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Berwick upon Tweed
Chapter II. 1286—1307


THE chapter of this history that now opens is certainly gloomy enough: but, before we reach the deepest gloom, we shall chronicle the events that preceded it. On Alexander's death, the heir to the throne was a minor and a girl, the Maiden of Norway, granddaughter of the King and daughter of Eric of Norway. Six guardians were appointed to govern Scotland until arrangements were made with her friends in Norway for the home-coming of this girl, heir to the Scottish throne. At the same time negotiations were opened with England as to the marriage of this child with the eldest son of the English King. Some preliminaries of this alliance were drawn up at Salisbury in 1289; and in the following year, a meeting of Scotch and English magnates took place at Birgham, a village not far from Kelso, on the north side of the Tweed, where a treaty was made, in which both countries agreed to the marriage, and definitely settled some points, that, through the interfering nature of Edward I., might become matters of dispute. The only points that concern our history are these, 'That no appeals from Scotland were, on any consideration, to be heard at English courts; and that Anthony Beck, Bishop of Durham, was appointed lieutenant to act with the guardians of Scotland on behalf of Margaret the Maiden and her husband. Beck began very early to act with evident harshness towards Scotland; for, in the same July in which this appointment was made, a complaint was forwarded to the King that 'after the Parliament at Birgham, Anthony Beck, Bishop of Durham, and his men have greatly molested us and our men, which thing our messengers will be able more correctly to inform you about; and we pray redress.'

The marriage negotiations came to a sorrowful termination. The Maiden never reached her new kingdom; for, when she was being brought home from Norway, she died in the Orkney Islands. There being no other direct heirs to the throne of Scotland, thirteen competitors appeared for it; but the claims of eleven were disallowed without much trouble. Those of Baliol and Bruce were conflicting in that age, when strict hereditary descent, according to the prevailing notions of modern jurists, was not clearly defined. Edward I. had so far interfered in the settlement of Scottish affairs that it was supposed he might do so again without much difficulty or danger. He was accordingly appointed arbiter between the conflicting claims of the rivals to the throne. These claims were advocated before Edward, first, in an open plain on the Haugh opposite Norham Castle and in the parish of Upsetlington, now part of the parish of Ladykirk; then, in Norham Church the company met; afterwards, in Norham Castle. These meetings began in June, and were continued till August, 1291. On the 15th of that month the company removed to Berwick, and met in the Dominican Chapel, close by the castle. From this meeting in the Friary at Berwick the settlement was postponed till the following year. The company again met, in the same chapel, in the month of June, and again in July, when it was deferred till the autumn. In October and November, meetings took place to debate and arrange the terms of settlement. The final meeting was held on the 17th of November, 1297, in the great hall of the Castle, when Edward I., in regal magnificence, in presence of the full Parliament of England, of many prelates of both kingdoms, of earls, barons, knights, magnates, besides a copious multitude of the populace of both England and Scotland, decided in favour of John Baliol, and against the claims of Robert Bruce. The chroniclers leave us in doubt whether this award was heard in solemn silence or with loudest plaudits from the Baliol partizans. We are sure of this, that no like meeting was ever held in this old town, and none certainly that has had such momentous issues on its welfare and on the destinies of the two countries so intimately concerned.

Edward issued an order, on the 19th of November, for Baliol to have seisin of the kingdom of Scotland; and another, commanding the castles of Scotland to be given to him. For this latter purpose he addressed Peter Burdett, the keeper of Berwick Castle, in these words:

'King Edward, by the grace of God, King of England, etc., and overlord of the Kingdom of Scotland, to his faithful and beloved Peter Burdett, keeper of the Castle of Berwick : salute. We order you that you cause to be delivered without delay to the aforesaid John de Baliol, or his attorney bearing these letters, the seisin of the aforesaid Castle of Berwick with all its purtenances, along with all other things delivered to you by chirograph, according as you have received the things belonging the same in the aforesaid committed to your care.'

On the same day on which Edward issued this order in the hall of the castle, he broke the old seal of Scotland into four parts, and put them into a certain leathern bag, and placed it in the treasury of England, to be preserved as a monument of his sovereignty over Scotland. Baliol swore fealty to him the next day at Norham, and, after he was enthroned King at Scone, he was obliged once more to swear fealty to Edward at Newcastle. He was now fully installed as vassal King of Scotland.

At this time many names of Berwick burgesses are found in the public records. More than eighty substantial men took the oath of allegiance to Edward when he gave Scotland to Baliol, and assumed to himself the overlordship of that country. The list will be given in full in Appendix No. 1. From the 'Historical Documents,' edited by Stevenson and Bain, we learn much concerning the town, and want of space alone compels us to confine our remarks to a few items.

The value of money was very different at that distant date. Thomas de Braytoft and Henry de Ry on September' 15th, 1290, passed through Berwick on their way to the Orkneys. They stayed with their four companions one night in Berwick, and their expenses, for themselves and four horses, amounted altogether to 4s. 6d. On Tuesday, before starting, they bought some trifles in town for 7s. 8d. Next, they lodged at St. Andrews at an expense of 4s. 8d. On Wednesday they stayed at St. Andrews, on account of a storm, for 3s. 6d. Thursday, they went by water to Montrose for 4s. 6^d. Whether travelling was luxurious or not, might be a question, but certainly it was cheap enough. Ralph Basset, as keeper of the Castle of Edinburgh, received 13s. 4d. a day for that very important task. This same sum was, for a long time, the pay of the keeper of Berwick Castle. The Chancellor of Scotland was paid with 100 a year. Osbert de Spaldington, Sheriff of Berwick, was detained in Scotland twenty-two days, hearing complaints in the courts there, and received for his work 1 18s. 1d. Stephen the Falconer was sent to London from Berwick on account of a falcon. He was occupied forty-one days in the journey to and from London, from 4th November to 15th December, and received 7^d. every day to himself—viz., 1 5s. 7d.—for this arduous work.

