Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/102

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72
[1291 A.D.-
Robert the Bruce.

in October of the same year, appointed his son, known in future controversy as Robert de Brus "le viel," governor of the important castle of Carlisle.[1] Strangely enough, it fell to his lot to strike the first blow for the monarch whose decision had shut him out from the throne of Scotland; for the army of de Balliol invaded Cumberland on March 26th, and invested Carlisle on the 28th. Here, too, were the Bruce and the Comyn first arrayed in battle against each other; for John Comyn, Earl of Buchan, commanded de Balliol's forces, and John Comyn, son of the Lord of Badenoch, and the same who afterwards fell by the dagger of Robert I., marched with him.

The attack on Carlisle was repulsed, and Buchan turned eastward, making a bloody raid on Tynedale, burning Hexham and Corbridge (April 8th), and, according to English accounts, perpetrating horrible cruelties. It is stated in a notarial instrument subsequently drawn up on King Edward's behalf, that "Herodian" barbarities were committed by the Scots on pregnant women, and that two hundred "little clerks" (school-boys) were burnt in the schools at Corbridge.[2] Possibly this atrocious course was adopted in reprisal for what had been enacted at Berwick, which King Edward stormed on March 30th, massacring the inhabitants without distinction of age or sex.

The sack of Berwick claims more than passing

  1. Bain, ii., 166.
  2. Ibid., ii., 217.