The History of Leith

May 10, 2011

The Capture of Edinburgh Castle

The year 1300 saw “Johan de Kingeston, Connestable Gardcyn du Chaste! de Edenburgh,” and four years afterwards he was succeeded by Sir Piers de Lombard, a brave knight of Gascony. Robert Bruce was now in arms. He in turn had became conqueror ; he invaded England in 1311, and by the following year had re-captured nearly every castle but that of Edinburgh, the reduction of which he entrusted to the noble Sir Thomas Randolph of Strathdon, Earl of Moray, who has been described as “a man altogether made up of virtues,” The English or Norman garrison suspecting the fidelity ‘of Sir Piers, placed him in a dungeon, and under a newly-elected commander, were prepared to offer a desperate resistance, when a romantic incident restored the Castle to the king of Scotland,
Among the soldiers of Randolph was one named William Frank, who volunteered to lead an escalade up a, steep and intricate way by which he had been accustomed in former years to visit a girl in the city of whom he was enamoured. Frequent use had made him familiar with the perilous ascent, and was made on |he night of the 14th of March—which proved dark and stormy—at the most difficult part of those precipitous bluffs which overhang the Princes’ Street Gardens, where a fragment of ruin, named Wallace’s Cradle, is still visible. Under his guidance, with only thirty resolute men, Randolph scaled the walls at midnight, and, after a fierce resistance, the garrison was overpowered. There are indications that some secret pathway* known to the Scottish garrison, existed, for during some operations in 1821
traces were found of steps cut in the rock, about seventy feet above the fragment named “Wallace’s Cradle”— a path supposed to have been completed by a movable ladder

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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