The three pages, who stay with John de Brabant's (a servant of King Edward) horses at Toughale for thirty days, received in all 7s. 6d. Egidius, a servant of Brabant's, was sent from Jedburgh to Berwick and was stayed there for two nights, and received is. 9d. John's chaplain had fallen sick at Berwick, and he was unable to accompany his master to Roxburgh. For the few days he lay in the town his master was charged 9s. 8d. The same John had- a room in Berwick Castle whose roof was leaky, which cost 7d. to repair.

The King spent most of the summer and autumn of 1292 in Berwick and neighbourhood, staying, as was the wont of kings, in the great feudal castle, that could alone give him a feeling of security in such rude and boisterous times. Edward, now interested in the Border castles, supplied them with stores of various kinds: * xciiij. bacons, mmm. vjc. xv. qr. di frumenti (wheat) and m. vijc. xxvj. qr. of oats' were sent on to Berwick, and thence distributed to Jedburgh, Stirling, Dumbarton, and Edinburgh. The 'bacons' were distributed by twenties to each of these castles, leaving fourteen only to Berwick. The corn was similarly treated. The King, during his stay here, gave letters of safe-conduct to a great many merchants to go and trade in all his dominions. Robert Oliver, merchant in Berwick, gets letters of safe-conduct for five years. Thomas the Jew, and Jordan his son, burgesses and merchants, were granted the same privilege. The same rights were granted to Galfridus the cutler, Roger Broker and William his son, Alan de Langton, Thomas de Beyremme, Peter de Coventry, and Ralph de Whitby; William Orford, merchant; John Oter, merchant in wines, wools, etc.; John of Aberdeen, wine and corn merchant. Many of the surnames indicate the different localities whence the merchants had come, attracted, no doubt, by the fame of the place and the extensive and lucrative trade here carried on. Again, the King granted a safe-conduct to John le Brun, burgess of Berwick, to trade with a ship called Godyere along the coasts of England. As long as he trafficked in legal merchandise he was not to be disturbed. Brun had bought this vessel from John le Clerc of Roxburgh, a burgess of Berwick, for 31 marks.

During this summer Alexander de Baliol, Chamberlain of Scotland, and the English Chancellor, Robert Brunei, Bishop of Bath and Wells, were both resident in Berwick. The southern official, evidently an old man, died here on October 25th, the Sabbath previous to the feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude. The great seal, that was in his keeping, was delivered into the wardrobe of the King to Walter de Langton, keeper of the same wardrobe under the seal of William de Hamilton. The duty of the English Chancellor, when journeying with the King, consisted chiefly in preparing and sealing writs and letters, issued by royal authority. Hamilton acted for the deceased bishop till the following Thursday, when he set out towards Wells with the bishop's body. The duty of the Chamberlain consisted in paying royal accounts, and wages to those who were in royal service.

John Baliol, now King of Scotland, found his royal authority of doubtful efficacy in the face of Edward's overlordship. He had no sooner become King than cases occurred which brought his sovereign power into contempt. A ship of Flanders, freighted by Berwick burgesses, with a cargo of goods from Dieppe, was forced by stress of weather to put into Harwich, where the authorities arrested the vessel and detained it. The burgesses complained to their King, John Baliol, in this case, as well as in a more flagrant abuse. A ship, loaded at Berwick on the part of several burgesses, with thirty-six sacks of wool and other merchandise, as well as 100 in money, was seized off the coast of Norfolk by the crews of five fishing-boats, who, after evil handling the master and sailors, sunk the ship. The King had evidently ordered a general arrest of all Berwick vessels, for the

* Mayor, Reeves and community of Berwick write to the King as ruling, by Divine Providence, the three realms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. They inform him that no tongue can tell their anxieties by reason of the dearth of all kinds of grain in Scotland. Some of their fellow-burgesses had shipped grain from abroad, and while off the English coast and ports the King's bailiffs had arrested their ships and cargoes, to their heavy loss and damage. Their names are William of Orford and others, whom the bearers will relate to the King. Therein goods and vessels were arrested in Yarnemuthe, Erewell, Blakeney, and Newcastle-on-Tyne. These send their fellow-burgess Nicholas Pamperworde as their attorney, specially empowered to lay these matters before the King and pray remedy.'

In these cases Baliol memorializes Edward thus:

'To his most serene Prince and reverend Lord, by the grace of God, illustrious King of England and Duke of Aquitaine, John, by the same grace, King of Scotland, salute in Him by whom kings reign and all kingdoms exist.' After this inscription, he complains of detention and damage to his vessels, and 'asks and begs your serene Highness to devise some remedy that restitution be made to our burgesses in what may seem to you most opportune.' Besides these, certain other well-known cases occurred. On December 22, 1292, a plea was entered before the Scotch Custodes in Edinburgh, which, though it was only a dispute between two Berwick burgesses, finally assumed national importance. Marjory Moigne, widow of William the goldsmith, sued Master Roger Bartholomew, or Bertlemew, for the recovery of 180, part of the property of said William, and also for 200 marks of dowry which the said William had dowered her with, and which Roger unjustly detained. She sued for her dowry as a principal debt, for it appeared William Aurifaber had died a bankrupt. Roger denied liability of 180, for Margery had taken 60 out of a chest sealed with his seal ; and he has paid 80 marks for the board of Margery's four children for five years at the rate of 2 13s. 4d. each per year. He allowed and confessed 100 marks, which he was adjudged to pay. He denied the dowry, but on an appeal to the law of the Four Burghs, the case went against him. Thirteen sacks of wool which had been arrested in Philip Rydale's hands, and which Philip owed to William the goldsmith, were ordered to be delivered to Marjory as part payment of the 200 marks. Again, Gilbert of Dunbar, at Haddington Fair, had touched Roger with a stick. Roger caused him to be imprisoned. Gilbert, before a Scotch court, complained of wrongous imprisonment, and damage to the extent of 4. The verdict was given in favour of Gilbert, and Roger was fined, Roger was troublesome and litigious. He appealed in both cases to the English court sitting at Newcastle, which was certainly against the plain reading of the Treaty of Birgham. Baliol interfered, and urged the burgesses' pleas of 'non possumus' Edward scorned the very idea of not being able to hear appeals from judges of his own appointment, as the Scotch judges then were. The case was proceeded with, and the sentences reversed.

