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We now enter upon the history of
this great and rapid revolution; and
in doing so, it will first be necessary
to say a few words upon the early
character and conduct of the Earl of
Carrick, afterwards Robert the First.

This eminent person was the grand­
son of that Robert Bruce, lord of
Annandale, who was competitor for
the crown with John Baliol. He was
lineally descended from Isabella, se­
cond daughter of David, earl of Hunt-
ingdon, brother of William the Lion.
John Baliol, the late King of Scot­
land, had, as we have already seen,
renounced for ever all claim to the
throne; and his son Edward was at
that time a minor and a captive.

1 Wallace was executed 23d August 1305.
The new regulations for the government of
Scotland were introduced on the 15th October
1305. Bruce was crowned 27th March 1306.
Lord Hailes represents the capture of Wallace
by Sir John Menteith as only a popular tradi­
leaving it to be inferred by his reader
that there is no historical authority for the
fact. See Notes and Illustrations, letter U,
for an examination of the historians opinion
upon this subject.

Marjory Baliol, the sister of this un­
fortunate monarch, married John
Comyn, lord of Badenoch. Their son,
John Comyn, commonly called the
Red Comyn, the opponent of Wallace,
and, till the fatal year 1303, the re
gent of the kingdom, possessed, as the
son of Marjory, Baliol’s sister, a right
to the throne, after the resignation of
Baliol and his son, which, according
to the principles on which Edward
pronounced his decision, was unques­
tionable. He was also connected by
marriage with the royal family of Eng­
land,2 and was undoubtedly one of the
most powerful, if not the most power­
ful, Subject in Scotland. Bruce and
Comyn were thus the heads of two
rival parties in the state, whose ani­
mosity was excited by their mutual
claims to the same crown, and whose
interests were irreconcileable. Ac­
cordingly, when Edward gave his
2 His wife Johanna was daughter of William
de Valence, earl of Pembroke. This Earl of
Pembroke was son of Hugh de Brienne, who
married Isabella, widow of John, king of
England, grandfather of Edward the First.

84                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. III.

famous award in favour of Baliol,
Bruce, the competitor, refused to take
the oath of homage;1 and although
he acquiesced in the decision, gave up
his lands in the vale of Annandale,
which he must have held as a vassal
under Baliol, to his son, the Earl of
Carrick ; again, in 1293, the Earl of
Carrick resigned his lands and earldom
of Carrick to his son Robert, then a
young man in the service of the king
of England.2 In the years 1295 and
1296, Edward invaded Scotland, and
reduced Baliol, and the party of the
Comyns, to submission. During this
contest, Bruce, the earl of Carrick,
and son of the competitor, possessed
of large estates in England, continued
faithful to Edward. He thus pre­
served his estates, and hoped to see
the destruction of the only rivals who
stood between him and his claim to
the throne. Nor was this a vain ex­
pectation ; for Edward, on hearing of
the revolt of Baliol and the Comyns,
undoubtedly held out the prospect of
the throne to Bruce ;3 and these cir­
cumstances afford us a complete ex­
planation of the inactivity of that
baron and his son at this period.
Meanwhile Baliol and the Comyns
issued a hasty order, confiscating the
estates of all who preserved their alle­
giance to Edward. In consequence of
this resolution, the lordship of Annan-
dale, the paternal inheritance of the
Earl of Carrick, was declared forfeited,
and given by Baliol to John Comyn,
earl of Buchan, who immediately
seized and occupied Bruce’s castle of
Lochmaben, an insult which there is
reason to think the proud baron never
forgave. Compelled to submit to Ed­
ward, the Comyns, and the principal
nobles who supported them, were now
carried prisoners into England ; and,
when restored to liberty, it was only
on condition that they should join his
army in Flanders, and assist him in
his foreign wars.

During the brief but noble stand
made by Wallace for the national
liberty, Robert Bruce, then a young

1 Leland, Collect, vol. i. p. 540.

2 Ibid.

3 See supra, p, 42.

man of three-and-twenty, was placed
in difficult and critical circumstances.
It was in his favour that his rivals,
the Comyns, were no longer in the
field, but kept in durance by Edward.
His father remained in England,
where he possessed large estates, and
continued faithful in his allegiance to
the king. At this time it is important
to remark what Walter Hemingford,
a contemporary English historian, has
said of young Bruce. After mention­
ing the revolt which was headed by
Wallace, he informs us, “that the
Bishop of Carlisle, and other barons,
to whom the peace of that district was
committed, became suspicious of the
fidelity of Robert Bruce the younger,
earl of Carrick, and sent for him to
come and treat upon the affairs of Ed­
ward, if he intended to remain faithful
to that monarch.” Bruce, he continues,
did not dare to disobey, but came on
the day appointed, with his vassals of
Galloway, and took an oath on the
sacred host, and upon the sword of St
Thomas, that he would assist the king
against the Scots, and all his enemies,
both by word and deed. Having taken
this oath, he returned to his country ;
and to give a colour of truth to his
fidelity, collected his vassals, and ra­
vaged the lands of William Douglas,
carrying the wife and infant children
of this knight into Annandale. Soon
after this, however, as he returned
from a meeting of the Scottish con­
spirators to his own country, having
assembled his fathers men of Annan-
dale, (for his father himself then re­
sided in the south of England, and
was ignorant of his son’s treachery,)
he told them, “ that it was true he had
lately taken a foolish oath at Carlisle,
of which they had heard.” He assured
them that it was extorted by force,
and that he not only deeply repented
what he had done, but hoped soon to
get absolution. Meanwhile he added,
“ that he was resolved to go with his
own vassals and join the nation from
which he sprung; and he earnestly
entreated them to do the same, and
come along with him as his dear
friends and counsellors. The men of
Annandale, however, disliking the

1305.]                                        ROBERT BRUCE.                                               85

peril of this undertaking, whilst their
master, the elder Bruce, was in Eng­
land, decamped in the night; and the
young Bruce, aspiring to the crown,
as was generally reported, joined him­
self to the rebels, and entered into the
conspiracy with the Bishop of Glasgow
and the Steward of Scotland, who were
at the bottom of the plot."1 Such is
an almost literal translation from the
words of Walter Hemingford, whose
information as to Scottish affairs at
this period seems to have been minute
and accurate.

At this time the ambition or the
patriotic feelings of Bruce were cer­
tainly short-lived ; for, not many
months after, he made his peace at
the capitulation at Irvine, and gave
his infant daughter, Marjory, as a
hostage for his fidelity.2 Subsequent
to the successful battle of Stirling, the
Comyns, no longer in the power of
the English king, joined Wallace; and
young Bruce, once more seeing his
rivals for the throne opposed to Ed­
ward, kept aloof from public affairs,
anxious, no doubt, that they should
destroy themselves by such opposition.
He did not, as has been erroneously
stated, accede to the Scottish party,3
but, on the contrary, shut himself up
in the castle of Ayr, and refused to
join the army which fought at Falkirk.
As little, however, did he cordially
co-operate with the English king, al­
though his father, the elder Bruce,
and his brother, Bernard Bruce, were
both in his service, and, as there is
strong reason to believe, in the Eng­
lish army which fought at Falkirk.
Young Bruce’s conduct, in short, at
this juncture, was that of a cautious
neutral; but Edward, who approved
of no such lukewarmness in those who
had sworn homage to him, immedi-

1 Hemingford, vol. i. p. 120. Hailes, 8vo
edit. vol. i. p. 301.

2 Rymer, Foed. vol. i. new edit. p. 868.
Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick, James, the
Steward of Scotland, John, his brother, Alex­
ander de Lindesay, and William de Douglas,
submitted themselves to Edward. On 30th
July 1297, John Comyn, son of John, lord of
Badenoch, John, earl of Athole, and Richard
Suvard, were liberated from prison, and ac­
companied Edward to Flanders.

3 Hailes’ Annals, vol. i. 4to, pp. 253-263.

ately after the battle of Falkirk ad­
vanced into the west. Bruce, on his
approach, fled; and Edward after­
wards led his army into Annandale,
and seized his strong castle of Loch-

In a parliament held not long subse­
quent to this, the king gave to his
nobles some of the estates of the chief
men in Scotland; but the great estates
of the Bruce family, embracing Annan-
dale and Carrick, were not alienated.
The fidelity of the elder Bruce to
England in all probability preserved
them. On the 13th of November 1299,
we find Robert Bruce the younger,
earl of Carrick, associated as one of
the regents of the kingdom with
John Comyn, that powerful rival,
with whom he had hitherto never
acted in concert.5 It seems, however,
to have been an unnatural coalition,
arising more out of Bruce’s having
lost the confidence of Edward, than
indicative of any new cordiality be­
tween him and Comyn; and there can
be little doubt, also, that they were
brought to act together by a mutual
desire to humble and destroy the
power of Wallace, in which they suc­
ceeded. But to punish this union,
Edward, in his short campaign of
1300, wasted Annandale, took Loch-
maben castle, and marched into Gallo­
way, ravaging Bruce’s country. Thus
exposed to, and suffering under the
vengeance of the King of England, it
might be expected that he should have
warmly joined with his brother re­
gents in the war. But this seems not
to have been the case. He did not
take an active share in public affairs;
and previous to the battle of Roslin,
he returned, as we have seen, to the
English party. During the fatal and
victorious progress of Edward through
Scotland in 1303, he remained faithful
to that monarch, while his rivals, the
Comyns, continued in arms against
him. On the death of his father,
which took place in 1304, Bruce was
permitted by the King of England to
take possession of his whole English
and Scottish estates; and so high does

4  Hemingford, p. 166.

5 Rymer, vol. ii. p. 859.

86                                 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. III.

he appear to have risen in the esteem
of Edward, that he acted a principal
part in the settlement of the kingdom
in 1304; whilst his rival Cornyn was
subjected to a heavy fine, and seems
to have wholly lost the confidence of
the king.1

In this situation matters stood at
the important period when we con­
cluded the last chapter. Bruce, whose
conduct had been consistent only upon
selfish principles, found himself, when
compared with other Scottish barons,
in an enviable situation. He had pre­
served his great estates, his rivals were
overpowered, and, on any new emer­
gency occurring, the way was partly
cleared for his own claim to the crown.

The effect of all this upon the mind
of Comyn may be easily imagined.
He felt that one whose conduct, in
consistency and honour, had been in­
ferior to his own, was rewarded with
the confidence and favour of the king ;
whilst he who had struggled to the
last for the liberty of his country
became an object of suspicion and
neglect. This seems to have rankled
in his heart, and he endeavoured to
instil suspicions of the fidelity of
Bruce into the mind of Edward; 2 but
at the same time he kept up to that
proud rival the appearance of friend­
ship and familiarity. Bruce, in the
meantime, although he had matured
no certain design for the recovery of
the crown, never lost sight of his pre­
tensions, and neglected no opportu­
nity of strengthening himself and his
cause by those bands and alliances
with powerful barons and prelates
which were common in that age. He
had entered into a secret league of
this kind with William de Lamberton,
bishop of St Andrews, in which they
engaged faithfully to consult together,
and to give mutual assistance to each
other, by themselves and their people, at
all times, and against all persons, to the
utmost of their power; without guile
to warn each other against all dangers,

1 Trivet, p. 334.

2 Hemingford, p. 219, says this expressly :
— “ Cumque mutuo loquerentur ad invicem
verbis ut videbatur pacificis, statim conver-
tens faciem et verba pervertens cœpit impro-
perare ei,”

and to use their utmost endeavour to
prevent them.3 This league was of
course sedulously concealed from Ed­
ward; but it seems to have become
known to Comyn, and a conference
between him and Bruce on the subject
of their rival claims actually took
place. At this meeting Bruce de­
scribed, in strong expressions, the
miserable servitude into which their
mutual dissensions, and their preten­
sions to the crown, had plunged the
country; and we are informed by one
of the most ancient and accurate of
the contemporary historians, that he
proposed as an alternative to Comyn,
either that this baron should make
over his great estate to Bruce, on con­
dition of receiving from him in return
his assistance in asserting his claim to
the throne, or should agree to accept
Bruce’s lands, and assist him in the
recovery of his hereditary kingdom.
“Support my title to the crown,”
said Bruce, “ and I will give you my
estate; or give me your estate, and 1
will support yours.”4 Comyn agreed
to wave his right and accept the lands;
and, in the course of these confidential
meetings, became acquainted with
Bruce’s secret associations, and even
possessed of papers which contained
evidence of his designs for the recovery
of his rights. These designs, however,
were as yet quite immature, and Bruce,
who was still unsuspected, and in high
confidence with Edward, repaired to
the English court. Whilst there, Co-
myn betrayed him,5 and despatched
letters to the king, informing him of
the ambitious projects of Bruce. Ed­
ward, anxious to unravel the whole
conspiracy, had recourse to dissimula­
tion, and the Earl of Carrick continued

3 See Ayloffe’s Calendar of Ancient Charters,
p. 295. The deed is transcribed in Lord
Hailes’ Annals, vol. i. p. 280.

4 Fordun a Hearne, p. 992, vol. iv. Win-
ton, vol. ii. p. 122, says this conference took
place when the two barons were "ryding
fra Strevylyn.” See also Langtoft, vol. ii. p.
330. Barbour’s Bruce, Jamieson’s edit. p.

5 Winton asserts, vol. ii. p. 123, that Comyn
betrayed Bruce when he was yet in Scotland ;
upon which Edward sent for him to get him
into his power ; and that Bruce, suspecting
nothing, repaired to London to attend parlia­

1305.]                                         ROBERT BRUCE.                                              87

in apparent favour. But the king had
inadvertently dropped some hint of
an intention to seize him; and Bruce,
having received from his kinsman, the
Earl of Gloucester,1 an intimation of
his danger, took horse, and, accom­
panied by a few friends, precipitately
fled to Scotland. On the Borders they
encountered a messenger hastening to
England. His deportment was suspi­
cious, and Bruce ordered him to be
questioned and searched. He proved
to be an emissary of Comyn’s, whom
that baron had sent to communicate
with Edward. He was instantly slain,
his letters were seized, and Bruce, in
possession of documents which dis­
closed the treachery of Comyn, pressed
forward to his castle of Lochmaben,2
which he reached on the fifth day after
his sudden flight. Here he met his
brother, Edward Bruce, and informed
him of the perilous circumstances in
which he was placed.3 It was now the
month of February, the time when the
English justiciars appointed by Ed­
ward were accustomed to hold their
courts at Dumfries; and Bruce, as a
freeholder of Annandale, was bound to
be present. Comyn was also a free­
holder in Dumfriesshire, and obliged
to attend on the justiciars ; so that in
this way those two proud rivals were
brought into contact, under circum­
stances peculiarly irritating.4 They
met at Dumfries, and Bruce, burning
with ill-dissembled indignation, re­
quested a private interview with the
rival who had betrayed him, in the
Convent of the Minorite Friars. Comyn
agreed, and, entering the convent, they
had not reached the high altar before
words grew high and warm, and the
young baron, losing command of tem­
per, openly arraigned Comyn of trea­
chery. “You lie!” said Comyn;
upon which Bruce instantly stabbed
him with his dagger, and hurrying
from the sanctuary which he had

1 The Earl of Gloucester is ridiculously
enough denominated by Maitland, vol. i. p.
469, Earl Gomer; by Boece called Glomer,
which is as absurdly supposed to be a cor­
ruption of Montgomery.

2 Winton, vol. ii. p. 127.

3 Barbour, vol. i. p. 23.

4 Hailes’ Annals, vol. i. p. 355.

defiled with blood, rushed into the
street, and called “ To horse ! " Lind­
say and Kirkpatrick, two of his fol­
lowers, seeing him pale and agitated,
demanded the cause. “ I doubt,” said
Bruce, as he threw himself on his
horse, “ I have slain Comyn.” “ Do
you doubt ?" cried Kirkpatrick, fierce­
ly ; “ I'll make sure ! " and instantly
entered the convent, where he found
the unhappy man still alive, but
bleeding, and lying on the steps of
the high altar. By this time the noise
of the scuffle had alarmed his friends,
and his uncle, Sir Robert Comyn,5
rushing into the convent, attempted
to save him. But Kirkpatrick slew
this new opponent, and having de­
spatched his dying victim, who could
offer no resistance, rejoined his master.
Bruce now assembled his followers,
and took possession of the castle of
Dumfries, whilst the English justi-
ciars, who held their court in a hall in
the castle, believing their lives to be
in danger, barricaded the doors. But
the building was immediately set fire
to, upon which the judges capitulated,
and were permitted to depart from
Scotland without further molestation.6
This murder had been perpetrated
by Bruce and his companions in the
heat of passion, and was entirely un­
premeditated; but its consequences
were important and momentous.
Bruce’s former varying and uncertain
line of policy, which had arisen out of
the hope of preserving, by fidelity to
Edward, his great estates, and of see­
ing his rival crushed by his opposition

5 There seems some little ambiguity about
the knight’s name. Hailes, vol. i. p. 291,
says he is commonly called Sir Richard. A
book of chronicles in Peter College Library,
quoted by Leland, Coll. vol. i. p. 473, calls
him Sir Roger. The Pope’s bull, vol. iii.
Rymer, Fœd. p. 810, puts it beyond doubt
that his name is Robert. The murder of
Comyn happened on Thursday, the 10th of
February 1305-6.

6 Hemingford, vol. i. p. 220. This histo­
rian tells us, that after Bruce had with his
followers seized the castle of Dumfries, and
expelled the justiciars, word was brought him
that Comyn was still alive, and had been
carried by the friars within the high altar, to
confess his sins. Upon which Bruce ordered
him to be dragged out and slain on the steps
of the altar, so that the altar itself was stained
with his blood. This is improbable.

83                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. III.

to England, was at once changed by
the murder of which he had been
guilty. His whole schemes upon the
crown had been laid open to Edward.
This was ruin of itself ; but, in addi­
tion to this, he had, with his own
hand, assassinated the first noble in
the realm, and in a place of tremendous
sanctity. He had stained the high
altar with blood, and had directed
against himself, besides the resent­
ment of the powerful friends and
vassals of the murdered earl, all the
terrors of religion, and the strongest
prejudices of the people. The die,
however, was cast, and he had no al­
ternative left to him but either to
become a fugitive and an outlaw, or
to raise open banner against Edward,
and, although the disclosure of his
plans was premature, to proclaim his
title to the crown. Having deter­
mined on this last, he repaired imme­
diately to Lochmaben castle, and
despatched letters to his friends and
adherents. It was fortunate for him
at this trying crisis that he had secured
the friendship and assistance of the
Archbishop of St Andrews, William
dc Lamberton, by one of those bands
or covenants, which, in this age, it
was considered an unheard of outrage
to break or disregard. Lamberton’s
friendship disarmed of its dreadful
consequences that sentence of excom­
munication which was soon thundered
against him, and his powerful influence
necessarily interested in his behalf the
whole body of the Scottish clergy.

