Scotland's History, Legends, Wildlife and Hunting Practices...because the past lives in us and guides our footsteps.



As soon as Regent Albany was dead, his son Murdoch
began to rule, instead of sending to the King of England
and asking him to allow Prince James to come back to
his kingdom. Murdoch was not so crafty and treacherous
as his father, but he was weak and simple, and the barons
became more powerful than ever, and more unwilling to
submit to rule and order.

Regent Albany had always tried to be friends with
the English King, because he wanted him to keep Prince
James a prisoner. But many of the Scottish nobles did
not care for the friendship of England, and some of them
would have been glad to see their Prince free. So these
now sailed across the sea to help the French against the
English. For Henry of England had claimed the crown
of France, and as the French King would not give it up
there was war between them. The first battle of the
Scots in France was at a village called Baugé.

The English were led by the Duke of Clarence,
brother of the King of England. He was just sitting
down to dinner when news was brought to him that the
Scots army was near. ‘ On them, gentlemen,’ cried the
Duke, springing up, ‘ let the men mount and follow me
at once.’ And leaping upon his horse, he rode to meet
the enemy.

THE SCOTS IN FRANCE                221

The Scots were not thinking of battle, because there
was a three days’ truce at the time. They were amusing
themselves playing football when they heard that the
English were advancing. Quickly they left their play
and prepared to fight.

Between the Scots and the English there flowed a
river which was crossed only by a narrow bridge.
Clarence pressed eagerly on and some of his soldiers
passed over the bridge. But the Scottish knights charged
down upon them before they could form again, and
won the battle much as Wallace had won Stirling

The Duke, riding first and cheering on his men, was
easily known by his splendid armour and by the glittering
band of gold and jewels, which he wore over his helmet.
As he rode, one of the Scottish knights dashed upon him
with his lance. So great was the shock that the Duke
was thrown to the ground. There another noble killed
him with his battle-axe.

Many a brave English knight fell upon the field ; many
more were taken prisoner. Of the Scots and French very
few were killed or even wounded.

The King of France was so pleased when he heard
of this victory that he made the Scottish leader High
Constable, which was one of the highest titles of
France. Many of the knights he rewarded with French

After this, still more Scots joined the French, among
them the Douglas. But this Douglas was an unlucky
man. He was called Tine-man,’ which means Lose-man,
because he always lost the battles in which he fought.
When he joined the Scots in France they seemed to
become unlucky too, and they lost battles instead of
winning them.

222                    SCOTLAND’S STORY

The English King now took Prince James with him
to France, hoping that the Scots would not help the
French any more when they knew that their own Prince
was in the English camp. Henry even asked James to
command the Scots to go home. But James would not.
‘Set me free,’ he said, ‘then they will obey me. How
could they acknowledge as their King one who is in the
power of another man ?

Henry was very angry at this answer, and once when
he took some Scots prisoner, he hanged them all, saying
that they deserved no better fate, for they had fought
against their own King. This was not true, for James
was only in the English camp because he was forced to
be there.

At last, in a battle against John of the Leaden Sword,
as Douglas called the Duke of Bedford, who now ruled
France for the English King, the Douglas and nearly all
of the Scots were killed.

The King of France made the few Scots who remained
into a Royal Guard, and for many years the French
King‘s Scots Guard was famous. But some people say
that the French Scots Guard had been formed hundreds
of years before, in the days of King Achaius the friend
of Charlemagne.

No more Scottish soldiers went to fight in France.
They had now a reason for staying at home. Their King
had been set free, and he had promised not to help the

Regent Murdoch had proved to be so weak a ruler
that far from being able to govern the country, he was
not even able to govern his own sons. They were wild
and wicked. They set their father at defiance, and would
obey neither the laws of God nor of man. At last they
became so insolent that Murdoch cried out one day in

THE SCOTS IN FRANCE                228

passion, ‘ Since you will not obey me, I will fetch one
home whom we must all obey.’

From that day, he began to pray the English to
release Prince James, and in May 1424 A.D., after having
been eighteen years in prison, he returned home.

Murdoch’s rule had lasted only five years.

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