The History of Leith

October 27, 2012

The gallant David Duke of Rothesay

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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