The History of Leith

December 13, 2011


In 1390 Robert III. ascended the throne, and in that year we find the ambassadors of Charles VI. again witnessing in the Castle the royal seal and signature attached to the treaty for mutual aid and
defence against England in all time coming. This brought Henry IV., as we have said, before the Castle in 1400, with a well-appointed and numerous army, in August.
From the fortress the young and gallant David Duke of Rothesay sent a herald with a challenge to meet him in mortal combat, where and when he chose, with a hundred men of good blood on each side, and determine the war in that way. ” But King Henry was in no humour to forego the advantage he already possessed, at the head of a more numerous army than Scotland could then raise ; and so, contenting himself with a verbal equivocation in reply to this knightly challenge, he sat down with his numerous host before the .Castle till (with the usual consequences of the Scottish reception of such invaders) cold and rain, and absolute dearth of provisions, compelled him to raise the inglorious siege, and hastily re-cross the borders, without doing any notable injury either in his progress or retreat.”* When unable to resist, the people of the entire town and country, who were not secured in castles, resorted to the simple expedient of driving off all the cattle and sheep, provisions and goods, even to the thatch of their houses, and leaving nothing but bare walls for the enemy to wreak their vengeance on; but they never put up their swords till, by a terrible retaliating invasion into the more fertile parts of England, they fully made up for their losses. And this wretched state of affairs, for nearly 500 years, lies at the door of the Plantagenet and Tudor kings.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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