« AnteriorContinuar »
young Stewart of Scotland, led the central wing; select body of cavalry stationed wir Edward and Thomas Randolph, earl of Moray, the left Bruce on the right wing, under the immediate wing. The king himself commanded the fourth command of sir Robert Keith, the marshal of Scotdivision, which lay in reserve behind the others. land, who were destined for the important service The royal standard was pitched, according to tra- of charging and dispersing the English archers. dition, in a stone, having a round hole for its reception, and thence called the Bore-stone. It is still shown on the top of a small eminence, called Brock's-brae, to the south-west of St. Ninian's. His main body disposed, king Robert sent the followers of the camp, fifteen thousand and upwards in number, to the eminence in rear of his army, called from that circumstance the Gillies' (i. e. the servants') hill.
Thus judiciously posted, in a situation fortified both by art and nature, Bruce awaited the attack of the English.
The military advantages of this position were obvious. The Scottish left flank, protected by the brook of Bannock, could not be turned; or, if that attempt were made, a movement by the reserve might have covered it. Again, the English could not pass the Scottish army, and move towards Stirling, without exposing their flank to be attacked while in march.
11. Beyond, the southern host appears.-P. 279. Upon the 23d June, 1314, the alarm reached the Scottish army of the approach of the enemy. Douglas and the marshal were sent to reconnoitre with a body of cavalry.
An assistance which, by the way, could not have been rendered, had not the English approached from the southeast; since, had their march been due north, the whole Scottish army must have been between them and the garriso
"And soon the great host have they seen,
If, on the other hand, the Scottish line had been drawn up east and west, and facing to the southward, as affirmed by Buchanan, and adopted by Mr. Nimmo, the author of the History of Stirlingshire, there appears nothing to have prevented the English from approaching upon the carse, or level ground, from Falkirk, either from turning the Scottish left flank, or from passing their position, if they preferred it, without coming to an action, and moving on to the relief of Stirling. And the Gillies' hill, if this less probable hypothesis be adopted, would be situated, not in the rear, as allowed by all the historians, but upon the left flank of Bruce's army. The only objection to the hypothesis above laid down is, that the left flank of Bruce's army was thereby exposed to a sally from the garrison of Stirling. But first, the garrison were bound to neutrality by terms of Mowbray's treaty; and Barbour even seems to censure, as a breach of faith, some secret assistance which they rendered their countrymen upon the eve of battle, in placing temporary bridges of doors and spars over the pools of water in the carse, to enable them to advance to the charge.* 2dly, Had this not been the case, the strength of the garrison was probably not sufficient to excite apprehension. 3dly, The adverse hypothesis leaves the rear of the Scottish army as much exposed to the Stirling garrison, as the left flank would be in the case supposed.
Universis Christi fidelibus ad quorum noticiam presentes literæ peruenerint Willielmus Comes de Ross salutem in domino sempiternam. Quia magnificus princeps Dominus Robertus Dei gracia Rex Scottorum Dominus meus ex innata sibi bonitate, inspirataque clemencia, et gracia speciali reIt only remains to notice the nature of the ground misit michi pure rancorem animi sui, et relaxanit in front of Bruce's line of battle. Being part of a ac condonauit michi omnimodas transgressiones park, or chase, it was considerably interrupted seu offensas contra ipsum et suos per me et meos with trees, and an extensive marsh, still visible, vsque ad confeccionem literarum presencium perin some places rendered it inaccessible, and in all petratas: Et terras meas et tenementa mea omnia of difficult approach. More to the northward, graciose concessit. Et me nichilominus de terra where the natural impediments were fewer, Bruce de Dingwal et Ferncroskry infra comitatum de fortified his position against cavalry, by digging a Suthyrland de benigna liberalitate sua heriditarie number of pits so close together, says Barbour, as infeodare curauit. Ego tantam principis beneuoto resemble the cells in a honey-comb. They were lenciam efficaciter attendens, et pro tot graciis mia foot in breadth, and between two and three feet chi factis, vicem sibi gratitudinis meis pro viribus deep, many rows of them being placed one behind de cetero digne- -vite cupiens exhibere, suthe other. They were slightly covered with brush- biicio et obligo me et heredes meos et homines wood and green sods, so as not to be obvious to an meos vniuersos dicto Domino meo Regi per omnia impetuous enemy. er suam regiam dignitatem, quod erimus de cetero fideles sibi et heredibus suis et fidele sibi seruicium auxilium et concilium-contra omnes homines et feminas qui vivere poterint aut mori, et super § Alarmed.