Another case of importance was appealed against. Macduff, son of the Earl of Fife, claimed some lands on a disputed succession. The case came before the Scots Estates, and was decided against the appellant. It was then taken before the English Parliament, and John Baliol was summoned to appear, which command he refused to comply with at first: but, ultimately, he obeyed the summons. When called upon to plead, he said he could give no answer till he had consulted the Estates of Scotland. The case was then deferred, after some arrangement, and, while it was pending, Edward was called away to more difficult and more irksome work. As John Baliol had been summoned before the English King, so Edward was summoned to do homage to Philip of France for his land in that country, and now, in Edward's absence, the Scots bestirred themselves. They entered into negotiations with France for an offensive and defensive treaty against the English King. The Scots coolly agreed to make destructive inroads upon the north frontier when Edward's power was absorbed in French conflict. The French, on the other hand, agreed to assist the Scotch when England was pressing them hard in battle. Berwick, as the principal Scotch borough of the period, appended its signature and seal to this treaty first of all the boroughs of Scotland. The Scotch King began immediately to carry out his part of the bargain, and sent an army to lay waste the northern borders of England. Edward, in no good frame of mind on account of the non-success of his French negotiations, hearing of this inroad of the Scots, hurried back at once to England. He prepared instantly to chastise Scotland and the signatories to this hated treaty, the terms of which he had learnt while in France. With an awful mercilessness was this determination carried out. Some of the Berwick burgesses had appealed to Edward for justice, and he would now let them feel what his justice meant. Berwick burgesses had dared to sign the treaty with France, and Berwick was a Border town, and lay conveniently in his way. It must therefore first feel the edge of that sword that was to commit such havoc upon Scotland. Edward moved northwards with due deliberation. He summoned his forces of 5,000 horsemen and 30,000 footmen to meet him at Newcastle on March 25, 1296. Previous to this he had ordered Osbert de Spaldington to have in readiness on the east coast of England, from Tyne to Tweed, a fleet of 100 vessels well manned, and ready to co-operate with his land forces. Part of this fleet he ordered to Holy Island to await his arrival before Berwick. In moving northwards he avoided crossing the Tweed in front of an opposing army; but, striking off to the west, he forded the river at Coldstream, nearly opposite the mouth of the Leet. He stayed in the grounds of the abbey for one night, set out eastwards on the 29th of March, and, when passing Ladykirk, was joined by Anthony Beck, the warlike Bishop of Durham, from Norham with a contingent of 1,000 foot and 500 horse. Hutton was reached that night. Next day, the 30th, he arrived in Nunslees with the bulk of his army, when a small part was sent round Halidon Hill, and approached the town by the north road and the level fields. But, before the army comes nearer, let us see what is going on in Berwick itself. The castle is commanded by William Douglas, almost the first of that famous name heard of in history. The town is garrisoned by Fife soldiers, and the chief men of that county; and they are in readiness for battle. The Flandrian merchants in the Red Hall are prepared to resist to the very uttermost. The townspeople are jubilant, and sure of an easy victory. Going to the outskirts as far as danger will allow them, and from an eminence, says an old chronicler, they utter taunts against Edward and his army. The very words are preserved, in what is supposed to be the oldest quotation of Lowland Scotch now extant, by Rishanger of St. Albans: 'Kyng Edward wanne thou havest Berwic pike thee wanne thou havest geten dike thee.'

An old French chronicle varies it, and gives what is the common form in the quotation:

'What wendc the Kyng Edward
For his langge shanks,
For to wy nne Bcrewyke
All our unthankes
Go Pike it him
And when he have it won
Go Dike it him.

Which means, When you have gained Berwick, King Edward, it will be time enough for you to dig around a fosse and build a wall. Why this had the effect of rousing Edward's anger does not appear to be easily understood. But that it had a wonderful effect is seen in the i vehement and scornful' words Robert de Brunne adds when he translates the old French Chronicle of Peter Langtoft:

'Now is Berwick born doun, abaist is that cuntrl.
Jon [Baliol] gete thi coroun, thou losis thi dignitl.
Now dos Edward dike Berwick brode and long,
As thei bad him pike, and scorned him in ther song:
Pikit him, and dikit him ! on scorn said he.
He pikes and dikes in length, as him likes, how best it may be;
And thou has for thi piking, mykille ille lyking, the sothe is to se.
Without any lesyng, alle is thi he thing* fallen upon the:
For scatred er thi Scottis and hodredt in ther hottes,} neuer thei ne the"
Right als I rede, thei tombled in Tuede, that woned bi the se.

Foreshadowing the impending doom of Berwick, the 'Lanercost Chronicle notes several wonderful phenomena that presaged awful calamities:

'A great ball of fire was seen in a dream by a simple burgess of Haddington, coming from the southwards, precipitating itself over Berwick, and pitilessly consuming all things, then going northwards as far as the Lothians and the arm of the sea, destroying everything in its course, it went at last towards the sky, and returned whence it came.'

'There was a vision seen at Berwick before Christmas by some school-children, who were engrossed in their books and were hastening to school at the earliest dawn as is usual in the same town in winter time. They saw Christ beyond the castle on the semblance of a cross all covered with blood from blows, and his face turned towards the habitations of the town.'

