Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/244

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - Sir Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester.png Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - Sir Giles de Argentine.png
Sir Gilbert de Clare,
Earl of Gloucester.
Sir Giles de Argentine.


CHAPTER IX.

THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN.

A.D. 1314.

THE year 1314 proved a memorable one for the fortunes of the King of Scots and his people.

It opened with the capture of Roxburgh Castle by Sir James Douglas on Shrove Tuesday, March 6th, when the garrison were occupied with the usual merry-making on the eve of Lent. Douglas picked sixty men and made them cover their armour with black "froggis," and approach the castle on all fours, so that in the dusk they might be mistaken for cattle in the meadows. A craftsman called Sym of the Ledous (Leadhouse) had prepared rope ladders with hooks to fling over the battlements, and was himself the first to scale the wall, slaying the sentinel who was aroused by the noise. Another man running up shared the same fate. Then Douglas and his men climbed up without further hindrance, and, forming up in the courtyard, burst into the great hall where the people were dancing, with loud

194