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Title: Life of Sir William Wallace of Elderslie, Vol. I (of II)
Author: Carrick, John D.
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Life of Sir William Wallace of Elderslie, Vol. I (of II)" ***

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  Will appear on the 3d and 17th April, containing,




                          THOMAS CAMPBELL.





  Preparing for immediate Publication









“A real and existing Library of Useful and Entertaining knowledge.”



The unlimited desire of knowledge which now pervades every class
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Treatises, by some of the most Distinguished Authors of the age. Such
is the object of the present Work, which is publishing in a series of
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Immediately after its commencement, in January 1827, this Miscellany
met with extensive encouragement, which has enabled the Publishers
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Being intended for all ages as well as ranks, Constable’s Miscellany is
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A Volume, containing at least 324 pages, appears every three weeks,
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    I. LIFE of K. JAMES the FIRST. By R. CHAMBERS, Author of “The
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10. TABLE-TALK; or, SELECTIONS from the ANA.



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South Pacific Ocean.

15. & 16. HISTORY of the REBELLIONS in SCOTLAND in 1745, 1746. By

many years a resident Trader.

18. & 19. The HISTORICAL WORKS of FREDERICK SCHILLER, from the German,
by GEORGE MOIR, Esq. Translator of “Wallenstein.”

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22. By J. RUSSELL, Esq.

_Works already Published._

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1638 till 1660. By ROBERT CHAMBERS, Author of “The Rebellion of 1745.”

33. 34. & 35. HISTORY of the PRINCIPAL REVOLUTIONS in EUROPE. From the
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CONWAY, Author of “Solitary Walks,” &c.

LL.D. Author of “The Life of Canova,” &c.

M.R.A.S., Author of the “History of Budhism,” &c.

1689 and 1715. By ROBERT CHAMBERS, Author of the “Rebellion in Scotland
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of “Gomez Arias,” “The Castilian,” &c.

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[Illustration: Blackwood Sculpt


  Vol I, Page 137

  Original and Selected Publications





  Drawn by A. Nasmyth      Engraved by W. Miller





                          THOMAS CAMPBELL.


  VOL. I.



In presenting to the British Public the Life of a man, whose name has
been for ages the _slogan_, or _cri de guerre_, when the liberty of his
country was in danger, few words may suffice in the way of Preface.

The unprovoked aggression of England on the freedom of Scotland,
produced, in the latter country, one of those grand national
convulsions, which seldom fail to call forth some master-spirit
from obscurity. Owing to circumstances, however, connected with the
unsettled and turbulent state of the times, the transcendent talents
of the Knight of Elderslie had been, among his contemporaries, more
a subject for grateful admiration, than historical record; and, in
consequence, no small degree of fiction has been mixed up with his
story, while his real achievements have become in a manner obscured by
their own undefined greatness.

The Proprietors of Constable’s Miscellany, conceiving that a work
exclusively devoted to the elucidation of the occurrences in the life
and times of the Deliverer of Scotland, would be an important addition
to our stock of historical knowledge, the writer was requested to
undertake the present work, having become partially conversant with
the subject, while engaged in drawing up a Life of Wallace, some years
ago,[1] for the use of juvenile readers.

In venturing before the Public as the biographer of the Guardian of
Scotland, the Author is not unconscious of the difficulties that
surround him. The subject is one with which his countrymen in all ranks
of life have been from their early years more or less familiar; and
are all qualified, to a certain extent, to become his critics. With so
numerous a host of reviewers, the errors he may have committed have no
chance to escape detection, while the strong partiality with which such
readers are imbued, will no doubt be occasionally offended, when they
find the tame realities of historical evidence substituted for the more
pleasing details of romantic and poetical embellishment. With another
class of readers, whose cooler temperament and neutralized feelings may
enable them to view the narrative of our hero’s transactions through a
different medium, the writer runs an equal hazard of being charged with
overstepping the limits of probability. Thus circumstanced, the hope
of his production meeting any thing like general approbation becomes
extremely faint, and excites the apprehension that he will have to
measure his success only by the mildness with which his labours may be

It remains only to be added, that to JOHN STRACHAN, Esq. of Thornton,
Stirlingshire, (late of Woodside), the Publishers lie under deep
obligation for the kind manner in which he furnished information
connected with Wallace’s Oak, and for the sketch of the tree itself,
after a painting by Nasmyth, executed in 1771, which illustrates the
present Volume. The building, represented in the back ground, is the
ruins of Tor Castle, where the unfortunate James III. is supposed to
have passed the night previous to the fatal battle of Sauchie.

_March_ 1830.


  PREFACE                                                              v

  INTRODUCTION                                                        13

  CHAP. I.

  State of Scotland in the Thirteenth Century                         33


  On the Claim of England to the Feudal Homage of Scotland            59


  Birth, Parentage, and Early Years of Wallace                        85


  Accession of Baliol--Siege of Berwick--Battle of Dunbar            103

  CHAP. V.

  Wallace again takes refuge in the Woods.--Organizes a System
    of Warfare.--Harasses the English in their Cantonments.--
    Conflict of Beg.--Biographical Notices of his early
    Companions.--His Dress and Armour.--Anecdote of the relative
    personal Prowess of Wallace and Bruce                            121


  Peel of Gargunnock taken by the Scots.--The Bradfutes of
    Lamington oppressed by the English.--The Orphan of Lamington.
    --Sir Raynald Crawford summoned to Glasgow.--Wallace Captures
    the Baggage of Percy.--Retires to Lennox.--Various Rencounters
    with the English                                                 149


  Singular Adventure of Wallace in Gask Castle.--Kills the English
    Leader.--Escapes to Torwood.--Interview with his Uncle           173


  Wallace joined by Sir John Graham.--Proceedings in Clydesdale.--
    Wallace visits Lanark.--Adventure with a Party of the English    184


  Attack on Crawford Castle.--Return to Lanark.--Conflict with
    the English.--Murder of the Heiress of Lamington.--Her death
    Revenged.--The English driven out of Lanark.--Battle of
    Biggar.--Atrocious proceedings of the English at Ayr.--Severe
    retaliation by Wallace                                           192

  CHAP. X.

  Affair of Glasgow.--Defeat and Flight of Bishop Bek.--Wallace
    joined by a Number of the Barons.--Expedition to the West
    Highlands.--Battle of Bradher, and Death of M’Fadyan             202


  Robert Bruce joins the Standard of Wallace.--Percy and Clifford
    sent to suppress the Insurrection.--Night Skirmish in
    Annandale--Disaffection of the Scottish Nobles.--Wallace
    retires to the North.--Battle of Stirling Bridge                 217


  A. Wallace’s Tree.--Torwood                                        241

  B. The Crawfurds                                                   246

  C. The Burning of the Barns of Ayr                                 253

  D. Memoir of Bishop Anthony Bek                                    258

  E. Expedition to the West Highlands                                270

  F. Memoir of John Earl of Warren.--Lord Henry de Percy--And
       Lord Robert de Clifford                                       293

  G. Hugh de Cressingham                                             312


There is no portion of the history of Scotland more embarrassing
to modern writers, than the period which relates to the life and
achievements of Wallace.

Having been long since anticipated in all the leading details
respecting him by Henry the Minstrel, our historians in general
seem nervous in approaching the subject; and have either contented
themselves with such materials as the old English writers and certain
monastic chronicles have furnished, or have deliberately borrowed,
without the grace of acknowledgment, the facts recorded by an author
they affected to despise, as one whom the learned were not agreed
to admit within the pale of respectable authority. This treatment,
however, we conceive to be not only unfair, but rather discourteous
in those who may have extended their suffrages to writers guilty of
much greater aberrations from historical veracity than any which are
chargeable against him. It is true, that the works of those writers
are in Latin; but still, we do not see that a great falsehood, told in
the classical language of ancient Rome, should be entitled to a larger
portion of public faith than a lesser one set forth in the more modern
_patois_ of Scotland.

When Walsingham, in describing the battle of Falkirk, tells us that
the sharpness and strength of the English arrows were such, that
“they thoroughly penetrated the men-at-arms, obscured the helmets,
perforated the swords, and overwhelmed the lances”--(_ut ipsos armatos
omnino penetrarent, cassides tenebrarent, gladios perforarent, lanceas
funderent_)--and another learned author,[2] in narrating the same
battle, makes the loss of the Scots in killed, wounded and prisoners,
amount to more in number than were disposed of in any one of the most
sanguinary conflicts between the Roman and Barbaric worlds,--we would
naturally expect, that the indulgence which can readily attribute such
outrages on our credulity, to the style of the age in which the writers
lived, might also be extended to our Minstrel, even when he describes
his hero “like a true knight-errant, cleaving his foes through brawn
and bayne down to the shoulders.”

It is said by Lord Hailes, in speaking of Henry, that “he is an author
whom every historian copies, yet no historian but Sir Robert Sibbald
will venture to quote.” This, though intended as a sneer by the learned
annalist, may be viewed as complimentary to the candour of Sir Robert,
who, while he avails himself of the facts related by another, is not
above acknowledging the obligation. Considering the situation of this
unfortunate but ingenious man, no author had ever a stronger claim on
the indulgence of his readers. Blind from his birth, he was deprived
of the advantage of correcting the manuscript of his work, while his
poverty prevented him from procuring an amanuensis capable of doing
justice to his talents. Hence we find a number of errors and omissions,
that from the ease with which they can be rectified, appear evidently
the faults of transcribers. Succeeding historians, far from making
the allowance which his case demanded, have acted towards him with a
degree of peevish hostility exceedingly unbecoming. Because his dates
do not always correspond with the transactions he records, he has been
termed a “_liar_” a “_fabulist_,” “_a man blind in more respects than
one_;” with other appellations no less unworthy of themselves than
unmerited by him. When it is considered that there is no circumstance
connected with Wallace mentioned by subsequent writers, but what had
already found a place in the work of the Minstrel;--that they had no
other story to give than what he had previously given;--and that they
must either repeat what he had already stated, or remain silent: we are
led to conclude, that he could not have so effectually pre-occupied
the ground, without having very complete information regarding the
subject of his biography. This information, he tells us himself, was
derived from a memoir written in Latin by John Blair, assisted by
Thomas Gray, the former chaplain to Wallace, and the latter parson
of Liberton, both eye-witnesses of the transactions they relate. It
follows, therefore, that Scottish authors, having obtained, in a great
measure, their information respecting Wallace from the pages of Blind
Harry, their characters, as historians, become seriously involved with
the fate of him whom they have so unceremoniously vituperated. Under
these circumstances, it appears a very proper subject of inquiry, to
ascertain whether he has, or has not executed his task with becoming
fidelity. Were the memoir of Blair extant, this matter could very
soon be determined; but having long since disappeared, doubts are
now entertained of its ever having been in existence. Sir Robert
Sibbald has published a few fragments, entitled _Relationes quædam
Arnaldi Blair, Monachi de Dumfermelini, et Capellani D. Willielmi
Wallas, Militis 1327_. Though these are merely transcripts from the
Scotichronicon of Fordun, yet some have supposed them to have been
the groundwork on which Blind Harry founded his poem. This opinion,
however, can scarcely be maintained save by those who have only seen
the title; the most superficial inspection will be sufficient to induce
a very different conclusion. Arnold Blair may have, on some occasion,
officiated as chaplain to Wallace, and, proud of the distinction, in
imitation of his namesake, may have made the ill-arranged excerpts from
Fordun, for the purpose of handing down his own name in connexion with
that of the illustrious defender of his country: but the confident
manner in which Henry refers to _his_ author, as evidence of facts
which are not alluded to, even in the most distant manner, in the
work of Arnold, shows the impossibility of its being the foundation
of his narrative; for we cannot suppose that an author, wishing to
pass off a tissue of fables for a series of truths, would act with so
much inconsistency, as to court detection by referring for authority
to a quarter where he was sure of finding none. When Henry introduced
his translation to the public, the approbation with which it was
received may very justly be viewed as the test of its correctness,
there being no scarcity of men in the country capable of collating it
with the original, and detecting the imposition, if any existed; and
it may therefore reasonably be inferred, that the excellency of the
translation was such as to supersede the original; being, from its
language, more accessible to all classes than the other, which, on
that account, was more likely to go into desuetude, and ultimately to