The same veracious chronicler saw in his house one night a man, all white, with wings, whom he conceived to be an angel. He had a drawn sword in his hand, as if ready to execute judgment upon the poor town. By these and other visions, it was prognosticated that the town of Berwick was doomed. To proceed now to the actual taking of Berwick by Edward I., we have to note that the fleet, under Spaldington, seeing the English army very near the town, was eager to engage in the coming fray. The tide suiting, the sailors hastened up the river, but were met by the whole strength of the garrison and the town ; the very women carried branches to fire and burn the ships. The attack by the river was thus driven back. Several of the ships were burned, and the rest, gliding back with the receding tide, escaped. Edward, warned by the burning of his ships, and roused by the stupid taunts of the citizens, proceeded at once to the assault. There seems to have been little resistance. The defences of the town were merely a stockade and a ditch, so low and narrow that Edward leaped over both on his horse Bayard, and entered the town at the head of his forces. His army followed, and slaughtered at will the poor inhabitants. The Flemings determined to hold out in their Hall of Commerce; and it was not till the place was set on fire that their opposition ceased. Tradition says they all perished in the ruins of the building. The slaughter was immense. The citizens were mown down to the extent of eight thousand; and the massacre only ceased when a procession of priests bore the Host to the King's presence, and begged for mercy. Edward, with a sudden and characteristic burst of tears, ordered the slaughter to cease. Rishanger describes the King as rabid, like a boar infested with the hounds, and issuing the order to spare none; and tells how the citizens fell like the leaves in autumn, until there was not one of the Scots left who could escape alive; and rejoices over their fate as a just judgment for their wickedness. Wyntoun, in his quaint manner, adds words to the same eflect:

4 The Inglisfmen] thare slwe downe [All] hale the Scottis natyowne, That wyth in that towne thai fand Off* all condytyowne nane sparand ; Leryd and lawde, nwne and frere, All wes slayne wyth that powerc; Off* allkyn state, off allkyn age, [Thai] sparyd nothir carl na page : Bath awld and yhowng, men and wywys And sowkand barnys thar tynt thare lyvys.

'Sevyn thowsand and fyve hundyr ware
Bodyis reknyd, that slayne ware thare;
This dwne wes on the Gud Fryday.
Off elde, na kynd, sparyd thai.
Twa dayis owt as a depe flwde
Throw all the town thare ran rede blude.'

The Lanercost chronicler adds: c The town was occupied by the enemy, when very great riches were taken. For a day and a half those of both sexes perished— some by slaughter, some by fire—not less than fifteen thousand; the remainder, even to the little children, being sent into perpetual exile. Yet this most merciful prince showed that humanity to the dead which he had offered to the living. I myself saw a great multitude of men destined for the burial of the bodies of the dead, who were all to receive from the treasury of the King a denarius for a reward, although they began at the eleventh hour to work.

There is thus a terrible unanimity among the old writers as to the extent of the slaughter. The churches afforded no shelter to those who fled into them. After being defiled by the blood of the slain, and spoiled of all their ornaments, it was most notorious that the King and his followers made stables of them for his horses. Notwithstanding the reputed completeness of the destruction, some of the merchants and inhabitants were left, as we shall see in the sequel.

What was the immediate consequence of this terrible blow? Green the historian says, 'The town was ruined for ever, and the greatest merchant-city of Northern Britain sank from that time into a petty seaport.' Burton puts it thus: 'It was in the community among whom the protection of the Lord Superior was first sought that his vengeance first fell. There was an end of the great city of merchant-princes; and Berwick was henceforth to hold the position of a common market town, and be conspicuous only, after the usual fate of a frontier town, for its share in the calamities of war.'

Edward remained in it for about three weeks after its capture. His first object was to put it, along with the whole district, into a thorough state of defence. On April 2nd, two days after the capture, he appointed Robert de Clifford Warden of the March of Scotland, with a force of 140 horse and 500 footmen. He then determined, for defence of the town, to dig a deep and wide foss around it/ from the Tapee Loch (where the engine-sheds, etc., of the North British Railway now are) by the back of the town till its exit on the pier road at the present Malt House. The foss was made eighty feet broad and forty feet deep. For this purpose the King summoned labourers from the county of Northumberland, f The date of the writ (4th April) showed Edward's quick determination to do work when once he saw its necessity. The writ was addressed to the Sheriff, and commanded him to procure foss-workers, masons, carpenters, and all manner of artificers for his work at the foss; and workmen to occupy the places in the town of those slain in the action. The Sheriff was ordered in nowise to omit this duty as he loved his convenience and honour. Edward is said to have engaged in the work himself, to have wheeled a barrow in this service. Perhaps, in modern phraseology, he cut the first sod of this great undertaking. He issued another order from Berwick before he proceeded to chastise the whole kingdom of Scotland. On the nth of the same month, he commanded all vagrants and criminals to join his army against Scotland, on the ground of a free pardon for such crimes as homicide, robberies, and transgressions of the forest laws; and, thus, we have a neighbour, John Swyn of Lowyke, who killed Roger Baret of Bayremoor, receiving a free pardon when he joined the army for the north. A large number of such a class joined the army on like conditions. Edward afterwards proceeded north on an expedition in which we do not require to follow him. He returned to Berwick on the 22nd of August, 1296, and made arrangements in a Parliament held there on that date for carrying on the government of submissive Scotland. Warenne, Earl of Surrey, he appointed Guardian of the realm, Walter de Agmondesham, Chancellor, Hugh Cressingham, Treasurer, and Ormesby, Justiciar; and, at Berwick, he formed an Exchequer exactly on the model of the one at Westminster:

'And because the King wishes that the same order, in all things, should obtain as well in the said Exchequer in Berwick, as in that at Westminster, he orders that the barons should carefully examine the schedule enclosed, and those things, necessary for its establishment, will be sent as soon as possible, in order that they may have, in those things, the same order in the said Exchequer at Berwick, as is observed in the aforesaid Exchequer at Westminster.'

As long as Berwick was a separate and independent town, a kind of conquest of England, yet lying in Scotland beyond the boundaries of the southern kingdom, it pleased the English King and his counsellors to keep in Berwick this Exchequer and its treasurer, and the other officers mentioned, as if it were a little kingdom of itself. Of course, it was the one corner into which the conquest of Scotland was eventually contracted. These officers were nominal in a great measure ; and they did not bind themselves to act personally, but only by deputy, whenever it pleased them. This year, they acted the more so by deputy, as a great deal had to be done in settling the affairs of Scotland, and the officers were absent on these weighty affairs; so the King appointed deputies to arrange and settle all the concerns of Berwick.