The desperate nature of Bruce’s
undertaking appeared very manifest,
from the small number of adherents
who joined his fortunes. The enumer­
ation will not occupy much space. It
embraced the Earls of Lennox and of
Athole; Lamberton, the bishop of St
Andrews; Robert Wishart, bishop of
Glasgow; David, bishop of Moray; the
Abbot of Scone; his four brothers,
Edward, Nigel, Thomas, and Alexan­
der ; his nephew, Thomas Randolph;
his brother-in-law, Christopher Seton;
Gilbert de la Haye of Errol, with his
brother, Hugh de la Haye; David
Barclay of Cairns ; Alexander Fraser,
brother of Simon Fraser, of Oliver

castle ; Walter de Somerville, of Lin­
ton and Carnwath; David of Inch-
martin ; Robert Boyd; and Robert
Fleming. Such was the handful of
brave men, comprising two earls and
only fourteen barons, with whose
assistance Bruce determined to take
the field against the overwhelming
power of England, directed by one of
the most experienced statesmen, and
certainly by the most successful mili­
tary commander, of the age. “With
these,” says the authentic and affec­
tionate Fordun, “he had the courage
to raise his hand, not only against the
King of England and his allies, but
against the whole accumulated power
of Scotland, with the exception of an
extremely small number who adhered
to him, and who seemed like a drop of
water when compared to the ocean.”1

Bruce’s first step was bold and de­
cisive. He determined immediately
to be crowned at Scone, and for this
purpose repaired from his castle of
Lochmaben to Glasgow, where he was
joined by some of the friends who
supported his enterprise. On the road
from Lochmaben, a young knight, well
armed and horsed, encountered his
retinue, who, the moment Bruce ap­
proached, threw himself from his

1 “There is no living man,” continues the
historian, “who is able to narrate the story
of those complicated misfortunes which befell
him in the commencement of this war, his
frequent perils, his retreats, the care and
weariness, the hunger and thirst, the watch­
ing and fasting, the cold and nakedness to
which he exposed his person, the exile into
which he was driven, the snares and am­
bushes which he escaped, the seizure, impri­
sonment, the execution, and utter destruction
of his dearest friends and relatives. . . .
And if in addition to these almost innumer­
able and untoward events, which he ever
bore with a cheerful and unconquered spirit,
any man should undertake to describe his
individual conflicts and personal successes,
those courageous and single-handed combats
in which, by the favour of God, and his own
great strength and courage, he would often
penetrate into the thickest of the enemy, now
becoming the assailant, and cutting down all
who opposed him ; at another time acting on
the defensive, and evincing equal talents in
escaping from what seemed inevitable death ;
if any writer shall do this, he will prove, if I
am not mistaken, that he had no equal in his
own time, either in knightly prowess, or in
strength and vigour of body. " — Fordun a
Hearne, vol. v. p. 998.

1305-6.]                                      ROBERT BRUCE.                                              89

horse, and kneeling, did homage to
him as his sovereign. He was im
mediately recognised as Sir James
Douglas, the son of William, the
fourth Lord Douglas, whose estate
had been given by Edward to the Lord
Clifford, and was affectionately wel­
comed ; for his father had fought
with Wallace, and the son had already
shewn some indications of his fu­
ture greatness. Douglas immediately
joined the little band who rode with
Bruce; and thus commenced a friend­
ship which, after a series of as noble
services as ever subject paid to sove­
reign, was not dissolved even by death :
for it was to this tried follower that in
after years his dying master committed
his heart to be carried to Jerusalem.1

From Glasgow Bruce rode to Scone,
and there was solemnly crowned, on
Friday, the 27th of March. Edward
had carried off the ancient regalia of
the kingdom, and the famous stone-
chair, in which, according to ancient
custom, the Scottish kings were in­
augurated. But the ready care of
Wishart, bishop of Glasgow, supplied
from his own wardrobe the robes in
which Robert appeared at his corona­
tion ; and a slight coronet of gold,2
probably borrowed by the abbot of
Scone from some of the saints or kings
which adorned his abbey, ’ was em­
ployed instead of the hereditary crown.
A banner, wrought with the arms of
Baliol, was delivered by the Bishop of
Glasgow to the new king; and Robert
received beneath it the homage of the
prelates and earls who attended the cere­
mony. On the second day after the coro­
nation, and before Bruce and his friends
had left Scone, they were surprised by
the sudden arrival of Isabella, countess
of Buchan, sister of the Earl of Fife,
who immediately claimed the privilege
of placing the king upon the throne.
It was a right which had undoubtedly

1 Barbour, by Jamieson, p. 27.

2 Rymer, Fœdera, vol. ii. p. 1048. This
coronella aurea came into the hands of Gef­
frey de Coigners, who seems to have incurred
the resentment of Edward the First, for con­
cealing and preserving it. Langtoft, Chron­
icle, vol. ii. p. 331. Maitland has no autho­
rity for asserting, vol. i. p. 474, that the crown
was made expressly for Robert’s coronation,
by Geffrey de Coigners.

belonged to the earls of Fife from the
days of Malcolm Canmore ; and as the
Earl of Fife was at this time of the
English party, the countess, a high-
spirited woman, leaving her home,
joined Bruce at Scone, bringing with
her the war-horses of her husband.3
The new king was not in a condition
to think lightly of anything of this
nature. To have refused Isabellas
request might give to his enemies
some colour for alleging that an es­
sential part of the ancient solemnity
had been omitted in his coronation.
The English historians would have us
believe that the lady was influenced
by tenderer feelings than ambition or
policy; but this is doubtful. It is
certain that on the 20th of March
the king was a second time installed
in the regal chair by the hands of the
countess,4 who afterwards suffered
severely for her alleged presumption.

Bruce next made a progress through
various parts of Scotland, strengthen­
ing his party by the accession of new
partisans; seizing some of the castles
and towns which were in the posses­
sion of the enemy; committing to
prison the sheriffs and officers of Ed­
ward ;5 and creating so great a panic,
that many of the English fled precipi­
tately from the country. His party,
nevertheless, was small; the Comyns
possessed the greatest power in Scot­
land, and they and their followers
opposed him, not only from motives
of policy, but with the deepest feel­
ings of feudal enmity and revenge;
while many earls and barons, who had
suffered in the late wars, preferred the
quiet of submission to the repeated
hazards of insurrection and revolt.

Edward had returned to Winchester,
from a pleasure tour through the
counties of Dorset and Hampshire,
when he received the intelligence of
the murder of Comyn and the revolt
of Bruce. Although not an aged man,
he had reached the mature period of
sixty-five; and a constant exposure
to the fatigues of war had begun to

3 Hemingford, vol. i, p. 220. Robertson’s
Index, p. 17, No. 41.

4 Trivet, p. 342. See Notes and Illustra­
tions, letter V.

5 Rymer, Foed. vol. ii. p. 988.

90                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                        [Chap. III.

make an impression upon a constitu­
tion of great natural strength. He
was become unwieldy, and so infirm
that he could not mount on horseback
or lead his armies; and after twenty
years of ambitious intrigue, and almost
uninterrupted war, now that he was
in the decline of his strength and
years, he found his Scottish conquests
about to be wrested from him by a
rival, in whom he had placed the
greatest confidence. But although
broken in body, this great king was in
his mind and spirit yet vigorous and
unimpaired, as was soon evinced by
the rapidity and decision of his orders,
and the subsequent magnitude of his
preparations. He instantly sent to
strengthen the frontier garrisons of
Berwick and Carlisle, with the inten­
tion of securing the English Borders
on that side from invasion; and he
appointed the Earl of Pembroke, with
Lord Robert Clifford and Henry
Percy, to march into Scotland, direct­
ing them to proceed against his rebels
in that kingdom.1 This was in an
eminent degree the age of chivalry;
and Edward, who had himself gained
renown in Palestine, availed himself
of that imposing system to give greater
spirit to his intended expedition. He
published a manifesto, declaring his
intention of bestowing knighthood
upon his son, the Prince of Wales;
and he caused it to be proclaimed
over England that as many young
esquires as had a right to claim knight­
hood should appear at Westminster
on the Feast of Pentecost, and receive
that honour along with the son of
their sovereign, after which they
should accompany him in his Scottish
war. On the day appointed, three
hundred young gentlemen, the flower
of the English youth, with a brilliant
assemblage of pages and attendants,
crowded before the king’s palace;

1 Rymer, Fœd. new edition, vol. i. part. ii.
p. 982. Math. Westminst. p. 454. Aymer
de Valence, earl of Pembroke, was appointed
Guardian of Scotland, with full power to re­
ceive those to mercy who would come in and
submit themselves, excepting those who had
a hand in the murder of the Lord Comyn.
This appears by a charter under the Great
Seal, quoted by Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 171.

which being too small for so great a
concourse, orders were given to cut
down the trees in the orchard of the
New Temple. In this ample space
the novices pitched their pavilions;
and the king, with a splendid munifi­
cence, distributed to them from his
royal wardrobe the scarlet cloth, fine
linen, and embroidered belts, made
use of on such occasions. Habited
in these, they kept their vigil and
watched their arms in the Chapel of
the Temple, whilst the young prince
performed the same ceremony in the
abbey church at Westminster. Next
morning Edward, with great pomp,
knighted his son in the palace ; and
the prince, after having received the
belt and spurs, came to the abbey
church to confer the same honour
upon the young esquires who were
there waiting for him, with an im­
mense concourse of spectators. This
crowd was the cause of giving addi­
tional solemnity to the spectacle, for
the prince was obliged, from the press,
to mount the steps of the high altar;
and on this sacred spot, amid the
assembled chivalry of England, he
conferred the rank of knighthood upon
his three hundred companions. He
and his companions then proceeded to
the banquet, at which two swans,
ornamented with golden net­work,
emblems in those days of constancy
and truth, were brought in. Upon
their being placed on the table, the
king rose and made a solemn vow to
God and to the swans that he would
set out for Scotland, there avenge
the death of John Comyn, punish the
treachery of the Scots, and afterwards
embark for the holy war, with the re­
solution to die in Palestine.2 After
this strange and irreverent adjuration,
he next addressed his son, and made
him promise that if he died before he
took this journey, he should carry his
body with the army into Scotland,
and not commit it to the earth until
he had obtained the victory over his
enemies. The clergy and laity then
agreed to contribute a thirtieth, and
the merchants a tenth, towards defray­
ing the expenses of the war. The
Hailes, vol. ii. p. 4.

1306.]                                        ROBERT BRUCE.                                               91

prince and the barons promised faith­
fully to perform these commands of
their sovereign; and having agreed to
meet at Carlisle fifteen days after Mid­
summer, they returned home to make
preparations for war.1 The Earl of
Pembroke, with Clifford and Henry
Percy, soon hastened into Scotland;
and the Prince of Wales, with his
knights companions, followed in the
rear of their army; whilst Edward
himself, unable from violent fatigue,
proceeded towards Carlisle by slow
journeys. It was an ill commence­
ment of the young prince’s chivalry
that his excessive cruelty in ravaging
the country, and sparing neither age
nor sex, incurred the censure of his
father the king, who was himself little
wont to be scrupulous on these occa­

Bruce was unfortunate in the early
part of his career; and his military
talents, which afterwards conducted
him through a course of unexampled
victory, were nursed amid scenes of
incessant hardship and defeat. After
having ravaged Galloway,3 he marched
towards Perth, at that time a town
walled and strongly fortified, where
the Earl of Pembroke lay with a small
army of soldiers. Bruce, on arriving
at Perth, and finding the earl shut up
within the walls, sent a challenge,
requesting him, in the chivalrous style
of the age, to come out and try his
fortune in an open field. Pembroke
answered that the day was too far
spent, but that he would fight with
him next morning; upon which the
king retired, and encamped about a
mile from Perth, in the wood of Meth-
ven. Towards evening, whilst his
soldiers were busy cooking their sup­
per,4 and many were dispersed in
foraging parties, a cry was heard that
the enemy were upon them ; and
Pembroke, with his whole army, which
outnumbered the Scots by fifteen
hundred men, broke in upon the camp.5

1 Math. Westminst. p. 455. Langtoft, p.

2 Ypodigma Neustriæ, p. 498.

3 Chron. Lanercost, p. 204.

4 Chron. Abingdon, quoted in Tyrrel, vol.
iii. p. 172.

5 Barbour, by Jamieson, p. 37.

The surprise was so complete, that it
can only be accounted for by the be­
lief that the king had implicitly relied
upon the promise of the English earl.
He and his friends had scarcely time
to arm themselves. They made, how­
ever, a stout resistance, and at the
first onset Bruce attacked the Earl of
Pembroke, and slew his horse; but
no efforts of individual courage could
restore order, or long delay defeat;
and the battle of Methven was from
the first nearly a rout. The king was
thrice unhorsed, and once so nearly
taken, that the captor, Sir Philip de
Mowbray, called aloud that he had
the new-made king, when Sir Chris­
topher Seton felled Mowbray to the
earth, and rescued his master.6 The
king’s brother, Edward Bruce, Bruce
himself, the Earl of Athole, Sir James
Douglas, Sir Gilbert de la Haye, Sir
Nigel Campbell, and Sir William de
Barondoun,7 with about five hundred
men, kept the field, and at last effected
their retreat into the fastnesses of
Athole; but some of his best and
bravest friends fell into the hands of
the enemy. Sir David de Berklay,
Sir Hugh de la Haye, Sir Alexander
Fraser, Sir John de Somerville, Sir
David Inchmartin, and Thomas Ran­
dolph, then a young esquire, were all
taken, along with Hugh, a chaplain.8
On being informed of the victory,
Edward gave orders for the instant
execution of the prisoners; but the
Earl of Pembroke, with more huma­
nity, did not carry these orders into
immediate execution. Randolph, on
being pardoned, deserted his uncle ;
others were ransomed; whilst the
chaplain, with other knights who had

6  Barbour, pp. 35, 36. Math. Westminst,,
p. 455, asserts that the king was thrice un­
horsed, and thrice rescued by Sir Simon

7  This knight is a witness to a charter of
Haig of Bemerside to the Abbey of Melrose,
along with Thomas Rymer of Ercildoun and
others. Chartulary of Melrose. Bib. Harl.
3960, t 109, a.

8 Prynne’s Edward I., p. 1123. Barbour,
by Jamieson, p. 35. The battle, according to
Hume’s History of the House of Douglas, p.
44, was fought on the 19th June. A ballad
in MS., Harleian, No. 2253, f. 60, a, says that

I the battle was fought before St Bartholomew's

I mass, i.e. 24th August,

92                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. III.

been taken, were hanged and quar­

Bruce and his friends now began to
feel the miseries of outlaws. A high
price was set on his head, and he was
compelled to harbour in the hills, de­
prived of the common comforts of
life. He and his followers presented
a ragged and wretched appearance.
Their shoes were worn off their feet
by constant toil in a mountainous
country ; and hunting, in better days
a joyful pastime, became a necessi­
tous occupation. At length want and
distress drove him and his little band
into the low country; and at Aber­
deen his brother, Sir Nigel Bruce, met
him with his queen and other ladies,
determined to share the pains of war
and banishment with their husbands
and their fathers.2 Here, after enjoy­
ing a short season of solace and re­
spite, a report was brought of the
near advance of the English; and the
king and his friends, accompanied by
their faithful women, retreated into
Breadalbane.3 And now, if already
they had experienced distress, it was,
we may believe, greatly aggravated by
the presence of those whose constitu­
tions were little able to struggle
against cold and hunger, and whose
love, as it was of that sterling kind
which was ready to share in every
privation, only made the hearts of
their husbands and fathers more
keenly alive to their sufferings. An
ancient author has given a striking
account of their mode of life. The
roots and berries of the woods, the
venison caught in the chase, the fish
which abounded in the mountain
rivers, supplied them with food—the
warm skins of deer and roe with bed­
ding—and all laboured to promote
their comfort; but none with such
success as the brave and gallant Sir
James Douglas. This young soldier,

1 Barbour, p. 37. Prynne, Edward I., p.

2 Edward, on being informed of this trait
of female heroism, is said toy Fordun to have
published a proclamation proscribing all those
women who continued to follow their hus­
bands. Ker. in his History of Bruce, vol. i.
p. 226, seems to have mistaken the meaning
of Fordun, misled by his monkish Latin.

3 Barbour, p. 41.

after the imprisonment and death of
his father, had been educated at the
polished court of France;4 and whilst
his indefatigable perseverance in the
chase afforded them innumerable com­
forts, his sprightly temper and constant
gaiety comforted the king and amused
his forlorn companions.5

They had now reached the head of
Tay, and deeper distresses seemed
gathering round them, for the season
was fast approaching when it was im­
possible for women to exist in that
remote and wild region; and they
were on the borders of the Lord of
Lorn’s country, a determined enemy
of Bruce, who had married the aunt
of the murdered Comyn.6 Lorn im­
mediately collected a thousand men,
and, with the barons of Argyle, be­
setting the passes, hemmed in the
king, and attacked him in a narrow
defile, where Bruce and his small band
of knights could not manage their
horses. The Highlanders were on
foot; and, armed with that dreadful
weapon, the Lochaber axe, did great
execution. Sir James Douglas, with
Gilbert de la Haye, were both wounded,
and many of the horses severely cut
and gashed ; so that the king, dread­
ing the total destruction of his little
band, managed to get them together,
and having placed himself in the rear,
between them and the men of Lorn,
commenced his retreat, halting at in­
tervals, and driving back the enemy,
when they pressed too hard upon
them. It was in one of these skir­
mishes that Bruce, who, in the use of
his weapons, was esteemed inferior to
no knight of his time, with his own
hand killed three soldiers, who at­
tacked him at the same time and at
a disadvantage 7—a feat which is said
to have extorted even from his ene-

4 Hume’s Hist, of House of Douglas and
Angus, p. 37.

5 Barbour, vol. i. p. 40.

6 Ibid. p. 41.

7 Barbour, p. 44. Lord Hailes, who in
other places quotes Barbour as an unquestion­
able historical authority, says he dare not
venture to place this event in the text.
Surely there is nothing marvellous in a knight
of great bodily strength and courage with his
single hand despatching three half naked

1306.]                                        ROBERT BRUCE.                                               93

mies the praise of superior chivalry.
Having thus again escaped, a council
was held, and it was resolved that the
queen and her ladies should be con­
ducted to the strong castle of Kil-
drummie, in Mar, under an escort,
commanded by young Nigel Bruce,
the king’s brother, and John, earl of
Athole. The king, with only two
hundred men, and beset on all sides
by his enemies, was left to make his
way through Lennox to Kantire, a
district which, from the influence of
Sir Neil Campbell, who was then with
him, he expected would be somewhat
more friendly. He now gave up all
the horses to those who were to escort
the women, and having determined to
pursue his way on foot, took a melan­
choly farewell of his queen.1 It was
the last time he ever saw his brother,
who soon after was taken, and fell a
victim to the implacable revenge of
Edward. Bruce, meanwhile, pressed
on through Perthshire to Loch Lo­
mond. On the banks of this lake his
progress was suddenly arrested. To
have travelled round it would have
been accomplished at great risk, when
every hour, which could convey him
beyond the pursuit of his enemies,
was of value. After some time, they
succeeded in discovering a little boat,
which, from its crazy and leaky state,
could hold but three persons, and that
not without danger of sinking. In it,
the king, Sir James Douglas, and
another, who rowed them, first passed
over. They then despatched it in re­
turn for the rest, so that the whole
band at length succeeded in reaching
the other side. Amid these compli­
cated dangers and distresses, the spirit
of their royal master wonderfully sup­
ported his followers. His memory
was stored with the tales of romance
so popular in that chivalrous age; and
in recounting the sufferings of their
fabled heroes, he is said to have di­
verted the minds of his friends from
brooding too deeply on their own.2
They began now to feel the misery of
hunger, and in traversing the woods
in search of food they encountered

1 Barbour, vol. i. p. 51.
Ibid. pp. 53, 54.

the Earl of Lennox, who, since the
unfortunate defeat at Methven, had
heard nothing of the fate of his sove­
reign. Lennox fell on his master’s
neck, and the king wept in embracing
him. But even this natural burst of
grief proved dangerous by occupying
too much time; for the enemy were
now pressing on their track, and every­
thing depended on Bruce’s gaining the
coast, where he expected to meet Sir
Neil Campbell, whom he had sent in
advance. This he fortunately accom­
plished ; and Campbell, with a few
boats which he had collected, conveyed
the monarch and his followers to the
coast of Kantire, where they were hos­
pitably received by Angus of Islay, lord
of Kantire. From thence, deeming
himself still insecure, he passed over
with three hundred in his company
to the little island of Rachrin, situated
on the northern coast of Ireland, amid
whose rude but friendly inhabitants
he buried himself from the pursuit of
his enemies.3

Edward, on hearing of the escape of
Bruce, proceeded with his usual se­
verity against his enemies. He pub­
lished at Lanercost, where he then lay,
on his road to Scotland, an ordinance,
by which all who were guilty of the
death of John Comyn were sentenced
to be drawn and hanged; and he de­
creed that the same extremity of pun­
ishment should be inflicted on such
as either advised or assented, or, after
the fact, knowingly received them.
It was added, that any persons who
were in arms against the king, either
before or since the battle of Methven,
as well as all who were willingly of the
party of Robert Bruce, or who assisted
the people in rising contrary to law,
were, on conviction, to be imprisoned ;
and it was commanded that every sub­
ject of the king should levy hue and
cry upon all who had been in arms
against England, and under the penalty
of imprisonment, and loss of their
estates, apprehend such offenders dead
or alive. Finally, as to the common
people of Scotland, who, contrary to
their inclination, might by their lords
have been compelled to rise in arms,
Barbour, p. 62.