The character of Minstrel which has been attached to Henry,--joined
to the vulgar and disgusting translation of his work into modern
Scotch, by Hamilton of Gilbertfield,--has, it is presumed, injured his
reputation as a historian, more than any deviation he has made from the
authentic records of the country. No other work of his exists, or is
known to have existed, which might entitle him to rank as a minstrel;
but being called upon--and possibly compelled by circumstances--to
recite his translation in the presence of the great, he received a
minstrel’s reward, and became, perhaps improperly, confounded with the

Had Barbour, Wyntown, Langtoft and other authors, who wrote their
chronicles in rhyme, been quoted by subsequent writers as minstrels,
it would no doubt have weakened their authority as historians. These
men, however, professed to give, though in verse, a faithful register
of the transactions of their country. Henry seems to have had only
the same object in view; and thus endeavours to impress the reader
with the fidelity of the translation, and the disinterestedness of his

    “Off Wallace lyff quha has a forthar feill,
    May schaw furth mair with wit and eloquence;
    For I to this haiff don my diligence,
    Eftyr the pruff geyffyn fra the Latyn buk,
    Quhilk Maister Blayr in his tym wndyrtuk,
    In fayr Latyn compild it till ane end;
    With thir witnes the mar is to commend.
    Byschop Synclar than lord was off Dunkell,
    He gat this buk, and confermd it him sell
    For werray true; thar off he had no dreid,
    Himselff had seyn gret part off Wallace deid.
    His purpos was till haue send it to Rom,
    Our fadyr off kyrk tharon to gyff his dom.
    Bot Maister Blayr, and als Schir Thomas Gray,
    Eftir Wallace thai lestit mony day,
    Thir twa knew best of gud Schir Wilyhamys deid,
    Fra sexteyn yer quhill nyne and twenty yeid.
    Fourty and fyve off age, Wallace was cauld,
    That tym that he was to [the] Southeroun sauld.
    Thocht this mater be nocht till all plesance,
    His suthfast deid was worthi till awance.
    All worthi men at redys this rurall dyt,
    Blaym nocht the buk, set I be wnperfyt.
    I suld hawe thank, sen I nocht trawaill spard;
    For my laubour na man hecht me reward;
    Na charge I had off king nor othir lord;
    Gret harm I thocht his gud deid suld be smord.
    I haiff said her ner as the process gais;
    And fenyeid nocht for frendschip nor for fais.
    Costis herfor was no man bond to me;
    In this sentence I had na will to be,
    Bot in als mekill as I rahersit nocht
    Sa worthely as nobill Wallace wrocht.
    Bot in a poynt, I grant, I said amyss,
    Thir twa knychtis suld blamyt be for this,
    The knycht Wallas, off Craggé rychtwyss lord,
    And Liddaill als, gert me mak [wrang] record.
    On Allyrtoun mur the croun he tuk a day,
    To get battaill, as myn autour will say.
    Thir twa gert me say that ane othir wyss;
    Till Maister Blayr we did sumpart off dispyss.”

            _Buke Eleuenth_, v. 1410-1450.

What more can an author say to satisfy his reader of the purity of his
intentions, as well as of the genuineness of the source from whence
he has drawn his materials? Without reward, or promise of reward,
he appears to have undertaken his task from the purest feelings
of patriotism, and finished it before he experienced any of the
fostering influence of patronage. That the transactions he relates are
substantially correct, or at least such as were generally believed
to be so at the time he wrote, we have the evidence of one nearly
cotemporary. Major thus expresses himself:[3] “Henry, who was blind
from his birth, in the time of my infancy composed _the whole Book
of William Wallace_; and committed to writing in vulgar poetry, in
which he was well skilled, the _things that were commonly related of
him_. For my own part, I give only partial credit to writings of this
description. By the recitation of these however, in the presence of
men of the highest rank, he procured, as he indeed deserved, food and
raiment.” Though Major says nothing of Blair’s Memoirs, yet he frees
Henry from the charge of relating any thing that was not previously
believed by his countrymen.

Thomas Chambers, in his History of the House of Douglas, says,
“These things fell out in the year 1298; which passages, as the most
part of actions done in the time of Sir William Wallace, are either
passed over, or slenderly touched by the writers of our chronicles,
although the truth thereof be unquestionable, being related by those
eyewitnesses who wrote the diary or history of Sir William Wallace
in Latin, which is paraphrastically turned into English rhyme,
the interpreter expressing the main body of the story very truly;
howsomever, missing or mistaking some circumstances, he differeth
therein from the Latin.”[4] From the manner in which this is expressed,
it may be supposed that Chambers had seen the original. If this could
be established, his testimony would be of considerable importance.
Nicholson, Archdeacon of Carlisle, in his Scottish Historical Library,
says, that the names of the great northern Englishmen, whom Henry
represents Wallace as having been engaged with, such as Sir Gerard
Heron, Captain Thirlwall, Morland, Martindale, &c. are still well known
on the borders of Cumberland and Northumberland. The reader may also
find, by the Statistical Account of Scotland, that the localities
mentioned in the poem, are given with a precision beyond the reach of
one labouring under the infirmity of blindness.

The invasion of Lorn by MacFadyan and a horde of Irish, at the
instigation of Edward, is a circumstance unnoticed by any historian,
save the translator of Blair; and were it not for the undoubted
evidence, arising from traditions still preserved among a people who
never heard of the work of the Minstrel, it might be considered as the
mere creation of his own fancy. But such decided testimony in favour
of the correctness of his statement, when taken in connection with
the accurate manner in which he has described the advance of Wallace
through a country, respecting the intricacies of which he, of himself,
could form no idea--the near approach he has made to the Celtic names
of the places, which can still be distinctly traced--and the correct
description he has given of the grand scene of action on the Awe,--are
sufficient to stamp the impress of truth on his narrative, and satisfy
any one of the impossibility of a man, situated as he was, ever being
able to accomplish it without the diary of an eye-witness.

After the defeat of MacFadyan, Wallace is represented as holding a
council or meeting with the chieftains of the West Highlands, in the
Priory of Ardchattan. The ruins of the Priory are still to be found
on the banks of Loch Etive, a few miles from the scene of strife;
and among the rubbish, as well as in the neighbouring grounds, coins
of Edward I. have at different times been dug up, in considerable
quantities. So late as March 1829, the following paragraph appeared in
the Glasgow Herald:--“In digging a grave, a few days ago at Balvodan
(or St Modan’s), a burial-place in the neighbourhood of the Priory of
Ardchattan, Argyllshire, a number of ancient silver coins were found,
in a remarkably fine state of preservation. The place where they had
been deposited was about four feet below the surface; and they seem to
have been contained in an earthen vessel, which mouldered into dust,
on exposure to the atmosphere; they were turned up by the shovel, as
those who were attending the interment were surrounding the grave, and
each of the party present having picked up a few, the rest were, by
the Highlanders, returned with the earth to the grave. The coins were
struck in the reign of the First Edward, whose name can be distinctly
traced on them; and they were probably placed there at the time,
when that monarch had succeeded in getting temporary possession of
the greater part of Scotland. In that case they must have lain where
they were found for upwards of five hundred years.” The writer had an
opportunity of examining a number of these coins on the spot; he found
a great many of them to be struck in Dublin, and they seemed below the
regular standard. Though numerous discoveries have been made of the
coins of this ambitious monarch in other parts of Scotland, yet in
the West Highlands they are extremely rare. Neither Edward, nor any
of his English generals, ever penetrated so far in that direction. It
is, therefore, highly probable, that the above money may have formed
part of the contents of the military chest of MacFadyan, which, in that
superstitious age, had found its way into the hands of the priesthood.

Although Henry cannot be collated with his original, the truth or
falsehood of his narrative may, in part, be ascertained by comparing
him with those who preceded him on the same subject. The most reputable
of these writers, and those whose characters for veracity stand highest
in the estimation of the learned, are John de Fordun, and Andro de
Wyntown, both original historians; for, though Wyntown outlived Fordun,
he had not an opportunity of seeing his history. With respect to
Fordun’s agreement with the Minstrel, the reader has the evidence of
Nicholson, Archdeacon of Carlisle, who says, that “Hart’s _edition_ of
Wallace contains a preface which confirms the whole of it out of the
Scoti-Chronicon.”[5] Wyntown, who finished his history in 1424, being
about 46 years before Henry, in alluding to those deeds of Wallace
which he had left _unrecorded_, says,

    “Of his gud Dedis and Manhad
    Gret Gestis; I hard say, ar made;
    Bot sá mony, I trow noucht,
    As he in-till hys dayis wroucht.
    Quha all hys Dedis of prys wald dyte,
    Hym worthyd a gret Buk to wryte;
    And all thái to wryte in here
    I want báthe Wyt and gud Laysere.”

            B. viii. c. xv. v. 79-86.

The first couplet may allude to Blair’s Diary, or perhaps to Fordun’s
History, which he had no doubt heard of; and, in the succeeding
lines, he doubts that, however much may have been recorded, it must
still fall very short of what was actually performed. This is so far
satisfactory, from one who lived almost within a century of the time,
and who no doubt often conversed with those whose fathers had fought
under the banners of Wallace; it is a pity that his modesty, and
his want of “gud laysere,” prevented him from devoting more of his
time to so meritorious a subject. The first transaction which he has
narrated, is the affair at Lanark; but it is evident from what he says,
that Wallace must have often before mingled in deadly feud with the
English soldiers, and done them serious injury; otherwise, it would be
difficult to account for their entertaining towards him the degree of
animosity expressed in the following lines:

    “Gret Dyspyte thir Inglis men
    Had at this Willame Walays then.
    Swá thai made thame on á day
    Hym for to set in hard assay:”

            B. viii. c. xiii. v. 19-22.

Every particular that Wyntown gives of the conflict which ensues, in
consequence of this preconcerted quarrel on the part of the English, is
detailed in the account of the Minstrel with a degree of correctness,
leaving no room to doubt that either the two authors must have drawn
their materials from the same source, or that Henry, having heard
Wyntown’s version of the story, considered it so near the original as
to leave little to be corrected. The language, as will be seen from the
following examples, is nearly the same:

    “Twelf hundyre nynty yhere and sewyn
    Frá Cryst wes borne the Kyng of Hewyn,”

            B. viii. c. xiii.

Henry thus enters upon the same subject--

    “Tuelff hundreth yer, tharto nynté and sewyn,
    Fra Cryst wes born the rychtwiss king off hewyn.”