'Know ye that I have appointed our faithful Henry de Galeys, Stephen Assherry, William de Eye of London, John Sampson, Capin le Flemmenck of York, Gilbert de Neye, and Richard de Beaufort, John Scott, Peter le Draper of Newcastle, for the ordering and disposing, with the aid of Warrenne and Cressingham, the situation and state of our town of Berwick and parts of the same to the usefulness of ourselves and of the inhabitants of the same place, and convenience of the adjacent part?, and for the taxing and fixing the rents of the houses and open places in the town, and for the merchant artificers and other fit persons wishing to inhabit the town, according to the aforesaid taxing and rental at a term as far as it may seem better to expedite our convenience.'

Hugh de Cressingham, as King's Treasurer of Berwick, began early to use his office with great severity. He was well known to be a greedy man. He demanded custom of some wool sent here from Yarmouth which was already marked with the coket-mark of that place; thirty sacks were so arrested. The Yarmouth merchants complained to the King. In inquiry the Barons of the Exchequer here say that Cressingham was afraid the custom of this port would be demanded, but a certificate of indemnity being given, the wool was dearrested and given to its proper owner. To meet the expenses of the garrison 2,000 was at this time sent from London. The transmission of this money was a matter of great interest. Ten knights, sixteen footmen, and ten hackneys occupied twenty-one days in their journey from London and back again, with this burden, at an expense of is. per day for every knight, 3d. for every footman, and 6d. for every hackney. In all, 19 19s. was required to convey 2,000 from London to Berwick in the year 1297.

In regard to the fortifications of the town, we learn that considerable sums were spent in making them of some use to protect the inhabitants from invasion:

'1st. It is computed that the making of a Bridge to said Castle and of a stone wall all along the sea under the Snoke, of a wall between the said Castle and the river Tweed, of a door of exit for the said Earl of Warenne and for the Engineers, as is patent in the account of William de Romeyne, Clerk over the said works by sight and testimony of John le Beel, Burgess of aforesaid town, 122 15s. 5d.

'2nd. In making the foss and gate towards the House of the Blessed Mary Magdalene walled on both sides, as is patent in the account of Francis Syays, Master of that work, 3 12s. 1d.

'3rd. It is computed that the making of a wall towards the Snoke, as it appears in the account of Sir Seerus of Huntingfelde, Master of that work, by sight and testimony of Nicholas de Markham, Burgess of Berwick, will cost 40s. 11d.

'4th. For constructing a wooden Tower under the Castle of Berwick, as is patent in the account of Reginald the Engineer, Master of that work, 28s. 9d.

'5th. For making the exit of the Earls Marshall and Hereford, and of repairing that of the Earl of Warenne, and of the gates of said Castle, as appears by account of Master Robert Beaufrey, Clerk over these works, 45 9s. 11d.

These details do not tell much of the nature of the castle, nor of the fortifications. We have the wall from the castle to the Tweed still standing. The other works are all demolished. The Spades Mire may indicate the ditch towards the House of Mary Magdalene.

At this period of our story, Sir William Wallace suddenly appeared on the horizon. With grave anxiety Edward's officers hastened to put Berwick in order. The castle was anew provisioned ; all foreign correspondence was examined with great care. All messengers, according to royal orders, were carefully searched and examined, so that nothing hurtful might be allowed to pass ; and, if any messenger with a dangerous letter was found, he was to be kept in strict prison until the King's pleasure was known concerning him ; and, if any Lombardian merchant was found, he was to be similarly treated These orders were proclaimed through all the towns and chief places, that no man might plead ignorance.

In letters to the King from Berwick, in July, 1297, the following interesting particulars are given along with a high eulogium on Treasurer Cressingham:

'Dear Sir,—Your Treasurer of Scotland having caused a large troop to be assembled, and having led them to Roxburgh to attack your enemies who were in the company of the Bishop of Glasgow and the Steward of Scotland, then came Henry de Percy and Sir Robert de Clifford to Roxburgh and brought with them Sir Alexander de Lindsay and Sir William Douglas, and told us that they received to your peace the enemies who had risen against you on this side the Scottish sea, wherefore we returned to Berwick to await the arrival of my Lord of Warenne. If, then, your enemies show themselves the readier to come to your peace than they hitherto have done, many people think this peace has been well devised.9

'Dear Sir,—Because Sir William Douglas has not kept the covenants he made with Sir Henry de Percy he is in your Castle of Berwick in my keeping, and he is still very savage and very abusive ; but I will keep him in such wise that, if it please God, he shall not get out. The Church of Douglas is vacant, and is well worth 200 marks, as I have heard ; and if it please you to give it to your Treasurer of Scotland, I believe you will have bestowed it well, for, by the faith I owe you, he does not grow slack in your service, but takes the greatest pains to make things succeed.

The following hurried announcement refers to the same period. The letter is again addressed to Edward. The original, in Norman-French, is in the Public Record Office:

'Sir,—Sir William Douglas is in your prison, in your Castle of Berwick, in irons and in safe keeping, God be thanked ! and for a good cause, as one who has well deserved it, and I pray you, if it be your pleasure, let him not be liberated for any profit nor influence until you know what the matters amount in regard to him personally. Of your other enemies may God avenge you if He pleases.

