By David Nicolle, Angus McBride

The very identify El Cid sums up a lot of the designated personality of medieval Spanish struggle. It comes from the Arabic al sayyid, grasp or chieftain, and turns out to were given to Rodrigo de Vivar via his Muslim foes. yet was once it given in attractiveness of El Cid's victories opposed to Islam within the 'Reconquista' – or simply because this Castilian nobleman was once as content material to serve beside the Muslims as to struggle them? the tale of the Christian conquest of the Iberian peninsula which gave upward thrust to the legend of El Cid, is the following tested via David Nicolle, who outlines the background, strategies, hands and armour of the interval.

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The tower house and its adjacent halls would have been the setting for these efforts. In October 1426 this household was preparing for a major occasion. Threave was to house a meeting of nobles and churchmen from across the south-west, including the Bishop of Galloway. The most important guest was to be Duchess Margaret's son, Archibald III earl of Douglas. As the first meeting between mother and son since Margaret had been confirmed as Lady of Galloway, there was business to be discussed. Like many nobles, Douglas may have resented the way his own inheritance had been impoverished to support his mother, especially as Margaret had involved her brother, the king, in Douglas family affairs.

These attackers blocked the gates with a wagon, allowing their comrades to rush the entrance. Contacts with the castle troops were also exploited. The high proportion of Scots in English garrisons provided opportunities for betrayal. Current or former garrison soldiers assisted the capture of Edinburgh in 1314 and 1341 and Berwick in 1318 and, after Bannockburn, Bothwell was surrendered by its captain who invited Robert to capture the refugee lords within his tower. Reliance on lightly equipped but mobile bands, on local contacts and on two generations of brave and crafty leaders proved more effective for the Scots than the English king's massive accumulations of manpower and medieval military technology.

Its captor, the local knight Roger Kirkpatrick, was murdered in the castle by his treacherous guest, Sir James Lindsay, in 1358. Buittle Castle in Galloway under archaeological investigation. Examination of the site has revealed evidence suggesting that castle was destroyed in the intense fighting in Galloway after 1332. Buittle certainly no longer acted as a major lordly residence after that date. 32 Castle and Pele were defended by 12 men-at-arms, 65 archers and 26 crossbowmen while a year earlier Bothwell was held by its Scottish captain, Walter fitz Gilbert, with 28 men-at-arms and 30 foot archers.

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