94                                      HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. III.

the guardian was permitted to fine
and ransom them according to their

These orders were rigorously carried
into execution, and the terror of the
king’s vengeance induced some of the
Scottish barons to act with meanness.
Bruce’s queen,2 and his daughter Mar­
jory, thinking themselves insecure in
the castle of Kildrummie, which was
threatened by the English army, had
taken refuge in the sanctuary of St
Duthac, at Tain, in Ross-shire, and
were treacherously given up to the
English by the Earl of Ross, who vio­
lated the sanctuary, and made them,
and the knights who escorted them,
prisoners. These brave men were im­
mediately put to death, and the queen,
with her daughter, committed to close
confinement in England; 3 where, in
different prisons and castles, they en­
dured an eight years’ captivity. A
more severe fate awaited the Countess
of Buchan, who had dared to place the
king upon the throne, and who was
soon after taken. In one of the outer
turrets of the castle of Berwick was
constructed a cage, latticed and cross-
barred with wood, and secured with
iron, in which this unfortunate lady
was immured. No person was per­
mitted to speak with her except the
women who brought her food, and it
was carefully stipulated that these
should be of English extraction. Con­
fined in this rigorous manner, and yet
subjected to the gaze of every passer
by, she remained for four years shut
up, till she was released from her
misery, and subjected to a milder im­
prisonment4 in the monastery of
Mount Carmel, in Berwick. Mary
and Christina, both sisters to the
Scottish king, were soon after made
prisoners. Mary was confined in a

1 Tyrrel, Hist, of England, vol. iii. p. 174;
and Rymer, Foed. vol. i. part ii. p. 995, new

2 A daughter of the Earl of Ulster.

3 Fœdera, vol. ii. pp. 1013, 1014. Barbour’s
Bruce, p. 66. Major, p. 181, erroneously
says the queen was delivered up by William
Comyn. In Rymer, Fœdera, vol. i. part ii.
new edit. p. 767, we find William, earl of Ross.

4 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 85. Trivet, p.
342. Math. West. p. 455. Notes and Illus­
trations, letter W.

cage similar to that of the Countess of
Buchan, built for her in one of the
turrets of Roxburgh castle;5 and
Christina was delivered to Henry
Percy, who shut her up in a convent.

Immediately after the battle of
Methven, the troops of the Earl of
Pembroke, in scouring the country,
took prisoners, Lamberton, bishop of
St Andrews, and the Abbot of Scone,
who were found clad in armour, and
conveyed them in fetters to England.6
Soon after this, Robert Wishart, bishop
of Glasgow, who had escaped to the
castle of Cupar in Fife, was there
taken, and sent fettered, and in his
mail coat, to the castle of Notting­
ham.7 These clerical champions were
saved from the gallows solely by their
sacred function. They had strenu­
ously supported Bruce by their great
influence, as well as by their money
and their armed vassals; and Edward,
after commanding them to be impri­
soned in irons, within different castles,
wrote to the Pope, requesting that, in
consequence of their treason against
him, William Comyn, brother to the
Earl of Buchan, and Geoffrey de Mow-
bray, should be appointed to the
vacant sees of St Andrews and Glas­
gow—a proposal with which his Holi­
ness does not appear to have com­

The next victim excited deeper com­
miseration. Bruce’s youthful brother,
Nigel, had shut himself up in the
castle of Kildrummie, and there defied
the English army, commanded by the
Earls of Lancaster and Hereford.
After a brave defence, the treachery
of one of the garrison, who set fire to
the magazine of corn, and destroyed
their supplies, compelled them to sur­
render. The beautiful person and en-

5 Fœdera, vol. ii. p. 1014. She was con­
fined in the cage till 1310, when she was ex­
changed for nine English prisoners of note in
the hands of the Scots. Rot. Scotiæ, vol. i.
p. 86.

6 Math. Westminster, p. 455.

7 Rymer, Fœd. vol. i. part ii. new edit. p.

8 Prynne, Edward I., p. 1156. The Bishop
of St Andrews was confined in the castle of
Winchester, the Bishop of Glasgow in the
castle of Porchester. Rymer, Fœd. p. 996,
ut supra.

1306-7.]                                ROBERT BRUCE                                         95

gaging manners of Nigel Bruce1 ren­
dered his fate a subject of horror and
indignation to the Scots, and excited
sentiments of pity in every bosom but
that of Edward. He was sent to
Berwick, there condemned by a special
commission, hanged, and afterwards
beheaded.2 Along with him divers
other knights and soldiers suffered the
same fate.3 Christopher de Seton,
who had married a sister of Bruce, and
had rendered essential service to the
king, took refuge in his castle of Loch
Don, in Ayrshire, which is said to have
been pusillanimously given up to the
English by Sir Gilbert de Carrick.4
Seton, who was a great favourite with
the people, was especially obnoxious to
Edward, as he had been personally
present at the death of Comyn. He
was immediately hurried to Dumfries,
and condemned and hanged as a traitor.
So dear to King Robert was the me­
mory of this faithful friend and fellow
warrior, that he afterwards erected on
the spot where he was executed a little
chapel, where mass was said for his
soul.5 Sir Christopher’s brother, John
de Seton, was taken about the same
time, and put to death at Newcastle.

The Earl of Athole, who was allied
to the King of England, had been pre­
sent at the coronation of Bruce, and
had fought for him at the battle of
Methven. In attempting to escape
beyond seas, he was driven back by a
tempest, and fell into the hands of the
enemy. Edward, on hearing of his
being taken, although he then lay
dangerously sick, expressed great ex­
ultation; and while some interceded
for Athole, on account of the royal
blood which flowed in his veins, swore
that his only distinction should be a
higher gallows than his fellow traitors.
Nor was this an empty threat. He

1 Math. Westminster, p. 456, designates
him, “miles pulcherrimæ juventutis.”

2 Barbour, p. 70. Math. Westminster, p.

3 Scala Chronica, p. 131.

4 Robertson’s Index, p. 135-8. Notes and
Illustrations, letter X.

5 Stat. Account, vol. v. ’pp. 141, 142. Le-
land, Coll. vol. i. part ii. p. 543, in other
words the Scala Chronicle is in an error in
describing Seton as taken prisoner in Kil-
drummie castle.

was carried to London, tried and con­
demned in Westminster Hall, and
hanged upon a gallows fifty feet high.
He was then cut down half dead, his
bowels taken out and burnt before his
face, and at last beheaded, his head
being afterwards placed, amongst those
of other Scottish patriots, upon Lon­
don bridge.6

Sir Simon Fraser was still free ; and
the other knights and nobles who had
fallen into the hands of Edward are
said to have boasted that it would re­
quire all the efforts of the king to ap­
prehend him. Fraser was a veteran
soldier; his life had been spent in war
both at home and on the continent, and
he enjoyed a high reputation. With a
small force which he had collected,
he made a last effort for the national
liberty at Kirkencliff, near Stirling,
but was entirely routed, and forced
to surrender himself prisoner to Sir
Thomas de Multon. Many knights
and squires were taken along with
him, whilst others fell on the field, or
were drowned in the river.7 This
warrior enjoyed great popularity in
Scotland, as the last friend and follow­
er of Wallace ; and the severity and
studied indignity with which he was
treated by Edward reminds us of the
trial and execution of that heroic per­
son. He was carried to London heavily
ironed, with his legs tied under his
horse’s belly, and as he passed through
the city, a garland of periwinkle was
in mockery placed upon his head. He
was then lodged in the Tower, along
with his squire, Thomas de Boys, and
Sir Herbert de Morham, a Scottish
knight of French extraction, whose
courage and manly deportment are
commemorated in a contemporary
English ballad. Fraser was tried and
condemned, after which he suffered
the death of a traitor, with all its cir­
cumstances of refined cruelty. He
was hanged, cut down when still living,
and beheaded; his bowels were then

6  Math. Westminster, p. 456.

7  The old contemporary ballad, printed
from the Harleian MS. by Pinkerton, in his
Maitland Poems, vol. ii. p. 488, says that
Fraser, at the battle of Kirkencliff, besides
Stirling, surrendered to Sir Thomas de Mill­
ton and to Sir John Jose.

96                                      HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. III.

torn out and burned, and his head
fixed beside that of Wallace upon
London bridge.1 The trunk was hung
in chains, and strictly guarded, lest
his friends should remove it. Herbert
de Morham, who had been imprisoned
and forfeited in 1297, and liberated
under the promise of serving Edward
in his Flemish war,2 next suffered
death, and with him Thomas Boys.
To these victims of Edward’s resent­
ment we may add the names of Sir
David Inchmartin, Sir John de Somer-
ville, Sir Walter Logan, and many
others of inferior note. After the dis­
gusting details of these executions, the
reader will be disposed to smile at the
remark of a late acute historian, that
the execution of the Scottish prisoners
is insufficient to load Edward’s memory
with the charge of cruelty.3 To com­
plete the ruin of Bruce, it only re­
mained to dispose of his great estates,
and to excommunicate him, as guilty
of murder and sacrilege. His lordship
of Annan dale was bestowed on the
Earl of Hereford, his maternal estate
of Carrick given to Henry Percy,
and the Lord Robert Clifford, with
others of Edward’s nobles, shared the
rich English estates, which had long
been hereditary in this powerful

In the end of February, the Cardinal
St Sabinus, the legate of the Pope in
England, with great pomp repaired to
Carlisle, in which city Edward then
kept his head­quarters, and with all
those circumstances of terror which

1  Math. Westminster, p. 456.

2  Lord Hailes, p. 15, following Math. West­
minster, calls him Herebert de Norham ; but
the contemporary poem above quoted gives
his name Herebert de Morham, which is cor­
roborated by Rymer, Fœdera, new edit. vol. i.
part ii. p. 869. Norham is not in Scotland,
but Morham is in Haddingtonshire. Math.
Westminster, p. 456, says he was “ Vir cunc-
tis Scotie formosior et statura eminentior.”
Morham parish is the smallest in Hadding-
tonshire, and belonged, under William the
Lyon, to a family named Malherbe, who after­
wards assumed the name of Morham. Cale­
donia, vol. ii. p. 537. The ancient fortalice
of Morham stood on an eminence near the
church, but no vestiges of it remain. Stat.
Account, vol. ii. p. 334.

3 See Notes and Illustrations, letter Y.
Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 236.
Hemmgford, p. 224.

such a sentence involved, the Scottish
king and his adherents were excom­
municated by book, bell, and candle.5
Meanwhile, out of the reach of the
Papal thunder, and ignorant of the
miserable fate of his friends, Bruce,
during the winter, remained in the
little isle of Rachrin. On the ap­
proach of spring, having received some
assistance from Christina of the Isles,
he began to meditate a descent upon
Scotland, and first despatched Sir
James Douglas and Sir Robert Boyd
on an adventure to the island of Arran.
Douglas found it occupied by Sir John
Hastings, an English knight, who held
the castle of Brodick with a strong
garrison; and having laid an ambus­
cade, he had the good fortune to sur­
prise the under-warden of the castle,
and, after killing forty of his soldiers,
to make himself master of a valuable
cargo of provisions, arms, and clothing.
This proved a seasonable supply to the
king, who soon after arrived from
Rachrin with a fleet of thirty-three
galleys, and in his company about
three hundred men. Ignorant of the
situation of the enemy, he first de­
spatched a messenger from Arran into
his own country of Carrick, with in­
structions, if he found the people well-
affected, to light a fire, at a day ap­
pointed, upon an eminence near Turn-
berry castle. When the day arrived,
Bruce, who watched in extreme anxiety
for the signal, about noon perceived a
light in the expected direction, and
instantly embarked, steering, as night
came on, by the light of the friendly
beacon.6 Meanwhile, his messenger
had also seen the fire, and dreading
that his master might embark, hastened
to the beach, where, on meeting his
friends, he informed them that Lord
Percy, with a strong garrison, held
the castle of Turnberry, that parties
of the enemy were quartered in the
town, and there was no hope of suc­
cess. " Traitor,” said the king, “why
did you light the fire?” “I lighted
no fire,” he replied; “but observing
it at nightfall, I dreaded you might
embark, and hastened to meet you.”

5 Hemingford, p. 226.
Barbour. pp. 83, 84.

1306-7.]                                     ROBERT BRUCE.                                               97

Placed in this dilemma, Bruce ques­
tioned his friends what were best to
be done; and his brother, Sir Edward,
declared loudly, that he would follow
up his adventure, and that no power
or peril should induce him to re-em­
bark. This was said in the true spirit
of a knight - errant; but his royal
brother, who was playing a game of
which the stake was a kingdom, might
be allowed to hesitate. His naturally
fearless and sanguine temper, however,
got the better; and dismissing caution,
he determined to remain, and, as it
was still night, to attack the English
quarters. The plan succeeded. The
enemy, cantoned in careless security,
in the houses and hamlets round the
castle of Turnberry, were easily sur­
prised and put to the sword; while
Percy, hearing the tumult, and igno­
rant of the small number of the Scots,
did not dare to attempt a rescue, but
shutting himself up in the castle, left
a rich booty to the assailants, amongst
which were his war horses and his
household plate.1

There was a romantic interest about
Bruce’s fortunes, which had a power­
ful effect upon the female mind, and
the hero himself seems to have been
willing to avail himself of this in­
fluence.2 He had already received as­
sistance from the Countess of Buchan
and Christina of the Isles; and now,
on hearing of his success in Carrick,
he was joined by a lady, nearly related
to him, but whose name has been lost.
She brought him, however, a seasonable
supply of money and provisions, and a
reinforcement of forty men. From
her, too, he first learnt the miserable
fate of Seton, Athole, and the garri­
son of Kildrummie ; and, during the
recital, is said to have vowed deeply
that their deaths should not go unre-

Meanwhile his success spread a panic
among the English; for although Ayr
castle was in the hands of Edward,
neither its garrison nor that of Turn-
berry, under Percy, dared to make
head against him. At length, Sir
Roger St John marched from North­

1 Hemingford, vol. i. p. 225.
Barbour. p. 105, line 541.

umberland with a body of a thousand
men ; covered by this force, Henry
Percy, with the remains of his garrison,
evacuated Turnberry, and hurried into
England;3 whilst Bruce, unable to
oppose St John, retired into the moun­
tainous parts of Carrick. Here the
adventurous spirit of James Douglas
could not long remain inactive. He
knew that Lord Clifford, on whom
Edward had bestowed his hereditary
domain, held his castle of Douglas
with a strong garrison; and having
obtained the king’s permission, he
travelled in disguise into Douglasdale,
and, after carefully observing the
strength and position of the enemy,
discovered himself to Dickson, a faith­
ful servant, in whose house he lay
concealed. Here, night after night,
did his principal vassals assemble, re­
joiced again to find the son of their
old lord ; and thus, unknown to the
English, a little band of determined
foes was nursed amongst them, who
watched every step they took, and
were ready to fall upon them the first
moment that promised an advantage.
This soon presented itself. The garri­
son, on Palm Sunday, marched out to
the neighbouring church of St Bride,
leaving the castle undefended. Some
of Douglas’s followers, with concealed
arms, entered the church along with
them, and in a moment when they
least suspected, the English heard the
cry of “Douglas!” and found them­
selves attacked both from without and
within. After a stout resistance, and
much bloodshed, the church was won
and many prisoners taken. Having
thus cut off the garrison, Douglas first
plundered the castle of the arms and
valuables which could be carried off.
This done, he raised a huge pile of
the malt and corn which he found
in the stores, staved the casks of wine
and other liquors, and threw them on
the heap, after which he slew his
prisoners, and cast their dead bodies
on the pile. He then set fire to this
savage hecatomb, and consumed it and
the halls of his fathers in the blaze.4

3 Barbour, vol. i. p. 95. Trivet, p. 344.
Hume’s House of Douglas and Angus,
vol. i. pp. 50, 51. Barbour, pp. 100, 101.

98                                      HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. III.

This cruel transaction, which is said
to have been intended as a sacrifice to
the manes of his faithful servant Dick-
son, who was slain in the church, is
still remembered in the tradition of
the country by the name of the
Douglas’ Larder.

This success, however, was more
than balanced by a grievous disaster
which about this time befell Bruce.
He had despatched his brothers,
Thomas and Alexander, into Ireland,
where they had the good fortune to
collect a force of seven hundred men,
with which they crossed over to Loch
Ryan in Galloway. But their ap­
proach to the coast had been watched
by Macdowall, a chieftain of that
country, who was in the English
interest, and as they attempted to
make good a landing, he attacked, and
completely routed their little army.
Many perished in the sea, and the rest
were either slain or taken prisoners.
Of the prisoners, those of note were
Bruce’s brothers, Thomas and Alexan­
der, with Sir Reginald Crawford, who
were all grievously wounded. Mal­
colm Mackail, lord of Kantire, along
with two Irish reguli or chiefs, were
found amongst the slain. Macdowall,
with savage exultation, cut off their
heads, and presented them, and his
illustrious prisoners, bleeding and
almost dead, to the king at Carlisle.1
Edward commanded the two Bruces
and Crawford to be instantly executed.
Thus, within a few short months, had
the king to lament the cruel death of
three brothers, that of his dear friends,
Seton, Athole, and Fraser ; besides
the imprisonment of his queen and
his daughter.

