquired the earldom of Ross. He left behind a single daughter, and she was married to Sir William Seton, with the result that his clan chief laid claim to Buchan.
51. But when he hard of Eufemia’s death, Donald, who was married to Eufemia’s aunt, the sister of Alexander Leslie, demanded the earldom of Ross from the regent as his by hereditary right. Receiving no fair answer, he collected a great force of Hebridians, partly by compulsion and partly by his exercise of good will, and led it in an invasion of Ross. This he managed to gain with no great difficulty, since the men of Ross were by no means reluctant to get back their rightful heir. But he did not rest content with that success, and did not limit himself to the territory he had rightfully sought. Rather, he ravaged his way through Moray, Boyne, and came to Gareoth, bent, as he threatened, on sacking Aberdeen. But Alexander Stewart Earl of Mar, the bastard of King Robert’s second son Alexander Earl of Buchan, arrived in time and, not waiting for the rest of his auxiliaries, fought him at Harlaw, a village destined to be famous because of that bloody battle. For this reason, it happened that, when the auxiliaries came along in a disorganized fashion, expecting nothing of the kind, a great number of them were killed, and the victory was so doubtful that both sides abandoned their camps and retreated to hills nearby, as if they had been defeated. Nine hundred of Donald’s Hebridian followers died, including Maclaine and Macintosh, their two principal captains next to Donald. On the Scottish side fell Alexander Ogilvie Sheriff of Angus, a man marked by singular justice and probity, James Scrimger Constable of Dundee, a man of great spirit and conspicuous virtue, famed to posterity, Alexander Irvine of Drum, notable for his outstanding strength, Robert Maul of Panmure, Thomas Moray, William Abernethy of Salton, Alexander Stratton of Loureston, and Robert Davidson, Provost of Aberdeen, all knights. These and many other noblemen died in that fight.
52. Entirely conceding the victory to his enemies, Donald hastened back to Ross in the night as fast as he could, and then retired to the Hebrides at the first opportunity. In the following year the regent prepared to attack the Hebrides, but forgave Donald when he humbly begged for pardon and promised to make restitution for all damages he had inflicted, and swore no do no more harm. But before Donald had crossed over to Ross, Patrick Dunbar, the second son of the Earl of Merch, committed the bold deed of taking a hundred of his strongest men and making a dawn attack on Fast Castle. Capturing its governor Thomas Haldane, he imprisoned him. At this same time the bridge at Roxburgh was broken by the efforts of William Douglas and Gavin Dunbar, the son of the Earl of Merch, and they fired the town.
53. In the year 1411, the same year in which the Battle of Harlaw was fought, a school of letters was incorporated at St. Andrews with happy auspices, when very learned men joined together for this purpose, including Laurence of Lindores, Professor of Law, Richard Cornwall, Doctor of Canon Law and Archdeacon of Lothian, John Macalister, a canon of St. Andrews, John Steves, an official of St. Andrews, and many other professors of the goodly arts. And from its very foundation there was no lack of a sizeable student body, since studious young eager for good learning came a-flocking from all the parts round about. Soon, therefore, it grew to a great size, but this was particularly true after the return to Scotland of King James I from his English captivity. For this man, instructed in every branch of learning, uniquely supported all learned men, and strove especially to make his kingdom, which especially flourished in warfare, cultivated and adorned by education, so that he would gain supreme glory with posterity for this achievement, and so that his subjects, introduced to more cultivated arts, would gradually lose their uncouth savagery. For as soon as he returned, he thought that nothing should be done sooner than to assemble the most learned men from all regions. Thirteen Doctors of Theology, eight Doctors of Canon Law, and many other most erudite men gathered, as well as a countless audience, and he endowed them all with magistracies or religious offices. Hence John Scheues was created Archdeacon of St. Andrews, William Stephenson Bishop of Dunblane, Laurence of Lindores Abbot of Scone (although the envious Fates soon took him away), John Macalister the Abbot of the Abbey of Columba at Iona. And, to put it in a nutshell, there was no man of that age a little more erudite than the average or devoted to learning who did not receive some Church living or stipend so he could live in comfort. He allowed no man in his realm who was uneducated, or rather who was not the recipient of a first-rate education, to be consecrated a bishop. Happy the realm governed by such an earnest and prudent ruler, or, as that ancient saying has it, it goes well for those kingdoms where either philosophers rule or rulers philosophize.
