Posts Tagged ‘October 17’

A Scottish Bargain

Posted in General, On This Day on October 17th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment

October 17, 1346:  The Battle of Neville’s Cross

King David II of Scotland thought that he was being clever. Imagining that the English army would be spending the next hundred years fighting in France, the sneaky Scotsman invaded his presumably defenseless neighbor. On this day in 1346, at the battle of Neville’s Cross, the English Home Guard could only amass 3500 retirees and 4-Fs to face 12,000 of Scotland’s stoutest lads. However, the English hobby of archery evidently proved more useful than the Scots’ caber toss. (You really could not expect the English to await patiently for a log to fall on them.)

The Scots were routed and King David II was captured. He would spend the next 11 years as an English prisoner, while the Scots and the English negotiated over his ransom. The Scottish opening bid likely was 8 sheep and a gallon of oatmeal. Scotland finally acceded to the sum of 16,000,000 pence. (The Scots refused to think in terms of paying pounds.) Of course, it hardly mattered because the Scots reneged anyway.

King David was actually rather lucky. Most of his successors died fighting the English: James II, James IV and James V. Mary Queen of Scots did not exactly fight the English but she ended up just as dead. James III had the originally to be killed in a civil war with his son, who evidently was in a hurry to be James IV.