All the Scottish army were on foot, excepting a
+ Displayed Battalions.
Barbour's Bruce, vol. ïi, p. 111. The two Scottish commanders were cautious in the account which they brought back to their camp. To the king in private they told the formidable state of the enemy; but in public reported that the English were indeed a numerous host, but ill commanded, and worse disciplined.
12. With these the valiant of the Isles
Beneath their chieftains ranked their files.-P. 279. The men of Argyle, the Islanders, and the highlanders in general, were ranked in the rear. They must have been numerous, for Bruce had reconciled himself with almost all their chieftains, excepting the obnoxious Mac-Dougals of Lorn. The following deed, containing the submission of the potent earl of Ross to the king, was never before published. It is dated in the third year of Robert's reign, that is, 1309.
OBLIGACIO COMITIS ROSSENSIS PER HOMAGIUM
-Ego Willielmus pro mebominibus meis vniuersis dicto domino meo Regi -manibus homagium sponte feci et super Dei ewangelia sacramentum prestiti-In quorum omnium testimonium sigillum meum, et sigilla Hugonis filii et heredis et Johannis filii mei vna cum sigillis venerabilium patrum Dominorum Dauid et Thome Moraviensis et Rossensis Dei gracia episcoporum presentibus literis sunt While the van of the English army advanced, a appensa. Acta scripta et data apud Aldern in detached body attempted to relieve Stirling. Lord Morauia vltimo die mensis Octobris, Anno Regni Hailes gives the following account of this manœudicti domini nostri Regis Roberti Tertio. Tes-ver and the result, which is accompanied by cirtibus venerabilibus patribus supradictis, Domino cumstances highly characteristic of the chivalrous Bernardo Cancellario Regis, Dominis Willielmo manners of the age, and displays that generosity de Haya, Johanne de Striuelyn, Willielmo Wys- which reconciles us even to their ferocity upon man, Johanne de Ffenton, Dauid de Berkeley, other occasions. et Waltro de Berkeley militibus, magistro Wallero Heroe, Decano ecclesie Morauie, magistro Willielmo de Creswel eiusdem ecclesie precentore et multis aliis nobilibus clericis et laicis dic-ing succours into the castle of Stirling. tis die et loco congregatis.
Bruce had enjoined Randolph, who commanded the left wing of his army, to be vigilant in preventing any advanced parties of the English from throw
"Eight hundred horsemen, commanded by sir Robert Clifford, were detached from the English army; they made a circuit by the low grounds to the east, and approached the castle. The king perceived their motions, and, coming up to Randolph, angrily exclaimed, Thoughtless man! you 13. The monarch rode along the van.-P. 280. have suffered the enemy to pass. Randolph hastThe English vanguard, commanded by the earls ed to repair his fault, or perish. As he advanced, of Gloucester and Hereford, came in sight of the the English cavalry wheeled to attack him. RanScottish army upon the evening of the 23d of June. dolph drew up his troops in a circular form, with Bruce was then riding upon a little palfrey, in their spears resting on the ground, and protended front of his foremost line, putting his host in or- on every side. At the first onset, sir William der. It was then that the personal encounter took Daynecourt, an English commander of distinguishplace betwixt him and sir Henry de Bohun, a gal-ed note, was slain. The enemy, far superior in lant English knight, the issue of which had a great numbers to Randolph, environed him, and pressed effect upon the spirits of both armies. It is thus hard on his little band. Douglas saw his jeopardy, recorded by Barbour: and requested the king's permission to go and succour him. You shall not move from your ground,' cried the king; let Randolph extricate himself as he best may. I will not alter my order of battle, and lose the advantage of my position.'In truth,' replied Douglas, I cannot stand by and see Randolph perish; and, therefore, with your leave, I must aid him.' The king unwillingly consented, and Douglas flew to the assistance of his friend. While approaching, he perceived that the English were falling into disorder, and that the perseverance of Randolph had prevailed over their impetuous courage. Halt,' cried Douglas, those brave men have repulsed the enemy; let us not diminish their glory by sharing it.'"-DALRYMPLE'S Annals of Scotland, 4to, Edinburgh, 1779, pp. 44, 45.
The copy of this curious document was supplied by my friend, Mr. Thomson, Deputy Register of Scotland, whose researches into our ancient records are daily throwing new and important light upon the history of the country.