54. But who has such a fund of words that he can adequately describe or bemoan the degree to which this age of ours has degenerated from that one? Nowadays, instead of the best and most learned of men who could be recruited from throughout the world, gradually the most idle and villanous fellows have encroached on the rewards of the learning, occupying offices both sacred and profane out of their supreme ambition, making a feast of the people, leaving nothing for good and worthy men, and indeed greatly striving to hinder learning, lest, if the people should begin to know any better, theire vices would come to light and they would be compelled to vacate their offices, their estates wrenched from their hands. Let those responsible for such things mend these faults, my legitimate sorrow and pious sense of pity have induced me to issue this warning.
55. At about this same time, John Drummond treacherously murdered Patrick Graham Earl of Strathern. After he had made his escape to Ireland and hidden there a while, he attempted to sail to England, but, just as if the Fates were bringing him to his punishment, he was driven by the wind to Scotland, captured, and a little later deprived of his heritage and beheaded, thus paying the price of homicide. Not long thereafter a war began between Kings Charles VI of France and Henry V of England. It was begun by Henry, because Charles was maintaining his possession of Normandy, Aquitaine, and Gasgony, which were rightfully his. So he crossed the Channel and set siege to Harfleur. Soon taking it, he manned it with an English garrison. Emboldened by this success, he penetratred Picardy as far as Blanzy, wasting its countryside. When he appeared to be on the point of returning, he was met by the French commanders and a battle was fought. Here he won a great victory, killing many French leaders and taking no few captives. Having gained it, he was not able to linger in France, for he had heard of an uprising in Wales. So he came back to England and attacked the Welch, but was bested by them and lost ten thousand men. Swollen-headed by that victory, the Welsh created themselves a new king and attempted to conquer all of England. But Henry repaired his forces and erased that blot of shame by killing their new king, and brought Wales back to his control, giving them new laws and magistrates. But they did not long remain loyal. For as soon as Henry went back to France, they rebelled. Therefore they were defeated once more and reduced to extremities.
56. While Henry was preoccupied by the Welsh uprising, William Halliburton made a surprise attack on Castle Wark, stormed it, and killed its English garrison. But his good fortune was ill-starred. For a few days later some grooms familiar with those parts entered by means of an underground sewer dug to discharge excrement and kitchen-waste into the river Tweed, emerging into the kitchen itself. They broke through a wall that seems to have been very gappy, and let in the English. These killed the members of the new garrison, so that in their turn the butchered Scotsmen paid the price for their action. At this time, or certainly at a not much different one, Pope Benedict XIII quarreled with the Council of Constance over his stubbornness in clinging to office. At a time when three popes existed because the Church was riven by factionalism, the council could not resolve the dispute in any other way than by creating a fourth one agreeable to all parties. Various delegations came to Scotland, one from the Council of Constance, led by the Abbot of Pontignac, a man of great learning and distinguished for his piety, urging that the Scots side with the council, and another from Benedict, led by Brother Henry Hardin, an English Minorite, making some silly assertions. The regent supported him, and defended Benedict against the clergy of Scotland, which favored the council. The clergy prevailed, and if the friar had not taken to his heels, he would not have been able to avoid the fiery faggots because of the heresy of which he stood convicted.
