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Berwick upon Tweed
Chapter IV. 1327—1337


THE ascent of Edward III. to the throne was the harbinger of a long dark night to Berwick. The town had survived the terrible slaughter of 1296 and the grievous wars of the succeeding years. It had resisted manfully the storming of Edward II., and was again gradually gathering its energies and renewing its former greatness. But now dismay and sorrow come to be written on every page of its history. A decaying town, a lessening trade, enlivened at distant intervals with signs of fitful energy, are now what lie before us as chroniclers. When Bruce's death had fairly cleared the way for ambitious projects towards Scotland, a few of the English nobles seemed determined to pick a quarrel with the Scots; and they were encouraged in some measure by the fact that the Northampton Treaty was not popular in England; for it had been concluded when Isabella and Mortimer's influence was in the ascendant. Lords Beaumont and Wake were particularly active in this strife. Having lands originally in Scotland, and having forfeited them by their anti-Scottish action, they now sued for their restoration; and, being denied them on the part of the Scotch, they now espoused the cause of Edward Baliol, forced an expedition into the heart of Scotland, and fought the disastrous battle of Dupplin. Thus, by the slaughter of many of the leading nobles of Scotland, the power of resistance to southern encroachments was very considerably weakened. Edward found it impossible to keep clear of the rising tide, and, after seeming hesitation, he threw himself into the flow of the stream. Berwick, as usual, must be the first point of attack. This outpost must be recovered; the King determined to reduce that town which his father had lost and which he failed to recover. He made great preparations to effect this purpose. Two huge engines for throwing stones were made with much labour and expense at Cawood in Yorkshire. Stones were quarried in the same district, rounded, packed in barrels, and sent on with these engines to Hull, and thence by sea to this port. Warlike provisions of all kinds were hurried up from Newcastle, which town at that time he made his headquarters. Beans and peas, and shiploads of hay, as well as thousands of horse-shoes and nails, were sent on, and committed to the care of his servants near Berwick. He summoned his army to assemble in great numbers. The Scots were not altogether unprepared, although some historians hint that the Earl of March, who commanded the castle at this time, had a strong leaning towards Edward and the English. The wall, built by Edward II., and strengthened so much by Bruce, was almost impregnable.

About the 4th of April the siege commenced, although the King himself did not arrive on the scene of operations till the 16th of May. He then pitched his tent in Tweedmouth, on which he has left an enduring mark; for we have Parliament Street in Tweedmouth to this day. Here he lay for over two months, closely besieging or blockading Berwick. Before he arrived, his army had attempted to take the town by assault. Tytler adds that they filled up the ditch with hurdles, with the determination to traverse them and scale the walls on the inside margin of the moat. This plan entirely failed, as well as an attack by the river. The latter fared as badly as in 1319. The ships were burned or driven hopelessly back to sea:

'That toun straitly asscgede be
Bathe be land and be the se,
And fast assaylyd it a day :
Bot thai were dwngyn welle away.'

