Murder of Sir Anthony Darcy

This is from Highways & Byways on the Border:

A little higher up the river than Blanerne we come to Broomhouse, where also once stood a castle In a field on this estate is a spot still called “Bawties’s Grave,” where the body Sir Anthony Darcy – “Le Sieur de la Beaute” – Warden of he Marches in 1517, is said to lie buried. Darcy, or de la Bastie (or de la Beaute) as he was generally called, was a Frenchman, a man possessed of great personal beauty and attraction; but the fact that he had been appointed Warden of the Marches and Captain of Dunbar Castle in room of Lord Home, who had been treacherously put to death in Edinburgh, rendered hi very obnoxious to the inhabitants of that part of Berwickshire in which the Homes held sway. It was through Darcy that Lord Home and his brother had been decoyed to Edinburgh said the kin and supporters of the Home family. Vengeance must be taken.

An occasion soon arose when Darcy in his capacity of warden had to visit Langton Tower (no great distance from Duns) in order to settle some family feud of the Cockburns, relatives by marriage of the Homes. Here, outside the tower Sir David Home with a party of horsemen, came up and speedily picked a quarrel with the Sieur. Swords were out in a minute, and Home’s band was too strong for Darcy and his men Several of the French attendants of the Sieur fell, and as the rest of his party were mostly Borderers, and therefore not very eager to fight for hi, the Warden found himself compelled to ride for it. He headed in the direction of Dunbar. But the ground over which he had to gallop was swampy, and de la Beaute’s heavy horse sand fetlock-deep at every stride, finally “Bogging” in a morass some distance to the east of Duns. Darcy is said to have continued his flight on foot, but the chase did not last long Home and his followers bore down upon him – a well-mounted “little foot-page” they said, the first than up.

“The teddies o’ France may wail and mourn,

May wil and mouw fu’ sair,

For the Bonny Bawtie’s land bout locks

They’ll never see waving mair”

They were on him at once; his head was fiercely hewn off carried in triumph to Home Castle, and there fastened to the end of a spear on the battlements to gaze blind-eyed over the wide Merse, the land he had tried to govern. Pitscotie said that Sir David Home of Wedderburn cut off Darcy’s long flowing locks, and plaiting them into a wreath, knit them as a trophy to his saddle bow.

Perhaps the Sieur in the end got no more than his deserts, or at least no more than he may frequently have dealt out to others He came of a stock famed in France for cruelty and oppression; and the peasants round Allevard, in the Savoie- where stands the fragments of what was once his ancestral home – still tell of that fearful night when Messier Satan himself was seen to take his stand on the loftiest battlement of the castle. And they relate how then the walls rocked and swayed and with hideous coach toppled to the ground. Perhaps it was this very catastrophe with sent the “Bonny Bowtie” to Scotland.

A cairn once marked the spot where the Sieur’s body found a resting place. But, unfortunately, such a ready-made quarry of stones attracted the notice of a person who contracted to repair the district roads.


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