[MR] Wikipedia: Black Agnes, Countess of Dunbar
Garth Groff and Sally Sanford
mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 16 02:43:33 PDT 2020
I may have previously commented upon Black Agnes, Countess of Dunbar, but
she was such a remarkable woman (and so much fun!) that today I will relate
her story again.
Angnes Randolph (1312-1369) was a Scottish noblewoman and wife of Patrick,
9th Earl of Dunbar and March. She was known as "Black Agnes" because of her
dark complexion and hair, but perhaps also for her courage in the face of
During the Second War of Scottish Independence, Agnes was holding her
husband's castle while he was away campaigning against the English who were
again trying to take over Scotland and put their puppet Edward Balliol on
the throne. Suddenly, Walter Montague, 1st Earl of Salisbury, arrived with
a huge army and laid siege to Dunbar Castle.
Agnes was trapped, with only servants and a handful of soldiers to defend
the castle against some 20,000 Englishmen. And defend it she did, from 13
January to 10 June, 1338. Angnes and her female servants taunted the
English by throwing their precious loaves of bread down upon the English
soldiers, having her ladies dust the battlements, and generally humiliating
Salisbury in front of his men. Oh, such taunts!
According to a ballad about the siege, Salisbury is quoted as saying, "Came
I early, came I late, I found Agnes at the gate." (Probably spurious, but
certainly true to the spirit of things.)
Finally, a Scottish army approached behind the frustrated Englishmen, and
they were forced to lift the siege and decamp. The siege had cost almost
£6,000, plus Salisbury's reputation, and gained absolutely nothing.
Here's the story on Wikipedia:
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