The History of Leith

December 17, 2011

Edinburgh Castle Taken

Covered with glory and honour, the noble King Robert, the skilful Randolph, and the chivalrous Sir James Douglas, had all gone down to the silent tomb; but other heroes succeeded them, and valiant
deeds were done.
The Scots thought of nothing but battle; the plough was allowed to rust, and the earth to take care of itself. By 1337 the English were again almost entirely driven out of Scotland, and the Castle of Edinburgh was re-captured from them through an ingenious stratagem, planned by William Bullock, a priest, who had been captain of Cupar Castle for Baliol, “and was a man very brave and faithful to the Scots, and of great use to them,” according to Buchanan. Under his directions, Walter Curry, of Dundee, received into his ship two hundred select Scottish soldiers, led by William Douglas, Sir Simon Eraser, Sir John Sandilands, and Bullock also. Anchoring in Leith Roads, the latter presented himself to the governor as master of an English ship just arrived with wines and provisions, which he offered to sell for the use of the garrison. The bait took all the more readily that the supposed captain had closely shaven himself in the Anglo-Norman fashion. On 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 powerful, nor the valiant, nor the wise, long flourish in Scotland, since envy obtaineth the mastery of them all.”

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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