Sir William Douglas Captures Edinburgh Castle

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During the Wars of Independence (1296 - 1342) the castle changed hands four times. Robert the Bruce was so impressed with how easily it was taken, he ordered the demolition of all fortifications after he had won it back from the English in 1314. Edward III of England built a new castle in 1335 but held it only until 1341 when Sir William Douglas and his men pretending to be merchants entered the castle by storm, decapitating most of the garrison and throwing their bodies over the castle walls.

 

the Castle of Edinburgh was re-captured from them through an ingenious stratagem, planned by William Bullock, a priest, who had been captain of Cupar Castle for Baliol, “and was a man very brave and faithful to the Scots, and of great use to them,” according to Buchanan.

 

 

Posing as a French ship's Captain, William Bullock, one of Douglas' band, gained admittance to the castle and offered the contents of "his ship" for sale to the English garrison. When the English agreed to buy the cargo of food and wine, Bullock arranged for it to be delivered the following morning. As dawn broke the carts bearing the "cargo" arrived at the castle gate. The portcullis was lifted and the carts began entering the castle. As the first cart passed under the raised portcullis, the cart driver upset it so that the gate could not be lowered. The other cart drivers attacked the gate guards and gave the bugle call which signalled Douglas and his troops. The English were defeated and the castle would remain in Scottish hands until the Union of the Crowns in 1603.


But miserable was the fate of Bullock. By order of a Sir David Berkeley he was thrown into the castle of Lochindorb, in Morayshire, and deliberately starved to death. On this a Scottish historian remarks, “It is an ancient saying, that neither the powerful, nor the valiant, nor the wise, long flourish in Scotland, since envy obtaineth the mastery of them all.”

See also:
•  Edinburgh Castle

Sources


Sources for this article include:
•  Electric Scotland

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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018