Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/379

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1328 A.D.]
319
Campaign of Weardale.

man, John of Lorn,[1] and seems to have given satisfaction, for he received an annuity, and, in 1326, the year before his death, a grant of lands in Cumberland and Yorkshire.

The action of the King of Scots during the campaign of Weardale has been greatly misunderstood until quite lately. It has been generally believed that his ill health condemned him to repose, while his lieutenants were carrying on the war. Nearly all historians say that he was suffering from leprosy; and so, no doubt, he was, or from a painful disease which went by that name. Now, however, the researches of Mr. Bain in the Public Record Office have brought to light two documents which prove beyond question that, so far from being inactive, King Robert planned and conducted an expedition into Ireland, in order to create a diversion in favour of his generals in the north of England.[2]

Of the incidents and course of this campaign there is, unfortunately, no record. No allusion to it has been noticed in any of the Irish annals; neither does Barbour, the chief panegyrist of the Bruce, make mention of it, whence it may be assumed that, if it ever came to the knowledge of the poet, the facts were not of a kind to add lustre to the memory of his hero.

The two authentic references to the expedition are these: First, an instrument whereby, on July 12, 1327, King Robert, being then at Glendun in Antrim, grants truce for a year to Henry de Maundeville, the

  1. Bain, iii., 92.
  2. Ibid., Introduction.