Deprived of this reinforcement, the

Lord Hailes, vol. ii. p. 20, makes Barbour
say, that “about ten persons were made
prisoners in the chapel, whom Douglas put
to death.” I fear, from the expressions of
this historian, many more than ten persons
were slain in the Douglas’ Larder.

1 Math. Westminster, pp. 457, 458. Heming-
ford, p. 225. Langtoft, with less probability,
asserts that Macdowall surprised the two
Bruces and their soldiers, on Ash Wednesday,
when returning from church, vol. ii. p. 337.
The Macdowalls were anciently the most
powerful family in Galloway. In Dugdale’s Mo-
nasticon, vol. ii. p. 1057, we find Roland Mac-
dowall, in 1190, styled “Princeps Gallovidiæ.”

king began to be in great difficulties.
The English hotly pursued him, and
even had the meanness to lay plots
for his assassination, whilst the Galwe-
gians endeavoured to hunt him down
with bloodhounds.2 On one of these
occasions, when only sixty soldiers
were in his company, he made a nar­
row escape. It was near nightfall, when
his scouts informed him that a force of
two hundred soldiers were on the way
to attack them. He instantly crossed
a mountain river hard by, of which
the banks were steep and wooded, and
drew up his men in a swampy level
about two bowshots off. He then
commanded them to lie still, while he
and Sir Gilbert de la Haye went for­
ward to reconnoitre. The ground was
well fitted for defence. A steep path
led up from the brink of the river to
the summit of the bank, and Bruce
took his stand at the gorge, where
it was so narrow that the superior
numbers of the enemy gave them
little advantage. Here he listened for
some time, till at length the baying
of a hound told him of the approach
of the Galwegians ; and by the light
of the moon he could see their band
crossing the river, and pressing up
the path. He instantly despatched
De la Haye to rouse and bring up his
little force, whilst he remained alone
to defend the pass. The fierce moun­
taineers were soon upon him; hut,
although mounted and armed after
their own fashion, they stood little
chance against so powerful an adver­
sary as Bruce, clothed in steel, and
having the advantage of the ground.
One only could attack him at a time ;
and as he pressed boldly, but blindly
forward, he was transfixed in a mo­
ment by the spear; whilst his horse,
borne down to the earth, and instantly
stabbed, blocked up the path in such
a way that the next soldier must
charge over his body. He, too, with
many of his companions, successively,
but vainly, endeavoured to carry the
pass. They were met by the dreadful
sword of the king, which swept round
on every side. Numbers now fell, and
formed a ghastly barrier around him;
Barbour, pp. 108, 111.

1307.]                                        ROBERT BRUCE.                                               99

so that, on the approach of his men,
the Galwegians drew off, and gave up
the pursuit. When the soldiers came
up, they found Bruce wearied, but
unwounded, and sitting on a bank,
where he had cast off his helmet to
wipe his brow, and cool himself in the
night air. In this manner, partly by
his own valour, and partly from the
private information which he received
from those kindly disposed to him, he
escaped the various toils with which
he was beset; and as he still counted
amongst his party some of the bravest
and most adventurous soldiers in Scot­
land, it often happened, that when his
fortunes seemed sinking to the lowest
ebb, some auspicious adventure oc­
curred, which reanimated the hopes of
the party, and encouraged them to
persevere. The castle of Douglas had
been rebuilt by the English. It was
again attacked by its terrible master,
the “ Good Sir James; " and although
he failed in getting it into his hands,
its captain was slain and a great part
of its garrison put to the sword ;1 after
which, having heard that the Earl of
Pembroke, with a large force, was
marching against the king, who still
lay in the mountainous parts of Car-
rick, Douglas joined his sovereign, and
awaited their advance.

Bruce had now been well trained.
He was familiarly acquainted with
this partisan kind of warfare; and it
was his custom, when keenly pursued,
to make his soldiers disperse in small
companies, first appointing a place of
rendezvous, where they should reas­
semble when the danger was over.
Trusting to this plan, and to his own
personal courage and skill, he did not
hesitate, with only four hundred men,
to await the attack of Pembroke’s
army, which had been reinforced, by
John of Lorn, with eight hundred
Highlanders, familiar with war in a
mountainous country, and well trained
to act in the moors and morasses of
this wild region. Lorn is, moreover,
reported to have taken along with
him a large bloodhound, which had
once belonged to the king, and whose
instinctive attachment was thus meanly
Barbour, p. 122.

employed against its old master.2 The
Highland chief contrived so success­
fully to conceal his men, that Bruce,
whose attention was fixed chiefly on
Pembroke’s force, found his position
unexpectedly attacked by Lorn in the
rear, and by the English, with whom
was his own nephew, Randolph, in the
front. His brother, Edward Bruce,
and Sir James Douglas, were now with
him; and, after making head for a
short time, they divided their little
force into three companies, and dis­
persed amongst the mountains. He
trusted that he might thus have a fairer
chance of escape; but the bloodhound
instantly fell upon the track of the
king; and the treacherous Lorn with
his mountaineers had almost run him
down, when the animal was transfixed
by an arrow from one of the fugitives,
and Bruce with great difficulty escaped.3
In this pursuit, it is said, that with his
own hand he slew five of the enemy ;
which, as the men of Lorn were pro­
bably half-naked and ill-armed moun­
taineers, who had to measure weapons
with an adversary fully accoutred, and
of uncommon personal strength, is in
no respect unlikely to be true. Bruce,
however, had the misfortune to lose
his banner, which was taken by Ran­
dolph, then fighting in the ranks of the
English.4 It was an age of chivalrous
adventure; the circumstances in which
the king was placed when related even
in the simplest manner, are marked
by a deep and romantic interest; and,
renouncing everything in the narrative
of his almost contemporary biographer,
which looks like poetical embellish­
ment, the historian must be careful to
omit no event which is consistent with
the testimony of authentic writers,
with the acknowledged prowess of this
great man, and the character of the
times in which he lived.

Not long after this adventure, Bruce
attacked and put to the sword a party
of two hundred English soldiers, care­
lessly cantoned at a small distance from
the main army ; and the Earl of Pem­
broke, after an unsuccessful skirmish

2 Barbour, p. 124.

3 Ibid. pp. 129, 132.

4 Ibid.

100                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. III.

in Glentruel, where the wooded and
marshy nature of the country incapa­
citated his cavalry from acting with
effect, became disgusted with his ill
success, and retreated to Carlisle.1
The king instantly came down upon
the plains of Ayrshire—made himself
master of the strengths of the country
—and reduced the whole of Kyle,
Carrick, and Cunningham, to his
obedience ; while Sir James Douglas,
ever on the alert, attacked and dis­
comfited Sir Philip Mowbray,2 who,
with a thousand men, was marching
from Bothwell into Kyle, and with
difficulty escaped to the castle of In-
nerkip, then held by an English gar­
rison. By these fortunate events, the
followers of Bruce were inspired with
that happy confidence in his skill and
courage, which, even in the very dif­
ferent warfare of our own days, is one
principal cause of success; and he
soon found his little army reinforced
by such numbers, that he determined,
on the first opportunity, to try his
strength against the English in an open

Nor was this opportunity long of
presenting itself. The Earl of Pem­
broke in the beginning of May, and
soon after the defeat of Mowbray,
advanced, with a body of men-at-arms
into Ayrshire, and came up with the
enemy at Loudon Hill. It is said
that, in the spirit of the times, Pem­
broke challenged the Scottish king to
give him battle ; and that, having sent
word that he intended to march by
Loudon Hill, Bruce, who was then
with his little army at Galston, con­
ceiving the ground to be as favourable
as could be chosen, agreed to meet
him at Loudon Hill on the 10th of
May. The road, at that part of Lou-
don Hill where he determined to wait
the advance of the English, led through
a piece of dry level ground about five
hundred yards in breadth, which was
bounded on both sides by extensive
morasses; but, deeming that this open

1 Barbour, p. 149.

2 Ibid. vol. i. p. 153. Major, with more
probability, I think, calls him John Moubray.
In Rymer, we meet with a John, but not with
a Philip Moubray, amongst Edward’s barons.
Rymer. vol. i. p. 2, new edit. p. 066.

space would give the English cavalry
too much room to act, he took the
precaution to secure his flanks by
three parallel lines of deep trenches,
which he drew on either hand from
the morasses to the road, leaving an
interval sufficient for the movements
of a battalion of six hundred spear­
men, the whole available force which
Bruce could then bring into the field.
A rabble of ill-armed countrymen and
camp-followers were stationed, with
his baggage, in the rear.3 Early in
the morning, the king, who was on
the watch, descried the advance of
Pembroke, whose force he knew
amounted to three thousand cavalry.
Their appearance, with the sun gleam­
ing upon the coat armour of the
knights, the steel harness of the horses,
and the pennons and banners of va­
rious colours, waving above the wood
of spears, was splendid and imposing
contrasted with Bruce’s small force.4
Yet, confident in the strength of his
position, he calmly awaited their at­
tack. The result entirely justified his
expectations, and proved how dreadful
a weapon the long Scottish spear
might be made, when skilfully di­
rected and used against cavalry. Pem­
broke had divided his force into two
lines; and, by his orders, the first
line put their spears in rest, and
charged the battalion of the Scots at
full gallop. But they made no im­
pression. The Scottish soldiers stood
perfectly firm; many of the English
were unhorsed and slain; and, in a
short time, the first division, thrown
into disorder, fell back upon the se­
cond, which in its turn, as the Scots
steadily advanced with their extended
spears, began to waver, to break, and
at last to fly. Bruce was not slow to
follow up his advantage, and com­
pletely dispersed the enemy, but with­
out much slaughter or many prisoners,
the Scots having no force in cavalry.
The victory, however, had the best
effect. Pembroke retired to the castle
of Ayr. The Scottish army acquired

3 The account of this battle is taken en­
tirely from Barbour, p. 155. The English
historians all allow that Pembroke was beaten,
but give no particulars.

4 Barbour, p. 157.

1307-8.]                                      ROBERT BRUCE.                                           101

additional confidence; its ranks were
every day recruited; and, awaking
from their foolish dreams of confidence
and superiority, the English began to
feel and to dread the great military
talents which the king had acquired
during the constant perils to which he
had been exposed. Only three days
after the retreat of Pembroke, he at­
tacked, and with great slaughter de­
feated, Ralph Monthermer, earl of Glou­
cester, another of Edward’s captains,
whom he so hotly pursued, that he
compelled him to shut himself up in
the castle of Ayr, to which he imme­
diately laid siege.1 These repeated
successes greatly incensed Edward;
and, although much debilitated by
illness, he summoned his whole mili­
tary vassals to meet him at Carlisle,
three weeks after the Feast of John
the Baptist, and determined to march
in person against his enemies. Per­
suading himself that the virulence of
his disease was abated, he offered up
the litter, in which hitherto he had
been carried, in the cathedral at Car­
lisle, and mounting on horseback, pro­
ceeded with his army towards Scot­
land. But his strength rapidly sunk.
In four days he proceeded only six
miles; and, after reaching the small
village of Burgh-upon-Sands, he ex­
pired on the 7th of July 1307,2 leav­
ing the mighty projects of his ambi­
tion, and the uneasy task of opposing
Bruce, to a successor whose character
was in every way the opposite of his
father’s. The last request of the dy­
ing monarch was characteristic. He
commanded that his heart should be
conveyed to Jerusalem, and that his
body, after having been reduced to a
skeleton, by a process which, if we
may credit Froissart, the king himself
described,3 should be carried along

1 Scala Chronica, p. 132. Math. Westmin­
ster, p. 458. Trivet, p. 346. Hemingford, vol.
i. p. 237.

2  Rymer, Foed. p. 1018, vol. i. part ii. new
edit. Prynne’s Ed. I. p. 1202.

3  Froissart, vol. i. chap, xxvii. When
dying he made his eldest son be called, and
caused him, in the presence of his barons,
and invoking all the saints, to swear that, as
soon as he was dead, he would boil his body
in a caldron, till the flesh was separated from
the bones, after which he should bury the

with the army into Scotland, there to
remain unburied till that devoted
country was entirely subdued.

Edward the Second, who succeeded
to the crown of England in his twenty-
fourth year, was little calculated to
carry into effect the mighty designs
of his predecessor. His character was
weak, irresolute, and headstrong; and
the first steps which he took evinced
a total want of respect for the dying
injunctions of his father. He com­
mitted his body to the royal sepulchre
at Westminster; he recalled from ban­
ishment Piers Gaveston, his profligate
favourite; and after receiving at Rox­
burgh the homage of some of the Scot­
tish barons in the interest of England,
he pushed forward as far as Cumnock,
on the borders of Ayrshire—appointed
the Earl of Pembroke Guardian of
Scotland — and, without striking a
blow, speedily returned into his own

Upon the retreat of the English, the
king and his brother, Sir Edward
Bruce, at the head of a powerful army,
broke in upon Galloway, and com­
manded the inhabitants to rise and
join his banner. Where this order
was disobeyed, the lands were given
up to military execution; and Bruce,
who had not forgotten the defeat and
death of his two brothers by the men
of this wild district, laid waste the
country with fire and sword, and per­
mitted every species of plunder,5 in a
flesh, but keep the bones ; and as often as
the Scots rose in rebellion against him, he
should assemble his army, and carry with
him the bones of his father.

4 Hemingford. p. 238, vol. i. Tyrrel, vol.
iii. p. 224, On Edward’s coming to Carlisle,
he was met by Patrick, earl of Dunbar, who
swore homage to him. Tyrrel is in a mistake
in saying he quitted King Robert’s interest.
He had never joined it. Hemingford errone-
ously states that Edward only advanced to
Roxburgh, and then returned. After the
death of Edward the First, we unfortunately
lose the valuable and often characteristic his­
torian, Peter Langtoft, as translated by Ro­
bert de Brunne, one of Hearne’s valuable
publications. Edward the Second was, on
6th August, at Dumfries; on 28th August, at
Cumnock ; on 30th, same month, at Tinwalcl
and Dalgarnock. On his return south, on
4th September, at Carlisle; on 6th, at I3owes
in Yorkshire.

5 Chron. Lanercost. pp. 210, 212. Rymer,
Fœdera, vol. iii. p. 14.

102                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. III.

spirit of cruel, but, according to the
sentiments of that age, not unnatural

Governed by caprice, and perpe­
tually changing his councils, the King
of England removed Pembroke from
the guardianship of Scotland, and in
his place appointed John de Bretagne,
earl of Richmond, and nephew of the
late king.1 Full power was intrusted
to him over all ranks of persons; the
sheriffs of Northumberland, Cumber­
land, Westmoreland, and Lancashire,
were commanded to assemble the whole
military force of their respective coun­
ties, under the orders of the guardian;
the Earl of Dunbar, Robert de Keith,
Alexander de Abernethy, and several
other powerful barons, as well English
as Scottish, were enjoined to march
along with the English army, and to
rescue Galloway from the ravages of
Bruce; while orders were issued to the
sheriffs of London for the transporting
to Berwick the provisions, military
stores, and arms requisite for the
troops, with certain large cross-bows,
called balistœ de turno, employed in the
attack and defence of fortified places.2

At the head of this army, the Earl
of Richmond attacked Bruce, and com­
pelled him to retreat to the north of
Scotland.3 His brother, Edward Bruce,
the Earl of Lennox, Sir Gilbert de la
Haye, and Sir Robert Boyd, accom­
panied the king, but Sir James Dou­
glas remained in the south, for the
purpose of reducing the forest of Sel­
kirk and Jedburgh.4 On reaching the
Mounth, the name anciently given to
that part of the Grampian chain which

1 Fœdera, vol. iii. p. 10.

2 Ibid. pp. 14, 16.

3 An anonymous MS. Chronicle, quoted by
Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 225, asserts that John of
Bretagne, with an army, attacked King Ro­
bert about Martinmas, put his forces to flight,
and compelled him to retreat to the bogs and
mountains. No other English historian, how­
ever, records this defeat, and neither Barbour
nor Fordun say a word of the matter. Ker
plausibly conjectures that Robert only re­
treated before an army greatly superior to
his own; and Barbour represents the king’s
expedition into the north, not as the conse­
quence of any defeat, but as the result of a
plan for the reduction of the northern parts
of Scotland.

4 Barbour, p. 162.

extends from the borders of the dis­
trict called the Mearns to Loch Ran-
nach, Bruce was joined by Sir Alexander
Fraser, along with his brother, with all
their power; and from them he learnt
that Comyn, the Earl of Buchan, with
his own nephew, Sir David de Brechin,
and Sir John Mowbray, were assem­
bling their vassals, and had determined
to attack him. This news was the
more unwelcome, as a grievous dis­
temper began at this time to prey
upon the king, depriving him of his
strength and appetite, and for a time
leaving little hopes of his recovery.
As the soldiers of Bruce were greatly
dispirited at the sickness of the king,
Edward, his brother, deemed it pru­
dent to avoid a battle, and entrenched
himself in a strong position near Slaines,
on the north coast of Aberdeenshire.

After some slight skirmishes be­
tween the archers of both armies,
which ended in nothing decisive, pro­
visions began to fail; and as the troops
of Buchan daily increased, the Scots
retired to Strabogy, carrying their king,
who was still too weak to mount his
horse, in a litter.5 From this last sta­
tion, as their royal charge began slowly
to recover his strength, the Scots re­
turned to Inverury; while the Earl of
Buchan, with a body of about a thou­
sand men, advanced to Old Meldrum,
and Sir David de Brechin pushed on
with a small party, and suddenly at­
tacked and put to flight some of Ro­
bert's soldiers, carelessly cantoned in
the outskirts of the town.6 Bruce
took this as a military affront, and
instantly rising from his litter, called
for his horse and arms. His friends
remonstrated, but the king mounted
on horseback, and although so weak
as to be supported by two men on
each side, he led on his soldiers in
person, and instantly attacking the
Earl of Buchan with great fury,7 routed
and dispersed his army, pursuing them

5 Barbour, pp. 170,171.

6 Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1004. Bar­
bour, p. 172. It is said that the town of In­
verury received its charter as a royal burgh
from the king after this victory. Stat. Acc.
vol. vii. p. 331.

7 Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. ut supra. Bar­
bour, p. 174.

1308.]                                         ROBERT BRUCE.                                            103

as far as Fivy, on the borders of Buchan.
Brechin fled to Angus, and shut him­
self up in his own castle of Brechin,
which was soon after besieged and
taken by the Earl of Athole, whose
father had been executed in England.
Into Buchan, the territory of Comyn,
his mortal enemy, Bruce now marched,
and took ample revenge for all the
injuries he had sustained, wasting it
with fire, and delivering it over to un­
bridled military execution. Barbour
informs us, that for fifty years after,
men spoke with terror of the harrying
of Buchan ;
and it is singular that, at
this day, the oaks which are turned up
in the mosses bear upon their trunks
the blackened marks of being scathed
with fire.1

The army of the king now rapidly
increased, as his character for success
and military talent became daily more
conspicuous. His nephew, Sir David
de Brechin, having been pardoned and
admitted to favour, joined him about
this time with his whole force; and
pursuing his advantage, he laid siege
to the castle of Aberdeen.2 Edward
was now at Windsor, and, alarmed at
such progress, he despatched an expe­
dition to raise the siege of Aberdeen,
and commanded the different seaports
to fit out a fleet, which should co-
operate with his land forces. But
these preparations were too late; for
the citizens of Aberdeen, who had early
distinguished themselves in the war of
liberty, and were warmly attached to
the cause, encouraged by the presence
of the royal army, and assisted by some
of its best leaders, assaulted and car­
ried the castle by storm, expelled the
English, and levelled the fortifications
with the ground.