"And when Glosyter and Herfurd were
And towards him he went on haste.
Comrades. † Haste. Line. Moan. # Broken. f Flat.
have broken my good battle-axe."-The English van-guard retreated after witnessing this single combat. Probably their generals did not think it advisable to hazzard an attack, while its unfavourable issue remained upon their minds.
Without shrinking. ◊ Spurred.
14. "What train of dust, with trumpet-sound
Two large stones erected at the north end of the village of Newhouse, about a quarter of a mile from the south part of Stirling, ascertain the place of this memorable skirmish. The circumstance tends, were confirmation necessary, to support the opinion of lord Hailes, that the Scottish line had Stirling on its left flank. It will be remembered that Randolph commanded infantry, Daynecourt cavalry. Supposing, therefore, according to the vulgar hypothesis, that the Scottish line was drawn up, facing to the south, in the line of the brook of Bannock, and, consequently, that Randolph was stationed with his left flank resting upon Milntown bog, it is morally impossible that his infantry, moving from that position, with whatever celerity, could cut off from Stirling a body of cavalry who had already passed St. Ninians, or, in
Barbour says expressly, they avoided the New Park, (where Bruce's army lay) and held "well neath the Kirk,' which can only mean St. Ninians,
other words, were already between them and the town. Whereas, supposing Randolph's left to have approached St. Ninians, the short movement to Newhouse could easily be executed, so as to intercept the English in the manner described.
15. Responsive from the Scottish host,
Pipe-clang and bugle-sound were tossen.-P. 281. There is an old tradition, that the well-known Scottish tune of "Hey, tutti, taitti," was Bruce's march at the battle of Bannockburn. The late Mr. Ritson, no granter of propositions, doubts whether the Scots had any martial music, quotes Froissart's "Maurice, abbot of Inchaffray, placing himself account of each soldier in the host bearing a little on an eminence, celebrated mass in sight of the horn, on which, at the onset, they would make Scottish army. He then passed along the front, such a horrible noise, as if all the devils of hell had barefooted, and bearing a crucifix in his hands, and been among them. He observes, that these horns exhorting the Scots, in few and forcible words, to are the only music mentioned by Barbour, and combat for their rights and their liberty. The Scots concludes, that it must remain a moot point kneeled down. They yield,' cried Edward; 'see, whether Bruce's army were cheered by the sound they implore mercy." They do,' answered IngelOn that field even of a solitary bagpipe.-Historical Essay pre-ram de Umfraville, 'but not ours. they will be victorious, or die." "—Annals of Scotfixed to Ritson's Scottish Songs. land, vol. ii, p. 47.
It may be observed in passing, that the Scottish of this period certainly observed some musical cadence, even in winding their horns, since Bruce was at once recognised by his followers from his mode of blowing. See Note 10, on Canto 4.
But the tradition, true or false, has been the means of securing to Scotland one of the finest rics in the language, the celebrated war-song of Bruce,
18. "Forth, marshal, on the peasant foe! We'll tame the terrors of their bow, And cut the bow-string loose!”—P. 282. The English archers commenced the attack with their usual bravery and dexterity. But against a ly-force, whose importance he had learned by fatal experience, Bruce was provided. A small but se lect body of cavalry were detached from the right, under command of sir Robert Keith. They rounded, as I conceive, the marsh called Milntown bog, and, keeping the firm ground, charged the left flank and rear of the English archers. As the bowmen
Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled. 16. Now onward, and in open view,
The countless ranks of England drew.-P. 281. Upon the 24th of June, the English army advanced to the attack. The narrowness of the Scot-had no spears, nor long weapons, fit to defend themselves against horse, they were instantly thrown tish front and the nature of the ground, did not permit them to have the full advantage of their into disorder, and spread through the whole Ennumbers, nor is it very easy to find out what was lish army a confusion, from which they never fairly recovered. their proposed order of battle. The van-guard, however, appeared a distinct body, consisting of archers and spearmen on foot, and commanded, as already said, by the earls of Gloucester and Hereford. Barbour, in one place, mentions that they formed nine BATTLES, or divisions; but, from the following passage, it appears that there was no room or space for them to extend themselves, so that, except the van-guard, the whole army appeared to form one solid and compact body:
The English men, on either party,
Out ta'en the va'ward anerly
I wete not. But in a schiltrum
+Schiltrum.-This word has been variously limited or extended in its signification. In general, it seems to impiy a large body of men drawn up very closely together. But it has been limited to imply a round or circular body of men so drawn up. I cannot understand it with this liThe schiltrum of the Scotmitation in the present case. tish ariny at Falkirk was undoubtedly of a circular form, in order to resist the attacks of the English cavalry, on whatever quarter they might be charged. But it does not. appear how, or why, the English advancing to the attack at Bannockburn should have arrayed themselves in a circular form. It seems more probable that, by schiltrum, in the present case, Barbour means to express an irregu ar mass into which the English army was compressed by the unwieldiness of its numbers and the carelessness or ignorance of its leaders..