The King on arrival determined on a strict blockade. His large army was sufficient to surround the town, and to hem in the garrison and the civilians, so that no provision of men or victuals could enter. This strict blockade led to terms of capitulation being offered by the King and accepted by the besieged. The terms of this convention were that, unless the town was supplied with men and provisions within a certain time, it would capitulate on condition of life and limb to the inhabitants. Hostages were given as a guarantee of the good faith of the besieged; and among these hostages was one of the sons of Alexander Seton, Governor of the Town. Towards the close of the time agreed upon, an army from Scotland came in sight of the citizens, to their great joy, and threatened the English army from the south side of the Tweed. While this took place, Sir William Keith, with a party of Scots, obtained an entrance to the town, and so saved it from an immediate surrender. King Edward did not think that this company of Keith's amounted to a relief-party, and, when the day of capitulation came, he threatened Seton's son with death unless the town was immediately given up. Keith, now Governor, acting by the advice of Seton, who occupied an inferior position in the town, refused to surrender; and history adds that Seton's son was hanged for breach of agreement. The army of the Scots, acting under the leadership of Sir Archibald Douglas, brother of the l good Lord James,' went south from Berwick, ravaged Northumberland, and attempted to besiege Bamborough Castle, where the Queen of Edward III. was enclosed for safety. Meanwhile, other and more exact conditions of surrender were drawn up between the besieged and the King, so that there might be no longer any doubt as to what a relief meant. The town-gates were to be thrown open to Edward on the 19th of July, unless the garrison was previously increased by the entrance of two hundred men, or the Scots had overcome the English army in pitched battle. The convention was drawn up at great length with all the formality of feudal law. It is a document of considerable interest. It proceeds to say, further, that the castle and town must be delivered up on Tuesday, 19th July, at daybreak, in the year 1333; and that the inhabitants shall have life and limb, and all their possessions spiritual and temporal, as they possessed them in the time of King Alexander—as entirely, quietly, and freely, without imprisonment or any manner of grievance. In an interesting passage the boundaries of the town are given, viz., that they (the inhabitants) may have free passage within the Bardikes, on the Snook, as far as the sea, and pasture for their cattle, and attendants to guard the said cattle by day; and from thence as far as Holdeman (which was a beacon near the entrance to the harbour), and thence by the river Tweed as far as the White wall under the castle, and thence all round the castle as far as the Bedel, and thence as far as the Bardikes and on to the Snook aforesaid, without disturbance of any one.f The inhabitants were allowed by the convention to leave the town or remain in it at pleasure. A safe-conduct was promised to all who wished to leave and dwell under the protection of the English King. Sir William Keith, Governor, was promised a double-safe conduct, to enable him to go to the Scottish Guardian and to return to his post of duty again. No Englishman was to go within the bounds aforesaid. All things in town and castle were to remain as they were. No provision of any kind was to be put within the castle. For the fulfilment of these conditions the following hostages were given: Edward de Letham, John de Fiuz, and John de Hoom.

This convention was sealed with the Great Seal of England on the one part, along with twenty other seals of the magnates of England; and on the other part, the Earl of March put his seal to the indenture on the 15th of July. An exactly similar convention to this was made between Sir William Keith and Edward, on behalf of the town, but dated a day later, 16th of July.

Sir William Keith, in terms of the convention, went to consult Sir A. Douglas about the surrender, when it was evidently determined that the Scots should attempt the relief of the town by means of a pitched battle. What brought Douglas to this determination can never be discovered; for it was against the manifest advice of Bruce, who left the caution to his countrymen never to fight a pitched battle with England. Douglas had retraced his steps from his vain attempt upon Bamborough, recrossed the Tweed by the Yarrow Ford, wound round the base of Halidon Hill, and pitched his tent for the night at Duns Park, an unknown site. Here the leaders formed their plans for the fight, and advanced to Lamberton Moor, within sight of the English on Halidon. Out of all reason, the Scotch determined to attack the English in this undoubtedly strong position, prompted to this rashness, it is feared, by the remembrance of Bannockburn. Douglas had before him a march of at least a mile through deep marshy land, and when that was accomplished he had to climb the steep right in the face of the superior foe. The Scotch advanced in four companies, the first commanded by the Earl of Moray, the second by the Steward of Scotland, the third by the Guardian, the fourth by the Earl of Mar. They numbered altogether 14,000 or 15,000 men.

These leaders went heroically through this marshy ground, but the plunge through it must have wearied and dispirited the men. In this condition they had to face the hillside flanked with English archers armed with their deadly weapons. The first company, under the Earl of Moray, sufFered most at this point; the other companies, advancing, joined in a hand-to-hand fight. The freshness of the English soldier gave him an additional advantage. The struggle did not last long. The Scotch were driven headlong down the declivity, with no way of escape but the road by which they had approached. Now the cup of their bitterness was full indeed; for they saw their horses led away by their camp-followers, who, seeing the defeat in the distance, made off with bag and baggage. The English, now following, slew most unmercifully many of the retreating Scotch. All the way to Ayton the ground was strewed with their dead bodies. The English, satisfied with slaughter, returned to reap the fruit of their victory. Bannockburn was amply avenged. How many Scots fell is unknown; but so great was the loss among the nobility, including that of the Guardian, that after the battle it was currently reported among the English that the Scottish wars were at length ended, since not a man was left of that nation who had either skill, power, or inclination to assemble an army or direct its operations.