57. Meanwhile Charles was given to understand that King Henry of England had once more assembled a great army to lead against France, so he sent an embassy, under the leadership of the Compte de Vendôme, to Scotland requesting its aid, offering lands and honors as rewards for those who came, and at the same time bidding them be mindful of the the treaties which in their great good will they had observed over so long a time, and promising that their king would show his boundless gratitude once the English king had been defeated. Therefore a parliament was convened by the regent, and there the king’s requests were set forth. When this business had been generally debated, it was unanimously voted that seven thousand armed men should be sent with competent leaders, namely John Stewart Earl of Buchan, the regent’s second son, and Archibald Douglas Earl of Wigton. And so the Compte de Vendôme went home bringing the happy news to King Charles and his son Charles, the subsequent King Charles VII. The counsels of these two nations did not escape the notice of the English king. So he made sure that word was spread abroad that he was on the verge of sending a large army against the Scots, with the result that, since they were always carefully on the lookout against an enemy invasion, they spent nearly the entire summer under arms. Meanwhile Harry of England crossed over to Normandy at a time when Charles père and Charles fils were caught up in a desperate war against the Burgundians, and, storming Rouen, took control of that district. Then, marching farther, he conquered a large part of France. With the help of Duke Philippe of Burgundy he captured Charles’ daughter, together with the city of Paris, Brie, and Champagnne (all of which territory had belonged to Philippe’s father Jean before the French treacherously murdered him). But he concluded he had attained the apex of his career, and turned his mind from arms to amours, being captivated by his captive’s beauty. And so he married King Charles’ daughter and made his peace with her father on condition that, if Charles should predecease Henry, Henry would succeed to the throne of France, or, if Henry should die first, his male heir should inherit France at Charles’ death.
58. As the result of these arrangements, the king’s son Charles was deprived of all his rights, and quite disinherited. And so, at the death of this father, he took up arms once more. While the kings entered into these agreements, the people of France were not content with them, and continued the war. Meanwhile Archibald Douglas Earl of Wigton and John Earl of Buchan, together with his brother Robert, the son of Robert the regent, and also Sir Alexander Lindesay, the brother of the Earl of Crawford and Sir Thomas Swinton arrived in France leading seven thousand choice well-armed men, to the huge delight of Charles the Dauphin. Received with great good will, they were immediately given the town of Châtillon together with its like-named castle, in the region of Tours. There they remained for a while, until they had a chance to display an example of their virtues. For, hearing that that Anjou, which sided with Charles the Dauphin, was being laid waste by King Henry’s brother the Duke of Clarence, whom Henry had placed in charge of his army and the districts he had conquered at the time he returned to England, they joined forces with the Dauphin and went forth to confront him. The met at the village of Baugé. There the English duke fought in the forefront with a choice band of young Englishmen, conspicuous in his gilt armor, and Thomas Swinton slightly wounded his face with his lance, but did not inflict a deep injury. More annoyed than daunted, he spurred his horse and charged his enemy. As he was galloping forward, John Earl of Buchan caught him with his lance and killed him. And the English, alarmed by the loss of their duke, did not long withstand the onrush of the entire Scottish army. Turning tail, each man ran off in the direction where he thought he could best elude his enemies’ clutches, and many were captured. On the English side, the Earl of Riddesdale, the Earl of Huntington, and Thomas the brother of the Earl of Smunfid, with a great number of common soldier. Overjoyed with this victory, the Dauphin made John Earl of Buchan Constable of France, and presented him with many landholdings and towns.
59. Stung by this defeat and most particularly grief-stricken by the loss of his brother, Henry once more gathered a great army and crossed over into France, taking with him James, the son of the dead King Robert of Scotland, who had not yet been granted the crown by his fellow Scotsmen. Henry pinned high hopes on him, if he could be persuaded to use his authority to have the Scots depart France and return home. For he thought the Dauphin had been greatly strengthened by their appearance, having there the flower of Scottish youth, the choicest of soldiers. Therefore he assembled a council of his lords and summoned James, who was amusing himself playing at the ball at the moment and was surprised at the novelty of being summoned to a council, contrary to the normal practice. He did not hesitate, but came into the council meeting bareheaded, just as he had been while playing, and at the king’s behest took his seat at a very magnificently upholstered chair at his side. The king began to recount how much he had suffered at Scottish hands both in England in France, which was undeserved, since they had been treated very mildly by his father during his former invasion, as they themselves admitted. He also reminded James of the kindness with which both he and his father had handled him during they years he had been with them, how they had omitted nothing which men normally granted their dearest friends and good sons. Therefore, in exchange for these kindnesses, he asked him to agree to repay the favor by going to those Scotsmen in France and using his authority to bid them leave France and go home to Scotland, If he would o this, he would send him to his fellow countrymen a free man, and laden down with excellent gifts to boot.