            “_Buke Sext_,” 107, 108.

Wyntown gives the following dialogue, as having taken place between
Wallace and an athletic wag belonging to the English garrison of
Lanark, who, when surrounded by his companions, made “a Tyt at hys

    _W._ “Hald stylle thi hand, and spek thi worde.”

    _I._ “Wyth thi Swerd thow máis gret bost.”

    _W._ “Tharefor thi Dame made lytil cost.”

    _I._ “Quhat caus has thow to were the Grene?”

    _W._ “Ná caus, bot for to make the Tene.”

    _I._ “Thow suld noucht bere sà fare a Knyf.”

    _W._ “Swà sayd the Preyst, that swywyd thi Wyf:
         Swà lang he cald that Woman fayr,
         Quhill that his Barne wes made thi Ayre.”

    _I._ “Me-thynk thow drywys me to scorne.”

    _W._ “Thi Dame wes swywyd or thow wes borne.”

            B. viii. c. xiii. 28-38.

The similarity of Henry’s version is too apparent to be the effect of
chance. After a little _badinage_, which does not appear in Wyntown, he

    “Ma Sotheroune men to thaim assemblit ner.
    Wallace as than was laith to mak a ster.
    Ane maid a scrip, and tyt at his lang suorde:
    ‘Hald still thi hand,’ quod he, ‘and spek thi word.’
    ‘With thi lang suerd thow makis mekill bost.’
    ‘Tharoff,’ quod he, ‘thi deme maid litill cost.’
    ‘Quhat causs has thow to wer that gudlye greyne?--’
    ‘My maist causs is bot for to mak the teyne.’
    ‘Quhat suld a Scot do with sa fair a knyff?--’
    ‘Sa said the prest that last janglyt thi wyff;
    ‘That woman lang has tillit him so fair,
    ‘Quhill that his child, worthit to be thine ayr.’
    ‘Me think,’ quod he, ‘thow drywys me to scorn.’
    ‘Thi deme has beyne japyt or thow was born.’”

            “_Buke Sext_,” 141-154.

The parties soon come to blows; and, in the conflict, Wallace cut off
the hand of one of his opponents. Wyntown thus takes notice of the

    “As he wes in that Stowre fechtand,
    Frá ane he strak swne the rycht hand;
    And frá that Carle mycht do ná mare,
    The left hand held fast the Buklare,
    And he swá mankyd, as brayne-wode,
    Kest fast wyth the Stwmpe the Blode
    In-til Willame Walays face:
    Mare cumryd of that Blode he was,
    Than he was a welle lang qwhile
    Feychtand stad in that peryle.”

            B. viii. c. xiii. 47-56.

Henry narrates the anecdote with little variation.

    “Wallace in stour wes cruelly fechtand;
    Fra a Sotheroune he smat off the rycht hand:
    And quhen that carle off fechtyng mycht no mar,
    With the left hand in ire held a buklar.
    Than fra the stowmpe the blud out spurgyt fast,
    In Wallace face aboundandlye can out cast;
    In to great part it marryt him off his sicht.”

            “_Buke Sext_, 163-169.”

The escape of Wallace by means of his mistress--her murder by order
of the sheriff--his return the ensuing night--with the slaughter of
the sheriff--are particularly taken notice of by Wyntown. Henry’s
translation includes all these occurrences, and only differs by being
more circumstantial. The account of the battle of Falkirk agrees in
numerous instances. The covenant between Cumming and Bruce, which Henry
states to have taken place near Stirling, is corroborated in place and
circumstance by Fordun, Wyntown and Barbour. The hanging of Sir Bryce
Blair and Sir Ronald Crawford in a barn at Ayr, is confirmed by the
last mentioned writer, although he does not descend to particulars.

These, and many other instances may be adduced, to show, that,
though Henry or his authority may have occasionally indulged in the
marvellous, yet the general outline of his history, and even many of
the particulars, are in strict accordance with truth; and the work
itself necessarily becomes not only valuable as a depository of ancient
manners, but as containing matter, which, if properly investigated, may
be useful to the historian. Whether the apocryphal part--and which,
it must be allowed, is considerable--ought to be attributed to the
fancy of the translator, or if it formed a portion of the original
text, we have no means of ascertaining. From the frequent and apparent
sincerity, however, with which Henry appeals to his “auctor,” and the
value he seems to attach to a faithful discharge of his task, we might
be led to infer, that if it were practicable to collate his performance
with the memoir of Blair, the rendering of it would be found
unexceptionable. Under these circumstances, the writer of the following
narrative has not scrupled to avail himself of such statements as
appeared entitled to credit; and, though he cannot consider the
Minstrel as deserving the same degree of confidence as Wyntown or
Barbour, yet, when he finds him consistent and characteristic, he
conceives it would be unjust to suspect falsehood in every instance,
where he does not happen to be supported by the respectable testimonies
already enumerated. That he is more circumstantial than any of the
Scottish historians, is easily accounted for, by his attention, or
rather that of his author, being engrossed by the actions of one
individual. A degree of minuteness is in this case adopted, which would
be altogether incompatible with the plan of a general historian.

These remarks it has been deemed necessary to make in defence of one to
whom we are indebted for the only original memoir of the greatest hero,
and purest patriot, Scotland or any other country ever produced; an
author, however, who, instead of having the merits of his work fairly
appreciated, has been vilified and abused by those who, in their zeal
for establishing new historical creeds, have found it a matter of less
labour to _sneer_ than to _investigate_.

The sources from whence the present writer has drawn his materials,
will, it is hoped, be found such as are generally entitled to credit.
Being of opinion that the authors who lived nearest the period under
review ought to be best informed respecting the transactions connected
with it, he has therefore endeavoured to collate as many ancient
Scottish and English authorities as possible. The biographical notices
of such Englishmen as figured in the Scottish wars, are chiefly drawn
from the historians of England; conceiving that it belongs to the
writers of a country to be best acquainted with the details of its
internal and domestic history; but to enumerate the authorities he has
consulted, would here be superfluous, as they are duly noted at the
proper stages of the narrative.






The scanty and imperfect records which exist respecting the early state
of Scotland, have been a fruitful source of complaint to all writers
who have applied themselves to the investigation of her history.
Those, however, who would form an estimate of her relative situation
and internal resources, by reference to her condition at the time she
became allied to England on the accession of James VI., would arrive at
very erroneous conclusions on the subject.

That Scotland retrograded under the dynasty of the Stuarts, few, who
are conversant with her early history, will be inclined to deny.
But, without inquiring how far the incapacity or imprudence of that
unfortunate race may have contributed to her decline, the writer will
endeavour to arrange a few remarks respecting the above-mentioned
period, for the benefit of those readers whose attention may not have
been directed to that interesting portion of our annals.

The jurisprudence of Scotland, like that of the other states of
Europe, embraced the feudal system in all its degrees of servitude,
from the knightly devoirs of the baron, down to the humble and more
laborious task of the bondsman, who could be either put to death at
the will of his over-lord, or bartered away to the church, for a
certain number of masses. Yet though this state of society existed to
a considerable extent, there were some privileged classes exempt from
its more degrading operation. The most influential of these, as might
be expected, were the priesthood, who, as soon as admitted to orders,
became emancipated from their temporal bondage.[6]

Merchants and burgesses were of course free. Had this not been the
case, those useful classes could not have existed, as the control of
the feudal superior over the _adscriptos glebæ_, extended not only to
an absolute property in themselves and their offspring, but also over
any means they might accumulate. When a bondsman, therefore, bought
a burgage, and remained a year and a day in a burgh, without being
molested or claimed by his lord, he became a free man for ever.[7]

Another useful portion of society is to be found in our records
under the name of _liberi firmarii_, or free yeomanry, the formation
of which, it is presumed, may be attributed in a great measure to
the ecclesiastical establishments. The clergy, from their superior
education, were wiser, in their generation, than their neighbours;
and instead of allowing the produce of their lands to be eaten up by
hordes of idle serfs, they preferred letting them at a valuation to
industrious free men, whom they encouraged by the immunities which
they had it in their power to grant. These free men were generally the
descendants of the clergy, the younger sons of gentlemen, or burgesses
possessed of small capitals. From this judicious management, the church
lands were always the best cultivated, and consequently the most
productive in the country.

At an early period the maritime towns were frequented by foreigners;
and the productions of almost every clime were to be found in
Scotland. By an Act of Alexander III.,[8] it appears that the trade
of the country had rather declined during his minority; the causes
of which are stated to have been, captures by pirates, shipwrecks on
the coast, storms at sea, and detentions on slight grounds in various
ports and places. In order, therefore, to revive the foreign commerce
of the kingdom, and give the necessary security and facility to
transactions with strangers, all the lieges were strictly prohibited
from interfering with the said traffic, except the burgesses at the
different ports. This regulation gave confidence to foreigners, by
bringing them into immediate contact with a description of men, with
whom reciprocal advantages would naturally beget and maintain a
friendly understanding.[9]

The consequence of this liberal policy was soon felt; and before
the year expired, vessels from all quarters made their appearance
in the Scottish harbours, willing to exchange their cargoes for
the productions of the country; and in the course of a few years,
Scotland exhibited a very flourishing appearance, abounding in money
and wealth of every description. The Flemings, whom the English had
expelled, found protection and encouragement in Scotland, and were
allowed to fortify their factory at Berwick, called “The Red Hall,”
under condition of their defending it to the last extremity against
the enemies of that kingdom. This engagement, as will be seen, they
afterwards nobly performed.

A number of wealthy Lombards, jealous perhaps of their rivals the
Flemings, now made application to the Government of Scotland for
permission to erect similar establishments in various parts of the
country, particularly at Queensferry and other stations on the
Forth,--craving, at the same time, certain spiritual privileges. The
States of the kingdom acceded at once to their request, in so far
as they regarded trade; but as the Lombards were the vassals of the
Pope, they prudently declined mixing up any ecclesiastical matters
with affairs of commerce. In the meantime, the unfortunate death of
the King put an end to the negociation. Fordun, who narrates the
circumstance, does not condescend on the nature of the spiritual
privileges required. It is highly probable, however, that they
consisted in their being admitted into Scotland on the same terms
which they enjoyed in England and other European states, where they
were recognised in a special manner as “the Pope’s merchants,” and
were intrusted by him with the receiving and remitting the immense
revenues which were drawn from every country where their Holy Father’s
supremacy was acknowledged. Trade, with them, was often a secondary
consideration. Lending of money, for which they exacted enormous usury,
constituted the most lucrative part of their operations; and in these
nefarious transactions, it has been conjectured, that they were often
commissioned to employ the funds belonging to the Holy See, whose
bulls were frequently issued in their favour, when their crimes or
rapacity had aroused the vengeance of the governments under which they
resided.[10] Their severity to their debtors, made them known by the
name of _Caursini_; and they at last became generally obnoxious for
their extortion. If the account given of them by Matthew Paris may be
relied on, the caution of the Scots respecting the admission of such
harpies into the country was highly commendable.

