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John Edwards    The Templars in Scotland in the Thirteenth Century

page 2

 

By the testimony of other contemporary writers, they did worse than stand aloof at the critical moment. Walter of Hemingburgh, who goes into details, states that two hundred casks of wine were brought by the King's provision ships and distributed throughout the army. Of these, two were assigned to the Welsh not many, certainly, for so large a number of men. He says that the intention was thereby to impart Dutch courage to these doubtful auxiliaries! (2) They naturally wanted additional liquor, and as the ecclesiastics in the Army were thought by them to have got more than their share, in the fight which ensued, eighteen priests, we are told, were slain, and many others wounded. Thereupon the cavalry turned out, and before order was restored, eighty Welshmen had been slain, and the rest of the rioters put to flight. The Welsh were evidently undisciplined troops, and probably a source of great anxiety to the King and his officers. A description by an eye-witness (Louis Van Velthem) who saw them in Flanders that same year may be quoted, he says:
«One saw the curious manners of the Welsh. In mid-winter, they were in the habit of running about with bare legs, wearing a red tunic. They could not be warm. The money which they received from the [English] King was spent on milk and butter. They used to eat and drink on every occasion no matter where they were. I never saw them wear any armour. I examined them repeatedly and carefully, going among them in order to ascertain what defensive weapons they made use of in the field.

1 - Langtoft, Chronicle (Hearne), vol. II. p. 306.
2 - Ad refodllandas eorum animas, eo quod valde defecerant et monebantur glomeratim. Walter of Hemingburgh (English Historical Society), vol. II. p. 176.

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They carried as arms, bows, arrows, and swords; they had also javelins, and wore linen garments. They were great drinkers (grands buveurs). They were encamped at the village of St. Pierre [lez Gand]. They did great injury to the Flemings.(1) Their pay was too small, and it was their custom to make it up by laying hands on what did not belong to them.» (2)
So much for the character of King Edward's Welsh troops. Another point may be shortly referred to. The Charter is granted by «Brother Thomas de Lindesay, Master of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem within the Realm of Scotland». He is the eighth Scottish Master of the Hospitallers whose name is known to us.
Brother Thomas de Lindesay was sent into Scotland in I35I by the Prior of England, Philip de Thame, «to take charge of the possessions and goods of the Hospital and of the Temple there». It will be noticed that the place of granting is not Torphichen, but Balantrodach. (3) He appears to have been resident there at this time, and from the indications of the deed itself the conclusion may be formed that he had a difficult role to play. Since the battle of Durham, or Neville's Cross (1346), David II. had been a prisoner. His nephew, the Steward, had been re-elected Guardian, but the Scottish Government was weak, while King Edward III. was

1 - The Chronicler probably means that they did this injury by their example of want of discipline.
2 - Spiegel Historiaal, livre iv. chap. ii. pp. 215-16, quoted by F. Funck-Brentano, Annaks Gandenses, p. 7. The English, as well as the Welsh troops, were unpopular in the Low Countries. The Minorite friar, author of the Annaks Gandenses, speaks in bitter terms of their conduct, and of the two days' riot between them and the Flemings of Ghent resulting from it. He declares that ' the English most ungrateful of men, consuetam trahentes caudam tailed as usual, were eager to pillage the town, and to put all opponents to death. They set fire to it, therefore, at four different points, so that the inhabitants, in their efforts to extinguish the flames at these four separate corners, might be taken unawares, and spoiled of their goods with comparative ease' (Annales Gandemes, sub anno 1298).
3 - Balantrodach, now the modern parish of Temple in Midlothian. Dr. George Henderson, in a letter to the writer, gives its composition as Baile, stead, hamlet, townland; an the article; and trod, quarrel, trodach, quarrelsome. Its situation, to the south-west of the Pentland (Pictland) Hills, in the debateable land in early times between Celt and Saxon, renders «Battlestead» a thoroughly appropriate name. The principal preceptory of the Knights Templars in the peaceful valley of the South Esk with the old parish church an interesting pre-reformation building now roofless is now far removed from all associations of strife, but this was not its early character.

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a strong and strenuous ruler, swift to seize upon every opportunity for intervening, and thus strengthening his hold upon the smaller kingdom. Hence Brother Thomas shows an anxious desire to avoid everything savouring of injustice and high-handed dealing, which might give ground for appeals against his Order. He wishes manifestly to establish a character for equity and fairness between man and man, so that, come what might, he and they would be safe.

TRANSLATION OF CHARTER BY BROTHER THOMAS DE LINDESAY MASTER OF THE HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM TO ROBERT, SON OF ALEXANDER SYMPLE OF HAUKERSTOUN.
1354

Translation.

To All the sons of the Holy Mother Church to whom these presents shall come Brother Thomas de Lindesay Master of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem within the Realm of Scotland [Wisheth] Everlasting Salvation in the Lord. Whereas Robert Symple son of Alexander Symple of Haukerstoun in our Courts holden at «Blantrodokis» and other public places frequently in the most earnest way possible besought us to grant him justice, and to give him an Assize of faithful men regarding a certain land or tenement lying within the territory of Esperstoun which belonged to the foresaid Alexander his father, declaring always before witnesses that if we refused to grant him full justice in our Court, he would in that case obtain redress by means of letters from the King's Chancery. Accordingly we being desirous to do justice and also

 

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