"The English archers shot so fast,
But king Robert, that well gan ken,†
Alone. †Know. Disjointed from their main body
¶ Set upon their flank.
Although the success of this manœuvre was evi-mutilate by attempting to repeat it. It was my dent, it is very remarkable that the Scottish gene- fortune, upon one occasion, to hear a horse, in a rals do not appear to have profited by the lesson. moment of agony, utter a thrilling scream, which Almost every subsequent battle which they lost I still consider the most melancholy sound I ever against England was decided by the archers, to whom the close and compact array of the Scottish phalanx afforded an exposed and unresisting mark. The bloody battle of Halidon-hill, fought scarce twenty years afterward, was so completely gained by the archers, that the English are said to have lost only one knight, one esquire, and a few footsoldiers. At the battle of Neville's Cross, in 1346, where David II was defeated and made prisoner, John de Graham, observing the loss which the dressed the lord of the Isles in a phrase used as a Scots sustained from the English bowmen, offered motto by some of his descendants, "My trust is Barbour intimates, that the to charge and disperse them, if a hundred men-at-constant in thee." arms were put under his command. "But, to con- reserve "assembled on one field," that is, in the fess the truth," says Fordun, "he could not pro- same line with the Scottish forces already engaged, cure a single horseman for the service proposed." which leads Lord Hailes to conjecture, that the Of such little use is experience in war, where its Scottish ranks must have been much thinned by results are opposed by habit or prejudice. slaughter, since, in that circumscribed ground, there was room for the reserve to fall into the line. But the advance of the Scottish cavalry must have contributed a good deal to form the vacancy occupied by the reserve.
I, with my Carrick spearmen, charge.-P. 283. When the engagement between the main bodies had lasted some time, Bruce made a decisive movement, by bringing up the Scottish reserve. It is traditionally said, that at this crisis he ad
Lord of the Isles, my trust in thee
Rush on with highland sword and targe;
19. Each braggart churl could boast before,
Twelve Scottish lives his baldric bore!-P. 282. Roger Ascham quotes a similar Scottish proverb, "whereby they give the whole praise of shooting honestly to Englishmen, saying thus, 'that every English archer beareth under his girdle twenty-four Scottes.' Indeed, Toxophilus says before, and truly of the Scottish nation, the Scottes surely be good men of warre in theyre owne feates as can be; but as for shootinge, they can neither use it to any profite, nor yet challenge it for any praise.'"-Works of Ascham, edited by Bennet, 4to. 110. P.
It is said, I trust incorrectly, by an ancient English historian, that the "good lord James of Dou-my advancing to battle. glas" dreaded the superiority of the English archers so much, that when he made any of them prisoner, he gave him the option of losing the forefinger of his right hand, or his right eye, either species of mutilation rendering him incapable to use the bow. I have mislaid the reference to this singular passage.
20. Down! down! in headlong overthrow,
Horseman and horse, the foremost go.-P. 282. It is generally alleged by historians, that the English men-at-arms fell into the hidden snare which Bruce had prepared for them. Barbour does not mention this circumstance. According to his account, Randolph, seeing the slaughter made by the cavalry on the right wing among the archers, advanced courageously against the main body of the English, and entered into close combat with them. Douglas and Stuart, who commanded the Scottish centre, led their division also to the charge, and the battle becoming general along the whole line, was obstinately maintained on both sides for a long space of time; the Scottish archers doing great execution among the English men-at-arms, after the bowmen of England were dispersed.
