Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/311

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1319 A.D.]

Continued Success.


owing to his quarrel with Lancaster and other difficulties, was not ready to yield the point about King Robert's title. On October 6th he issued a proclamation, strictly forbidding all jousts, tournaments, and knight-errantry, in order that all energies should be concentrated on the Scottish war. The King of Scots, on his part, pushed forward preparations for the siege of Berwick. The mayor and burgesses of that town had undertaken to defend it for a year from June 15, 1317, receiving for that purpose the sum of 6000 marks from the English exchequer, and giving hostages for the faithful performance of the work.[1] But Sir Roger de Horsley was governor of the castle, a knight who hated all Scotsmen, whether loyal to King Edward or not; and the rough way in which he showed his feelings soon brought about mischief between him and the townsfolk.[2] A certain burgess of Berwick, Simon of Spalding by name, resenting de Horsley's rudeness, wrote privily to the Earl of March offering, on a given night when he, Simon, should be on guard, to admit an escalading party over the wall. March showed the letter in confidence to King Robert, who thanked him for doing so, observing that, if the earl had gone either to Douglas or to Moray he would have roused the jealousy of the other. There is a hint here of that risk which always beset military undertakings on a

  1. Bain, iii., 107.
  2. In making this allegation, Barbour is amply confirmed by a commission granted by King Edward (February 4, 1318), to enquire into the disputes between the burgesses and the garrison—(Bain, iii., 112).