60. To which James very prudently replied, “I shall try my best to be mindful of your father’s kindness towards myself, and of my own, both in the past and in the future, and I shall do I can to repay you with like for like. Now I do what I can, which is to give you infinite thanks. But as far as this matter goes, I am surprised you do not appreciate that, as long as I am a captive, I have no authority with my fellow Scotsmen, nor would I have were I free man, since I am a private subject and the Scots are bound by no oath of loyalty to myself. Were I free and they my subjects, then I would gladly do what I recognize to be of advantage to my kingdom. So waste no more words in asking me to do that which I cannot, nor, if I could, would I recognize this as being advantageous and honorable for our realm.” When he had said these words, with the king’s permission he returned to his entertainment and physical exercise, and as he was departing Henry said to his companions, “I think they will be fortunate to be governed by a man possessed of such prudence at his young age.” After this they fought variously, never at full strength, but only in light skirmishes, with Fortune favoring now the one side, and no wthe other. But meanwhile the English remained in possession of Normandy and Gascony. Henry burned with anger against the Scots. For when he was ranging about with his army and had stormed Melun, among other towns and castles, there he found thirty Scotsmen and hanged them all, although he gave the French in the same garrison free leave to depart. Afterwards he attacked Brie and foully despoiled everything, including the lands of the monastery of St. Fiacre, which lies in the district of Meaux, and removed the holy plate from its chapel.
61. And so on the following day he fell victim to what the French call St. Fiacre’s disease, and could be cured by no human help, although his physicians did everything within their power. And so he asked what was this malady that was so hard to dispel, and they told him it was St. Fiacre’s disease. When he asked who this Fiacre was, they told him he was the son of a former king of Scotland. His response was, “I believe the men of that nation have been born for my destruction, for they are equally hostile to me at home and abroad, alive and dead, and indeed even after they have been numbered among the saints.” Then he was brought to Corbeil, his intestines corroded by the disease, and finally died. His body was taken to England in a leaden coffin and buried in the sacred burial-place of their kings, with a precious monument erected for him, in the year of Man’s Salvation 1425. In the same year King Charles VI of France died. Henry had left behind the Duke of Bedford to command the English army, and when he heard of his brother’s death while bringing aid to those defending Tirlemont against the French, he went to England. At this time the Burgundians retired to their homeland. And so for a while the war was interrupted, and John Earl of Buchan and Archibald Douglas Earl of Wigton were summoned home by the regent, with the Scottish forces being entrusted to Robert Stewart, Thomas Swinton, and Alexander Lindsay, and they returned to Scotland.
62. Exhilarated by their arrival, Robert the regent sent the Earl of Douglas with one army to attack Roxburgh, while he himself decided to take another and besiege Berwick. But when the siege was unexpected protracted by the enemies resistance, he went home, his task unaccomplished, and so this infamous expedition was popularly called the Dirtin Raid. Meanwhile King Charles VII of France, who had succeeded to his father’s place, when he had defeated the English at Tournai under the leadership of Jacques de Harcourt, and had in turn suffered a defeat at Sedan, a town of Brie, sent an ambassador to Murdach the regent (for, after Robert had died and been buried at Dumfermline, he had been exchanged for Patrick Percy and returned from captivity, and then had been elected regent), asking him, in view of French favors done for Scotland both old and new, he would agree to send back John Earl of Buchan and Archibald Earl of Wigton, by whose prudence in the martial arts and bravery he had been much helped. The regent consented and sent to France John Buchan and Archibald Earl of Douglas with his son James (for the Earl of Wigton was gravely ill at the moment). At this time, by the consensus of the English, Bedford was given the responsibility for managing the war in France, returned from England, and, by mounting a siege, reduced a Norman castle to such straits that its governor Gerald was obliged to sue for a truce, with the agreement that he would surrender if he received no help by a specified time.
