The Battle of the North Inch or Battle of the Clans was a historic battle fought in the year 1396 in Perth, Scotland. The North Inch Battle was fought in front of the court of King Robert III of Scotland and his court of nobles. All attempts to put an end to a 360 year feud between the Clan MackIntosh (Clan Chattan) and Clan Cameron had failed when it was agreed upon, Trial by Combat. In the battle each clan consisted of 30 combatant wielding axe, sword, targe and bow with arrows. The battle ground being set near the river Tay where the King had seen wise to build a viewing area and erecting barriers on 3 sides in the hopes of keeping safe the spectators.
Before the battle was to begin it was found that Clan Mackintosh was lacking 1 in number and refusing to fight less than strength. A call was put out before the battle was to be halted. It was then that one Henry Smith or Hal o’ the Wynd stepped forward with the promise of half a gold crown and to be maintained for life if he survived. Talk about making moves, eh?
Sir Walter Scots in The Fair Maid of Perth account of The Battle of North Inch;
“The trumpets of the King sounded a charge, the bagpipes blew up their screaming and maddening notes, and the combatants, starting forward in regular order, and increasing their pace, till they came to a smart run, met together in the centre of the ground, as a furious land torrent encounters an advancing tide.
Blood flowed fast, and the groans of those who fell began to mingle with the cries of those who fought. The wild notes of the pipes were still heard above the tumult and stimulated to further exertion the fury of the combatants.
At once, however, as if by mutual agreement, the instruments sounded a retreat. The two parties disengaged themselves from each other to take breath for a few minutes. About twenty of both sides lay on the field, dead or dying; arms and legs lopped off, heads cleft to the chin, slashes deep through the shoulder to the breast, showed at once the fury of the combat, the ghastly character of the weapons used, and the fatal strength of the arms which wielded them.”
Fittis in Perthshire Miscellany observes the Battle of North Inch ;
“The Highlanders won most of their victories with the claymore, or two-handed sword.
It was with this tremendous arm that the clansmen contended in the pitched fight on the North Inch of Perth, under the eye of Robert III.”
Burton in his “History
“It was the nature of these beings brought together to fly at each other like wild cats and kill in any way they could”
Among the 11 McIntosh victors was Henry Smith who’s McIntosh history states he having fought for his own hand later accompanied Clan Chattan to the Highlands, and there became the progenitor of numerous descendants, by name Smiths and Gows.