Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/291

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1317 A.D.]

England and Ireland Invaded.

235

parish of Coldstream. The Gascons seeing the Scots approach, sent forward the cattle in charge of some countrymen, and at once formed the "schiltrome."[1] But the Scots charged them with such fury that their formation gave way, and they were scattered with the loss of 20 men-at-arms and 60 foot. Contemporary letters, preserved in the Tower collection, confirm in a remarkable way Barbour's accuracy in recording this affair. The only mistake he makes is in calling Raimond Caillu, a Gascon who was killed, Ewmond de Caliou, and in styling him governor of Berwick instead of King's sergeant-at-arms. He says that this was the hardest bit of fighting Douglas ever had to do, and perhaps he was right, for the starving Gascons would stand stoutly and strike shrewdly for their half-won dinners.

Midsummer, 1316, saw the Scots once more over the Border. It was a season of great famine and scarcity, and no wonder, so long had the energies of both countries been diverted from peaceful occupation. The Scots, under a leader whose name has not been preserved, penetrated as far as Richmond in Yorkshire, while King Edward held his court at York. The town of Richmond bought off the invaders, who marched thence 60 miles to the west, destroying and burning everything in their way, till they came to Furness, hitherto unvisited by any raiders, where they made great spoil. They were especially delighted at the abundance of iron there, a commodity of which Scotland produced very little at that time.

Edward de Brus, Earl of Carrick, had by this time

  1. The Brus, cxviii., 42.