Warenne, the guardian, writes that those on this side the Scottish sea are coming to Berwick to complete the covenants concerning the above peace; and he again alludes to Sir William Douglas, who is in good irons and safe keeping in the Castle of Berwick, because he did not produce his hostages when the others did. This Douglas was the same who commanded the Castle of Berwick when Edward took it in the previous year. He was liberated on parole at that time. He was next found in company with Wallace, and was taken by Percy in Ayrshire, along with a number of Scotch nobles. Percy and Clifford brought him to Berwick, where they came in the summer of that year; and this last letter of Warenne's was written just as he set out from Berwick on his Scotch expedition beyond the sea. In the expedition he had a large host, among whom was found Cressingham. The latter gloried in pursuing the Scots and harassing them in every possible way. Warenne now met Wallace at Stirling Bridge, fought out that battle with a fatal result to the English and to Cressingham, who was there killed and barbarously used by the revenging Scots. Warenne rode off from the field of battle, and never halted till he reached Berwick. He had ridden so fast, so utterly had his courage failed him, that, when he stabled his horse, it immediately fell from exhaustion and expired. Warenne soon after set out for England, and left Berwick undefended. The English inhabitants fled out of it; a Scotch force came into possession without any trouble, under a person named Haliburton, who kept it until Wallace himself returned from wasting Hexham in the early winter of 1298. The town alone came into his hands. It was defended by no rampart. There was otherwise no means of defence; the wall was ordered to be built along the edge of the deep foss, but either the want of money, or the niggardliness of Cressingham, retarded the very commencement of this work. The town remained quietly in the hands of the Scots all winter; but the approach of spring threatened likewise to bring an English force to recover the town; so the Scotch garrison fled. When the English came in the summer to its gates, they found it evacuated and ready to receive them. Only the town capitulated and recapitulated; for the castle remained in Edward's hands all this time, well defended by the garrison. From this fact there can be no longer any doubt but that the castle was now built in all the stability it ever possessed. The Norman keep, whose ruins now crown that bold prominence, then stood impregnable. No engine known at that time could harm it. Once and again in its history a mere handful of occupants bade defiance to a mighty host. Of the building, of its different towers and keep, we know little. Somewhat we learn from the Inventories of the period:

'In the first of these, dated August 16th, 1292, there is a "Hall" furnished with one great tabic. In the "Sheriff's Chamber" three tables and two pair of trestles.

'In the "Larder," three worn out napkins, three old towels, two old pieces of canvas, one stone basin and two tin pitchers, each of one quart.

'In the "Kitchen," one great cauldron, one pot of brass of two gallons, and one possnet of half a gallon, and two andirons.

'In the "Butlery," the third part of a tunnel of Rhenish wine, putrid.

'In the "Wardrobe," five covertures of iron, eight hauberks without hoods, three hauberks of strong iron, two pairs of greaves of iron, one iron cap, two pair of fire pans, five sacks for armour, three bench covers, old and torn, one green carpet with a red border, much worn, two boxes, one coffer, six old bucklers, one chessboard, three crooks and four bars of iron for the gates, five baskets full of iron.

'In the "Smith's Forge," four great anvils and one little anvil, three large hammers and three small, five pair of tongs and two pair of bellows, an iron wherewith to forge nails, and one pair of wheels bound with iron, seven cross-bows, with winches, three winches, six cross-bows for two feet and eight for one foot, eight belts, five hundred quarrels and a coffer in which are the crossbows.

'In the "Chapel," one chalice of silver-gilt, one chasuble, one alb, one amite, one 6tole, one fanon, two towels, three crosses, an image of our Lady, and two little images.

'In the "Bakehouse" and round the court, six leaden cisterns, one great vat, and eight smaller ones, one trough, four pair of "meymmiles," two tubs and two tuns.

'In the "Larder" were found 15 score quarters of beef of the new stores, 6 of the old stores, 19 bacons of the new store, and 5 hams of the old store; and 3 sheep's carcases and 19 maises of herrings of the new store, 35 score and 6 fish, 4 Dogdraves, 4 score dried fish of the old store, and 44 fish of Aberdeen, and 18 salmon of the old store, and 36 lampreys in a salt vat.

'In the "Granary" are found 83 qrs. wheat, 64 qrs. peas, 15 qra. and 1 boll of barleymalt, and 36 qrs. of salt.

'In a Chamber near the Postern Gate are 872 pieces of iron and 4 heads for pickaxes, eleven iron hammers, one great hammer, six bars of iron for windows. And in the bottom of an engine are found 300 pieces of iron.'

This Inventory closes characteristically: 'Also are found 30 chalders of sea-coal, also is found one live pig,' as if this last was only found after some search.

In another Inventory, taken six years later, the same places are again mentioned, and, besides, a great tower for the engineer and a little chamber beyond the bakehouse. This account closes with enumerating an article one would scarcely expect to find at that time, viz., a green carpet with red border, much worn, and which belonged to Robert de Spaldington. This castle was not only well defended, but well provisioned, according to the King's orders. But the keeping of garrisons in Berwick cost the King much money, which he had difficulty in paying. We learn that when Berwick came again into his hands, in 1298, he was then in debt, for his earls, barons, and soldiers, 28,966. Two gentlemen advanced the money; and the King gave them the customs of so many towns for payment, including those of Berwick. One of the merchants of the latter town was associated with the royal publicans to assure the money-lenders of fairness in this transaction. This merchant was named Guydon Bardus, to whom one half of the Coket Seal was given to make the collection of the customs more secure, as nothing could be exported without the seal being enstamped on the packet. I have said that the provisioning of the castle was abundant. It was more so for Berwick than for other places; for we find that large quantities of provisions were sent from it to other castles by the King's commands. On May 28, 1298, before the battle of Falkirk, and just when the army was in Berwick awaiting Edward's arrival from Flanders, the keeping of the castle was given to Patrick, Earl of Dunbar, who had remained steadfast in his allegiance to the King; and after his appointment we have a minute account of some stores sent to Leith. In the following quantities the King appointed all the things underwritten to be put into a ship at Berwick, and sent thence in the same ship to the Maiden Castle, viz.: 'Of wheat, 60 quarters; malt, or meslin and oats to make malt, 120 quarters; wine, 2 barrels; 20 carcases of oxen; herrings, 10,000; dried fish, 1,000; salt, 10 quarters; cords, great and small, necessary for 2 engines; and of tanned hides, for slings, as many as may be necessary; and a pair of irons to make altar-wafers.' This is evidently a light shipload of goods, intended to relieve Edinburgh Castle in a very secret manner; for curious directions were given to Sir Simon Fraser, Sir Walter de Huntercombe, who shall each on his port spy and watch time and opportunity when these articles can be sent on to the place appointed. They shall, when they think the time has come, acquaint all the garrisons, so that the whole afiair may be accomplished according to the plan agreed upon by them when they were together. They shall appoint a leader for this special business/ Stirling Castle was in great need of supplies; and these were to be sent on to that castle with all expedition on the 5th of August, 1298—that is, after the battle of Falkirk had been fought.

