Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Massacre of Berwick


* * * * *
"There lived a king in southern land,
King Edward hight his name;
Unwordily he wore the crown,
Till fifty years were gane.

He had a sister's son o's ain,
Was large of blood and bane;
And afterward, when he came up,
Young Edward hight his name.

One day he came before the king,
And kneel'd low on his knee--
"A boon, a boon, my good uncle,
"I crave to ask of thee!

"At our lang wars, in fair Scotland,
"I fain hae wished to be;
"If fifteen hundred waled[90] wight men
"You'll grant to ride wi' me."

"Thou sail hae thae, thou sail hae mae;
"I say it sickerlie;
"And I mysell, an auld gray man,
"Array'd your host sall see."

King Edward rade, King Edward ran--
I wish him dool and pyne!
Till he had fifteen hundred men
Assembled on the Tyne.

And thrice as many at Berwicke
Were all for battle bound,
_Who, marching forth with false Dunbar,
A ready welcome found_..."

-From Auld Maitland, collected as part of Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.
Berwick, around 1296, enjoyed a more prosperous foreign trade than Edinburgh.  On March 30, 1296, the forces of Edward I of England invaded Berwick, and killed approximately 10,000 of its inhabitants.  The invasion was partly precipitated by King John Balliol signing a mutual assistance agreement with the French.  Edward soon afterward began an invasion of Scotland, with Berwick being an early stop in the Wars of Scottish Independence.