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Battle of Luncarty

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Date:

980

Location:

Perthshire - in a field on the banks of the Tay, two miles above the mouth of the Almond

Result

Scottish Victory

Belligerents

Kenneth III (Scots)

  • Strength
  • Commanders and leaders
  • Hay and 2 sons later of Gowry
  • Casualties and losses
  • Captives

Danish Invaders

  • Strength
  • Commanders and leaders
  • Casualties and losses
  • Captives

Causes

Overview

The Danes landed at the mouth of the Esk, taking and destroying the town and castle of Montrose. They slaughtered all the inhabitants. They were about to lay siege to Perth, then called Berthawhen King Kenneth III, having heard of their invasion, marched from Stirlingand camped at Moncrieff hill. When he heard of the danger threatening Perth, he immediately marched there, passing the invaders and positioned himself at Luncarty. After some skirmishing, the Danes came down from higher ground where they had positioned themselves and engaged the King's men in battle. The main body of the Scots fled. Hay, who was working in an adjacent field, saw the panic of the Scots being pursued by the Danes and took the yoke of his plough and accompanied by his two sons who were with him, (they each seized whatever implement they could lay their hands on), crossed the shallow part of the Tay, and stopped the flight of their countrymen.

These three men checked the Danes, and gave the Scots an opportunity to rally on Turn-again hill. The Scots overwhelmed the Danes in the renewed conflict. Their general, who was the King himself, was killed; there is a stone bearing the name of Denmark on the spot to commemorate his fall. The King is said to have immediately given Hay his choice of the territory that could be either traversed by the greyhound's course or compassed by the falcon's flight as a reward for his bravery.

Hay chose the falcon's flight and the bird was let loose from a neighbouring hill. It flew as far as the borders of Errol parish, where itlanded on a large stone which is known as "Hawk's Stane". All the intervening ground was given in perpetuity to the family in memory of the battle. The Hays still bear as their arms the instrument of victory, with the allusive motto Sub jugo. Although this legend is credited to be the origin of the Hay clan, it is also thought that the origins lie with the de la Haye, of Norman origin.

Aftermath

Notable connections

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