Edward was greatly elated over the victory. One of his early acts is thus recorded: He thanks God who has given him the victory, and devotes 20 a year to the Conventual House of the Cistercian nuns situated near Halidon Hill, that they may perform service for all time in remembrance of this famous victory.  He

'There men myhte well sec
Many a Skotte lightly flee,
And the English after priking
With sharp swerdes them stiking.
Then their baners weren found
Alle displayde on the grounde,
And layne starkly on blode
As thei had foughten the floode.'

'Minot also says:
Then the Scottes lyen dede
xxx m beyond Twede,
And v m told thereto
With vii c xii and mo;
And of Englishman but sevenne
Worshipped be God in hevenne!'

likewise ordered the houses of these nuns to be repaired, for they had been hardly dealt with during the war. He commanded an altar to be erected in their chapel, with dedication to St. Margaret; for it was here, on her special day, the battle was fought and won.

Edward then ordered his archbishops and bishops to return thanks to God; for it is by His power that they conquered, and it is' by the Lord's favour that the town and castle have been restored/ He then addressed all men, the world at large, and asked them to return thanks, for 'by the clemency of our Saviour magnifying His mercy towards us we gained the victory near Berwick over the pompous Scots, who in no small number invaded us. Edward III., King of England, Lord of Aquitaine, etc., thus set himself right with Heaven for taking violent possession of a town to which he had no lawful claim, and for conquering and slaying thousands of Scots!

The first and grand result of the battle was the capitulation of the town and castle of Berwick. Burton states very well the effect of this victory: Though Berwick repeatedly changed hands, the town never remained so long in the possession of Scotland as to be more to the country than a military post of the enemy held for a time and then retaken. Hence, from the day of Halidon Hill, Berwick was virtually the one acquisition to England by the great war, unless we may include the Isle of Man/ ' We may notice the trouble given for centuries to English legislators and men of business by this acquisition of Berwick after the boundaries had been adjusted. In mere topography Berwick held rank as a respectable market-town with a small foreign trade; but, owing to its eventful career, the place was long burdened with an official staff which, in its nomenclature at least, was pompous as that of a sovereign State. The English Government, after Scotland was lost, retained the official staff which Edward I. had designed for the administration of the country. It was huddled together within Berwick as a centre, and was in readiness to expand over such districts of Southern Scotland as England might acquire from time to time—was, indeed, ready to spread over the whole country when the proper time came. Soon after the recapture of Berwick there was a prospect of such expansion. The active field for this body, however, was contracted by degrees, and at last it was confined to the town and liberties of Berwick, which were then honoured by the possession of a Lord Chancellor, a Lord Chamberlain, and other high officers; while the district had its own Domesday Book and other records adapted to a sovereignty on the model of the kingdom of England/f Here is a platform sufficient for all future contingencies.

The King, after the battle, rested for a few days ; then, on the 25th July and following days, made appointments to these great offices of State: Henry de Percy he made Keeper of Town and Castle, Thomas de Bamburgh he appointed Chancellor, and Robert de Tughale Chamberlain, Sheriff of Berwick, and Keeper of the Victuals. Tughale, along with Richard de Thurlewal, he appointed to levy the customs of the port. William de Alwyngton became Troner of Wools, Gauger of Wines, and Supervisor of the Assize of Bread. Robert de Hornclif, with the salary of 100, was made Constable of the Castle. Henry de Percy, Thomas de Kyngeston, Thomas de Heton, Robert de Hornclif, Adam de Bowes, Robert de Tughale, were appointed custodes of the counties of Northumberland and Berwick. William de Denum, Adam de Bowes, Richard de Emeldon were the Chief Justiciaries to hold pleas in the town and county of Berwick. These were the chief appointments, and they were surely ample enough to rule the petty concerns of Berwick and its neighbourhood. After this the King distributed favours. On the 28th July he granted a lease of the following fisheries to Thomas de Bamburgh, Master of the Domus Dei, and his Chancellor, and to Robert de Tughale Chamberlain—viz.: Fisheries of Edermouth, Totyngford, Folstreme, North Yarewyk, Hundwatre, Abstel, Lawe, and Tyt, all belonging to Berwick, and the fishery of Brade, belonging to the vill of Paxton. All these fisheries were in his hands by forfeiture, and were now let to said Thomas and Robert for 100 marks, payable halt-yearly.

