Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/325

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1322 A.D.]
269
Invasion and Counter-Invasion.

Notwithstanding the successful repulse of the enemy, the Steward must have been forced in the end to yield through famine, for the King of Scots was not strong enough to attack the English trenches and relieve the beleaguered town. But Robert was not going to leave his brave son-in-law to his fate. He had already taken measures to create a diversion by invading England. Douglas and Moray crossed the west Marshes, with the design, as Walsingham says, of taking prisoner the Queen of England, then living in York, and holding her as a hostage for the safety of Berwick. In this they did not succeed, but they overran Yorkshire, even as far as the suburbs of York itself.

Warlike Archbishop Melton did his best. He collected all the forces the neighbourhood could furnish, ecclesiastics as well as laymen, and met the Scots at Myton-on-Swale, on September 20th. The result was as might have been expected: the trained veterans of Douglas and Moray put the motley crowd to flight at the first onset. The Archbishop's levies made such a poor show of resistance that men, in derision, called that affair the Chapter of Myton. So heavy were the Archbishop's losses, that he had to issue a plaintive appeal to thirty-one abbeys and priories in the north for pecuniary help. His servants stupidly had taken his plate to Myton with the troops, where it fell into the hands of the Scots, together with all his carriages and other movables.[1]

But the most important result of this spirited foray

  1. Raine, 295.