In retaliation for previous Scottish raids, Henry, Lord Percy, the English March Warden had invaded Scotland with 7000 troops, and had met little resistance. Having crossed the Merse, the English army camped at Duns awaiting reinforcements. The shepherds and farmers of Duns used a type of rattle out of dried skins with pebbles inside, which they used to scare wild animals away from their crops and beasts. These rattles were put to effect on the English encampment. By frightening the English horses, the English camp awoke in turmoil, in disarray and being harassed by the local peasantry, the English retired over the Border leaving their baggage behind.
The motto of the town of Duns: 'Duns dings a'!', is supposed to have come from this battle.