From Aberdeen the king held his
victorious progress into Angus; and
here new success awaited him, in the
capture of the castle of Forfar, at this
time strongly garrisoned by the Eng­
lish. It was taken by escalade during
the night, by a soldier named Philip,

1  Statistical Account, vol. xi. p. 420.

2  The battle of Inverury was fought on the
22d May 1308, and Edward’s letter for the
relief of Aberdeen is dated the 10th July 1308.
Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 55.

the forester of Platane, who put all
the English to the sword; and the
king, according to his usual policy,
instantly commanded the fortifications
to be destroyed.3

The vicinity of Bruce’s army now
threatened the important station of
Perth; and the English king, in un-
dissembled alarm, wrote to the citizens,
extolling their steady attachment to
his interest, and commanding them to
fortify their town against his enemies.4
Ever varying in his councils, Edward
soon after this dismissed the Earl of
Richmond from his office of Governor
of Scotland, and appointed in his place,
as joint guardians, Robert de Umfra-
ville, earl of Angus, William de Ross
of Hamlake, and Henry de Beaumont.5
John Comyn, earl of Buchan, and
various other Scottish barons still at­
tached to the English interest, were
commanded to retain the charge of
the various districts already intrusted
to their care; and in order to encourage
them in their attachment, the king
intimated his intention of leading an
army into Scotland in the month of
August, and directed his chamberlain,
Cotesbache, to lay in provisions for
the troops; but the intended expedi­
tion never proceeded further. The
orders to Cotesbache, which are con­
tained in the Fœdera, acquaint us with
an early source of Scottish wealth.
Three thousand salted salmon were to
be furnished to the army.6

Satisfied for the present with his
northern successes, Bruce despatched
his brother Edward into Galloway.
This district continued obstinately to
resist his authority, and was at present
occupied by the English troops under
the command of Sir Ingelram de Urn­

3 Barbour, p. 175. This is the same as the
forest of Plater. It was not far from Fin-
haven ; and the office of forester proves Philip
to have been a man of some consequence, as,
by a charter of Robert II., we find a grant of
the lands of Fothnevyn (Finhaven) to Alex­
ander de Lindesay, with the office of forester
of the forest of Plater, which David de Annand
resigned. Alexander de Lindesay was a baron
of a noble family. Jamieson’s Notes to the
Bruce, p. 443.

4 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 56.

5 Ibid.

6 Fœdera, vol. iii. p. 95.

104                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. III.

fraville, a Scottish baron, who, in
1305, had embraced the English
interest,1 and Sir John de St John.
Umfraville and St John, assisted by
Donegal, or Dougal,2 probably the
same powerful chieftain who, in a
former year, had defeated Bruce’s
brothers, collected a force of twelve
hundred men, and encountered Ed­
ward Bruce at the Water of Crie.
The English and the Galwegians,
however, were unable to withstand
the attack of the Scots. Their ranks
were immediately thrown into con­
fusion, two hundred were left dead on
the field, and the rest dispersed
amongst the mountains; while Umfra-
ville, with his companion St John, with
difficulty escaped to Butel, a castle on
the sea-coast of Galloway.3

After this successful commence­
ment, Edward Bruce overran the
country, compelled the inhabitants to
swear allegiance to his brother, levied
heavy contributions, and had already
taken and destroyed many of the
castles of that wild district, when he
received intelligence that John de St
John was again in Galloway, at the
head of fifteen hundred men. Upon
his near approach, Bruce discovered,
by his scouts, that it was the design
of the English to make a forced march,
and attack him by surprise. The
courage of this brave soldier, border­
ing on temerity, now impelled him to
an attempt, which many would have

1  Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 56.

2  It seems probable that Donegal, Dongall,
Donald, and Dougal are all the same name.
These Macdowalls were probably descended
from the Lords of the Isles, who were Lords
of Galloway ; and the bitter hatred which
they seem to have entertained against Bruce,
originated in all probability from the circum­
stance, that David the youngest son of Mal­
colm III., when he possessed Northumber­
land, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and the
whole of Scotland south of the Forth and the
Clyde, except the earldom of Dunbar, be­
stowed the heiress of Ananderdale, in Gallo­
way, upon Robert de Brus, a Norman baron,
and the ancestor of the royal family. The king­
dom of Galloway contained Ananderdale and
Carrick ; and hence these proud Galwegian
princes considered the Bruces from the first
as strangers and intruders, who had wrested
from them part of their hereditary dominions.
See Macpherson’s Geographical Illustrations
of Scottish History, sub voce Galloway.

3  Ker’s Bruce, vol. i. p. 345.

pronounced desperate. He stationed
his foot soldiers in a straight valley,
strongly fortified by nature,4 and,
early in the morning, under the cover
of a thick mist, with fifty knights and
gentlemen, well armed and mounted,
he made a retrograde movement,
and gained the rear of the English,
without being perceived by them.
Following their line of march about a
bow­shot off, his intention seems to
have been, to have allowed St John to
attack his infantry, and then to have
charged them in the rear; but before
this could be effected, the mist sud­
denly cleared away, and Bruce’s little
party were discovered when retreat
was impossible. In this desperate
situation, Edward hesitated not to
charge the English, which he did with
so much fury, that their ranks were
shaken, and many of their cavalry
unhorsed. Before they could recover
so far as to discern the insignificant
numbers of their enemy, he made a
second, and soon after a third charge,
so sharp and well sustained, that the
confusion became general and irretriev­
able; and believing, probably, that
the Scottish troop was only the ad­
vance of a greater force, the English
broke away in a panic, and were en­
tirely routed. Sir Alan de Cathcart,
one of Edward Bruce’s companions in
this spirited enterprise, recounted the
particulars to Barbour, the affectionate
biographer of Bruce, who characterises
it in simple but energetic language as
a right fair point of chivalry.5 This,
however, was not the only success.
Donald of the Isles collecting a large
force of his Galwegian infantry, and,
assisted by Sir Roland of Galloway,6

4 “ His small folk gait he ilk deil,

Withdraw thaim till a strait tharby,
And he raid furth with his fifty.”

—Barbour, p. 183.
“ Withdraw thaim till a strait tharby.” Lord
Hailes, and Ker, p. 346, from this expression,
conclude that Bruce made his infantry cast
up intrenchments. But for this there is no
authority. He ordered his men merely to
withdraw into a strait, or, in other words,
made them take up a position in narrow

5 Barbour, p. 183.

6“Quendam militem nomine Rolandum.’
In Rymer, vol. i. new edition, part ii. p. 772,
we find mention made of Rolandus Galwalen-

1308.]                                    ROBERT BRUCE,                                      105

and other fierce chiefs of that district,
made head against the royalists; but
Edward Bruce, flushed with his recent
victories, encountered them on the
banks of the Dee, dispersed their army,
with the slaughter of Roland and
many of the chiefs, and in the pursuit
took prisoner the Prince of the Isles,1
This defeat, which happened on the
29th of June 1308, led to the entire
expulsion of the English. It is said
that in a single year this ardent and
indefatigable captain besieged and
took thirteen castles and inferior
strengths in Galloway, and completely
reduced the country under the domi­
nion of the king.2

During these repeated victories of
his brother, Bruce received intelli­
gence that his indefatigable partisan,
Sir James Douglas, having cut off the
garrison of Douglas castle, which he
had decoyed into an ambuscade, had
slain the governor, Sir John de Webe-
ton, compelled the castle to surrender,
and entirely destroyed the fortifica­
tions.3 Douglas soon after reduced to
obedience the forests of Selkirk and
Jedburgh; and during his warfare in
those parts had the good fortune to
surprise and take prisoners, Thomas
Randolph, the kings nephew, and
Alexander Stewart of Bonkill, both
of whom were still attached to the
English interest.4 Douglas, to whom
Stewart was nearly related, treated
his noble prisoners with kindness, and
soon after conducted Randolph to the
king. “Nephew,” said Bruce, “you
have for a while forgotten your alle­
giance, but now you must be recon­
ciled.” “ I have been guilty of no­
thing whereof I need be ashamed,”
answered Randolph. “You arraign
my conduct; it is yourself who ought
to be arraigned. Since you have
chosen to defy the King of England,
why is it that you debate not the

sis Dominus. This Roland may have been
the grandson of Roland, prince of Galloway.

Fordun a Hearne, p. 1005.

2 Barbour, p. 186.

3 Barbour, pp. 163, 104. I conjecture that
the baron, whom Barbour calls Sir John of
Webeton, was Johannes de Wanton, one of
Edward’s barons, mentioned in Rymer, vol. i.
p. 630, new edition.

4 Barbour, pp. 187, 188.

matter like a true knight, in a pitched
field?” “That,” said Bruce, with
great calmness, “ may come hereafter,
and it may be ere long. Meantime,
since thou art so rude of speech, it is
fitting thy proud words meet their due
punishment, till thou knowest better
my right and thine own duty.” Hav­
ing thus spoken, he ordered Randolph
into close confinement.5 It is pleasing
to know that this lesson had its effect;
for, after a short imprisonment, the
young baron joined the party of the
king, who created him Earl of Moray.
Nor had he any reason to repent his
forgiveness or generosity. Randolph
soon displayed high talents for war ;
he became one of the most illustrious
of Bruce’s assistants in the liberation
of his country, and ever after served
his royal master with unshaken fidel-

The king had never forgotten the
attack made upon him by the Lord of
Lorn, soon after the defeat at Meth-
ven, and he was now able to requite
that fierce chief for the extremities to
which he had then reduced him.
Accordingly, after the junction of
Douglas with his veteran soldiers, he
invaded the territory of Lorn, and
arrived at a narrow and dangerous
pass, which runs along the bottom of
Cruachin Ben, a high and rugged
mountain between Loch Awe and
Loch Etive. The common people of
Scotland were now, without much
exception, on the side of Bruce; and
although, in many districts, when
kept down by their lords, they dared
not join him openly, yet in conveying
intelligence of the motions and inten­
tions of his enemies, they were of
essential service to the cause. In this
manner he seems to have been in­
formed that an ambuscade had been
laid for him by the men of Lorn, in
the Pass of Cruachin Ben, through
which he intended to march. The
Lord of Lorn himself remained with
his galleys in Loch Etive, and waited
the result. The nature of the ground
was highly favourable for this design
of Lorn ; but it was entirely defeated
by the dispositions of Bruce. Having
Barbour, p. 189.

106                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. III.

divided his army into two parts, he
ordered Douglas, along with one divi­
sion, consisting entirely of archers,
who were lightly armed, to make a
circuit round the mountain, and to
take possession of the rugged high
ground above the Highlanders. Along
with Douglas were Sir Andrew Gray,
Sir Alexander Fraser, and Sir William
Wiseman. This manoeuvre was exe­
cuted with complete success; and the
king, having entered the pass, was,
in its narrow gorge, immediately
attacked by the men of Lorn, who,
with loud shouts, hurled down stones
upon him, and after discharging their
missiles, rushed on to a nearer at­
tack. But their opponents, whose sol­
diers were light-armed, and prepared
for what occurred, met his enemies
more than half-way; and, not content
with receiving their charge, assaulted
them with great fury. Meanwhile
Douglas had gained the high ground,
and discharging a shower of arrows,
attacked the Highlanders in the rear,
and threw them into complete dis­
order. After a stout resistance, the
men of Lorn were defeated with great
slaughter; and their chief, the Lord
of Lorn, had the mortification, from
his galleys, to be an eye-witness of the
utter rout of his army.1

He immediately fled to his castle
of Dunstaffnage; and Bruce, after
having ravaged the territory of Lorn,
and delivered it to indiscriminate
plunder, laid close siege to this palace
of the Island Prince, which was
strongly situated upon the sea-coast.
In a short time the Lord of Lorn
surrendered his castle, and swore hom­
age to the king; but his son, John of
Lorn, fled to his ships, and continued
in the service of England.2

Whilst everything went thus suc­
cessfully in the field, the Scottish king
derived great advantage from the fluc-

1 Barbour, pp. 191,192. 23d August 1308.

2 Ibid. p. 192. Fordun a Hearne, p. 1005.
Fordun says that Alexander of Argyle fled to
England, where he soon after died, and Lord
Hailes follows his narrative ; but it is contra­
dicted by Barbour, who is an earlier authority
than Fordun. John of Argyle was with his
men and his ships in the service of Edward
the Second on 4th October 1308. Rotuli
Scotiæ, m. 13, p. 58.

tuating and capricious line of policy
which was pursued by his opponent.
In less than a year Edward appointed
six different governors in Scotland;3
and to none of these persons, however
high their talents, was there afforded
sufficient time to organise, or carry
into effect, any regular plan of military
operations. His enemy, on the other
hand, betrayed no want of activity,
and about this time laid siege to
Rutherglen, in Clydesdale—a castle
considered of such importance by Ed­
ward that he despatched Gilbert de
Clare, earl of Gloucester, with a strong
force, to raise the siege; but either
the expedition never departed, or it
was too late in its arrival; for Ruther-
glen, in the beginning of the next year,
appears to have been one of the castles
in the hands of the Scots.4 Indeed,
Edward’s measures seem to have
mostly evaporated in orders and pre­
parations, whilst he himself, occupied
with the pleasures of the court, and
engrossed by his infatuated fondness
for his favourite, Piers Gaveston,
dreamt little of taking the field.
Alarmed at last by the near approach
of the Scottish army to the English
border, he consented to accept the
mediation of Philip, king of France,
Who despatched Oliver de Roches to
treat with Bruce, and Lamberton,
bishop of St Andrews, upon measures
preparatory to a reconciliation. This
able and intriguing prelate, on renew­
ing his homage to the English king,
had been liberated from his impri­
sonment, and permitted to return
to Scotland; but his fellow-prisoner.
Wishart, the bishop of Glasgow, con­
sidered too devoted to his country,
was still kept in close confinement.
De Roches’ negotiation was soon fol­
lowed by the arrival of the king’s
brother, Lewis, count of Evreux, and
Guy, bishop of Soissons, as ambassa­
dors, earnestly persuading to peace;
commissioners from both countries
were in consequence appointed, and a
truce was concluded, which, if we

3 Rymer, Fœdera, vol. iii. pp. 94, 160, 161.
This last deed ought to have been dated 16th
August 1308, instead of 1309.

4 Rotuli Scotiæ, m. 12, p. 60. See Notes
and Illustrations, letter Z.

1308-11.]                                    ROBERT BRUCE.                                           107

may believe Edward, was ill observed
by the Scots.1 A trifling discovery
of an intercepted letter clearly shewed
that the King of France secretly fa­
voured the Scottish king. The Sieur
de Varrennes, Philip’s ambassador at
the English court, openly sent a letter
to Bruce under the title of the Earl
of Carrick; but he intrusted to the
same bearer secret despatches, which
were addressed to the King of Scots.
Edward dissembled his indignation,
and contented himself with a com­
plaint against the duplicity of such

Nearly a whole year after this ap­
pears to have been spent by this
monarch in a vacillating and contradic­
tory policy with regard to Scotland,
which was calculated to give every
advantage to so able an adversary as
Bruce. Orders for the muster of his
army, which were disobeyed by some
of his most powerful barons—commis­
sions to his generals to proceed against
his enemies, which were counter­
manded, or never acted upon—pro­
mises to take the field in person,
which were broken almost as soon as
made—directions, at one time, to his
lieutenant in Scotland to prosecute
the war with the greatest vigour, and
these in a few days succeeded by a
command to conclude, and even, if
required, to purchase a truce ;3—such
is the picture of the imbecility of the
English king, as presented by the pub­
lic records of the time.

To this everything in Scotland of­
fered a striking contrast. Towards
the end of the year 1309, on the 24th
February, the prelates and clergy of
Scotland held a general council at
Dundee, and declared that Robert,
lord of Annandale, the competitor,
ought, by the ancient laws and cus­
toms of that country, to have been
preferred to Baliol in the competi-

1 Rymer, vol. iii. p. 147, 30th July 1309.
Tyrrel asserts, vol. iii. p. 235, that th.e Scots
broke the truce at the instigation of the King
of France, but does not give his authority.

2 Rymer, vol. iii. p. 150. The King of
France himself, in writing to Edward, speaks
of the “ King of Scots and his subjects.”
Fœdera, vol. iii. p. 215.

3 Hemingford, vol. i. p. 246. Rotuli Scotiœ,
vol. i. p. 71.

tion for the crown; for which reason,
they unanimously recognised Robert
Bruce, then reigning, as their lawful
sovereign. They engaged to defend
his right, with the liberties and inde-
pendence of Scotland, against all oppo­
nents ; and they declared all who
should contravene the same to be
guilty of treason against the king and
the nation.4 It seems probable that
these resolutions of the clergy were
connected wùth the deliberations of a
parliament which assembled at the
same time, and in which an instru­
ment of similar import was drawn up
and signed by the two remaining
Estates, although no record of such
proceedings remains. These solemn
transactions gave strength to the title
of Bruce, and increased a popularity
which was already great. The spirit
of the king had infused itself into the
nobility, and pervaded the lowest
ranks of the people—that feeling of
superiority, which a great military
commander invariably communicates
to his soldiers, evinced itself in con­
stant and destructive aggressions upon
the English marches ; and upon the
recall of the Earl of Hereford and
Lord Robert Clifford from the interior
of Scotland, they were necessitated to
advance a sum of money before their
enemies would consent to a truce.5
On the resumption of hostilities,
Bruce advanced upon Perth, and
threatened it with a siege. This town
had been strongly fortified by the
English, and was intrusted to John
Fitz-Marmaduke and a powerful gar­
rison. Edward was at last roused
into personal activity. He ordered a
fleet to sail to the Tay—he issued
writs for levies of troops for its instant
relief 6—and he commanded his whole
military vassals to assemble at Ber­
wick on the 8th of September, to pro­
ceed immediately against his enemies.
Disgusted with the presence of his
favourite, Gaveston, some of the great

4 Instrument in the General Register House,

5 Hemingford, ut supra. Rotuli Scotiæ,
vol. i. p. 80. The truce was to last till Christ­
mas, and was afterwards prolonged till Mid­
summer. Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 235.

6 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. pp. 83, 84.