We have already noticed that suspicion was cast upon the Earl of March as Keeper of the Castle during the siege, and now the ground of this suspicion was confirmed by the Earl taking the oath of fealty to Edward, and being received into royal favour. The Earl retired, under letters of protection, to the Castle of Dunbar, and remained ever afterwards faithful to the southern King. Letters of protection were granted likewise to the Master of the House of St. Mary Magdalene, to the Master of the Domus Dei, to the Prior and brethren of the Predicatores of Berwick, to John de Blekkele, chaplain of Berwick, and to seventy-four other burgesses, To further secure the town to his allegiance the King caused twelve hostages of its greater and more consequential men to be delivered up, eight of whom were sent to Newcastle and four to York. The Sheriff of York was ordered to send his men to different monasteries in England.

The King then discovered danger lurking among the Scottish monks still remaining in the different houses in Berwick, and he issued an order for their dispersion throughout England, each into different houses, that ' the occasion of their malignity may cease/ and that in their place English friars wise and fit might be substituted, who by their salutary preaching may instruct the people and consolidate them in their fealty and attachment to us, and disseminate, by the blessing of God, true charity between the two nations/ Henry de Percy was ordered to carry out this command. The Lanercost Chronicler adds a curious note to this kingly writ. He says that when the English monks came into a certain house in Berwick to displace the Scotch,

'The latter made a feast in honour of their coming, and some of the best talkers kept their new friends in good cheer and in interesting converse till others of the Scotch gathered together the Books, Holy Vessels and Vestments that belonged to them, and carried them off.'

Now that the King had done his best to empty Berwick of its old inhabitants, he must introduce others to carry on the trade and increase the population of the town. So he ordered proclamation to be made in many towns in England for English merchants to proceed to inhabit Berwick in order to foster trade and commerce in the town, and for reward and encouragement he offered them large and competent houses to dwell in, and as ample privileges, as had always been enjoyed by Berwick burgesses under the Scotch kings.

