The History of Leith

September 13, 2012

The landing of Hertford

Hertford landed with 10,000 men near
an old fortalice, called the Castle of Wardie, on
the beach that bordered a desolate moor of the
same name, and seized Leith and Newhaven.
Cardinal Beaton and the Regent Arran lay in the
vicinity with an army. The former proposed battle,
but the latter, an irresolute man, declined, and
retired in the night towards Linlithgow with his
hastily levied troops.
Lord Evers, with 4,000 horse, had now joined
the English from Berwick, and Hertford arrogantly
demanded the instant surrender of the infant
queen ; and being informed ^at the nation would
perish to a man rather than submit to terms SO1
ignominious, he advanced against Edinburgh, from
whence came the Provost, Sir Adam Otterburn, to
make terms, if possible ; but Hertford would have
nothing save an unconditional surrender of life .and
property, together with the little cpieen, then at
Stirling.
” Then,” said the Provost, ” ’twere better that
the city should stand on its defence!” He
galloped back to put himself at the head of the
citizens, who were in arms under the Blue Blanket.
The English, after being repulsed with loss at the
Leith Wynd Port, entered by the Water Gate,,
advanced up the Canongate to the Nether Bow-
Port, which they blew open by dint of artillery, and
! a terrible slaughter of the citizens ensued. All re-
1 sisted manfully. Among others was one named
, David Halkerston of Halkerston, who defended
the wynd that for 300 years bore his name, and
perished there sword in hand. Spreading through
the city like a flood, the English fired it in eight
places, and as the High Street was then encumbered
with heavy fronts of ornamented timber that erst had
grown in the forest of Druinsheugh, the smoke of
the blazing mansions actually drove the invaders
out to ravage the adjacent country, prior to which
they met with a terrible repulse in an attempt
to attack the Castle. Four days Hertford toiled
before it, till he had 500 men killed, an incredible
number wounded, and some of his guns dismounted
by the fire of the garrison. Led by Stanehouse,
the Scots made a sortie, scoured the Castle hill,
and carried off Hertford’s guns, among which
were some that they had lost at Flodden. The
English then retreated, leaving Edinburgh nearly
one mass of blackened ruin, and the whole country
burned and wasted for seven miles around it.
When, three years after, the same unscrupulous
leader, as Duke of Somerset, won that disastrous
battle at Pinkie—a field that made 360 women of
Edinburgh widows, and where the united shout
raised by the victors as they came storming over
Edmondston Edge was long remembered—Stanehouse
was again summoned to surrender; but
though menaced by 26,000 of the English, he
maintained his charge till the retreat of Somerset,
Instead of reconciling the Scots to an alliance
with England—in those days a measure alike
unsafe and unpalatable

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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