23. To arms they flew,-axe, club, or spear,And mimic ensigns high they rear.-P. 283. The followers of the Scottish camp observed, from the Gillies' hill in the rear, the impression produced upon the English army by the bringing up of the Scottish reserve, and, prompted by the enthusiasm of the moment, or the desire of plunder, assumed, in a tumultuary manner, such arms as they found nearest, fastened sheets to tent-poles, and lances, and showed themselves like a new ar
Yeomen, and swanys, and pitaill,†
And said that they would see the fight,
21. And steeds that shriek in agony.-P. 282.
I have been told that this line requires an ex-lowers of the Scottish camp fell upon the disheartplanatory note; and, indeed, those who witness the ened fugitives, and added to the confusion and silent patience with which horses submit to the slaughter. Many were driven into the Forth, and most cruel usage may be permitted to doubt that, perished there, which, by the way, could hardly in moments of sudden or intolerable anguish, they have happened, had the armies been drawn up utter a most melancholy cry. Lord Erskine, in a east and west, since in that case, to get at the rivspeech made in the House of Lords, upon a bill er, the English fugitives must have fled through Swains. Rabble. Kept the provisions. Lying. ++ Suff. for enforcing humanity towards animals, noticed ¶ Somewhat. this remarkable fact, in language which I will not Selves.
de Cambuskyneth concordatum fuit finaliter judicatum [ac super] hoc statutum de consilio et assensu episcoporum et ceterorum prelatorum comitum baronum et aliorum nobilium regni Scocie nec non et tocius communitatis regni predicti quod omnes qui contra fidem et pacem dicti domini re gis in bello sue alihi mortui sunt [vel qui dic] to die ad pacein ejus et fidem non venerant licet sepius vocati et legitime expectati fuissent de terris et tenementis et omni alio statu intra regnum SooSir Marmaduke Twenge, an English knight, cie perpetuo sint exheredati et habeantur de cetecontrived to conceal himself during the fury of the ro tanquam inimici regis et regni ab omni venpursuit, and when it was somewhat slackened, ap-dicacione juris hereditarii vel juris alterius cujusproached king Robert. "Whose prisoner are cunque in posterum pro se et heredibus suis in you, sir Marmaduke?" said Bruce, to whom he perpetuum privati ad perpetuam igitur rei mewas personally known. "Yours, sir," answered moriam et evidentem probacionem hujus judicii the knight. "I receive you," answered the king; et statuti sigilla episcoporum et aliorum prelaand, treating him with the utmost courtesy, loaded torum nec non et comitum baronum ac ceteronum him with gifts, and dismissed him without ransom.nobilium dicti regni presenti ordinacioni judicio The other prisoners were well treated. There et statuto sunt appensa.
might be policy in this, as Bruce would naturally wish to acquire the good opinion of the English barons, who were at this time at great variance with their king. But it also well accords with his high chivalrous character.
the victorious army. About a short mile from the field of battle is a place called the Bloody Folds. Here the earl of Gloucester is said to have made a stand, and died gallantly at the head of his own military tenauts and vassals. He was much regretted by both sides; and it is said the Scottish would gladly have saved his life, but neglecting to wear his surcoat with armorial bearings over his armour, he fell unknown, after his horse had been stabbed with spears.
24. O! give their hapless prince his due.-P. 283.
Edward II, according to the best authorities, showed, in the fatal field of Bannockburn, personal gallantry not unworthy of his great sire and greater son. He remained on the field till forced. away by the earl of Pembroke, when all was lost. He then rode to the castle of Stirling, and demanded admittance; but the governor remonstrating upon the imprudence of shutting himself up in that fortress, which must so soon surrender, he assembled around his person five hundred men-atarms, and, avoiding the field of battle and the victorious army, fled towards Linlithgow, pursued by Douglas with about sixty horse. They were augmented by sir Lawrence Abernethy with twenty more, whom Douglas met in the Torwood, upon their way to join the English army, and whom he easily persuaded to desert the defeated monarch, and to assist in the pursuit. They hung upon Edward's flight as far as Dunbar, too few in number to assail him with effect, but enough to harass his retreat so constantly, that whoever fell an instant behind, was instantly slain, or made prisoner. Edward's ignominious flight terminated at Dunbar, where the earl of March, who still professed allegiance to him, "received him full gently." From thence, the monarch of so great an empire, and the late commander of so gallant and numerous an army, escaped to Bamborough in a fishing vessel.
Sigillum Domini Regis
Sigillum Willelmi Episcopi Sancti Andree
Sigillum Alani Episcopi Sodorensis
Sigillum Gilberti de la Haya Constabu arii Scocie
Sigillum Johannis de Sancto Claro