Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. I


the following day, accompanied by twelve armed ? men, disguised as seamen, with hoods over their helmets, he appeared at the Castle gates, where they contrived to overturn their casks and hampers, so as to prevent the barriers being closed by the guards and warders, who were instantly slain. At a given signal-the shrill blast of a bugle-horn- Douglas and his companions, with their war-cry, rushed from a place of concealment close by. Sir Richard de Limoisin, the governor, made a bitter resistance, but was overpowered in the end, and his garrison became the prisoners of David II., who returned from France in the following month, accompanied by his queen Johanna; and by that time not an Englishman was left in Scotland. But miserable was the fate of Bullock. By order of a Sir David Berkeley he was thrown into the castle of Lochindorb, in Morayshire, and deliberately starved to death. On this a Scottish historian remarks, ? It is an ancient saying, that neither the powekful, nor the valiant, nor the wise, long flourish in Scotland, since envy obtaineth the mastery of them all.? When, a few years afterwards, the unfortunate battle of Durham ended in the defeat of the Scots, and left their king a prisoner of war, we find in the treaty for his ransom, the merchants of Edinburgh, together with those of Perth, Aberdeen, atid Dundee, binding themselves to see it paid. In 1357 a Parliament was held at Edinburgh for its final adjustment, when the Regent Robert (afterwards Robert 11.) presided ; in addition to the clergy and nobles, there were present delegates from seventeen burghs, and among these Edinburgh In 1365 we find a four years? truce with England, signed at London on the 20th May, and in the Castle on the 12th of June; and another for I appeared at the head for thejrst time. fourteen years, dated at the Castle 28th October, 1371- So often had the storm of war desolated its towers, that the Castle of Edinburgh (which became David?s favourite residence after his return from England ?in 1357) was found to require extensive repairs, and to these the king devoted himself. On the cliff to the northward he built ?David?s Tower,? an edifice of great height and strength, and therein he died on the zznd February, 1371, and was buried before the high altar at Holyrood. The last of the direct line of Brucea name inseparably connected with the military glory and independence of Scotland-David was a monarch who, in happier times, would have done much to elevate his people. The years of his captivity in England he beguiled with his pencil, and in a vault of Nottingham Castle ?he left behind hini,? says Abercrornbie, in his ? Martial Achievements,? I? the whole story of our Saviour?s Passion, curiously engraven on the rock with his own hands. For this, says one, that castle became as famous as formerly it had been for Mortimer?s hole.? It was during bis reign that, by the military ingenuity of John Earl of Carrick and four other knights of skill, the Castle was so well fortified, that, with a proper garrison, the Duke of Rothesay was able to resist the utmost efforts of Henry IV., when he besieged it for several weeks in 1400. The Castle had been conferred as a free gift upon Earl John by his father King Robert, and in consequence of the sufferings endured by the inhabitants when the city was burned by the English, under Richard II., he by charter empowered the citizens to build houses within the fortress, free of fees to the constable, on the simple understanding that they were persons of good fame. ? . - CHAPTER IV. CASTLE OF EDINBURGH-(continucd). Progress of the Cuy-Ambassador of Charles VI.- Edinburgh burned-Henry IV. batAed-Albany?s Prophecy-Laws regarding the Building of House-Sumptuary Laws, 1457-Murder of James I.-Coronation of James 11.-Court Intrigues-Lord Chancellor Crichton-Arrogance of the Earl of Douglas-~-Faction Wars-The Castle Besieged-? The Black DinneF?-Edinburgh walled-Its Strength-Bale-fires. THE chief characteristic of the infant city now was that of a frontier town, ever on the watch to take arms against an invader, and resolute to resist him. Walsingham speaks of it as a village ; and in 1385 its population is supposed to have barely exceeded 2,oooj yet Froissart called it the Pans of Scotland, though its central street presented but a meagre line of thatched or stane-dated houses, few of which were more than twenty feet in height. Froissart numbers them at 4,000, which would give a greater population than has been alleged. With the accession of Robert 11.-the first of the
Volume 1 Page 26
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print