Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Massacre of Berwick


* * * * *
"There lived a king in southern land,
King Edward hight his name;
Unwordily he wore the crown,
Till fifty years were gane.

He had a sister's son o's ain,
Was large of blood and bane;
And afterward, when he came up,
Young Edward hight his name.

One day he came before the king,
And kneel'd low on his knee--
"A boon, a boon, my good uncle,
"I crave to ask of thee!

"At our lang wars, in fair Scotland,
"I fain hae wished to be;
"If fifteen hundred waled[90] wight men
"You'll grant to ride wi' me."

"Thou sail hae thae, thou sail hae mae;
"I say it sickerlie;
"And I mysell, an auld gray man,
"Array'd your host sall see."

King Edward rade, King Edward ran--
I wish him dool and pyne!
Till he had fifteen hundred men
Assembled on the Tyne.

And thrice as many at Berwicke
Were all for battle bound,
_Who, marching forth with false Dunbar,
A ready welcome found_..."

-From Auld Maitland, collected as part of Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.
Berwick, around 1296, enjoyed a more prosperous foreign trade than Edinburgh.  On March 30, 1296, the forces of Edward I of England invaded Berwick, and killed approximately 10,000 of its inhabitants.  The invasion was partly precipitated by King John Balliol signing a mutual assistance agreement with the French.  Edward soon afterward began an invasion of Scotland, with Berwick being an early stop in the Wars of Scottish Independence.


  1. A good history. thanks

  2. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.

  3. Thanks for your comment Gerald.