On the 5th of October of this year the King returned from Scotland by Jedburgh to Durham, where he remained till Christmas. On the above date he ordered two waggon-load of coals to be sent to Jedburgh from Berwick, along with forty stones of iron and one hundred pieces of steel. Again, to Edinburgh Castle were ordered to be sent, 100 horses, 75 qrs. of barley to make malt, 1,000 dried fish, 10,000 herrings, 100 live oxen, bought, it is said, by Sir Simon Fraser; and the next day to Jedburgh a second order was despatched, viz., 40 oxen, 100 sheep, 880 hard fish, and 600 herrings, 20 qrs. of salt, quantities of iron and coal, 10 hhds. of wine, and 3 pipes of ale, also 10 balistse, a kind of crossbow, and a chest of quarrels. To Edinburgh in December he sent, along with a large supply of provisions for food and war, 22 yards of striped cloth for John Kingston, Governor of the Castle. Berwick was thus manifestly a place of great trade, and furnished not only all the Scotch castles with goods, but likewise their governors with cloth for their own apparelling. We can fancy John walking the streets of Edinburgh with his Berwick suit of striped cloth, to the amazement of the natives of that comparatively obscure town. But how was Berwick supplied with goods to stand this constant drain ? An order of December of this year is extant which shows whence the main provisions came. In the next reign, and onwards, the order was often repeated, but we give it once for all:

'Edward, by the Grace of God, etc., to the Sheriff of York, greeting. Whereas we trust by God's help in the summer next ensuing [1299] to come with our host in great power into Scotland to curb and annihilate the malice and rebellion of the Scots our enemies and rebels, there must be great provision made against our coming into these parts, we command you that you cause to be provided for from the issues of your Bailiwick:

1,200 quarters of Wheat
1,500 quarters Oats
1,000 quarters Barley
500 Carcases of Oxen;

and then follow minute directions how to keep the wheat from becoming putrid. 'You shall cause the said wheat to be ground and well sifted, so that no bran remain therein, and the flour thereof you shall cause to be put into good barrels, both strong and clean, so that the said flour may be closely packed therein, and well pressed down; and on each cask let there be put three hoops of hazel, and let some salt be put at the bottom of each cask to prevent the flour from becoming spoiled. And this you shall cause to be done by good people, loyal and prudent, so that the flour may keep two years, if necessary, without spoiling.'

Similar letters were sent to several sheriffdoms in England, until the King had ordered altogether:

5,100 quarters of Wheat
5,500 quarters of Oats
3,500 quarters of Barley
1,000 quarters of Salt of Poitou
500 Oxen
300 Bacons, well cured.

Sir Philip de Vernay was Keeper of the Town, and he, along with a clerk, William de Rue, was to be ever ready to provide Sir John de Kingston at Edinburgh with what he wanted. A ship was at hand in the harbour for this purpose, and if Sir John desired to have what was not to be found in Berwick, then the clerk must communicate at once with the King. This clerk was to have 12d. a day for his work.

All this preparation and provisioning was for the purpose of making a foray upon the Scots from Berwick. Minute directions were given to the Berwick garrison how to conduct such an enterprise:

'Be it remembered,' runs the royal writ, 'that it is appointed by the King and his Council that in regard to the town of Berwick, they should have 60 men-at-arms and 1,000 foot soldiers, and that they should receive their wages in such a manner as the Sheriff of Roxburgh, the Sheriff of Jedburgh, and Sir Simon Fraser awarded. And let them see that they make no foray anywhere without having a reinforcement of troops from the said garrison, every time they shall be so employed, of 50 men-at-arms and 500 footmen. Of these the warden shall at one time be leader, and at another the Constable of the Castle, according as the case may require.'

Thus they laid their plans for an expedition that never set out; the magnates would not go a-foraging at so late a time in the year. Edward came to Berwick in December, and remained over the severest part of the winter, when he learned that the Scots were willing for a two years' truce. This being agreed on, all reason for a foray disappeared.

With the garrison of Berwick there early began a trouble which lasted through all its history. The men were paid so irregularly that they were often at the point of rebellion. Here is the first instance of the kind:

'The writer (September 14, 1301) informs the King that as the 200 ordered before his departure did not reach him till the 28th August a mutiny arose on the 30th among the foot cross-bowmen and archers, joined by some of the men-at arms of Sir Rauf de Fiez Michiel, who was then in Gascony, and is their leader and "Mester Abettour" in all riots. Though they swore if any men-at-arms approached the "palys" they would kill his horse and cut off his head, he armed and mounted his people, and rode up the great street which they were blocking to prevent the guard being mounted. When they saw him they let him pass, but molested his men vilely in returning.

'He placed two men-at-arms at each post and consulted Sir Walter de Teye, who said he could not blame the mutineers, for when the earls of England were in the town they had only got three days' pay and were a month in arrear. So the writer and his people remained on guard at the "palis" all night and before sunrise. Sir John de Seytone came with four vallettes to his aid. That morning he caused Sir Walter to proclaim that all the men-at-arms and others should meet them at St. Nicholas Church, and there, in presence of Sir Peres de Manlee, Sir Robert his brother, and Sir Walter, he asked each gentleman by name, knight or esquire, if he would mount guard. All replied they would willingly ; and that they had no concern in the mutiny of the foot, which they disavowed.

