The History of Leith

December 19, 2011

Watching the fords

In the Parliament of 1455 we find Acts passed for watching the fords of the Tweed, and the erection of bale-fires to give alarm, by day and night, of inroads from England, to warn Hume, Haddington, Dunbar, Dalkeith, Eggerhope, and Edinburgh Castle, thence to Stirling and the north—arrangements which would bring all Scotland under arms in two hours, as the same system did at the time of the False Alarm in 1803. One bale-fire was a signal that the English were in motion; two that they were advancing; four in a row signified that they were in great strength. All men in arms westward of Edinburgh were to muster there; all eastward at Haddington; and every Englishman caught in Scotland was lawfully the prisoner of whoever took him (Acts, I2th Parl. James II.). But the engendered hate and jealousy of England would seem to have nearly reached its culminating point when the nth Parliament of James VI., chap. 104, enacted, ungallantly, “that no Scotsman marrie an Englishwoman without the king’s license under the Great Seal, under pain death and escheat of moveables.”

Source-Old and New Edinburgh

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