The great mart for foreign commerce in the kingdom, previous to
1296, appears to have been Berwick. The importance of this place was
considerable. Even in the reign of Malcolm IV., it possessed more ships
than any other town in Scotland, and was exposed, from its wealth, to
visits from the piratical fleets of the Norwegians. In 1156, a ship
belonging to a citizen, called Knut the Opulent, and having his wife
on board, was taken by Erlend, Earl of Orkney; but it is recorded Knut
hired fourteen ships, with a competent number of men, for which he paid
one hundred merks of silver, and went in pursuit of the pirate, who had
anchored for the night at one of the adjacent islands.[11]

The wealth and importance of this ancient emporium of commerce, became
so great in the reign of Alexander II., as to excite the admiration
of contemporary authors, one of whom calls it a “second Alexandria;”
and eulogizes the inhabitants for the extent of their donations to
religious houses. “But we have,” says Macpherson, in his Annals of
Commerce, “better authority than the voice of panegyric, for the
prosperity of Berwick; as we find the customs of it assigned by King
Alexander to a merchant of Gascoigne for 2,197_l._ 8s. Sterling--a sum
equal to 32,961 bolls of wheat, at the usual price of 16 pennies.”[12]

In the years 1283 and 1284, Robert Durham the Mayor, together with
Simon Martel, and other good men of Berwick, enacted the _Statute of
the Gilt_.

“By c. 20. None but gild-brothers were permitted to buy hides, wool, or
wool-fells, in order to sell them again, or cut cloth, except foreign

“C. 22. 37. and 44. Herrings and other fish, corn, beans, peas, salt,
and coals,[13] were ordered to be sold ‘_at the bray_,’ along side
the vessel bringing them, and no where else; and they were not to be
carried on shore when the sun was down. Any burgess who was present
at a purchase of herrings, might claim a portion of them for his own
consumption, at the original cost.

“C. 27. Brokers were elected by the community of the town, and their
names registered. They paid annually a tun (_dolium_) of wine for their
license;”--a proof that their business must have been lucrative.

“C. 28. No regrator was allowed to buy fish, hay, oats, cheese, butter,
or other articles brought into the town for sale, till the bell rung.

“The government of the town was declared to be by a mayor, four
provosts (_præpositis_), and twenty-four councillors,” &c.

In 1283, when Edward was preparing for his invasion of Wales, he
commissioned one John Bishop, a burgess of Lynne, to purchase
merchandise (_mercimonia_) for him in Scotland. This is rather a
singular instance of the superiority of the Scots market in those

The other cities in Scotland, though inferior to Berwick, were not
without their proportion of trade. About the same time, the sheriffs
of Cumberland and Lancaster were ordered to send people to purchase
fish on the west coast of Scotland, and convey them to the _depôt_
at Chester; and one Adam de Fulcham was commissioned to furnish 100
barrels of sturgeons, of 500 weight each, 5000 salt fish, also dried
fish. The fish of Aberdeen were so well cured, that they were exported
to the principal fishing port of Yarmouth.

Four hundred fish of Aberdeen (perhaps salmon), one barrel sturgeons,
five dozen lampreys, fifty pounds whale oil, _balen_ (for burning,
perhaps, during the voyage), and a half last of herrings, constituted
the fish part of the provisions put on board of a ship fitted out at
Yarmouth for bringing the infant Queen of Scotland from the court of
her father, the King of Norway. The fish of Aberdeen cost somewhat
under three pennies; stock-fish under one penny each, and the half last
of herring 30s.[15]

In the reign of Alexander III., the merchants of St Omer’s, and
partners of the Florentine houses of Pullici and Lambini, had
established correspondents in Scotland; and one Richard de Furbur,
a trader of the inland town of Roxburgh, had sent factors and
supercargoes to manage his business in foreign countries, and various
parts of Britain.

The exports of Scotland, at this time, consisted of wool and woolfells,
hides, black cattle,[16] fish, salted and cured, horses, greyhounds,
falcons, pearls, and herrings, particularly those caught in Lochfyne,
which had a preference, and found a ready market among the French, who
came and exchanged their wines at a place still known by the name of
_French Foreland_; and so much was wine a regular understood barter,
that Lochfyne (_Lochfion_), or the Wine Loch, became the only name for
one of the most extensive arms of the Western Ocean on the Scottish
coast. The pearl was a more ancient branch of traffic, and said to
have been in request among the Romans. The Scottish pearl, however,
appears to have been partially superseded in the French market, by
the introduction of an article of superior lustre from the East. The
goldsmiths of Paris, therefore, made a trade regulation, forbidding any
worker in gold or silver to set any Scotch pearls along with Oriental
ones, except in large jewels for churches. The greyhounds,[17] however,
kept up their price; and the Scottish falcons were only rivalled by
those of Norway.

The reader may have some idea of the quantity of wine consumed at
the table of Alexander III., from the circumstance of one hundred
and seventy-eight hogsheads being supplied in the year 1263, and
sixty-seven hogsheads and one pipe furnished the following year. The
difference in the quantity of these two years may have been occasioned
by the battle of Largs having taken place on the 2d October 1263; after
which there would, no doubt, be a considerable influx of barons and
their followers to the royal presence, to partake of the festivities
incident to the occasion.[18]

Horses were, it is said, an article of importation as well as
exportation with the Scots in the thirteenth century. Alexander I.
rode a fine Arabian; and, in the Norwegian account of Haco’s invasion,
we are told that a large body of Scottish knights appeared on Spanish
steeds, which were completely armed. It is probable, however, that the
warriors so mounted might have been the forces of the Temple, as this
wealthy order had been some time before established in the country; and
its services would no doubt be required on so stirring an occasion.

Asia, in the thirteenth century, was the grand military school for
the nations of Europe; and every country having representatives in
the armies of the crusaders, the improvements that took place in the
art of war were quickly transfused through the various kingdoms of
Christendom; and the offensive and defensive armour of each was,
therefore, nearly the same. The warriors of Scotland and England
assimilated very closely to each other; and, with the exception,
perhaps, of the glaive-men and the bill-men of the English, and the
Highlanders and Isles-men of the Scots, no material difference could be
discovered. The Scots, as well as the English, had “men-at-arms,” who
fought on foot; and while the latter used the lance, the former were
armed with a spear of no common length. These men among the Scots were
selected on account of their stature and strength, and were generally
placed in the front-rank of the squares, being completely enclosed in
defensive armour, which consisted of steel helmets, a tunic, stuffed
with wool, tow, or old cloth, with a habergeon, or shirt of iron rings,
the joints defended by plates of the same metal. The stubbornness with
which they maintained their ranks may very reasonably be supposed
to have acquired for the Scottish phalanx or schiltron, that high
character for firmness and obstinate valour for which it was so long

Hauberks of different kinds, with padded or quilted pourpoints, having
iron rings set edgeways, were generally worn. In the early part of the
reign of Alexander III, chain-mail was first introduced into Scotland
by the crusaders; it was formed of four rings, joined to a fifth, and
all firmly secured by rivets. Eastern armour, however, had appeared
in the country before this period, as we find that Alexander I. had a
splendid suit of Arabian manufacture, richly ornamented with jewels,
with a spear and shield of silver, which, along with his Arabian steed,
covered with a fair mantle of fine velvet, and other rich housings,
he dedicated to the patron Saint of Scotland, within the church of
St Andrew’s, in the early part of the thirteenth century. This was
considered so valuable a donation, as to require the sanction of David,
the heir-apparent of the throne.[19]

Habergeons, of various forms and dimensions, according to the fancy
or circumstances of the wearer, prevailed in this age. These were
generally covered by a gown or tabard, on the back and front of which
the arms of the wearer were emblazoned. Jacked or boiled leather, with
quilted iron-work, was also in use for defending the arms and legs.
Helmets, bacinets and skullcaps, surmounted, according to the dignity
of the person, formed defences for the head; and the shields were
either round, triangular, or kite-shape, with the device or arms of
the warrior painted upon them in glaring colours. The common soldiers
wrapped pieces of cloth about the neck, their numerous folds of which
formed an excellent defence from the cut of a sword. The “_Ridir_,” or
Knight among the Highlanders, differed little in his equipment from
those of the same rank in the Low Country. In battle, he was usually
attended by a number of _Gall-oglaich_. These were soldiers selected
as the stoutest and bravest of the clan, and might be considered as
the “men-at-arms” among the Gaël. They were supplied either with the
corslet, or the _lùireach mhailleach_, (the habergeon, literally the
coat of rings,) and were armed with the Lochaber-axe, the _clamdhmhor_,
(great two-handed sword) and sometimes a heavy shelving stone-axe,
beautifully polished, and fixed into a strong shaft of oak.[20] In the
rear of the _Gall-oglaich_, stood the _Ceatharnaich_, an inferior sort
of soldiers, armed with knives and daggers. Their duty was to take,
kill, or disable those whom the prowess of the front rank had brought
to the ground. The boldest and most dexterous among the _Gall-oglaich_
was made squire or armour-bearer to the chief. This man, as well as
the rest of his companions, received a larger portion of victuals
when they sat at their leader’s table; but the part allotted for the
armour-bearer was greater than any, and called, on that account, _beath
fir_, or, “the Champion’s Meal.”

Among the Knights of the Isles, the conical-shaped helmet was more in
use than any other. From piratical habits, and long intercourse with
the Norwegians, their followers in general were better equipped than
those of the mainland. The habergeon was very common among them; and
from the gown they put over it, being universally dyed of a yellow or
saffron-colour, they presented a more uniform appearance than their

Besides the lance and spear, the mace, the pike, the _martel de fer_ (a
sort of iron hammer), the two-handed sword, various forms of daggers,
knives, clubs, flails, scythes fixed on poles, bows, cross-bows,[21]
and slings made by a thong fixed to the end of a staff, were in use
among the Scots. These slingers used their weapons with both hands.
They had no defensive armour, and were generally placed among the
archers, who were divided into companies of twenty-five men each.

The military engines in use in attacking or defending castles, or
other fortified places, were the _Loup de Guerre_, or war-wolf, a
frame formed of heavy beams, with spikes, and made to fall on the
assailants in the manner of a portcullis--the _Scorpion_, a large
stationary cross-bow of steel, which discharged darts of an uncommon
size, and the _Balista_, _Catapulta_, and _Trebuchet_, which were
engines of great power in throwing large stones, which were often
heated to a high temperature. The _Bricolle_ threw large square-headed
darts, called _Carreaux_, or _Quarrels_. This engine was used by the
Flemings in fortifying their factory at Berwick, called the “Red Hall.”
The _Espringal_ threw darts with brass plates, instead of feathers,
to make their flight steady. The _Berfrarium_, an engine also called
_Belfredus_, was made of wood, covered with skins to defend it from
fire, and was formed like a tower, and of a height to overlook the
walls. It consisted of several stories, and was rolled on wheels
towards the object of attack, and filled with archers and spearmen;
the latter, under cover of the former, either rushed upon the walls,
or fought hand to hand with the besieged. The name was afterwards
given to high towers erected in cities, for the purpose of alarming by
bells. Hence the origin of the term “Belfrey.” The most expert in the
manufacture of these engines of destruction was a monk of Durham. This
man supplied the greatest portion of the artillery required for the
defence of Berwick.

Respecting the state of the Arts, it would be difficult to give any
thing like a circumstantial detail. That various useful mechanical
professions were known and prosecuted, there is abundance of evidence
to prove; but to what degree of perfection they were brought, is not so
clear. That the compass was familiar to the mariners of Scotland at an
early age, appears from the manner in which Barbour expresses himself,
in the description of Bruce and his companions, who, in crossing from
Arran to Carrick in the night-time, steered by the light of a fire upon
the shore.