4 Whereon the latter took counsel and agreed to mount guard till Friday thereafter, and if they got no money they would leave the town. That day the 200 arrived, and on Tuesday morning he counted it before the Sheriff of Northumberland, who brought it and paid it then and there to the garrisons of Roxburgh and Jedburgh. On Friday he mustered his garrison and paid them, when Sir Walter commanded him to pay the whole sum to the garrison of Berwick and none other, in terms of his own letter from the King, saying, "We send you 100 for your garrison;" and as the Roxburgh and Jedburgh men were not in Berwick, they should not have a penny of what was sent for him and his men. The writer replied that the King always treated Roxburgh, Jedburgh, and Berwick as one, and showed his letters. Sir Walter replied that the King had done ill in sending him such express letters, he being only a layman, and begs the King to send him nothing unless it distinctly shows what he is to do. The writer has suffered evil and annoyance through want of this.

In 1304 we have interesting particulars concerning rents in the neighbourhood of the town; the income of the King from his lands at Edrington, Bondington, and Latham was 10. From the rent of his corn-mill at Edrington this year he received 26 13s. 4d. From the ferm and issues of the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, both customs and fishings, as well as issues of courts, and all other ferms in the town from Easter Day this 32nd year till last day of December, 1304, and small customs to same day,- by the hands of John de Ripele and John Verite, clerks, he received by view of four bailifls of said town 119 6s. 1d. Some further particulars of expenises we learn from the following transaction: 42 sacks or stones of wool and wool-fells and 37 dacres of weak hides, each sack at 6 marks and a dacre at 1 mark, found in the Priory of Pluskardin in the house of Sir John de Spalding, Canon of Elgin, were bought for 195. For carrying John's wool and hides to Aberdeen 112s., and carrying them in another vessel from Aberdeen to Berwick, 6 13s. 4d. Expenses of a valet in charge of said goods for sixty-six days at 4d. per diem, 22s. Hiring a house at Berwick for said goods for nine months, 60s.

In the spring of 1304 Edward's Queen passed through Berwick, and was attended with escort to Dunbar the first night, and then to Dirlton, where the King met her and escorted her thence. She started from Berwick on Sunday, the morrow of St. Hilary.

We hasten on to complete the notices of Berwick under Edward. In 1302 he appointed Keeper of the Castle, John de Segrave, who thus succeeded the Earl of Dunbar. In connection with Segrave we may mention a custom then in vogue of naming engines of war after famous engineers. Here is a memorandum of engines delivered to the stores of the castle, thus:

'The timbers of two engines made at Brechin. Also one engine called "Segrave," another called "Vernay," and a third "Robinet." Sixteen beams of an engine called "Forster." Also eighteen beams of an engine which came from Aberdeen, and two great cords and two smaller cords for stretching the engines, two hawsers, five little cords and one old cord; 784 balls of lead and 600 round stones.'

This notice shows us pretty distinctly the kind of weapons used at that time. This John de Segrave took command of a foray into Scotland in 1303, and was severely wounded in the battle of Roslin, which accident brought his keeping of Berwick to an abrupt end. In the same summer Edward ordered a rendezvous of his army at Berwick. In the end of May he entered Scotland, and, attended by a fleet, moved northwards to further conquests: after staying a year in that country, he left it in August, 1304, and never returned to it again. The remainder of this year passed in quietness, and then 1305 followed, when Wallace was betrayed, delivered to King Edward's tender mercies, tried as a traitor, and executed. After his execution he was quartered. His left arm (only with this have we to do) was sent to Berwick, and ordered to be suspended there. The place of suspension is unrecorded. Thus Edward wreaked his vengeance on the Scotch patriot. Next year was one of misfortune to Scotch nobles. Sir Aymer de Valence, leader of Edward's army in Scotland, surprised several of them in the Castle of Kildrummy, took prisoner Bruce's brother Nigel and other friends, sent them to Berwick and England, where they were tried and executed. Some ladies of the Bruce party had escaped from Kildrummy towards the north of Scotland, where they were caught and delivered up to the English. One of them was the unfortunate Countess of Buchan, who had crowned Bruce at Scone. For her a special punishment was prepared for having performed so rash an act. She was sent to Berwick, and ordered to be put into a cage in one of the turrets of the castle, and carefully kept there during the King's pleasure. The making of this cage, or 'kage,' as it is in the original, is very carefully described in Rymer's 'Foedera' in Norman French, a translation of which follows:

'It is ordered and commanded by letters of privy seal to the chamberlain or his lieutenant at Berwick that on one of the towers or turrets within this castle, and where may seem the most convenient spot, he cause a "Kage" to be made of strong lattice-work, cross-barred with wood and well strengthened with iron, into which he must put the Countess of Buchan. In this she is to be surely guarded so that she may in nowise escape. One or two English women of the town of Berwick, on whom there rests no manner of suspicion, are to be set over the Countess as servants. She is to be so guarded that no Scotch person of either sex may speak to her. Those in charge are to answer for her safety with their own bodies.'

There has been a considerable amount of discussion among historians as to the fact whether the cage was so suspended that the Countess might be seen by every person passing along the public highway. It may be safely asserted that such was not the case; our climate would not allow of such exposure. Continuous suspension in the open air was impossible, and transference of such a cage was equally impossible. There is nothing in the order itself to give the slightest colour to this assertion. It was sufficient for the old King's revenge to know that she was kept like a wild beast, and gazed upon by those who frequented the castle. She spent four years thus caged up. In 1310 she was given up to the charge of the Brothers of Mount Carmel, in Berwick, with whom she remained till 1313, when she was delivered to the keeping of Henry de Beaumont, after which we hear no more of her.

This was the last of the cruelties Edward was able to inflict upon the Scottish nation—the closing incident of his long connection with Berwick. Next year, at Burgh-upon-Sands, while breathing out threatenings against Scotland, the 'Malleus Scottorum' fell into a mortal sickness and died. It is only in times of war and excitement that a town is caught up into the current of history, and its daily life exposed to the annalist. We owe much of our information about our old town thus early to the fact of its being of so much importance to Edward as a base of operations against Scotland.


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