Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/313

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1319 A.D.]
Continued Success.

when the garrison was compelled to surrender through famine.[1] Sir Roger, who made such a gallant defence, lost an eye.

One of the garrison of Berwick Castle, Robert de Blackburn, who had lost his brother and "all his friends" at Bannockburn, deserves mention for a brave deed performed during the siege. He swam the Tweed on horseback with letters to King Edward, and leading a string of twenty-one horses, all of which he avers in his petition to the King that he took safely to Newcastle.[2]

The King of England was furious at the loss of the town of Berwick, accusing the burgesses of treachery. While the castle was still holding out, he ordered such property in England as belonged to the towns people to be confiscated,[3] and imprisoned those unlucky citizens who escaped from the town to take refuge in England.[4]

During the siege of Berwick Castle a Scottish army invaded Northumberland as far as Newcastle. Wark and Harbottle were surrendered to them on the failure of relief appearing at the stipulated times;

  1. Barbour says the castle held out only six days after the town had been taken, and Hailes, commenting on the statement in Scalacronica that it resisted for eleven weeks, remarks that the invasion of England in May by the Scots renders this "altogether incredible." Nevertheless, de Horsley's acknowledgment of sustenance received for his garrison after he had surrendered runs from July 2Oth to August 24th, which, taken in connection with other documents, seems conclusive (Bain, iii., 113, 115).
  2. Bain, iii., 118. The endorsement of this petition is not of the best augury for its fulfilment: "the King will speak with thfe treasurer."
  3. Ibid., 113.
  4. Ibid., 114.