108                                     HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                     [Chap. III.

barons refused to repair in person to
the royal standard; yet a powerful
army assembled, and the Earls of
Gloucester and Warrene, Lord Henry
Percy, Lord James Clifford, and many
other nobles and barons, were in the
field.1 With this great force, Edward,
in the end of autumn, invaded Scot­
land; and Bruce, profiting by the
lessons of former years, and recollect­
ing the disastrous defeats of Falkirk
and Dunbar, avoided a battle. It
happened that Scotland was this year
visited by a famine unprecedentedly
severe; and the king, after driving
away the herds and flocks into the
narrow straits and valleys, retired, on
the approach of the English, to the
woods, and patiently awaited the
distress which he knew the scarcity
of forage and provisions must entail
upon the enemy. The English king
marched on from Roxburgh, through
the forests of Selkirk and Jedburgh
to Biggar, looking in vain for an oppo­
nent. From this he penetrated to
Renfrew,2 and, with a weak and in­
judicious vengeance, burnt and laid
waste the country, so that the heavy-
armed cavalry, which formed the
strength of his army, soon began to
be in grievous distress; and, without
a single occurrence of moment, he was
compelled to order a retreat, and
return to Berwick, where he spent the
winter. Upon the retreat of the Eng­
lish, Bruce and his soldiers, leaving
their fastnesses, broke down upon
Lothian;3 and Edward, hearing of
the reappearance of his enemies, with
a great part of his forces again entered
Scotland; but this second expedition
concluded in the same unsatisfactory
manner ; whilst a third army, equally
formidable in its numbers and equip­
ment, which was intrusted to his
favourite, the Earl of Cornwall, pene­
trated across the Firth of Forth,
advanced to Perth, and for some time
anxiously endeavoured to find an

1 Hemingford, vol. i. p. 247.
Ker is in an error in asserting that there is
no evidence of Edward’s having penetrated to
Renfrew. The proof is in the Rotuli Scotiæ,
vol. i. p. 103.

3 Chron. Lanercost, p. 214.

enemy;4 but the Scots pursued their
usual policy, and Gaveston returned
with the barren glory of having
marched over a country where there
was no one to oppose him.5 A fourth
expedition, conducted by the Earls of
Gloucester and Surrey, penetrated
into Scotland by a different route,
marched into the forest of Selkirk,
and again reduced that province under
a short-lived obedience to England.6

On the return of the English king
to London, Robert collected an army,
and gratified his soldiers, who had so
long smarted under oppression, by an
invasion of that country on the side of
the Solway, in which he burnt and
plundered the district round Gillsland,
ravaged Tynedale, and, after eight
days’ havoc, returned with much booty
into Scotland. Edward, in a letter to
the Pope, complained in bitter terms
of the merciless spirit evinced by the
Scottish army during this invasion ;7
but we must recollect that this cruel
species of warfare was characteristic
of the age; and in Robert, whose
personal injuries were so deep and
grievous, who had seen the captivity
of his queen and only child, and the
death and torture of his dearest rela­
tives and friends, we are not to be
surprised if, in those dark days, re­
venge became a pleasure, and retalia­
tion a duty. Not satisfied with this,
and aware that the English king was
exclusively engaged in contentions
with his barons, Bruce and his army,
in the beginning of September, again
entered England by the district of
Redesdale, carried fire and sword
through that country as far as Cor-
bridge, then broke with much fierce­
ness and rapacity into Tynedale,8
ravaged the bishopric of Durham,
and, after levying contributions for
fifteen days, and enriching themselves

4  Chron. Lanercost, p. 214, ut supra.
Hemingford, vol. i. p. 248.

6 Chron. de Lanercost, ut supra. Lord
Hailes, vol. ii. 4to, p. 31, has omitted these
three last-mentioned expeditions.

7  Fœdera, vol. iii. p. 284. The expedition,
according to the Chronicle of Lanercost, p.
216, took place in the middle of August.

8 Edward, in his epistle to the Pope, com­
pares them to foxes. Rymer’s Fœdera, vol.
iii. p. 283. “ Ad instar vulpium.”

1311-12.]                                   ROBERT BRUCE.                                            109

with spoils and captives, marched
back without opposition into Scot­
land.1 The miseries suffered from
these invasions, and the defenceless
state of the frontier, induced the
people of Northumberland and the
lord marchers to purchase a short
truce from the Scottish king,—a cir­
cumstance strongly indicative of the
increasing imbecility of the English

On his return, Bruce determined to
besiege Perth, and sat down before it;
but, owing to the strength of the for­
tifications, it defied for six weeks all
the efforts of his army. It had been
intrusted to the command of William
01ifant, an Anglicised Scot, to whom
Edward, in alarm for so important a
post, had promised to send speedy
succour;3 but a stratagem of the
king’s, well planned and daringly exe­
cuted, gave Perth into the hands of
the Scots before such assistance could
arrive. The care of Edward the First
had made Perth a place of great
strength. It was fortified by a high
wall, defended at intervals by stone
towers, and surrounded by a broad
deep moat full of water. Bruce, hav­
ing carefully observed the place where
the fosse was shallowest, provided
scaling ladders, struck his tents, and
raised the siege. He then marched to
a considerable distance, and having
cheated the garrison into insecurity
by an absence of eight days, he sud­
denly returned during the night, and
reached the walls undiscovered by the
enemy. The king in person led his
soldiers across the moat, bearing a
ladder in his hand, and armed at all
points. The water reached his throat;
but he felt his way with his spear,
waded through in safety, and was the
second person who fixed his ladder
and mounted the wall. A little inci­
dent, related by Barbour, evinces the
spirit which the example communi­
cated to his companions, and the com­
parative poverty of the Scottish towns

1 Fœdera, vol. iii. p. 283. Fordun a Hearne,
vol. iv. p. l006.

2 Chron. Lanercost, pp. 216, 217.

3 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 105. 9th October

in those times. A French knight was
present in the Scottish army, and ob­
serving the intrepidity with which
Bruce led his soldiers, he exclaimed,
“ What shall we say of our French
lords, who live at ease in the midst of
feasting, wassail, and jollity, when so
brave a knight is here putting his life
in hazard to win a miserable ham-
let!4” So saying, he threw himself
into the water with the gay valour of
his nation, and having passed the
ditch, scaled the walls along with the
king and his soldiers. So complete
was the surprise, that the town was
almost instantly taken. Every Scots­
man who had joined the English in­
terest was put to the sword, but the
English garrison were spared,5 and the
king contented himself with the plun­
der of the place and the total demoli­
tion of its fortifications.

In the midst of these continued
successes of Bruce, the measures of
the English king presented a striking
contrast to the energetic administra­
tion of his father. They were entirely
on the defensive. He gave orders,
indeed, for the assembling of an army,
and made promises and preparations
for an invasion of Scotland. But the
orders were recalled, and Edward, en­
grossed by disputes with his barons,
took no decided part against the ene­
my. He wrote, however, to the dif­
ferent English governors of the few
remaining castles in Scotland, who
had represented their incapacity of
standing out against the attacks of
the Scots without a reinforcement of
men, money, and provisions;6 he
directed flattering letters to John of
Argyle, the island prince, praising him
for the annoyance which his fleet had
occasioned to Bruce, and exhorting
him to continue his services during
the winter ; and he entreated the
Pope to retain Wishart, bishop of
Glasgow, as a false traitor and an

4 Barbour, vol. i. p. 177.

5 Chron. Lanercost, pp. 221, 222. Such is
the account in the above MS. Chronicle ; but
Fordun a Hearne, p. 1006, affirms that both
Scots and English were put to the sword.
The town was taken on the 8th January

6 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 105.

110                              HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                    [Chap. III.

enemy to his liege lord of England, in
an honourable imprisonment at Rome,1
fearful of the influence in favour of
Bruce which the return of this able
prelate to Scotland might occasion.
These feeble efforts were followed up
by an attempt to conclude a truce ;
but the King of Scotland, eager to
pursue his career of success, refused
to accede2 to the proposal, and a
third time invaded England, with a
greater force and a more desolating
fury than before. The towns of Hex-
ham and Corbridge were burnt; and
his army, by a forced march, sur­
prised the opulent city of Durham
during the night,3 slew all who re­
sisted him, and reduced a great part
of it to ashes. The castle and the
precincts of its noble cathedral with­
stood the efforts of the Scots, but the
rest of the city was entirely sacked;
and so great was the spoil that the
inhabitants of the bishopric, dreading
the repetition of such a visit, offered
two thousand pounds to purchase a
truce. The terms upon which Robert
agreed to this strongly evinced the
change which had taken place in the
relative position of the two countries.
It was stipulated by the Scots that
they should have free ingress and
egress through the county of Dur­
ham, whenever they chose to invade
England; and with such terror did
this proviso affect the inhabitants of
the neighbouring country, that the
counties of Northumberland, Cumber­
land, and Westmoreland contributed
each a sum of two thousand pounds
to be included in the same truce.4
During this invasion Bruce established
his headquarters at Chester, while Sir
James Douglas, with his veteran sol­
diers, who were well practised in such
expeditions, pushed on, and having
sacked Hartlepool and the country
round it, returned with many bur­
gesses and their wives, whom he had
made prisoners, to the main army.5

1 Fœdera, vol. iii. p. 245.
Ibid. p. 301.

3 Hemingford, vol. i. p. 262. Chron. Laner-
cost, p. 220.

4 Chron. Lanercost, p. 220.

5 Hemingford, vol. i. p. 262. “ Bruce was
here only making a reprisal on his own Eng-

Thus enriched with a store of prisoners
and plunder, the king returned to
Scotland, and on his road thither as­
saulted Carlisle; but he found the
garrison on the alert, and a desperate
conflict took place, in which the Scots
were beat back with great loss,—
Douglas himself and many of his men
being wounded.6 This want of suc­
cess did not prevent him from endea­
vouring to surprise Berwick by a
forced march and a night attack,
which had nearly succeeded. The
hooks of the rope-ladders were already
fixed on the wall, and the soldiers
had begun to mount, when the bark­
ing of a dog alarmed the garrison, and
the assailants were compelled to retire
with loss.7

On his return to Scotland, King
Robert was repaid for his partial dis­
comfiture by the recovery of some
important castles. Dalswinton, in
Galloway, the chief residence of his
enemies the Comyns, and, soon after,
the castles of Butel and of Dumfries,
which last had been committed to
the care of Henry de Beaumont, were
taken by assault, and, according to
the constant practice of Bruce, imme­
diately razed and rendered untenable
by any military force.8 Edward now
trembled for his strong castle of Caer-
laverock, which had cost his father so
long a siege; and he wrote with great
anxiety to its constable, Eustace de
Maxwell, exhorting him to adopt every
means in his power for its defence.
In the winter of the same year, this
monarch was driven to some mean
compromises of his honour. The
English garrison of Dundee had been
so hard pressed by the Scots, that
William de Montfichet, the warden,

lish property. He had at Hartlepool, market
and fair, assize of bread and victual, also a
seaport where he takes keel dues.”—Hutch-
inson’s History of Durham, pp. 234, 246.

6 Hemingford, vol. i. p. 262.

7 Chron. Lanercost, p. 221. Lord Hailes,
vol. ii. p. 36, and Ker, vol. i. p. 404, have
fallen into an error in describing Bruce as
having only “threatened to besiege Berwick.”
Nor have either of these historians taken
notice of his attempt upon Carlisle. Berwick
was assaulted in December 1312. M. Malmes-
bury, vita Ed. II. p. 145,

8 Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1006.

1312-13.]                                 ROBERT BRUCE.                                              111

entered into a treaty to surrender the
place, and give up a number of Scot­
tish prisoners within a stipulated time.
Edward was then at York, and having
heard of this agreement, he sent per­
emptory orders to the warden to vio­
late the truce, and, under the penalty
of death to himself and confiscation of
his estates, to preserve the town by
this flagrant act. Montfichet was also
enjoined to warn the Scots, that if any
of the English prisoners or hostages
should be put to death, orders would
be given for the immediate execution
of all the Scottish prisoners in the
hands of the English. In addition to
this, the king addressed flattering let­
ters to the several officers of the gar­
rison of Dundee, and to the mayor,
bailiffs, and community, thanking
them for their good service, and ex­
horting them to persevere in the de­
fence of the town. It is mortifying
to find Sir David de Brechin, the
king’s nephew, who had signalised
himself against his uncle in his days
of distress, and, when afterwards
made prisoner, had been pardoned
and received into favour, again in the
ranks of the enemy, and acting the
part of an Anglicised Scot. He was
now commanded to co-operate as
joint-warden with Montfichet, and
earnest orders were despatched for re­
inforcements of ships, provisions, and
soldiers, to be sent from Newcastle
and Berwick.1

The heroic spirit of Bruce had now
transfused itself into the peasantry of
the country; and the king began to
reap the fruits of this popular spirit,
in the capture of the castle of Linlith-
gow, by a common labourer. His
name was Binny, and being known to
the garrison, and employed by them
in leading hay into the fort, he com­
municated his design to a party of
Scottish soldiers, whom he stationed
in ambush near the gate. In his large
wain he contrived to conceal eight
armed men, covered with a load of
hay ; a servant drove the oxen, and
Binny himself walked carelessly at his
side. When the portcullis was raised,

1 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 108. 2d March

and the wain stood in the middle of the
gateway, interposing a complete bar­
rier to its descent, the driver cut the
ropes which harnessed the oxen; upon
which signal the armed men suddenly
leaped from the cart, the soldiers in
ambush rushed in, and so complete
was the surprise, that with little re­
sistance the garrison were put to the
sword, and the place taken. Bruce
amply rewarded the brave country­
man, and ordered the castle and its
strong outworks, constructed by Ed­
ward I., to be immediately demol­

Edward had committed the charge
of the castle of Roxburgh, a post of
the utmost importance, to a Burgun-
dian knight, Gillemin de Fiennes. On
Fasten’s Even, immediately before
Lent, when the soldiers and officers
of the garrison were carelessly carous­
ing, Sir James Douglas, with about
sixty soldiers, favoured by a dark
night, and concealed by black frocks
thrown over their armour, cautiously
approached the castle, creeping on
their hands and feet through the
trees which studded the park. They
at last approached in this way so
near that they could overhear the
talk of the sentinels, one of whom
observed them moving; and, deceived
by the darkness, remarked to his fel­
low that yonder oxen were late left
out. Relieved by this fortunate mis­
take, Douglas and his men continued
their painful progress, and at length
succeeded in reaching the foot of the
walls, and fixing their ladders of rope,
without being discovered. They could
not, however, mount so quietly, but
that the nearest watch on the outer
wall overheard the noise, and ran to
meet them. All was like to be lost;
but by this time the first Scots sol­
dier had mounted the parapet, who
instantly stabbed the sentry, and
threw him over, before he had time
to give the alarm. Another sentinel
shared the fate of the first; and so

2 Lord Hailes, following Barbour, p. 196,
and Ker, following Lord Hailes, place the cap­
ture of Linlithgow in the year 1311. Yet it
appears, by the Rotuli Scotiæ, that the peel,
or castle of Linlithgow, was in possession of
the English in February 1312-13.

112                                  HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                        [CHAP. III.

intent were the garrison upon their
midnight sports, that the terrible cry
of “Douglas ! Douglas !“ shouted into
the great hall was the first thing
which broke off the revels. In a
moment the scene was changed from
mirth into a dreadful carnage; but
resistance soon became hopeless, and
Dou­glas gave quarter. De Fiennes
retreated to the great tower, and gal­
lantly defended himself, till a deep
wound in the face compelled him to
surrender.1 He retired to England,
and died of his wounds soon after.
Bruce immediately sent his brother
Edward, who levelled the works, and
reduced the rest of Teviotdale, with
the exception of Jedburgh, which was
still garrisoned by the English.

At this time Randolph, earl of Mo­
ray, had strictly invested the castle of
Edinburgh, which for twenty years had
been in the possession of England,
and was now commanded by Sir Piers
de Luband, a Gascon knight, and a
relative of Gaveston, the English
king’s favourite.2 The garrison sus­
pected the fidelity of this foreigner,
and, having cast him into a dungeon,
chose a constable of their own nation,
who determined to defend the place
to the last extremity. Already had
the Scots spent six weeks in the siege,
when an English soldier, of the name
of Frank, presented himself to Ran­
dolph, and informed him he could
point out a place where he had him­
self often scaled the wall, and by
which he undertook to lead his men
into the castle. This man, in his
youth, when stationed in the castle,
had become enamoured of a girl in
the neighbourhood, and for the pur­
pose of meeting her, had discovered a
way up and down the perilous cliff,
with which custom had rendered him
familiar; and Randolph, with thirty
determined men, fully armed, placed
themselves under his direction, and
resolved to scale the castle at mid­
night.3 The surprise, however, was
not nearly so complete as at Rox-

1 Barbour, pp. 202, 203,
Monachi Malmesburiensis Vita Edwardi
II., P. 144.
Barbour, p. 205.

burgh, and the affair far more severely
contested. Besides, Randolph had
only half the number of men with
Douglas, the access was far more
difficult, and the night was so dark,
that the task of climbing the rock
became extremely dangerous. They
persevered, nevertheless, and, on get­
ting about half-way up, found a jut­
ting crag, on which they sat down to
take breath. The wall was now im­
mediately above them; and it hap­
pened that the check-watches, at this
time, were making their round, and
challenging the sentinels, whilst Ran­
dolph and his soldiers could hear all
that passed. At this critical moment,
whether from accident, or that one of
the watch had really perceived some­
thing moving on the rock, a soldier
cast a stone down towards the spot
where Randolph sat, and called out—
“Away! I see you well.” But the
Scots lay still, the watch moved on,
and Randolph and his men waited till
they had gone to some distance.
They then got up, and clambering to
the bottom of the wall, at a place
where it was only twelve feet in
height, fixed the iron crochet of their
rope ladder on the crib-stone.4 Frank
was the first who mounted, then fol­
lowed Sir Andrew Gray, next came
Randolph himself, who was followed
by the rest of the party. Before,
however, all had got up, the sentinels,
who had heard whispering and the
clank of arms, attacked them, and
shouted “ Treason ! “ They were soon,
however, repulsed or slain; and the
Scots, by this time on the parapet,
leapt down, and rushed on to the keep,
or principal strength. The whole
garrison was now in arms, and a
desperate conflict ensued, in which the
English greatly outnumbered their
assailants. But panic and surprise
deprived them of their accustomed
bravery; and, although the governor
himself made a gallant defence, he was
overpowered and slain, and his garrison
immediately surrendered at discretion.
Randolph liberated Sir Piers Luband
from his dungeon, and the Gascon
knight immediately entered the service
Barbour, pp. 207, 208.