    “For thai na _nedill_ had, na _stane_,
    Bot rowyt always in till ane,
    Steerand all tyme apon the fyr.”

            _Buke Feyrd_, 1. 23-25.

According to Wyntown, great attention was paid to agriculture by
Alexander III., who fixed that well-known measurement of land called
“Ox-gang.” The passage is worth extracting.

    “Yhwmen, pewere Karl, or Knáwe,
    Dat wes of mycht an Ox til hawe,
    He gert that man hawe part in Pluche;
    Swá wes corne in his Land enwche;
    Swá than begowth, and eftyr lang
    Of Land was mesure, ane Ox-gang.
    Mychty men, that had mà
    Oxyn, he gert in Pluchys gá.
    A Pluch of Land eftyr that
    To nowmyr of Oxyn mesur gat.
    Be that Vertu all hys Land
    Of corn he gart be abowndand.
    A Bolle of átis pennys foure
    Of Scottis Monè past noucht oure;
    A boll of bere for awcht or ten
    In comowne prys sawld wes then;
    For sextene a boll of qwhete;
    Or fore twenty the derth wes grete.
    This fályhyd frá he deyd suddanly.”

            B. vii. c. x. 507-525.

If the beautiful specimens of architecture which were produced in this
age may be regarded as furnishing certain criteria for judging of the
general state of the arts, we would be warranted in assigning to them
a much higher degree of perfection than many of our readers would be
inclined to admit. It is, however, difficult to believe, that a nation
could have arrived at a high degree of excellence in an art which
required a superior knowledge of the principles of science, as well as
the greatest refinement in taste, without having made a corresponding
proficiency in those of a subordinate character. The exquisite
workmanship which adorned the crosses and monuments within the sacred
precincts of the Island of Iona, commands at once the admiration and
respect of strangers; and the fragments which have escaped the ravages
of modern Vandalism, display a neatness of execution in the figures,
lettering and embellishments, which may justly claim competition with
the productions of the present day. Some, who will not look further
than the subsequent poverty and degradation of Scotland, insist that
these crosses and monuments are French manufacture, and were imported
from France. This conjecture will not admit of a moment’s reflection.
They might as well inform us that the Abbey of Melrose, the Cathedral
of Glasgow, and all the rest of our sacred edifices, were importations
from the same quarter. With more propriety, however, it may be alleged,
that the most elegant of our Ecclesiastical structures were erected
by a band of ingenious architects and workmen belonging to various
countries, who associated together about this time, under the name of
Free Masons, and wandered about Europe, offering their services where
they expected the most liberal encouragement. Of these men, it is
presumed Scotland has a right to claim a fair proportion.

Naval architecture also appears to have met with due encouragement;
for we find, in the year 1249, Hugh de Chantillon, Earl of St Paul
and de Blois, a powerful vassal of Louis IX., joined the crusaders
under that monarch at Cyprus, with fifty knights carrying banners,
besides a numerous body of Flemings, on board of a vessel of great
strength and dimensions, which, according to Matthew Paris,[22]
(who calls it a marvellous vessel), was built at Inverness, in the
Murray Firth. On this occasion Macpherson remarks,[23] “That a French
nobleman should apply to the carpenters of Inverness for a ship, is
a curious circumstance; which seems to infer, that they had acquired
such a degree of reputation in their profession, as to be celebrated
in foreign countries.” A large vessel was afterwards built for the
Venetians at the same place.[24]

As the state of literature at this period was nearly on a level all
over Britain, the following specimens of the earliest lyrical effusions
of the Scottish and English Muse known to exist, may serve the purpose
of exciting a more elaborate inquiry.


    Summer is come in,
      Loud sings the cuckoo;
    Groweth seed, and bloweth meed,
      And springth woods new,
                            Singth the cuckoo.

    Ewe bleateth after lamb,
    Loweth after calf, cow;
    Bullock starteth, buck verteth,
    Merry sings the cuckoo,
                            Cuckoo, cuckoo,
                          Well singth the cuckoo,
                            May’st thou never cease.


    “Quhen Alysandyr oure Kyng wes dede,
      That Scotland led in Luwe and Le,
    Away wes Sons of Ale and Brede,
      Of Wyne and Wax, of Gamyn and Gle:
    Oure Gold wes changyd in-to Lede.
      Cryst, borne in-to Virgynytè,
    Succour Scotland and remede,
      That Stad is in perplexytè.”

The law of Scotland is known to all to have been that of the Romans.
The municipal and commercial departments were under the control of
the Court of the “Four Burghs,” which consisted of representatives
from Berwick, Edinburgh, Roxburgh and Stirling; to whom all
matters connected with commerce, and the rights and privileges of
the burgesses, were referred. The Chamberlain’s Court had also a
jurisdiction over the burghs in matters respecting the trade and
general policy of the kingdom. The chamberlain, in the discharge of his
duty, was constrained to make periodical progress through the kingdom,
to adjust the standards, weights and measures, kept in the different
burghs. It was also his duty to detect any imposition that might be
practised by the King’s servants, in exacting more goods at the King’s
price (which was lower than the market), than what were required for
his service, and thereby making a profit to themselves. From the
regulations of the Chamberlain’s Court, it appears that inspectors were
appointed to examine and certify, by their seal of office, the quantity
and quality of cloth, bread, and casks containing liquors; and that
other officers, called “Troners,” had the inspection of wool. Salmon
fishings also were carefully regulated; and fishing during the night,
or while the salmon were not in season, was prohibited.[25]

The great councils of the nation, from whence all the laws emanated,
had their meetings at Scone; and the promulgation of any new act was
preceded by the ringing of the great bell of the monastery where the
meetings were held. By this practice, “the bell of Scoon” became, in
time, a cant expression for the law of the land.[26] These councils
were almost solely attended by the barons and ecclesiastics of
the highest rank. Neither merchants nor burgesses were admitted.
Representations, therefore, from the Chamberlain’s Court, and the
Court of the Four Burghs, afforded the only chance for correcting the
mistakes which might arise from the ignorance of these aristocratic

From the intercourse which existed between Scotland and England during
the long interval of peace, previous to the aggression of Edward, the
manners, particularly of the higher classes, were in many respects
nearly the same. The frequent intermarriages tended, more than any
other cause, to render the inhabitants of the two countries familiar
with the habits and customs of each other, while both imitated the
French in dress and language; and their domestic economy, in numerous
instances, also bore a close resemblance.

Though the barons and churchmen among the Scots had no taste for the
high-spiced wines so much relished by the English, yet in the viands
which graced their festivities, particularly those who held lands
in England, there appeared to have been little or no alteration. On
great occasions, the seal, the porpoise, and the wild boar, though now
banished from the table, never failed to make their appearance. Venison
pasties, game, poultry, and baked meats of all descriptions, with fish
in endless variety, were common at the tables of the great. Shell-fish,
particularly oysters, were much in demand among the ecclesiastics. This
is evident from the quantity of shells which are still to be found
in digging about the ruins of religious establishments. The frequent
recurrence of those periods when food of an opposite description was
forbidden, sufficiently accounts for this profusion.

Among the culinary preparations that were peculiar to Scotland, one
known by the name of _Mìr-Mòr_, was held in the highest estimation.
This savoury dish always had a place at the royal table; and so much
was it a favourite, that in the traditionary songs of the Gaëlic bards,
it is mentioned as a viand fit only for a hero, and represented by
them to be given as such by Fingal to his friend _Goll Mac-mhairn_, in
addition to his _beath fir_, or “champion’s meal,” which he received
sitting at the right hand of the royal donor. Of this highly-prized
_morceau friand_, minced meat, marrow and herbs, were the principal
ingredients; and in this composition it is not difficult to trace the
origin of the “Haggies,” a dish still considered national among the

Were it a fair criterion to estimate the strength and importance of a
country by the princely revenues of its church establishment, Scotland,
in the thirteenth century, might be considered as holding a very
respectable rank among the nations of Europe. The deference which the
Roman Pontiffs, on various occasions, paid to the Kings of Scotland,
while it displayed their anxiety to preserve, by conciliatory conduct,
the spiritual supremacy in the kingdom, also shows that the national
or patriotic feelings of the Scottish ecclesiastics were stronger
than those ties which connected them with the See of Rome; for, by
their well-timed support of the royal authority, the thunders of the
Vatican, so terrible in other countries, rolled harmlessly over without
distracting the state; and the King was often enabled to contest,
and bring to a favourable termination, those differences which arose
between him and the Pope, with whose legates he frequently assumed very
high ground, not only forbidding them his presence, but even refusing
them a safe conduct through his dominions.

To give any thing like a satisfactory account of the revenues of the
several ecclesiastical endowments, would occupy a space not consistent
with the design of the present work. It may, however, be briefly
stated, that the wealth of the church did not altogether arise from her
spiritual emoluments. Agriculture, and various branches of traffic,
engaged the attention, and increased the riches as well as the luxuries
of the priesthood. In 1254 the Cistercian monks were the greatest
breeders of sheep in England. Being exempted from duties, their wealth
rapidly increased. That they possessed similar privileges in Scotland,
is pretty evident; for in 1275,[27] when Bagamont, an emissary from
Rome, was sent to levy a tenth on the property of the Scottish church
for the relief of the Holy Land, this wealthy order of temporal as
well as spiritual shepherds, compounded for the enormous sum of 50,000
merks. By this compromise, the amount of their revenues remained

The following is part of the live-stock, which (according to an
inventory preserved in the chartulary of Newbottle) at one time
belonged to the Abbey of Melrose, viz. 325 forest mares, 54 domestic
mares, 104 domestic horses, 207 stags or young horses, 39 three-year
old colts, and 172 year old colts. Amidst all this profusion of
wealth, the serious reader may desire to know how the ceremonials of
religion were attended to. From the many jokes which Fordun relates
as having taken place among the clergy of his day, we cannot suppose
that either the teachers or the people were more devout than their
neighbours. An old writer describes the interior of a cathedral as a
place where the men came with their hawks and dogs, walking to and fro,
to converse with their friends, to make bargains and appointments, and
to show their guarded coats; and among the Scots, it is well known,
weapons were too often displayed on such occasions.

From what has been stated in the foregoing pages, it is pretty
evident that Scotland occupied a more prominent station among the
nations of Europe, before the aggression of Edward I. than she has
ever done since. The single fact, that Alexander II. mustered and
led to the borders of England, in 1244, an army of 100,000 foot,
with a well appointed body of cavalry, proves that, at the period
under review, when the numerical strength of the two British kingdoms
were marshalled, the inferiority of Scotland was by no means very
apparent. An army so numerous as that we have mentioned, no subsequent
monarch of that kingdom ever had it in his power to bring into the
field. On the death of Alexander III. the prosperity of Scotland
became eclipsed--anarchy overspread the land--the machiavelism of her
arch-enemy prevailed--her ancient glory was trampled in the dust--and
commerce deserted a country overrun with the horrors of war. Thus, in
the emphatic language of the Bard, “Oure gold wes changyd into lede;”
“and,” says MacPherson, “our fishermen and merchants into cut-throats
and plunderers, whose only trade was war, and whose precarious and only
profit was the ruin of her neighbours.”



