Battle site of Dryfe Sands (1593) *
Region: Dumfries & Galloway
The Maxwell and Johnstone clans had for a long time waged a bitter feud for the supremacy of the Scottish West March (Dumfriesshire area, south-west Scotland).
This feud culminated in this battle at Dryfe Sands close to Lockerbie.
In December 6, 1593, Lord Maxwell, with 2000 horsemen approached the Johnstone town of Lockerbie being constantly harassed by small detachments of Johnstones and their allies.
The Johnstones attacked the vanguard of the Maxwells and then retreated, provoking them to pursue them.
The Maxwells obliged. The main body of the Johnstones, which had been kept out of sight of the enemy, then suddenly charged and caught the enemy off guard. Their disordered vanguard was sent reeling into their main force and in the resulting confusion, the Johnstones pressed home their attack.
The fleeing Maxwells were pursued through the streets of Lockerbie and beyond. At Dryfe Sands the slaughter was completed.
Some years later, in 1608, a meeting of reconciliation was arranged between Sir James Johnstone and Lord Maxwell, son of the chief who was killed at Dryfe Sands. The meeting was carefully supervised. Each party could bring only one attendant.
Then during the meeting. Lord Maxwell suddenly drew a pistol and shot the Johnstone chief in the back, killing him instantly. Lord Maxwell escaped and made his way to France. Eventually he was apprehended and taken to Edinburgh where he was publicly beheaded.
More in-depth information?
Found a mistake or maybe have something to add? Do let me know!