1313-14.]                               ROBERT BRUCE.                                       113

of Bruce. The castle itself shared the
fate of every fortress which fell into
the hands of the Scottish king. It
was instantly demolished, and ren­
dered incapable of military occupa­
tion. If we consider the small num­
ber of men which he led, and the
difficult circumstances in which the
assault was made, we shall probably
be inclined to agree with the faithful
old historian, who characterises this
exploit of Randolph as one of the
hardiest and most chivalrous which
distinguished a chivalrous age.1

These great successes so rapidly
succeeding each other, and an inva­
sion of Cumberland, which soon after
followed, made the English king trem­
ble for the safety of Berwick, and in­
duced him to remove the unfortunate
Countess of Buchan from her imprison­
ment there, to a place of more remote
confinement. The conferences for a
cessation of hostilities were again re­
newed, at the request of the French
king; and Edward ostentatiously talked
of granting a truce to his enemies,
in compliance with the wishes of
Philip,2 which, when it came to the
point, his enemies would not grant to

Soon after this, the King of Scotland
conducted, in person, a naval expedi­
tion against Man. To this island his
bitter enemies, the Macdowalls, had
retreated, after their expulsion from
Galloway, their ancient principality;
and the then Governor of Man appears
to have been that same fierce chief
who had surprised Thomas and Alex­
ander Bruce at Loch Ryan, Bruce
landed his troops, encountered and
routed the governor, stormed the
castle of Russin, and completely sub­
dued the island.3 He then despatched

1 Harbour, pp. 207, 212. In Tyrol, vol. iii.
p. 259, it is said, on the authority of Scala
Chronicon, that the foreigners to whom the
Scottish castles were committed would hazard
nothing in their defence,—an erroneous as­
sertion, and arising out of national mortifica­

2  Rymer, Food. vol. iii. p. 411.

3  Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1007. 11th
June 1313. In the Chron. of Man he is
called Dingaway Dowill. In the Annals of
Ireland he is called the Lord Donegan


some galleys to levy contributions in
Ulster, and returned to Scotland,
where he found that his gallant and
impetuous brother, Sir Edward Bruce,
had made himself master of the town
and castle of Dundee, for the preserva­
tion of which so many exertions had
been made in a former year. After
this success, Sir Edward laid siege to
the castle of Stirling, nearly the last
fortress of importance which now
stood between Scotland and freedom.
Its governor, Philip de Mowbray, after
a long and successful defence, had
begun to dread the failure of provi­
sions in the garrison, and made over­
tures for a treaty, in which he agreed
to surrender the castle by the ensuing
midsummer, if not relieved by an
English army. This was evidently a
truce involving conditions which ought
on no account to have been accepted.
Its necessary effect, if agreed to, was
to check the ardour of the Scots in
that career of success which was now
rapidly leading to the complete de­
liverance of their country; it gave
the King of England a whole year to
assemble the strength of his domin­
ions; and such were the chivalrous
feelings of that age, as to agreements
of this nature, that it compelled the
King of Scotland to hazard the for­
tunes of his kingdom upon the issue
of a battle, which he knew must be
fought on his side with a great dis­
parity of force. We need not wonder,
then, that Bruce was highly incensed
on hearing that, without consulting
him, his brother had agreed to Mow­
bray’s proposals. He disdained, how­
ever, to imitate the conduct of Edward,
who, in a former year, and in circum­
stances precisely similar, had infringed
the treaty of Dundee;4 and keeping
his word unbroken, he resolved, at all
hazards, to meet the English on the
appointed day.5

Edward, having obtained a partial
reconciliation with his discontented
barons, made immense preparations
for the succour of the fortress of Stir­
ling. He summoned the whole mili­
tary force of his kingdoms to meet

4 Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 108.
Earbour, pp. 216, 217.

114                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. III.

him at Berwick on the 11th of June.1
To this general muster ninety-three
barons, comprehending the whole
body of the great vassals of the crown,
were commanded to repair with horse
and arms, and their entire feudal
service; whilst the different counties
in England and Wales were ordered to
raise a body of twenty-seven thousand
foot soldiers; and although Hume,
mistaking the evidence of the original
record, has imagined that the numbers
of this army have been exaggerated
by Barbour, it is certain that the
accumulated strength which the king
commanded exceeded a hundred thou­
sand men, including a body of forty
thousand cavalry, of which three
thousand were, both horse and man,
in complete armour, and a force of
fifty thousand archers. He now ap­
pointed the Earl of Pembroke, a
nobleman experienced, under his
father, in the wars of Scotland, to be
governor of that country, and de­
spatched him thither to make prepar­
ations for his own arrival. He
ordered a fleet of twenty-three ves­
sels to be assembled for the invasion
of Scotland;2 in addition to these,
he directed letters to the mayor and
authorities of the various seaport
towns, enjoining them to fit out an
additional fleet of thirty ships; and
of this united armament he appointed
John Sturmy and Peter Bard to have
the command.3 He directed letters
to 0’Connor, prince of Connaught, and
twenty-five other Irish native chiefs,
requiring them to place themselves,
with all the military force which they
could collect, under the orders of
Richard de Burgh, earl of Ulster, and
to join the army at the muster; he
made the same demand upon the

1 Rymer, Fœclera, vol. iii. pp. 463, 464.
The writs, summoning the great feudal force
of his kingdom—namely, the cavalry—are
directed to ninety-three barons. See Notes
and Illustrations, letters AA.

2  Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. pp. 116, 119. 7 Ed.
II., m. 8. 18th March 1313-14. The writs
are directed to twenty-three captains of
vessels, of which the names are given. We
have “the James, the Mary, the Blyth, the
St Peter,” &c.

3  Rotuli Scotiæ, vol. i. p. 115. 12th March

English barons who possessed estates
in Ireland. He requested the Bishop
of Constance to send him a body of
sixty mounted cross ­bowmen. He
took care that store of provisions for
the troops, and forage for the cavalry,
should be collected from all quarters;
he placed his victualling department
under strict organisation ; he ap­
pointed John of Argyle, who, pro­
bably, had no inconsiderable fleet of
his own, to co-operate with the Eng­
lish armament, with the title of High
Admiral of the western fleet of Eng­
land ;4 and he took care that the army
should be provided with all kinds of
useful artisans — smiths, carpenters,
masons, armourers—and supplied with
waggons and cars for the transport
of the tents, pavilions, and baggage,
which so large a military array neces­
sarily included. The various writs,
and multifarious orders, connected
with the summoning and organisation
of the army of England, which fought
at Bannockburn, are still preserved,
and may be seen in their minutest
details; and they prove that it far
exceeded, not only in numbers but in
equipment, any army which was ever
led by any former monarch against

With this great force, Edward pre­
pared to take the field, and having
first made a pilgrimage with his queen
and the Prince of Wales to St Albans,
and with the accustomed offerings re­
quested the prayers of the Church, he
held his way through Lincolnshire to
York and Newcastle, and met his army
at Berwick. He here found that the
Earls of Warrene, Lancaster, Arundel,
and Warwick refused to attend him
in person, alleging that he had broken
his word given to the lord ordinars;
but they sent their feudal services,
and the rest of the nobility mustered,
without any absentees, and with great
splendour; so that the monarch having
reviewed his troops, began his march
for Scotland in high spirits, and with
confident anticipations of victory.

Meanwhile, Bruce, aware of the

4 Rotuli Scotiæ, p. 121, m. 7, p. 129. 25th
March 1313-14.
Ibid. 7 Ed. II., vol. i. passim.

1314.1                                        ROBERT BRUCE.                                             115

mighty force which was advancing
against him, had not been idle. He ap­
pointed a general muster of his whole
army in the Torwood, near Stirling,1
and here he found that the greatest
force which could be collected did
not amount to forty thousand fighting
men ; and that the small body of caval­
ry which he had could not be expected
to compete for a moment, either in the
temper of their arms, or the strength
of their horses, with the heavy cavalry
of the English. He at once, therefore,
resolved to fight on foot,2 and to draw
up his army in ground where cavalry
could not act with effect, and where
the English, from their immense num­
bers, would be cramped and confined
in their movements. For this purpose
he chose a field not far from Stirling,
which was then called the New Park.
It was studded and encumbered with
trees, and the approach to it was pro­
tected by a morass, the passage of
which would be dangerous to an
enemy.3 Bruce, having carefully ex­
amined the ground, determined that
his right wing should rest on the rivu­
let called Bannockburn, whose broken
and wooded banks afforded him an
excellent security against being out-
flanked. His front extended to a vil­
lage called St Ninians; and his left
wing, which was unprotected by the
nature of the ground, was exposed to
the garrison of Stirling in the rear—a
dangerous position, had not the terms
of the treaty with the governor pre­
cluded attack from that quarter. But
Bruce did not leave the defence of his
left to this negative security; for in a
field hard by, so firm and level that it
afforded favourable ground for cavalry,
he caused many rows of parallel pits to
be dug, a foot in breadth, and about
three feet deep. In these pits he
placed pointed stakes, with a number
of sharp iron weapons, called in Scot-

1 Barbour, p. 221.

2  The Scala Chron., p. 142, says that Bruce
determined to fight on foot, after the example
of the Flemish troops, who a little before
this had discomfited the power of France at
the battle of Coutray. The same allusion to
Coutray is made by the Monk of Malmesbury,
p. 152.

3  Barbour, pp. 223, 224.

land calthrops, and covered them care­
fully with sod, so that the ground,
apparently level, was rendered impas­
sable to horse.4 It does not appear,
however, that the English cavalry at­
tempted to charge over this ground,
although, in the subsequent dispersion
of the army, many lost their lives in
the pits and ditches.5

Having thus judiciously availed him­
self of every circumstance, the king
reviewed his troops, welcomed all
courteously, and declared himself well
satisfied with their appearance and
equipment. The principal leaders of
the Scottish army were Sir Edward
Bruce, the king’s brother, Sir James
Douglas, Randolph, earl of Moray, and
Walter, the High Steward of Scotland.
These, with the exception of the last,
who was still a youth, were experi­
enced and veteran leaders, who had
been long trained up in war, and upon
whom their master could place entire
reliance; and having fully explained
to them his intended order of battle,
the king waited in great tranquillity
for the approach of the enemy.

Soon after word was brought that
the English army had lain all night
at Edinburgh. This was on Satur­
day evening, the 22d of June, and
early in the morning of Sunday the
soldiers heard mass. It was stated
by the contemporary historians that
they confessed themselves with the
solemnity of men who were resolved
to die in that field, or to free their
country; and as it was the vigil of St
John, they took no dinner, but kept
their fast on bread and water. Mean­
while the king, on Sunday, after hear­
ing mass, rode out to examine the pits
which had been made, and to see that
his orders had been duly executed.
Having satisfied himself, he returned,
and commanded his soldiers to arm.
This order was promptly obeyed; and
all cheerfully arrayed themselves un­
der their different banners. Bruce
then caused proclamation to be made
that all who did not feel fully resolved
to win the field or to die with honour
had at that moment free liberty to

4 Barbour, p. 226,1. 365.

5 Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 246.

116                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                        [Chap. III.

leave the army; but the soldiers raised
a great shout, and answered with one
accord that they were determined to
abide the enemy.1

The baggage of the army was placed
in a valley at some distance in the
rear, and the sutlers and camp-follow­
ers, who amounted nearly to twenty
thousand, were stationed beside it, and
commanded to await the result of the
battle. They were separated from the
army by a small hill, which is yet
called the Gilles, or Gillies’ Hill.

The king now arranged his army
in a line consisting of three square
columns, or battles, of which he in­
trusted the command of the vaward,
or centre, to the Earl of Moray. His
brother Edward led the right, and the
left was given to Sir James Douglas
and Walter, the Steward of Scotland.2
He himself took the command of the
reserve, which formed a fourth battle,
drawn up immediately behind the
centre, and composed of the men of
Argyle, Carrick, Kantire, and the
Isles. Along with him was Angus of
May, with the men of Bute ; and he
had also under his command a body of
five hundred cavalry, fully armed, and
mounted on light and active horses.

Having thus disposed his order of
battle, the king despatched Sir James
Douglas and Sir Robert Keith to re­
connoitre, who soon after returned
with the news that they descried
the English host advancing in great
strength, and making a very martial
appearance. For this intelligence
Bruce was well prepared; yet, dread­
ing its effect upon his soldiers, he
directed them to give out to the army
that the enemy, though numerous,
were advancing in confused and ill-
arranged order.3

Although this was not exactly the
case, the rash character of Edward led
him to commit some errors in the dis­
posal of his troops, which led to fatal
consequences. He had hurried on to
Scotland with such rapidity that the
horses were worn out with travel and
want of food, and the men were not

1 Barbour, pp. 226, 227.

2 Ibid. p. 225, 1. 344, compared with 1. 309.

3 Barbour, p. 229.

allowed the regular periods for halt and
refreshment, so that his soldiers went
into action under great disadvantage.
Upon advancing from Falkirk early in
the morning, and when the English
host was only two miles distant from
the Scottish army, Edward despatched
an advanced party of eight hundred
cavalry, led by Sir Robert Clifford,
with orders to outflank the enemy and
throw themselves into Stirling Castle.
Bruce had looked for this movement,
and had commanded Randolph, his
nephew, to be vigilant in repelling any
such attempt.4 Clifford, however, un­
observed by Randolph, made a circuit
by the low grounds to the east and
north of the church of St Ninians, and
having thus avoided the front of the
Scottish line, he was proceeding to­
wards the castle when he was detected
by the piercing eye of Bruce, who rode
hastily up to Randolph, and reproach­
ed him for his carelessness in having
suffered the enemy to pass. "Oh,
Randolph !“ cried his master, “ lightly
have you thought of the charge com­
mitted to you ; a rose has fallen from
your chaplet.”5 Stung by such words,
the Earl of Moray, leaving the centre,
at the head of a select body of infan­
try, hastened at all hazards to repair
his error. As he advanced, Clifiord’s
squadron wheeled round, and putting
their spears in rest, charged him at
full speed, but Randolph had formed
his infantry in a square presenting a
front on all sides, with the spears fixed
before them;6 and although he had
only five hundred men, he awaited the
shock of Clifford with such firmness
that many of the English were un­
horsed, and Sir William Daynecourt,
an officer of note, who had been more
forward in his attack than his com­
panions, was slain.7 Unable to make
any impression upon Randolph’s square
by this first attack, the English pro­
ceeded more leisurely to surround him
on all sides, and by a second furious
and simultaneous charge on each front,
endeavoured to break the line; but

4 Barbour, p. 228.
Ibid. p. 231.
Ibid. p. 232.
Ibid. p. 234.

1314.]                                          ROBERT BRUCE.                                           117

the light armour, the long spears, and
the short knives and battle-axes of the
Scottish foot proved a match for the
heavy-armed English cavalry, and a
desperate conflict ensued, in which
Randolph’s little square, although it
stood firm, seemed likely to be crushed
to pieces by the heavy metal which
was brought against it. All this passed
in the sight of Bruce, who was sur­
rounded by his officers. At length Sir
James Douglas earnestly requested to
be allowed to go with a reinforcement
to his relief. “You shall not stir a
foot from your ground,” said the king,
“ and let Randolph extricate himself
as best he can ; I will not alter my
order of battle, and lose my advan­
tage, whatever may befall him.“ My
liege,” answered Douglas, “ I cannot
stand by and see Randolph perish
when I may bring him help; so by
your leave I must away to his suc­
cour.” Bruce unwillingly consented,
and Douglas immediately held his way
towards Randolph,1

By this time the King of England
had brought up his main army, and
ordered a halt for the purpose of con­
sulting with his leaders whether it
were expedient to join battle that
same day, or take a night to refresh
his troops. By some mistake, however,
the centre of the English continued
its march, not aware of this order, and
on their approach to the New Park
Bruce rode forward alone to make
some new arrangements, which were
called for by the absence of Randolph,
and to take a final view of the dispo-
sition of his army. He was at this
time in front of his own line, meanly
mounted on a hackney, but clad in
full armour, with his battle-axe in his
hand, and distinguished from his
nobles by a small crown of gold sur­
mounting his steel helmet. On the
approach of the English vaward, led
by the Earls of Gloucester and Here­
ford, Sir Henry de Boune, an English
knight, who rode about a bowshot in
advance of his companions, recognised
the king, and galloped forward to at­
tack him. Bonne was armed at all
points, and excellently mounted on a
Barbour, pp. 233, 234.

heavy war-horse, so that the contest
was most unequal, and Bruce might
have retired; but for a moment he
forgot his duties as a general in his
feelings as a knight, and, to the sur­
prise of his soldiers, spurred his little
hackney forward to his assailant.
There was an interval of breathless
suspense, but it lasted only a moment;
for as the English knight came on in
full career, the king parried the spear,
and raising himself in his stirrups as
he passed, with one blow of his battle-
axe laid him dead at his feet, by al­
most cleaving his head in two.2 Upon
this his soldiers raised a great shout,
and advanced hardily upon the Eng­
lish centre, which retreated in confu­
sion to the main army; and Bruce,
afraid of disorder getting into his line
of battle, called back his men from
the pursuit, after they had slain a few
of the English soldiers. When they
had time to recollect themselves, the
Scottish leaders earnestly remonstrated
with the king for the rash manner in
which he exposed himself; and Bruce,
somewhat ashamed of the adventure,
changed the subject, and looking at
the broken shaft which he held in his
hand, with a smile replied, “ He was
sorry for the loss of his good battle-
axe.” 3

All this passed so quickly, that the
contest between Randolph and Clifford
was still undecided; but Douglas, as
he drew near to his friend’s rescue,
perceived that the English had by this
time begun to waver, and that dis­
order was rapidly getting into their
ranks. Commanding his men, there­
fore, to halt, “ Let us not,” cried he,
“ diminish the glory of so redoubtable
an encounter, by coming in at the end
to share it. The brave men that fight
yonder without our help will soon dis­
comfit the enemy.” And the result
was as Douglas had foreseen; for Ran­
dolph, who quickly perceived the same
indications, began to press the English
cavalry with repeated charges and in­
creasing fury, so that they at length
entirely broke, and fled in great dis­
order. The attempt to throw suc-

2 Barbour, pp. 235, 236.
Ibid. p. 237.

118                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                       [Chap. III.

cours into the castle was thus com­
pletely defeated; and Clifford, after
losing many of his men, who were
slain in the pursuit, rejoined the main
body of the army with the scattered
and dispirited remains of his squad­
ron.1 So steadily had the Scots kept
their ranks, that Randolph had sus­
tained a very inconsiderable loss.

From the result of these two at­
tacks, and especially from the defeat
of Clifford, Bruce drew a good augury,
and cheerfully congratulated his sol­
diers on so fair a beginning. He ob­
served to them, that they had defeated
the flower of the English cavalry, and
had driven back the centre division of
their great army; and remarked, that
the same circumstances which gave
spirit and animation to their hopes
must communicate depression to the
enemy.2 As the day was far spent, he
held a military council of his leaders,
and requested their advice, whether,
having now seen the numbers and
strength of their opponents, it was ex­
pedient to hazard a battle, declaring
himself ready to submit his individual
opinion to the judgment of the ma­
jority. But the minds of the Scottish
commanders were not in a retreating
mood; and although aware of the
great disparity of force, the English
army being more than triple that of
Bruce, they declared their unanimous
desire to keep their position, and to
fight on the morrow. The king then
told them that such was his own wish,
and commanded them to have the
whole army arrayed next morning by
daybreak, in the order and upon the
ground already agreed on. He ear­
nestly exhorted them to preserve the
firmest order, each man under his own
banner, and to receive the charge of
the enemy with levelled spears, so
that even the hindmost ranks of the
English would feel the shock. He
pointed out to them that everything
in the approaching battle, which was
to determine whether Scotland was to
be free or enslaved, depended on their
own steady discipline and deliberate
valour. He conjured them not to

1 Barbour, pp. 238, 239.
Ibid. pp. 240. 241.

allow a single soldier to quit his ban­
ner or break the array ; and, if they
should be successful, by no means to
begin to plunder or to make prisoners,
as long as a single enemy remained on
the field. He promised that the heirs
of all who fell should receive then-
lands free, and without the accustomed
feudal fine; and he assured them,
with a determined and cheerful coun­
tenance, that if the orders he had now
given were obeyed they might con­
fidently look forward to victory.3

Having thus spoken to his leaders,
the army were dismissed to their
quarters. In the evening they made
the necessary arrangements for the
battle, and passed the night in arms
upon the field. Meanwhile the Eng­
lish king and his leaders had resolved,
on account of the fatigue undergone
by the troops, and symptoms of dis­
satisfaction which appeared amongst
them, to delay the attack, and drew
off’ to the low grounds to the right
and rear of their original position,
where they passed the night in riot
and disorder.4 At this time, it is said,
a Scotsman, who served in the Eng­
lish army, deserted to Bruce, and in­
formed him he could lead him to the
attack so as to secure an easy victory.
Robert, however, was not thus to be
drawn from his position, and deter­
mined to await the enemy on the
ground already chosen.