Scotland, at various periods of her history, has been placed in
situations of imminent peril, from the encroachments and invasions of
her ambitious neighbour in the South. Misled by an insatiable thirst
for conquest, the English monarchs were either prosecuting their
views of aggrandizement on the continent of Europe, or disturbing the
tranquillity of Britain by endeavouring to subvert the liberty and
independence of her states. The Welsh, after being driven from the
most fruitful of their domains, continued an arduous, but ineffectual
struggle for their freedom, amid the few barren rocks and vallies that
remained to them of their ancient and once flourishing kingdom. The
Scots, though always numerically inferior to the English, and, from
the comparative poverty of their country, deficient in those internal
resources which their richer neighbours possessed; yet, from their
warlike propensities, their parsimonious habits, and that love of
independence which formed so striking a feature in the character of
all the tribes of which the nation was composed, were either prepared
to guard the frontier of their kingdom, or retaliate an aggression by
invading the territories of the enemy. This last measure was the mode
of defence they chiefly resorted to; aware that, with the exception
of Berwick, the English, without advancing farther into the country
than was consistent with their safety, would find no booty equivalent
to what could be driven by the Scots from the fertile plains of their
more wealthy opponents. These hostilities were frequently embittered
by a claim of superiority which the English urged against the crown
and kingdom of Scotland; and as the attempts which were made, from
time to time, to enforce it, have produced more misery and bloodshed
than any other national quarrel that ever existed between the two
countries, an inquiry into the nature and foundation of the alleged
plea of vassalage, may be of importance in elucidating the conduct of
the conflicting parties in the following narrative. In this inquiry, we
shall dispense with any reference, either to “Brute the Trojan” on the
one side, or to that no less questionable personage, “Scota, daughter
to the King of Egypt,” on the other; and proceed, at once, to the only
well-authenticated evidence that exists on the subject.

In the year 1174, William, King of Scotland, dissatisfied with the
conduct of Henry II. of England, invaded Northumberland, instigated
thereto by a sense of his own wrongs, real or imaginary, and those
discontented barons who wished to place the young King on the
throne,--an ambitious youth, whom his father had imprudently allowed
to be crowned during his own lifetime. While the numerous army of
William was spread over the adjacent country, wasting, burning, and
slaying with that indiscriminate recklessness peculiar to the age; he,
with a chosen band of his followers, besieged the Castle of Alnwick.
The devastations committed by the marauding army of the Scots inflamed
the minds of the Barons of Yorkshire with a generous indignation; and
they determined to exert themselves for the relief of their distressed
countrymen. Having congregated at Newcastle to the number of four
hundred horsemen, encased in heavy armour; they, though already
fatigued with a long journey, pressed forward under the command of Sir
Bernard de Baliol; and, by travelling all night, came in sight of the
battlements of Alnwick Castle by daybreak. William, it would seem, had
been abroad in the fields, with a slender escort of sixty horse; and,
mistaking the English for a detachment of his own troops, he was too
far advanced to retire, before he became sensible of his danger. “Now
it will be seen who are true knights,” said the intrepid monarch, and
instantly charged the enemy. His efforts, however, were unavailing; he
was soon overpowered, and, along with his companions, made prisoner.

The chivalry of Yorkshire thus secured for their monarch a valuable
prize. The magnanimity of Henry, however, was not equal to the
gallantry of his subjects; for, on getting possession of the
unfortunate prince, he inflicted on him every possible mortification.
Not satisfied with exhibiting his rival, like a felon, with his feet
tied under his horse’s belly, to the rude gaze of the vulgar; he
summoned all his barons to Northampton, to witness “the humiliating
spectacle of a sovereign prince exposed in public to a new-invented

It may appear difficult to account for this treatment of a Royal
Captive, taken under such circumstances, in an age when the honours of
chivalry were eagerly sought after by all the crowned heads of Europe.
When we reflect, however, that on the Thursday preceding the capture of
William, Henry himself had been ignominiously scourged at the tomb of
his formidable enemy, Thomas à Becket, his lacerated feelings might,
perhaps, have found some relief in this public exhibition of his power
to inflict, on a brother monarch, something of a similar degradation.

William was at first committed prisoner to Richmond castle, in
Yorkshire; but Henry, either from apprehension of his being insecure
among the scarcely-extinguished embers of the late insurrection, or
wishing to enhance his value in the eyes of the Scots, by removing him
to a greater distance, had him conveyed beyond seas, to Falaise in
Normandy. Meanwhile, the Scottish army, thunderstruck at so unusual a
calamity, after some ineffectual and misdirected attempts at revenge,
abandoned their spoil, and hastily retreated to their own country.
Alarmed, however, at the irregularities which the absence of the Head
of their Government was likely to produce among the discordant and
inflammable materials of which the kingdom was composed, they too
hastily agreed to the ignominious terms proposed by the enemy; and
submitted to their King becoming the _liegeman of Henry for Scotland,
and all his other territories_; and further,

“The King of Scotland, David, his brother, his Barons, and other
liegemen, agreed that the Scottish church should yield to the English
church such subjection, in time to come, as _it ought of right, and
was wont to pay_ in the days of the Kings of England, predecessors
of Henry. Moreover, Richard Bishop of St Andrew’s, Richard Bishop
of Dunkeld, Geoffrey Abbot of Dunfermline, and Herbert Prior of
Coldingham, agreed that the English church should have that right over
the Scottish _which in justice it ought to have_. They also became
bound, that they themselves would not gainsay the _right_ of the
English Church.”

“A memorable clause!” says Lord Hailes, “drawn up with so much skill
as to leave entire the question of the independence of the Scottish
church. Henry and his ministers could never have overlooked such
studied ambiguity of expression. The clause, therefore, does honour
to the Scottish clergy, who, in that evil day, stood firm to their
privileges, and left the question of the independence of the national
church to be agitated, on a more fit occasion, and in better times.”

“In pledge for the performance of this miserable treaty, William agreed
to deliver up to the English, the castles of Rokesburgh, Berwick,
Jedburgh, Edinburgh and Stirling, and gave his brother David and many
of his chief barons as hostages.”

Thus stood the right of England to feudal homage over Scotland in 1175.
A superiority acquired in such an ungenerous manner, was not likely
to be long submitted to with patience. The Scots had always plumed
themselves on being an _unconquered_ people, and able to preserve their
independence against all who had attempted to invade them. _Vassalage_
implies _protection_;--It was therefore presumption in England to
pretend to _defend_ Scotland against those enemies before whom she
herself had been obliged to _truckle_.

It was not long before the conduct of William displayed that covered
scorn of his _liege-lord_, which his late injuries were calculated to
inspire. Countenanced by him, the Scottish bishops, at a council held
at Northampton, boldly declared, in the presence of the Pope’s legate,
“_that they had never_ yielded subjection to the English church, nor
ought they.”

William also entered the lists with the Roman Pontiff,--before whose
threats and anathemas Henry had so ignominiously crouched:--Yet
though all the thunder of the Vatican was levelled against him,--and
the Archbishop of York, armed with Papal authority, had not only
excommunicated him, but placed the kingdom under an interdict; still
he maintained his point with inflexible resolution, till the judgment
of the apostolic father was annulled, and an honourable compromise
obtained. The contrast thus exhibited by his _vassal_ could not be very
consoling to the feelings of the English monarch.

In the year 1178, William, in the same spirit, founded and amply
endowed an abbey at Aberbrothick, in honour of the holy martyr,
Thomas à Becket,--a saint who had been thrust down the throat of his
liege-lord with the salutary application of the whip. It would be
doing William injustice to doubt the sincerity of the gratitude which
instigated him to this act of munificence.

In 1189, Henry II. died, and was succeeded by his son Richard _Cœur
de Lion_. Unlike his father, Richard, though haughty and imperious,
was alive to all the noble and virtuous qualities which ought to
constitute the character of a king. As soon after the obsequies of his
father as decency would permit, he invited William to his court at
Canterbury, and magnanimously restored Scotland to her independence.
The important document runs thus--“That Richard had rendered up
to William, _by the grace of God, King of Scots_, his castles of
Rokesburgh and Berwick, to be possessed by him and his heirs for ever
as their own proper inheritance.”

“Moreover, we have granted to him an acquittance of all obligations
which our father _extorted from him by new instruments, in consequence
of his captivity_; under this condition always, that he shall
completely and fully perform to us whatever his brother Malcolm, King
of Scotland, of right performed, or ought of right to have performed,
to our predecessors.”[29] “Richard,” says Lord Hailes, “also ordained
the boundaries of the two kingdoms to be re-established as they had
been at the captivity of William.” He calls them, “the marches of the
kingdom of Scotland, (_marchiæ regni Scotiæ_.”)

“He became bound to put William in full possession of all his fees in
the earldom of Huntingdon or elsewhere, (_et in omnibus aliis_), under
the same conditions as heretofore.”

“He delivered up all such of the evidences of the homage done to Henry
II. by the barons and clergy of Scotland, as were in his possession,
and he declared, that all evidences of that homage, whether delivered
up or not, should be held as cancelled.”

“The price which William agreed to pay for this ample restitution, was
ten thousand merks sterling.”

It is with difficulty a smile can be suppressed when we find, even in
the 19th century, an author of such learning and talents as Dr Lingard,
endeavouring to fritter away the meaning and import of the above
deed of restitution, by such fallacious reasoning as the following:
“The King’s” (Richard I.) “CHARTER to the King of Scots may be seen
in Rymer, i. 64. It is NOT, as sometimes has been supposed, a FORMAL
the part of Richard, of all those RIGHTS which Henry had extorted
from William for his RANSOM. In lieu of them he received ten thousand
pounds, probably the sum which William would have given to Henry. The
respective rights of the two crowns, are now replaced on the same
footing as formerly. William was to do to Richard whatever Malcolm
ought to have done to Richard’s predecessors, and Richard was to do
to William whatever _they_ ought to have done to Malcolm, according
to an award to be given by eight barons, to be equally chosen by the
two Kings. Moreover, William was to possess in England the lands which
Malcolm had possessed: and to become the liegeman of Richard for all
lands for which his predecessors had been the liegemen of the English
Kings. The award was afterwards given, by which it appears that the
words _libertates_, _dignitates_, _honores_, _debiti_, &c. mean the
allowances to be made, and the honours to be shewn, to the King of
Scots, as often as he came to the English court by the command of his
lord the English King, from the moment that he crossed the borders
till his return into his own territories, Rym. i. 87. This will explain
the clause of _Salvis dignitatibus suis_, in the oath taken by the
Scottish Kings, which some writers have ERRONEOUSLY CONCEIVED TO MEAN,
the _vassal_ of Henry, where was either the policy or the necessity of
the _latter_ bringing _his_ right of homage into question, by making
it again a subject of negociation? and if it was not for “A FORMAL
_ten thousand pounds_ (merks) to Richard, _for what purpose was that
sum paid_? Henry extorted no money from William for his “RANSOM;”
his vanity being amply gratified by the deed of homage. Richard had
no claim to 10,000_l._ from William, without granting him what he
considered an equivalent. This equivalent could _not_ have been the
_independence of the Scottish church_; for even during the reign of
Henry, we find, by a note appended by the learned author to his work,
(vol. ii. p. 397, 3d Edit.), that when the obedience of the Scottish
church was demanded by the Archbishop of York, “it was answered that
none was due; and the answer, after a long controversy, was confirmed
by Pope Clement III. in 1188.”

