The History of Leith

May 31, 2012

The bombast of a French writer

Mary of Lorraine had often resorted to Leith
since the arrival of her countrymen; and now she
took such an interest in the expedition to Inchkeith
that she personally superintended the embarkation,
on Corpus Christ! day, the 2nd of June,
1549. Accompanied by a few Scottish troops, the
French detachment, led by Chapelle de Biron, De
Eerrieres, De Gourdes, and other distinguished
officers, quitted the harbour in small boats, and to
deceive the English as to their intentions sailed up
and down the Firth ; but their frequent approaches
to the island, and evident selection of the only
landing-place, roused the suspicions of the garrison.
Finding theirintentions discovered, they made direct
for the rock, and found the English prepared to
dispute every inch of it with them.
Leaping ashore, with pike, sword, and arquebus,
they attacked the English hand to hand, drove
them into the higher parts of the island, where
Cotton, their commander, and George Appleby,
one of his officers, were killed, with several English
gentlemen of note. The castle was captured, The
English garrison were no doubt ignorant of Biron’s
object in sailing round the isle, as they did not fire
upon him.
Mary of Lorraine had often resorted to Leith
since the arrival of her countrymen; and now she
took such an interest in the expedition to Inchkeith
that she personally superintended the embarkation,
on Corpus Christ! day, the 2nd of June,
1549. Accompanied by a few Scottish troops, the
French detachment, led by Chapelle de Biron, De
Eerrieres, De Gourdes, and other distinguished
officers, quitted the harbour in small boats, and to
deceive the English as to their intentions sailed up
and down the Firth ; but their frequent approaches
to the island, and evident selection of the only
landing-place, roused the suspicions of the garrison.
Finding theirintentions discovered, they made direct
for the rock, and found the English prepared to
dispute every inch of it with them.
Leaping ashore, with pike, sword, and arquebus,
they attacked the English hand to hand, drove
them into the higher parts of the island, where
Cotton, their commander, and George Appleby,
one of his officers, were killed, with several English
gentlemen of note. The castle was captured, and
the English driven pell-mell into a corner of the
isle, where they had no alternative but to throw
themselves into the sea or surrender. In this combat
De Biron was wounded on the head by an
arquebus, and had his helmet so beaten about his
ears that he had to be carried off to the boats.
Desbois, his standard-bearer, fell under the pike
of Cotton, the English commander, and Gaspare
di Strozzi, leader of the Italians, was slain. An
account of the capture of this island was published
in France, and it is alike amusing and remarkable
for the bombast in which the French writer indulged.
He records at length the harangues of
the Queen Regent and the French leaders as the
expedition quitted Leith, the length and tedium of
the voyage, and the sufferings which the troops

source-Old and New Edinburgh

Some Text