Letter from Alexander de Balliol to King Edward I concerning spies (21 Sept. 1301)

September 21, 1301: Letter from Alexander de Bailioel [of Cavers] to King Edward [I].

He has heard from the king’s letters that Sir John de Soulys has gone towards Galloway with a great company of Scots. The writer had and still has his spies among them, and will inform the keepers of the march as soon as he hears the Scots are coming. The king has told him that if he provided spies they should remain under his control, and he will do his best for the king. The king must not take it amiss that the writer has not given him news more quickly, for he would hate to send the king anything other than certain news. As to what the king has told him concerning Sir Walter de Borudoun, who is staying at Chastel Terres [Carstairs], the writer will be ready whenever Sir Walter commands him. The writer and his fellow keepers of the march are threatened by a possible Scottish raid to destroy the writer’s lands and to seize and defend the forest, so that they have arranged to gather next Sunday [24 Sept.] at a place on the march to inspect their forces. Asks for the king’s orders, as to one who is ready to obey.

[Letter dated at:] Cavers [Roxburghshire]

[Language:] French

[The National Archives:] SC 1/15/2

[Source: Taken verbatim from De Re Militari website,  https://deremilitari.org/2016/10/warfare-between-england-and-scotland-1299-1301-according-to-documents-from-the-english-government/ (accessed 22 August 2021).]