How “_Salvis dignitatibus suis_” can be explained so as _not_ to
_include_ the _independence_ of the _monarch’s crown_, we are much at
a loss to perceive. One thing, however, is sufficiently apparent, that
the sophistry we have quoted ought not to have found a place in a
publication of such acknowledged merit as that of Dr Lingard.

As he has evidently allowed the prejudices of the old English
chroniclers to warp his judgment in this affair, we may be permitted,
in order to place the question on its proper basis, to quote the
following short passage from his own work, by which it will be seen
that the LION of England, showed as little _pluck_ as HE of Scotland,
when placed in a similar situation.--“In an assembly of the German
Princes and English envoys, by the delivery of the cap from his head,
he [Richard I.] resigned his crown into the hands of Henry; who
restored it to him again to be held as a fief of the empire, with
the obligation of a yearly payment of five thousand pounds.”[31] Had
this claim been prosecuted against England with the same pertinacity
as England advanced her absurd pretensions against Scotland, it is
presumed they would have been repelled with similar scorn and derision.

Though the generosity of Richard towards William in the above
transaction appears sufficiently conspicuous, yet there was that in
the situation of his affairs which rendered it a matter of political
expediency. From the arrangements necessarily connected with the
crusade, in which he and his barons were about to embark, it became a
matter of necessity, before he left Britain, to do something towards
smoothing down the mane of the chafed Lion of Scotland. The gracious
manner in which the boon was conferred, fixed its proper value in
the estimation of the Scots, and “converted an impatient vassal and
implacable enemy into a faithful and affectionate ally.”

English historians have, on this occasion, charged Richard with
impolicy. Happy would it have been for both countries, if his
successors had possessed half the sagacity he displayed on this
occasion. The consequence of this prudent measure was a cessation
of hostilities between the two nations for nearly a century. This
tranquillity--uninterrupted except by the assistance which Alexander
II. rendered the English barons, when engaged in protecting their
liberties against the encroachments of King John--was highly beneficial
to both kingdoms. Intermarriages took place among the nobility, and
to such an extent, that there were few families of note but had their
connexions; and many became possessed of lands under both governments.
Trade rose to be an object of attention, and received encouragement
from the legislature. The Scottish burghs emerged from obscurity; and
money became so plenty, that, though William had given ten thousand
merks for the resignation of the homage of Scotland, and a farther sum
of two thousand,[32] to enable Richard to make up the ransom exacted
from him by the Emperor, still he was able to offer fifteen thousand
merks for Northumberland,[33] besides giving dowries upon the marriage
of his two daughters,[34] amounting to fifteen thousand more. The
burgesses of the towns had, in this short interval, so much increased
their means, as to offer six thousand merks on this occasion. The
nobles offered ten thousand; and on the supposition that both ranks
tendered according to their ability, it may afford some criterion
for judging of their relative situations in pecuniary matters. Though
all these drains had been made on the treasury, yet Alexander II. was
able to give ten thousand merks, besides lands, as a dowry to his
second sister. He also sent[35] two bishops as envoys to Haco, King of
Norway, to negociate the purchase of all the Western Isles, which they
entreated him to value _in fine silver_. The overture, though declined
by Haco, shows the state of the precious metals among the Scots of
those days.

In the year 1234, though the resignation by Richard must have been
still fresh in the memory of the English, Pope Gregory IX., at the
request of Henry, exhorted Alexander to perform the conditions of the
old treaty between Henry II. and William of Scotland. Alexander had too
great a regard for the Head of the Papal Church, to let him remain long
in ignorance of the impropriety of such exhortations; and with the same
spirit which characterized the conduct of his father towards the See
of Rome, refused, according to Lord Hailes,[36] “to receive a Legate,
whose original commission respected England alone,” as it “might be
interpreted in a sense prejudicial to the independency of the Scottish
church. It is reported that Alexander consented to his admission,
at the joint request of the nobility of both kingdoms, and that he
insisted for, and obtained a written declaration from the Legate,
that this should not be drawn into a precedent. Certain it is, that
the Legate proceeded not beyond Edinburgh, and that Alexander avoided
his presence.” It is added, “The Legate sojourned in the principal
towns on this side the sea, and having collected a large sum of money,
secretly, and without leave asked, he departed from Scotland.”

Lord Hailes continues, “Such was the magnanimity of Alexander II.
that the high-spirited Pontiff, Gregory IX. submitted to soothe him
by a detail of specious and affected reasons, tending to evince the
propriety of a legation in Scotland.” The “church of Scotland,” says
that Pope, “acknowledges the Romish see as her immediate mother in
things spiritual. To leave her destitute of the consolation of a Legate
from us, would be an indignity which we cannot in conscience allow.
Were we, by our Legate, to visit the church of England, and yet neglect
the neighbouring church of Scotland, she might think us destitute of
maternal affection.”

In 1239, Alexander married Mary de Couci, daughter of a powerful baron
in Picardy. The politics of this lady’s family were adverse to England,
and Henry became jealous of her influence over her husband. Various
circumstances occurred to foster the seeds of animosity in the mind of
the English monarch; among other things, it was told him that Alexander
had said, That “he owed no homage to England for _any_ part of his
territories, and would perform none.” Henry secretly prepared for
war, by soliciting succour from the Earl of Flanders, and instigating
the Irish to invade Scotland; while he collected a numerous army at
Newcastle, ready to co-operate with them.

Though the claim of homage was not put forth among the reasons for
this display of hostility, yet the real ground of quarrel was well
enough understood by the Scots; and on that account the war became so
popular, that though Henry had intercepted troops sent to aid Alexander
by John de Couci, his brother-in-law, he was enabled to confront his
enemy with a formidable body of well appointed cavalry, and nearly one
hundred thousand foot, all hearty in the cause, and animated, by the
exhortations of their clergy, to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. Under
these circumstances, Henry found it expedient to negociate; and his
lofty pretensions were softened down to a very moderate and reasonable
agreement, viz. “_Alexander became engaged to live in amity with
England, and never to aid her enemies, unless the English should do him

With such a character, Henry found it was in vain to tamper. We,
therefore, hear nothing more of Scottish homage till after the death
of Alexander, who being succeeded by his son, a child of eight years
old, Henry solicited a mandate from Pope Innocent IV. to the effect,
“That Alexander, being his liegeman, should not be anointed or crowned
without his permission. He also requested a grant of the tenth of the
ecclesiastical revenues of Scotland.” To expect that the last request
would have been granted, was preposterous; but Henry perhaps imagined,
that by angling with two hooks, he might chance to catch one fish. “The
Pope honestly and peremptorily rejected both requests; the _first_,
as derogating from the honour of a sovereign prince; the _second_, as
unexampled.” In the mean time, the Scots, without deigning to wait the
decision of the Pontiff, proceeded with the coronation of their infant

On the 26th December 1252, Alexander III., being about ten years
of age, appeared at York, to celebrate his nuptials with Margaret,
daughter of Henry III., to whom he had been betrothed in 1242. After
doing homage for his estates in England, Henry also demanded that
he should do homage for the kingdom of Scotland, as a fief holding
of England, “according to the usage recorded in many chronicles.”
The answer of Alexander showed that his instructors had not left him
unprepared on the subject. He stated, “That he had been invited to York
to marry the Princess of England, not to treat of affairs of state,
and that he could not take a step so important, without the knowledge
and approbation of his Parliament.”[37] Passing over the meanness of
Henry, in endeavouring to circumvent _a child of ten years old_, the
futility of thus practising upon a minor, ought to have prevented such
a proposal; since he must have known, that although Alexander had even
then reached the years of maturity, yet, without the sanction of his
Parliament, his compliance was unavailing. Indeed Henry’s attempt to
entrap the innocence of his son-in-law, would almost indicate that he
was very far advanced in dotage.

Henry appears either to have seen his mistake afterwards, or to have
become ashamed of his attempts on Alexander. In 1259, the Pope, having
appointed his own chaplain, John de Cheyam, an Englishman, to the
vacant see of Glasgow, Henry thus writes to Alexander, who intended
the vacancy for Nicolas Moffat, Archdeacon of Teviotdale. “Although he
is my subject,” said Henry, “I would not solicit you in _his_ behalf,
could any benefit arise to you from your opposition to a man on whom
the Pope has already bestowed ecclesiastical jurisdiction.”

In 1260, the Queen of Scotland became _enceinte_; and being desirous
to lie-in at her father’s court, Alexander accompanied her, after the
following clause was inserted in their safe-conduct, “That neither the
King nor his attendants should be required to treat of state affairs
during this visit.” Henry also made oath, that he would return the
Queen and her child in safety to the Scots.

In 1263, Henry affected to use his influence with Haco, King of Norway,
to desist from his hostile intentions against Scotland. Haco denied
such intentions; and Alexander, who perhaps questioned the sincerity of
Henry’s interference, sent the Steward of Scotland to demand payment
of the arrears of his daughter’s dowry. Henry made a partial payment
of five hundred merks, and promised the remainder in two instalments,
one at Michaelmas 1263, and the other at Easter 1264. “I appoint such
distant terms,” said he, “because I mean to be punctual, and not to
disappoint you any more.” “To an English reader,” says Lord Hailes,
“this might seem incredible; but the original instrument exists.”

In 1268, Prince Edward, son of Henry, being about to engage in a
crusade, Pope Clement IV., at the instigation of the English court,
ordered the Scottish clergy to pay a tenth of their revenues to the
King of England, to aid the undertaking. This indirect attempt on their
liberties was resisted by Alexander and his ecclesiastics, who spurned
at the obnoxious assessment, though they declared their willingness
to furnish their proper quota of crusaders. Adam Earl of Carrick, and
David Earl of Athol, with other barons, engaged in the expedition.

On Michaelmas day 1278, Alexander, being present in the English
Parliament, swore fealty to Edward, in general terms, for the lands
held by him of the Crown of England. Edward accepted it, “saving the
claim of homage for the kingdom of Scotland, whenever he or his heirs
should think proper to make it;” an early development of the views of
this ambitious monarch, which did not escape the notice of Alexander.

No further measures inimical to the independence of Scotland, appear
to have been taken till 1284, when Edward applied to Pope Martin IV.
for “a grant of the tenths collected in Scotland for the relief of the
Holy Land.” The conduct of the Pontiff, however, showed the opinion he
entertained of the request. He made the grant under these conditions,
all equally unpalateable or inconvenient to the royal applicant:
They were, “That Edward himself should assume the cross before
Christmas,--obtain the consent of the King of Scots--and, out of the
money levied, supply the Scottish crusaders.”

The following year, Scotland was deprived of the prudent and watchful
guardianship of her monarch; who was killed by an accident, 16th
March 1285-6. At a grand council held at Scone, 11th April 1286, a
regency was appointed for the government of the kingdom. The lineage
of Alexander had become extinct in his person, with the exception of
an infant grandchild, daughter of Eric, King of Norway. This female,
whose right to the crown had been solemnly acknowledged by the Scottish
barons in 1284, was deemed by Edward a desirable match for his son; and
he lost no time in despatching ambassadors to Scotland to negociate a
marriage. From the comparatively good understanding that had prevailed
between the two countries during the late reign, he found the Scots
no way opposed to his views. The proposal was therefore entertained;
and, on the 18th July 1290, the regents, clergy, and baronage of
Scotland, having met the ambassadors of England at Brigham, situated
on the north bank of the Tweed, between Coldstream and Kelso, a treaty
was concluded, consisting of fourteen articles; in all of which not
the slightest allusion is made to any superiority over Scotland, with
the exception of the following clause:--“_Saving always the right of
the King of England, and of all others which, before the date of this
treaty, belonged to him, or any of them, in the marches, or elsewhere,
or which ought to belong to him, or any of them, in all time coming_.”

