dumfries-1920/04-039

Transcription

INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS IN DUMFRIESSHIRE.

miscellaneous looting was not worth specifying in detail. ¹ On 23rd November Lord
Wharton, the Warden, burnt Middlebie "standing nere a strenghe" of wood, and
on his return "turved houses" and corn along the Kirtle. It was a misty morning
and he was unable to carry out his full programme. But he was aware that the very
same night a Scottish army lay in two divisions at Langholm and Morton Kirk. ²
James himself went on to Lochmaben, and next morning, from the top of Birrens-
wark, marked the progress of his army by the burning houses of the Grahams in the
Debateable Land. But a force of horse and archers under Wharton kept in touch
with the returning Scots until they came to "Artureth myln dam, where a strate
ford is which is called Sandyforde, having a grete mosse, a grete standyng water and
the rever of Heske was afore theym and the mosse upon there left hande." A fresh
onset at this place broke the Scots: twenty were slain, many drowned, and over
twelve hundred taken prisoners. Such was the miserable affair of "Sollum," or,
as it is adapted, "Solway" Moss. Lord Maxwell was among the prisoners. ³
The success at Solway Moss opened a wider door for Henry's schemes for the
reduction of Scotland to the status of a vassal kingdom. But all that belongs to
general history; here only the effects on Dumfriesshire are to be considered. These
took largely the form of Warden's raids, "which is to goo and cum in a day
ande a night." ⁴ The character of these exploits, with burning and the driving
of cattle as their chief features, is sufficiently understood. They composed a policy
of frightfulness. Annan was accounted in summer a Warden's raid, so that its ashes
were rarely allowed to cool for long. In February 1544 it was more "surely burnt"
than ever, being, as was said, the "chief town in Anendaill unto Dumfries." ⁵
Torduff, Dornock, and some other places were embers in the local conflagration.
Dumfries suffered about the same time.
But conquest was not to be made by burning towns and hamlets. To that end
it was necessary to secure the principal castles of the dstrict. At Langholm there
was now a tower, and as this stood at the junction of Esk, Ewes, and Wauchope,
it was of much strategical importance. It was betrayed to the English towards
the close of 1544. Even more effective, however, would be the possession of Caer-
laverock and Lochmaben; and Lord Maxwell and his eldest son, being captives, were
worked on to hand over these places. Lochmaben, which the Maxwells held as
constables of the castle, does not seem to have been secured, but in 1545 Maxwell
struck his bargain for Caerlaverock, and a small English garrison was thrown
into it. The garrison was at once blockaded by the Laird of Johnstone and
some Borderers; ⁶ no assistance could be given, and soon after it was again in
Scottish hands.
Whether really so or not, it was urged by Maxwell that Caerlaverock was a
stronger place than Lochmaben, and more suitable for a garrison. Such an opinion
was probably intended as a blind. Certainly Caerlaverock had great natural ad-
vantages: it took in "a great strenght of crikes and moss and but one way to
come to it." ⁷ To take it by force or relieve it was no light matter. The narrow,
direct road over Lochar Moss offered too many risks, and could be cut (see p. xxxi.).
The only alternative was to go round by Dumfries. The English administration,

1 Hamilton Papers, i. p. lxix.
2 Ibid., p. lxxx.
3 Ibid., p. lxxxv. No. 240.
4 Calendar Scottish Papers, i. No. 44.
5 Hamilton Papers, ii. p. 281.
6 State Papers, v. part iv. p. 552.
7 Ibid., pp. 543, 557.

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