On Monday, the 24th of June, at
the first break of day, the Scottish
king confessed, and along with his
army heard mass. This solemn ser­
vice was performed by Maurice, the
Abbot of Inchaffray, upon an emi­
nence in front of their line, and after
its conclusion the soldiers took break­
fast, and arranged themselves under
their different banners. They wore
light armour, but of excellent temper.
Their weapons were, a battle-axe slung
at their side, and long spears, besides
knives or daggers, which the former
affair of Randolph had proved to be
highly effective in close combat. When
the whole army was in array, they
proceeded, with displayed banners,

3 Barbour, pp. 243, 244.

4 Thomas de la More, apud Camden, p. 594.

1314.]                                        ROBERT BRUCE.                                             119

to make knights, as was the custom
before a battle. Bruce conferred
that honour upon Walter, the young
Steward of Scotland, Sir James Doug­
las, and many other brave men, in due
order, and according to their rank.1

By this time the van of the English
army, composed of archers and lances,
and led by the Earls of Gloucester
and Hereford, approached within bow­
shot; and at a little distance behind
the remaining nine divisions, which,
confined by the narrowness of the
ground, were compressed into a close
column of great and unwieldy dimen­
sions.2 This vast body was conducted
by the King of England in person, who
had along with him a body­guard of
five hundred chosen horse. He was
attended by the Earl of Pembroke, Sir
Ingelram Umfraville, and Sir Giles de
Argentine, a knight of Rhodes, of
great reputation.3 When Edward ap­
proached near enough, and observed
the Scottish army drawn up on foot,
and their firm array and determined
countenance, he expressed much sur­
prise, and turning to Umfraville, asked
him, “ If he thought these Scots would
fight ? “ Umfraville replied that they
assuredly would ; and he then advised
Edward, instead of an open attack, to
pretend to retreat behind his encamp­
ment, upon which he was confident,
from his old experience in the Scot­
tish wars, that the enemy would break
their array, and rush on without order
or discipline, so that the English army
might easily attack and overwhelm
them. Umfraville, an Anglicised Scot­
tish baron, who had seen much ser­
vice against Edwards father, and had
only sworn fealty in 1305, spoke this
from an intimate knowledge of his
countrymen; but Edward fortunately
disdained his counsel. At this moment
the Abbot of Inchaffray, barefooted,
and holding a crucifix aloft in his hand,
walked slowly along the Scottish line;
and as he passed, the whole army knelt
down,4 and prayed for a moment with

1 Barbour, p. 248.

2 Walsingham, p. 105.

3 Fœdera, vol. in. p. 441. Fordun a Goodal,
vol. ii. p. 295.

4 Fordun a Gooldal, vol. ii. p. 250.

the solemnity of men who felt it might
be their last act of devotion. “ See,”
cried Edward, “they are kneeling—
they ask mercy ! “ “ They do, my
liege,” replied Umfraville, “but it is
from God, not from us. Trust me,
yon men will win the day, or die upon
the field.” 5 “ Be it so then,” said Ed­
ward, and immediately commanded
the charge to be sounded. The Eng­
lish van, led by Gloucester and Here­
ford, now spurred forward their horses,
and at full gallop charged the right
wing of the Scots, commanded by
Edward Bruce; but a dispute between
the two English barons as to prece­
dency caused the charge, though rapid,
to be broken and irregular. Glou­
cester, who had been irritated the day
before by some galling remarks of the
king, insisted on leading the van, a post
which of right belonged to Hereford,
as Constable of England. To this
Hereford would not agree; and Glou­
cester, as they disputed, seeing the
Scottish right advancing, sprung for­
ward at the head of his own division,
and, without being supported by the
rest of the van, attacked the enemy,
who received them with a shock
which caused the noise of the meeting
of their spears to be heard a great
way off, and threw many knights
from their saddles, whose horses were
stabbed and rendered furious by their
wounds.6 While the right wing was
thus engaged, Randolph, who com­
manded the centre division, advanced
at a steady pace to meet the main
body of the English, whom he con­
fronted and attacked with great in­
trepidity, although the enemy out­
numbered him by ten to one. His
square, to use an expression of Bar-
bours, was soon surrounded and
lost amidst the English, as if it had
plunged into the sea; upon which Sir
James Douglas and Walter the Steward
brought up the left wing ; so that the
whole line, composed of the three
battles, was now engaged, and the
battle raged with great fury.7 The

5 Barbour, p. 250, and Chronicle of Laner-
cost, p. 225.

6 Barbour, p. 251.

7 Ibid. pp. 252, 253,

120                                   HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. III.

English cavalry attempting, by re­
peated charges, to break the line of
the Scottish spearmen, and they
standing firm in their array, and pre­
senting on every side a serried front
of steel, caused a shock and melee
which is not easily described; and the
slaughter was increased by the re­
membrance of many years of grievous
injury and oppression, producing, on
the part of the Scots, an exasperation
of feeling and an eager desire of re­
venge. At every successive charge
the English cavalry lost more men,
and fell into greater confusion than
before; and this confusion was in­
finitely increased by the confined na­
ture of the ground and the immense
mass of their army. The Scottish
squares, on the other hand, were light
and compact, though firm; they moved
easily, altered their front at pleasure,
and suited themselves to every emer­
gency of the battle. They were, how­
ever, dreadfully galled by the English
bowmen; and Bruce, dreading the
effect of the constant and deadly
showers of arrows, which fell like hail
upon them, directed Sir Robert Keith,
the marshal, to make a circuit, with
the five hundred horse which were in
the reserve, round the morass called
Miltown Bog, and to charge the archers
in flank. This movement was executed
with great decision and rapidity ; and
such was its effect that the whole
body of the archers, who had neither
spears nor other weapons to defend
themselves against cavalry, were in a
short time overthrown and dispersed,
without any prolonged attempt at
resistance.1 Part of them fled to the
main army, and the rest did not again
attempt to rally or make head during
the continuance of the battle. Al­
though such was the success of this
judicious attack, the English still kept
fighting with great determination; but
they had already lost some of their
bravest commanders, and Bruce could
discern symptoms of exhaustion and
impatience. He saw, too, that his
own infantry were still fresh and well-
breathed ; and he assured his leaders
that the attack, continued but for a
Barbour, pp. 255, 256,

short time, and pushed with vigour,
must make the day their own. It was
at this moment that he brought up his
whole reserve, and the four battles of
the Scots were now completely engaged
in one line.2 The Scottish archers,
unlike the English, carried short
battle-axes; and with these, after they
had exhausted their arrows, they
rushed upon the enemy, and made
great havoc. The Scottish com­
manders, too, the king, Edward Bruce,
Douglas, Randolph, and the Steward,
were fighting in the near presence of
each other, and animated with a gene­
rous rivalry. At this time Barbour,
whose account of the battle is evi­
dently taken from eye-witnesses, de­
scribes the field as exhibiting a terrific
spectacle. “It was awful,” says he,
“ to hear the noise of these four battles
fighting in a line,—the clang of arms,
the shouts of the knights as they raised
their war-cry; to see the flight of the
arrows, which maddened the horses;
the alternate sinking and rising of the
banners, and the ground slippery with
gore, and covered with shreds of
armour, broken spears, pennons, and
rich scarfs, torn and soiled with blood
and clay; and to listen to the groans
of the wounded and the dying.” The
wavering of the English lines was now
discernible by the Scottish soldiers
themselves, who shouted when they
saw it, and calling out, “ On them, on
them—they fail! " pressed forward with
renewed vigour, gaining ground upon
their enemy.3 At this critical mo­
ment there appeared over the little
hill, which lay between the field and
the baggage of the Scottish army, a
large body of troops marching ap­
parently in firm array towards the
field. This spectacle, which was in­
stantly believed to be a reinforcement
proceeding to join the Scots, although
it was nothing more than the sutlers
and camp-boys hastening to see the
battle, spread dismay amidst the ranks
of the English; and King Robert,
whose eye was everywhere, to perceive
and take advantage of the slightest

2 Barbour, p. 258. Chronicle of Lanercost,
p. 225.
Ibid. p. 259.

1314.]                                        ROBERT BRUCE.                                              121

movement in his favour, put himself
at the head of his reserve, and raising
his ensenye, or war-cry, furiously pressed
on the enemy.1 It was this last charge,
which was followed up by the advance
of the whole line, that decided the
day; the English, who hitherto, al­
though wavering, had preserved their
array, now broke into disjointed
squadrons; part began to quit the
field, and no efforts of their leaders
could restore order. The Earl of
Gloucester, who was mounted on a
spirited war-horse, which had lately
been presented to him by the king,2
in one of his attempts to rally his
men, rode desperately upon the divi­
sion of Edward Bruce; he was instantly
unhorsed, and fell pierced by numer­
ous wounds of the Scottish lances.
The flight now became general, and
the slaughter great. The banners of
twenty-seven barons were laid in the
dust, and their masters slain. Amongst
these were Sir Robert Clifford, a vete­
ran and experienced commander, and
Sir Edmund Mauley, the Seneschal of
England. On seeing the entire route
of his army, Edward reluctantly al­
lowed the Earl of Pembroke to seize
his bridle, and force him off the field,
guarded by five hundred heavy-armed
horse. Sir Giles de Argentine accom­
panied him a short way, till he saw
the king in safety. He then reined
up, and bade him farewell. “ It has
never been my custom,” said he, “ to
fly; and here I must take my fortune.
Saying this, he put spurs to his horse,
and crying out “ An Argentine !
charged the squadron of Edward Bruce,
and, like Gloucester, was soon borne
down by the force of the Scottish spears,
and cut to pieces.3 Multitudes of the
English were drowned when attempt­
ing to cross the river Forth. Many,
in their flight, got entangled in the
pits, which they seem to have avoided
in their first attack, and were there

1 Barbour, p. 261.

2 Hutchinson’s Hist, and Antiquities of the
Palatinate of Durham, p. 261. “The Bishop
of Durham, Richard Kellow, had a short time
before presented this war-horse, an animal of
high price, along with one thousand marks, to
King Edward.”

3 Barbour, p. 263,

suffocated or slain; others, who vainly
endeavoured to pass the rugged banks
of the Bannockburn, were slain in that
quarter; so completely was this little
river heaped up with the dead bodies
of men and horses, that the pursuers
passed dry over the mass as if it were
a bridge. Thirty thousand of the
English were left dead upon the field,
and amongst these two hundred knights
and seven hundred esquires. A large
body of Welsh fled, under the com­
mand of Sir Maurice Berklay, but the
greater part of them were slain, or
taken prisoners, before they reached

Such also might have been the fate
of the King of England himself, had
Bruce been able to spare a sufficient
body of cavalry to follow up the chase.
But when Edward left the field, with
his five hundred horse, many straggling
parties of the enemy still lingered about
the low grounds, and numbers had
taken refuge under the walls, and in
the hollow recesses of the rock on
which Stirling castle is built,5 These,
had they rallied, might have still
created much annoyance, a part of the
Scottish army being occupied in plun­
dering the camp; and it thus became
absolutely necessary for Bruce to keep
the more efficient part of his troops
together. When Douglas, therefore,
proposed to pursue the king, he could
obtain no more than sixty horsemen.
In passing the Torwood, he was met
by Sir Laurence Abernethy, hastening
with a small body of cavalry to join
the English, This knight immediately
deserted a falling cause, and assisted
in the chase. They made up to the
fugitive monarch at Linlithgow, but
Douglas deemed it imprudent to hazard
an attack with so inferior a force. He
pressed so hard upon him, however,
as not to suffer the English to have a
moment’s rest; and it is a strong
proof of the panic which had seized
them that a body of five hundred
heavy horse, armed to the teeth, fled
before eighty Scottish cavalry, without
attempting to make a stand. But it
is probable they believed .Douglas to

4 Barbour, pp. 266, 267.          5 Ibid.

122                                    HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.                      [Chap. III.

be the advance of the army.1 Edward
at last gained the castle of Dunbar,
where he was hospitably received by
the Earl of March, and from which he
passed by sea to Berwick. In the
meantime, Bruce sent a party to attack
the fugitives who clustered round the
rock of Stirling. These were imme­
diately made prisoners, and having
ascertained that no enemy remained,
the king permitted his soldiers to
pursue the fugitives, and give them­
selves up to plunder. The unfortunate
stragglers were slaughtered by the
peasantry, as they were dispersed over
the country; and many of them,
casting away their arms and accoutre­
ments, hid themselves in the woods,
or fled almost naked from the field.2
Some idea of the extent and variety
of the booty which was divided by the
Scottish soldiers may be formed from
the circumstance mentioned by an
English historian, “That the chariots,
waggons, and wheeled carriages, which
were loaded with the baggage and
military stores, would, if drawn up in
a line, have extended for twenty

These, along with numerous herds
of cattle, and flocks of sheep and swine;
store of hay, corn, and wine; the
vessels of gold and silver belonging to
the king and his nobility; the money-
chests holding the treasure for the
payment of the troops ; a large assem­
blage of splendid arms, rich wearing
apparel, horse and tent furniture, from
the royal wardrobe and private reposi­
tories of the knights and noblemen
who were in the field; and a great
booty in valuable horses, fell into the
hands of the conquerors, and were
distributed by Bruce amongst his
soldiers with a generosity and im­
partiality which rendered him highly
popular. Besides all this, Edward
had brought along with him many
instruments of war, and machines
employed in the besieging of towns,
such as petronels, trebuchets, man­
gonels, and battering rams, which,

1 Henry Knighton, p. 2533. Walsingham,
p. 105.
Monachi Malmesbur. p, 151.
Ibid. p. 147.

intended for the demolition of the
Scottish castles, now fell into the
hands of Bruce, to be turned, in
future wars, against England. The
living booty, too, in the many prisoners
of rank who were taken, was great.
Twenty-two barons and bannerets,
and sixty knights, fell into the hands
of the Scots. Considering the grievous
injuries which he had personally sus­
tained, the King of Scotland evinced a
generous forbearance in the uses of his
victory, which does him high honour :
not only was there no unnecessary
slaughter, no uncalled-for severity of
retaliation, but, in their place, we find
a high-toned courtesy, which has called
forth the praises of his enemies.4 The
body of the young and noble Earl of
Gloucester was reverently carried to
a neighbouring church, and every holy
rite duly observed. It was afterwards
sent to England, along with the last
remains of the brave Lord Clifford, to
be interred with the honours due to
their rank. The rest of the slain were
reverently buried upon the field.5
Early next morning, as the king
examined the ground, Sir Marmaduke
de Twenge, who had lurked all night
in the woods, presented himself to
Bruce, and, kneeling down, delivered
himself as his prisoner. Bruce kindly
raised him, retained him in his com­
pany for some time, and then dismissed
him, not only without ransom, but
enriched with presents.6

It happened that one Baston, a
Carmelite friar, and esteemed an
excellent poet, had been commanded
by Edward to accompany the army,
that he might immortalise the ex­
pected triumph of his master. He
was taken; and Bruce commanded
him, as an appropriate ransom, to
celebrate the victory of the Scots at
Bannockburn—a task which he has
accomplished in a composition which
still remains an extraordinary relic of
the Leonine, or rhyming hexameters.7

On the day after the battle, Mow-
bray, the English governor of Stirling,

4  Joh. de Trokelowe, p. 28.
Barbour, p. 273.

6 Ibid. p. 269.

7  Fordun a Goodal, p. 251.

1314.]                                         ROBERT BRUCE.                                            123

having delivered up that fortress,
according to the terms of the truce,
entered into the service of the King
of Scotland; and the Earl of Hereford,
who had taken refuge in Bothwell
castle, then in the hands of the Eng­
lish, capitulated, after a short siege, to
Edward Bruce. This nobleman was
exchanged for five illustrious prisoners,
Bruce’s wife, his sister Christian, his
daughter Marjory, Wishart, the bishop
of Glasgow, now blind, and the young
Earl of Mar, nephew to the king.
John de Segrave, made prisoner at
Bannockburn, was ransomed for five
Scottish barons; so that, in these ex­
changes, the English appear to have
received nothing like an adequate
value. The riches obtained by the
plunder of the English, and the subse­
quent ransom paid for the multitude
of prisoners, must have been great.
The exact amount cannot be easily
estimated, but some idea of it may be
formed from the tone of deep lamen­
tation assumed by the Monk of Malmes-
bury. “O day of vengeance and of
misfortune!” says he, “day of dis­
grace and perdition ! unworthy to be
included in the circle of the year,
which tarnished the fame of England,
and enriched the Scots with the plun­
der of the precious stuffs of our nation,
to the extent of two hundred thousand
pounds. Alas! of how many noble
barons, and accomplished knights, and
high-spirited young soldiers,— of what
a store of excellent arms, and golden
vessels, and costly vestments, did one
short and miserable day deprive us.”1
Two hundred thousand pouds of
money in those times, amounts to
about six hundred thousand pounds
weight of silver, or nearly three
millions of our present money. It is
remarkable that Sir William Vipont,
and Sir Walter Ross, the bosom friend
of Edward Bruce, were the only persons
of note who were slain on the side of
the Scots, whose loss, even in common
men, was small; proving how effec­
tually their squares had repelled the
English cavalry.

Such was the great battle of Ban-
nockburn, interesting above all others
which have been fought between the
then rival nations, if we consider the
issue which hung upon it; and glorious
to Scotland, both in the determined
courage with which it was disputed
by the troops, the high military talents
displayed by the king and his leaders,
and the amazing disparity between
the numbers of the combatants. Its
consequences were in the highest
degree important. It put an end for
ever to all hopes upon the part of
England of accomplishing the conquest
of her sister country. The plan, of
which we can discern the foundations
as far back as the reign of Alexander
III., and for the furtherance of which
the first Edward was content to throw
away so much of treasure and blood,
was put down in the way in which all
such schemes ought to be defeated—
by the strong hand of free-born men,
who were determined to remain so;
and the spirit of indignant resistance
to foreign power, which had been
awakened by Wallace, but crushed for
a season by the dissensions of a jealous
nobility, was concentrated by the
master-spirit of Bruce, and found fully
adequate to overwhelm the united
military energies of a kingdom, far
superior to Scotland in all that con­
stituted military strength. Nor have
the consequences of this victory been
partial or confined. Their duration
throughout succeeding centuries of
Scottish history and Scottish liberty,
down to the hour in which this is
written, cannot be questioned; and
without launching out into any inap­
propriate field of historical speculation,
we have only to think of the most
obvious consequences which must have
resulted from Scotland becoming a
conquered province of England; and
if we wish for proof, to fix our eyes
on the present condition of Ireland,
in order to feel the reality of all that
we owe to the victory at Bannockburn,
and to the memory of such men as
, Bruce, Randolph, and Douglas.

1 Mon. Malmesburiensis, p. 152.

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