The History of Leith

May 11, 2011

The Duke of Albany Escape

Arran was not the only great personage of James’s reign to whom Leith offered a ready means of escape when his life was forfeit. The king (James III), for reasons we do not fully know, had imprisoned his brother, the Duke of Albany, in Edinburgh Castle. His friends, knowing his life to be in danger, endeavoured to effect his escape.
Just at this time a French vessel laden with Gascon wine had opportunely arrived, and was riding at anchor off the pier of Leith. From the French vessel they sent him two runlets of wine, which, luckily, were passed by. his guards unexamined and untasted. In one of these was a rope and a waxen roll enclosing a letter intimating that he was to die ere next day’s sunset, and urging him to make an immediate endeavour to escape, when a boat from the French vessel would come ashore for him at Leith.
Albany knew he must either do or die. He invited his guards to join him in doing honour to the wine, whose excellence was their undoing, for, when they had become tipsy, they were slain by Albany. He then escaped to the ramparts overlooking Princes Street. But in the descent by means of the rope his servant fell and broke his leg. Albany was unwilling to leave his faithful servant to the tender mercies of his enemies. Being a man of unusual size and strength, he put him over his shoulders, and, aided by the darkness, carried him safely to Leith, where a boat from the French trader awaited them. Daylight revealed the rope dangling over the Castle rock ; but by this time Albany was well on his way down the Firth to his own Castle of Dunbar, from which he eventually escaped to France.

Source-The Story of Leith

source-The story of Leith

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