In the summer of 1334 Edward again came to the north—to Newcastle first, where he received the homage of Edward Baliol, who now came under a most extraordinary liability to grant to the English King, his overlord, lands in his kingdom of Scotland (as if be owned them), to the value of 2,000 per annum, as a recompense for the gracious act of placing him (Baliol) on the throne of Scotland. That land to this value might be secured to Edward III., Baliol conveyed in perpetuity the castle, town, and county of Berwick, and the town and county of Roxburgh— in short, all the lands south of the Firths of Forth and Clyde. When he advanced to Berwick in the month of June, he came as master of the south of Scotland ; the vast machinery he had instituted at Berwick had now room to work, and the whole staff was remodelled. Anthony de Lucy displaced for a short time Henry de Percy, who had the lordship of Annandale conferred upon him. This was done on the 19th of June, when John de Bourdon, 'our beloved clerk,' was made Chamberlain over the recently acquired provinces of Scotland, and William de Bevercotes was appointed Chancellor. Robert de Tughale, one of Edward's best friends, was continued in the office of Sheriff of Berwick, and of the extended lands now belonging to England. Notwithstanding the extreme care which he exercised in making the new appointments, there was a universal feeling of unrest throughout Berwick and the Borders. Orders were consequently sent on to the mayor to assist Anthony de Lucy in the secure keeping of Berwick, on account of the rebellions on the Marches; and Anthony was ordered to be very scrupulous, to suppress meetings of all kinds (conventicles they are called), and to arrest and imprison all whom he considered to be of bad faith (c malefideus'). No sooner had these orders been given than Anthony was superseded again by Percy, who was recalled to this important post. He had now conferred on him, as if to appease him for this contrary action of the King, the keeping of Jedburgh Castle, as well as a salary of 500 marks. Lucy gave up the custody of the town to Mayor Burneton, who became on the 25th September, 1335, custodier of the town for one day. He was relieved of this sacred duty by John de Denum, who was appointed with full powers. The King returned to Berwick again early in November of this year, but his care was with the Scotch, and his destructive powers were exerted further north than our town. Berwick again became a vast entrepot for provisions for the royal army. An order of vast magnitude was now issued to his friends in England, and the goods were forwarded from all parts of the south. 6,300 qrs. of wheat, 4,500 qrs. of oats, 1,900 of pease and beans, besides 20 lasts of onions, 6,000 stock or 'scraefish' and other hard fish, and 80 hhds. of wine provided by De la Pole, the King's butler, were ordered to be sent to Berwick. His needs there now exceeded all his conveniences of house or hold, and the mayor was ordered to provide offices for his lords of state, and the same overburdened authority was ordered to provide granaries, cellars, and houses where the provisions might be stored. The mills were ordered to be put in proper repair. Two wind-mills and two horse-mills were ordered in Newcastle for Berwick, which were to be sent to their destination before the octaves of St. Peter de Vincula under a penalty of 100. He also asked and commanded them to erect these mills as soon as they came from Newcastle, in order to grind as much meal as possible for the King, who was then at Carlisle on his way to Scotland with his army. The King must have returned from this expedition by Berwick, for here, in October of this year, he conferred the guardianship of Scotland upon William de Pressen for capturing Sir Andrew Murray, a famous leader of the Scots; and in addition he gave Pressen a grant of the mills above mentioned, and all their profits, as well as those of the town of Edrington and fishery of Edermouth. These possessions yielded in time of peace 107 5s. 7d.and they were given to Pressen for 100 marks. Immediately after this grant was sealed it was discovered that the King in this instance had committed a curious mistake. He had already gifted the fishery to Thomas de Burgh and Robert de Tughale, in whose hands it had to remain for three years, to the end of their lease, notwithstanding its gift to Pressen.

The King had now taken all due precautions that affairs might remain secure. Yet there were suspicions afloat that it was but a surface-calm. He had heard that many Scotch, as well as ladies and wives of Scotchmen, resorted to Berwick, from whom danger was to be apprehended. The Governor was commanded to remove all suspected persons of whatever nationality, and twenty of the best known citizens of Berwick were sent on to castles and towns in England. All this proves that it is a hard task to hold a conquered territory, if the inhabitants of such land have any independent spirit left them. Throughout the Border the same insubordination prevailed, and the King found that after wasting many lives and spending vast sums of money he had yet no firm hold of any part of the district that Baliol had conferred upon him.

In 1335 the officials were all changed here save Mayor Burneton, who still retained his office. He received this year a special mark of royal favour. The King presented him with 40 for the able manner in which he had ruled the town and attended to its safety and its fortifications. Lord Percy, along with William de Alwynton, who was Controller of the Customs in this port, had the custody of the Seal Coket. All liberty of exportation was consequently in their hands, for no goods could leave the port without the stamp of this seal upon them. Why Percy kept the seal under authority was apparent enough. His salary was paid out of Berwick customs, and he could easily insure himself of payment when the power of exportation was in his hands.

The King for the next two or three years was frequently in the neighbourhood, but few important events occurred in which royalty had any part. In the summer of 1337 Edward again came to the north, and passed a few days in the town ; but returning to England in the autumn, for the next three or four years he was engaged in French affairs, and Scotland and its concerns were well-nigh forgotten.

