Sir Thomas Musgrave and the knights of Northumberland, being desirous of meeting the Scots on equal terms, set out from Melrose, and took the road to Morlaine: they left the Tweed on their left hand, and, by an ascending road, made for a mountain called St. Giles.
Two Scots scouts were posted there, who, having well considered the English, immediately set off to their own troops, and related their observations on the English; in what order they were marching, and that they had only seen three banners and ten pennons. The Scots were highly pleased with this intelligence, and said with a hearty good will, “In the name of God and St. Giles, let us march towards them, for they must be our prisoners.” They then shouted their war-cry, which I think was, “Douglas, Sir Giles!” They had not advanced half a league before both armies came in sight, and each knew a combat was unavoidable. Upon this the earl of Douglas knighted his son, and sir James Douglas displayed his banner. He also knighted the lord Robert and lord David, sons of the king of Scotland, who in like manner displayed their banners. There were made on the spot about thirty knights in the Scottish army, and one from Sweden, called sir George de Besmede, who bore on a shield argent a mill-iron gules with an indented bordure gules.
On the other hand, sir Thomas Musgrave made his son Thomas a knight, with others of his household. The lord Stafford and lord Gascoyn made some likewise. They drew out their archers, posting them on their wings; and, this day, the English cry was, “Our Lady of Arlestone!” The engagement then commenced with vigour, and the archers by their shooting confounded the men at arms; but the Scots were in such numbers, the archers could not be everywhere. There were between the knights and squires many a tilt and gallant deed performed, by which several were unhorsed. Sir Archibald Douglas was a good knight, much feared by his enemies: when near to the English, he dismounted, and wielded before him an immense sword, whose blade was two ells long, which scarcely another could have lifted from the ground, but he found no difficulty handling it, and gave such terrible strokes, that all on whom they fell were struck to the ground; and there were none so hardy among the English able to withstand his blows.
The battle was sharp and well fought as long as it lasted; but that was not any length of time, for the Scots were three to one, and men of tried valour. I do not say but the English defended themselves valiantly: in the end, however, they were defeated, and sir Thomas Musgrave, his son, with several other knights and squires, made prisoners. The Scots took seven score good prisoners; and the pursuit lasted as far as the river Tweed, where numbers were slain. The Scots, after this victory, resolved to march straight for Edinburgh, as they learnt from their prisoner that the earls of Northumberland and Nottingham were in the neighbourhood on the other side of the Tweed, on their road to Roxburgh, and that they were in sufficient numbers to engage with all the force the Scots could bring against them: on which account, they thought they might as well abandon their expedition, in order to save themselves and guard their prisoners. They had wisely determined to retreat without making any halt; for, had they returned that evening to their former quarters, they would have run a risk of being conquered, as I shall now relate.
When the earls of Northumberland and Nottingham, and the other barons of England, had separated from sir Thomas Musgrave, they advanced directly towards Roxburgh. They learnt from their spies, that the Scots, whom they were seeking to fight with, were quartered at Hondebray, which pleased them much, and they resolved to have a skirmish with them: they were marching thither that same night the enemy had left it; but it rained so hard that they could not accomplish their purpose: they therefore took up their quarters in the woods until the morrow, when they again sent out their scouts to find where the Scots were, who returned, saying that they could not see anything of them. They then determined to advance towards Melrose, in order to gain intelligence of sir Thomas Musgrave and his companions. When they had dined, they marched along Tweedside, on their way thither, and sent scouts over the river to learn some news of them.
After the defeat on the plain of St. Giles, which I have just related, the scouts met several of their fellow-soldiers flying like men discomfited, who told them as much s they knew of the battle. Upon this, they returned, and with them the runaways, who related truly what had passed between the English and Scots: they well knew they had been defeated, but were ignorant who had been killed or who made prisoners. The lords of Northumberland, on hearing this unfortunate intelligence, were very melancholy, and with reason. They had causes for vexation; for having lost the battle, and for having missed finding the Scots, whom they had been in search of.
A numerous council was assembled in the field, whether or not to pursue the Scots; but as they did not know which way the had marched, and night approaching, they resolved to make for Melrose, and fix their quarters there. Before they could accomplish their march to Melrose, they heard the truth of the event of the battle; that sir Thomas Musgrave, his son, with seven score men at arms, had been made prisoners by the Scots, who were carrying them off, and had taken the road to Edinburgh. These barons then found that they must submit to their loss, for help it they could not. They passed the night as well as they were able, and on the morrow they decamped, when the earl of Northumberland gave permission for every one to return to his home: he himself retired into his own country. Thus was the expedition put an end to. The Scots returned to Edinburgh, but not all, for the earl of Douglas and his son took the road to Dalkeith. This great success which they had obtained was a great novelty for Scotland. The knights and squires treated their prisoners handsomely, ransomed them courteously, and did with them the best they could. We will now leave off speaking of the Scots, and relate other events which happened in France.