63. When Charles learned of the castle’s need and the jeopardy in which its governor was placed, in their aid he sent from Tours Jean Duc d’Alençon, together with John Earl of Buchan, Archibald Douglas, and his son James, with a part-French, part-Scottish army, together with a number of Italians, mostly Lombards. As they were making their way through Chartres they learned that the castle had been captured because they had not come to its rescue in time, and so, turning aside from Yvoire, they took Verneuil, then held by the English. While they were holding a council of war there, it was announced that Bedford had arrived with his forces. So they immediately brought their army out of Verneuil into a plain adjoining the city, set it in order, and joined battle. The victory was snatched from their hands by the avaricious Lombards, since they immediately fell to looting, and then the affair went wholly awry when their leaders began to quarrel amongst themselves. Lost in that battle were John Earl of Buchan, Archibald Douglas and his son and heir James, Alexander Lindesay, Robert Stewart, Thomas Swinton, and nearly all the Scots. On the French side were killed the Compte de Ventadour, the Vicomte de Narbonne, and very many other nobles, as well as up to five thousand ordinary soldiers. The Duc d’Alençon and the Marshall of France. This by far France’s worst disaster, since after the victory both the English and the Burgundians were invading her, and also besieging Orleans.
64. At this point, the French cause would have been entirely lost, if a maiden named Joan, dressed in man’s clothing and excellently well-versed in the use of weapons, had not lifted Charles’ spirits at a time when he was nearly in dispair, and inspired him to do better things, something which it is not absurd to think was done by divine intervention. Thus all the citizens of Champagne wanted to receive Charles, at a time when he was destitute of all human age, as he made his way through their territory on his way to Rheims. Casting off the English yoke, they yielded to him all their towns, strongholds, and castles. When he arrived at Rheims, which until then had favored the English side, the city gave him a happy reception, and hailed him as king when he was crowned in a solemn ceremony. Then under Joan’s guidance he went to various parts of France and wrested a goodly part of it out of English hands. All went prosperously and well until Joan made a sally from Compiègne and was prevented by her enemies’ numbers from getting back inside the city gate. She was taken prisoner by John of Luxumburg, an ally of the Burgundians, who promptly sold her to the English. And they immediatley took her to Rouen and accused her for violating the laws of humankind for, though being a woman, using weapons and wearing man’s clothing, and also for practicing magical arts forbidden to humanity. Although they tried to plead her case in court, she was burned alive. Some say that she experienced no ill fortune as long as she remained a virgin, but after she was tained by unchastity, she suffered the ills I have described. At a time not much different from this, Robert Pittiloch of Dundee came to Charles VII out of Scotland with fresh forces. In the war that followed he did noble deeds, and was of great usefulness to Charles in recovering his kingdom and lost territories. For it was thanks to his efforts and sage vigilance that Gascony, which had long been held by the English, came under Charles’ control. For which reason, as long as he lived he was called le petit roi de Gascogne.
65. Thus far, I have not thought it out of keeping with my narrative to recount what was done in France and the activities Scotsmen in aid of the French. Meanwhile in Scotland, as I have said, Murdach was appointed regent in his father’s place, although he thoroughly unsuitable for that responsibility, having within himself so many and such contradictory faults. For sometimes he showed himself as being so downcast, timid, and fearful when informed of any adversity, that nobody was able to brace his spirits, but sometimes he was much more cruel and sharp than the situation required. He was so negligent of his sons and so slow to correct their vices that they eventually rebelled against him, either because he was such by nature that he could not bring himself to punish them, or because, when they deserved heavy punishment he did not wish to inflict light ones, or because he thought that any kind of punishment would do more to provoke them than restrain their insolence, and so did not dare to do so lest they do something wicked against himself. And so the words of the poet came true, while fools strive to shun, one vice, they often fall into, its opposite. For, thanks to the loose rein he kept on them, that which he feared came to pass, that they eventually came to hold him in contempt. He had two sons, Walter and Alexander, and although they both had tainted themselves by sacrileges and frequent harm inflicted on clergymen, one of them did fear his father’s anger and the possibility that he might lose any chance of gaining the throne. But the other, prevented by Murdach’s servants from using a falcon he kept for hunting, after many vain attempts to take it by force, finally snatched it from his father’s fist and killed it. His father was infuriated with him for this outrage, as was only reasonable, and said “Walter (for that was the boy’s name), since you cannot bear your father’s easy and tolerant government without doing wrong, I am obliged to fetch in somebody else who, as they say, can rule us with a rod of iron.”