Edward is well known in history as the royal wool-merchant: but, on investigation, Berwick certainly owes no gratitude to him for any encouragement he ever gave to the wool trade in this town. It will be remembered that, in 1333, he promised to bestow great and important privileges upon merchants who would come and carry on trade in Berwick. Instead of being thankful for privileges, in 1336 they had nothing but complaints. They were charged for custom 4d. for every pound's worth of merchandise brought by sea; 4d. for each bale, great or small; 4d. for each cloth brought from England, which was measured by the King's Alnager, who placed upon the cloth his seal of Berwick; and after that custom was paid, the Alnager of Berwick compelled the cloth again to be measured, and took for alnage 4d. for each cloth. Also in like manner for tuns of wine carried thither, which had been gauged and marked with the iron ; the gauger afterwards gauged them, and took 4d. per piece for custom of gauging. Again, the porters of the town, more particularly of the port of the Tweed, had not anything to support them except what they took as perquisites, so that neither merchants with their goods nor sailors could depart before nine o'clock in the morning nor after nine o'clock in the evening without great loss. Void places belonging to the King in the town were let so dear that a place let for i2d. was dear at 2d. The citizens and free burgesses of England used to come with goods to Berwick free and quit of custom, but were now distrained to pay custom as if they were strangers. Formerly from every vessel laden with corn the custom was to take two bolls of corn ; now two of each kind the ship was laden with were demanded. After goods had been coketed here, Berwick burgesses, if driven by distress of weather to take shelter at Newcastle or other English ports, were obliged to pay custom again, as if these goods were for sale. So that merchants, instead of being drawn to Berwick by privileges granted, were repelled from the town by the exorbitant charges made upon them. On these complaints being made known to the King he ordered redress to the merchants and burgesses of Berwick.

But it is in regard to the wool trade that we find the most disappointing results. Wool, hides and pelts had formed the great staple trade in Berwick for over 200 years, and this was the trade which was damaged to the greatest degree by the wars and by royal interference in particular. It is worthy of note that in the earliest record there is of this trade Alexander II. interested himself on its behalf. In 1248 he admonished Robert Bernham, then Mayor of Berwick, not to impede the foreign merchants who come to the priory of Coldingham to buy the wool and other merchandise of the prior and convent of Coldingham, for they buy and carry the merchandise of that place, paying to us our ancient custom.' No further mention of this trade occurs till the conquest of Berwick in 1296, when we learn that Flemish merchants were located in Berwick, and were great traders in the commodity. Staunch to one another, they determined on resisting Edward's advance upon the town, and heroically met their fate amid the ruin and conflagration of their commercial hall—the 'Red Hall' of history. The trade never fully recovered this terrible disaster. We hear little of it for the next thirty years, save that Edward I. and II. and Robert the Bruce did all that lay in their power to encourage it, and to get merchants to settle in the town and advance its interests. When we reach the reign of Edward III. the wool trade is mentioned on almost every page of the 'Scotch Rolls'. There were two staples of exportation—Bruges or Calais. When the Flemings were at war with Edward III., then Calais alone was the staple for English wool. This caused a vacillation in Edward's orders, which was a great trouble to Berwick merchants. When Edward conquered Scotland in 1333 he promised to the burgesses of Berwick that he would allow them to export wool and hides under the same tax as they had done in the time of Alexander, King of Scotland. This implied a great privilege. For the tax in Scotch ports on these articles of trade was only one-fourth of what it was in English ports; and not only were smaller taxes allowed, but in the times of Edward I. and of Bruce lambskins, fotefells, and shearlings were exported free of any tax whatever. The very much lighter tax on Scotch wool offered a great temptation to the Northumbrian woolowners to smuggle wool into Berwick in order to obtain better terms from the merchants. A saving of 27s. a sack, which might be shared between seller and exporter, was a great inducement to force this illegal traffic. The officials of the Custom House in Berwick soon discovered this wrong-doing, for not only was the quantity that was being customed excessive, but the quality of the Northumbrian wool was finer. The only remedy the King could devise was to close the port and lock up the seal, which was done for the first time on October 12, 1336. The immediate consequence of the prohibition of all exportation was a cry of poverty from the town, and a petition to the King to this effect, that because of crippled foreign commerce, and because of the wars with Scotland, Berwick was so poor that its citizens, merchants, and others had no choice but to leave the town. After two years, and in answer to this petition, the King removed the prohibition, and allowed exportation on the same conditions as before. But the King could not be restrained from intermeddling with this important trade. The staple to Calais was sometimes forced, even when he was at peace with Flanders. The fortifications of Calais were to be strengthened, and the only plan that occurred to Edward III. was to lay an extra tax of 1s. 7d. on all wool entering through the Custom House at Calais, and compel every English merchant to export to that staple alone. Again, at another time he seized all the wool in his kingdom and sold it for his own profit, to enable him to carry on his expensive wars. There was no possibility of trade flourishing under such conditions. In the succeeding reign the trade became still more complicated. The King's officers had now discovered a new district for taxation. That part of Scotland, which is now known as Teviotdale, belonged to England, and had done so since the beginning of Edward III/s reign. There were thus three districts from which wool might come to Berwick—from Scotland, from Teviotdale, and from England. Now a different tax was exacted from each of these divisions. From the first division the old tax, as in the time of the Alexanders; from the second, double the Scotch tax; and from the third, the quadruple tax that was generally demanded for English wool in English ports. We cannot follow the changes further.

Some interesting particulars in regard to the trade during these reigns may be shortly referred to. The price of wool in Edward III/s reign is given as follows: 51 sacks, 1 operes, or stones, were sold at Carlisle for 169 9s. 3d., or 3 5s.persack, which price gives 2s. 6d. per stone. Prynne quotes wool in 1276 at y 8s. 5d. per sack, or more than double that price. In 1494 the price quoted in the 'Scotch Rolls' is 6 13s. 4d. per sack.

The walls and fortifications of Berwick were to be repaired at the expense of the burgesses themselves, and to meet this expense an extra tax of 40d. was laid on every sack of wool, 40d. on every 300 fells, and 8d. on every last of hides. The tax was doubled for strange merchants frequenting the port. Again, when the port was to be repaired, a tax of 18d. was levied on every sack of wool, and 18d. on every last of hides. The King looked kindly on Berwick at times. For instance, in 1357 he allowed the Resident' burgesses to purchase 1,000 sacks of wool in Lincoln, York, and Northumberland, to export the same to Flanders, with a drawback of one mark upon 50s. of a tax then levied in England upon wool. This was equal to a subsidy of 666 13s. 4d., which may be reckoned at that period an enormous sum.

In the same strain, a few years later, Edward, by a left-handed gift, conferred a solid benefit on the merchants of Berwick. Considering the damage and perils to which the town was subject by the mortal pestilence in these parts and by other causes, the King, in order to relieve the town and induce a greater number of merchants to remain in it, reduced the tax of 20s. then payable on Scotch wool to 1 mark, and the one-half of this reduction c we shall give to be expended in relief of the burgesses who now reside in Berwick, and shall continue to do so for three years/ Although all wool was then directed to be exported to Calais, yet the mayor of that port was directed not to exact the 4od. extra tax then payable for wool in that port from his Berwick friends. All this was kindly meant, but it should be remembered that the King was at this time imposing a tax nearly double what he had any right to exact, and what he had often promised not to demand.

Again, in 1385 the King granted liberty to export, by special license, 1,000 sacks of Northumberland wool at one mark per sack instead of two, which the burgesses had had to pay for some years, This order lasted for three years, when it was entirely revoked. Yet this must have been an immense saving to the merchants of Berwick. In 1405, Henry IV. granted, for the purpose of repairing the burnings and wasting of the town, that wool be brought from Scotland or England at pleasure, and exported at a common tax of 13s. 4d. per sack, and this order to last for ten years, because of the terrible destruction by the Scots. The town had either been fearfully destroyed, or the Kings had been growing more careless and less exacting; for this order was extended first for six years, then for eight years longer, because the town was not yet amended.

This manner of paying for damages done by war, or by the burning and wasting of Richard's armies, seems to have been a very generally adopted plan. In 1389, after Melrose had been terribly wasted by the English soldiers, the monks were allowed 2s. of a drawback on every sack of wool they exported at Berwick up to 1,000 sacks.


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