In the salvo thus artfully introduced, we have a continuation of
that quibbling, sinister, and narrow-minded policy, which marked the
conduct of the English Government in this disgraceful affair. After
the question had been so completely set at rest, it was extremely
irritating for the Scots, whenever any national calamity befel them, to
be annoyed by the perpetual recurrence of such barefaced attempts upon
their liberties. Though the Kings of Scotland repeatedly did homage
to the Kings of England, for the lands they held in that country, it
was no more than what the latter submitted to do to those of France.
When the English, therefore, strove, by such insidious measures, to
entrap the inexperience of the Scottish Kings, and to encroach on
the independence of their crown, it engendered among those who had
the honour of their country at heart, a bitterness of spirit, which,
as the attempts were persevered in, settled down to a deep-rooted
and inextinguishable animosity. There was no scarcity of men in both
countries, who had sufficient penetration to see, and judgment to
appreciate, the advantages that might have been secured to _all_, were
the whole island united under one head. But, from the ungenerous policy
of the English, this desirable object could not be attained, except by
a sacrifice on the part of the Scots, of all that honourable minds hold
These were the terms which the English unjustly demanded; and such
terms the Scottish nation as sternly rejected.[38] Events have shown
the soundness of their judgment; and their posterity may learn,
from the history of Ireland, the extent of gratitude to which their
patriotism is entitled.

The question of homage has now been traced from its origin to the
negociation of Edward with the Scots at Brigham. Had all other evidence
respecting the independence of Scotland been destroyed, the existence
of this treaty would alone have annihilated the pretensions of Edward:
For, _if_ the King of Scots had been the _liegeman_ of the English
monarch, his daughter, or any unmarried female succeeding to the throne
of Scotland, would of necessity have been a _ward_ of the English
crown. Can it, therefore, for a moment be supposed, that Edward I.,
a prince so feelingly alive to what he considered his prerogative,
and whose political sagacity and intimate acquaintance with the whole
system of jurisprudence had procured for him the title of the “ENGLISH
JUSTINIAN,” would have so far forgotten what was due to himself, as to
submit to _negociate_, where he had a right to _command_?

The views, however, of both parties in the above treaty, were
not destined to be realized. The young Queen, the object of such
solicitude, and on whom the hopes of the Scottish nation were
suspended, sickened on her voyage, and died at Orkney about the end
of September 1290. No provision had been made for the succession to
the Scottish crown, beyond the offspring of Alexander; and, as Lord
Hailes judiciously remarks, “the nation looked no farther, and perhaps
it durst not look farther.” Under these circumstances, the sceptre
of Scotland became a bone of contention between the leaders of two
powerful factions; and there being no third party in the country able
to control and enforce the submission of the unsuccessful claimant, it
was deemed expedient to submit their pretensions to the arbitration
of the King of England. Edward, who watched every opportunity of
aggrandizing himself at the expense of his neighbours, had determined,
whether solicited or not, to interfere in the disposal of the
Scottish crown. Having summoned the barons of Yorkshire, Lancashire,
Westmoreland, Cumberland, and Northumberland, (among whom were Bruce
and Baliol, the two competitors for the Scottish throne), to meet
him, with horse and foot, at Norham, on the 5th June, he desired the
nobility and clergy of Scotland to assemble at the same place on the
10th May.

A conference accordingly was held, when Edward commanded Roger le
Brabazon, Justiciary of England, to inform the assembly in his name,
“That he had considered the difficulties in which the kingdom of
Scotland was involved by the death of Alexander and his offspring,
and the dangers arising from disputed succession: That his good will
and affection to the whole nation, and to each individual in it, were
sincere, _for in their defence he himself was interested_: That he had
called the Scots to meet him at this place, with the view that justice
might be done to all the competitors, and the internal tranquillity
of the kingdom established: That he had undertaken a long journey to
do justice, in person, to all, _as Superior and Lord Paramount of the
Kingdom of Scotland_: That he meant not to encroach on the rights of
any man; but, on the contrary, as Lord Paramount, to administer ample
and speedy justice to all.”

That his purposes might be the more effectually accomplished, he
required their hearty recognition of his title as _Lord Paramount_; and
he declared his willingness to use their advice in the settlement of
the nation.

The whole assembly stood motionless and silent. At length some one had
the courage to utter these words:--‘No answer can be made while the
throne is vacant.’ ‘By holy Edward!’ cried the King, ‘By holy Edward,
whose crown it is that I wear, I will vindicate my just rights, or
perish in the attempt!’”[39] The Scots requested a delay in order to
inform those of their countrymen who were absent; and, in consequence,
the proceedings were put off till the next day. A further delay was
then requested; and they were allowed a term of three weeks. By that
time, Edward knew that the barons he had summoned would be assembled in

This power was, no doubt, intended to insure the submission of the
Scots. Enemies, however, more dangerous than the English barons, were
at work in their councils. Amongst the secret emissaries of Edward,
William Frazer, Bishop of St Andrew’s, and one of the Regents, acted
with treacherous duplicity towards his colleagues. A partisan of
Baliol, he scrupled at no means, however disgraceful, provided they
advanced the interest of his employer.[40] Conduct of this kind could
not well be concealed; it quickly engendered animosity and distrust
among those who adhered to the interest of Bruce. Weakened, therefore,
by their jealousies, and disunited by their conflicting interests,
the aristocracy of Scotland soon became as subservient as the crafty
usurper could desire.

Edward, finding them in this manner moulded to his purpose, and wishing
to take away the appearance of compulsion, appointed the Scots to
meet him at Upsettlington, within the boundary of their own country.
The Bishop of Bath, who was the Chancellor of England, resumed the
proceedings of the adjourned meetings. He stated, that “by various
evidences, it sufficiently appeared that the English Kings were Lords
Paramount of Scotland, and, from the most distant ages,[41] had either
possessed, _or_ claimed that right; that Edward had required the Scots
to produce their evidences or arguments to the contrary, and had
declared himself ready to admit them, if more cogent than his own, and
upon the whole matter to pronounce righteous judgment; that as the
Scots had produced nothing, the King was resolved, as Lord Paramount,
to determine the question of _the succession_.”[42]

The Scots were right in refraining from the discussion of a question
which they knew had long since been set at rest. Had they entered the
arena, they would have found themselves but ill prepared to meet the
lawyers of Edward,[43] who had possessed themselves of the chronicles
and other writings that were kept in those Scottish monasteries, which
had been under the charge of English ecclesiastics. These records were
afterwards found to differ essentially from those kept in monasteries
where Scottish churchmen had the superiority. In the muniments of the
former, every thing favourable to Scotland, respecting the question,
had either been suppressed, or rendered nugatory by interpolation;
while in the archives of the latter, her ancient independence and
unsullied reputation, were as clearly manifested. A reference,
however, to these falsified documents, surprised and bewildered the
inexperienced among the Scots.

It was part of the policy of Edward to increase the difficulties of
coming to a decision, by encouraging new candidates to come forward;
as their claims, though futile, alarmed the original competitors,
and rendered them more obsequious to his will. At this meeting eight
claimants appeared for the crown, and they were afterwards increased
to ten; all of whom, including Bruce and Baliol, acknowledged Edward
as Lord Paramount of Scotland, and agreed that seizine of the kingdom
and its fortresses should be delivered to Edward; “because,” said they,
“judgment cannot be without execution, nor execution without possession
of the subject of the award.” Edward was to find security for the
faithful restitution of his charge in two months from the date of his

In consequence of this agreement, Scotland and her fortifications were
surrendered into the hands of her artful adversary on the 11th June

An universal homage was now required; and during the summer, many
churchmen, barons, and even burgesses, swore fealty to the usurper.



Sir William Wallace was descended from a respectable family in the
west of Scotland. His father, who enjoyed the honour of knighthood,
was Laird of Elderslie and Auchinbothie, and married the daughter of
Sir Raynald, or, according to some, Sir Hugh Crawford, sheriff of Ayr.
The exact period when the ancestors of Wallace first settled in this
country, is a matter of uncertainty.[44] It is, however, very probable
that they were originally from Normandy; and those who support this
opinion, mention one Eimerus Galleius, as the immediate progenitor of
the Scottish family of this name. This person appears as a witness to
the charter of the Abbey of Kelso, founded by David I. about the year
1128, and is supposed to have been the father of Richard Wallace, one
of the witnesses to the charter of the Abbey of Paisley, founded in
1160, by Walter, High Steward of Scotland. From the Steward he received
a grant of a considerable portion of the district of Kyle, which he
named Richardton or Ricardtown, after himself. This Ricard or Richard,
who was the most powerful vassal of the Stewards in Kyle, granted to
the monks of Melrose the lands of Barmon and Godeneth, with their
pertinents; and this grant, as appears from the _Chart. of Melrose,
No. 127., Caledonia, III. p. 488_, was confirmed by the second Walter
the Steward. Richard was succeeded by his eldest son, also named
Richard, who appears to have altered, or softened down the name into
Walays. Respecting this last person, no particulars have been related,
except that he was cotemporary with Alan the High Steward, who died
about 1204. He was succeeded by his younger brother Henry Walays, who
acquired some lands under the Steward in Renfrewshire, early in the
13th century; which lands descended by inheritance to Adam Walays,
who is stated to have been living in the year 1259, and to have had
two sons, Adam and Malcolm. Adam, being the eldest, succeeded to the
family estate of Ricardtown. Malcolm, the father of our hero, received
the lands of Elderslie, and married, as we have already stated, the
daughter of the Sheriff of Ayr. Some writers assert this to have
been his second marriage; and farther, that by his first he had two
daughters, one of whom was married to Thomas Haliday or Halliday, who
held lands under Bruce in Annandale; while others maintain that he
had only two sons, Malcolm[45] and William, the former by the first
marriage, and the latter by the daughter of Sir Hugh Crawford. It is,
however, more than probable that these two sons were the issue of one
marriage; as Wyntown, who mentions the circumstance of his having
an elder brother, takes no notice of their being born of different
mothers. His elder brother is, by some, supposed to have been killed
along with his father, Sir Malcolm, in a skirmish with the English; but
this statement seems at variance with Wyntown’s couplet--

    “Hys eldare Brodyre the herytage
    Had, and joysyd in his dayis.”

            _Vol. ii. p. 91._

From which it would appear, that the “eldare brodyre” outlived the
father, since he succeeded to “the herytage;” and though he may have
fallen by the hands of the English, it must have been subsequent to the
death of his father.

Sir William, the subject of our narrative, was born in the reign
of Alexander III. The precise year of his birth is not mentioned
in any record at present known to exist. It is usual, however, for
our historians to commence their accounts of him in 1297, as if he
had then, for the first time, burst forth upon the notice of his
countrymen, though they are represented as being already prepared
to place implicit confidence in his talents as a leader, without any
explanation of his previous deeds to merit the honourable distinction.
In the preface to _one_ edition of Blind Harry, he is stated to have
been about twenty-seven years of age at the time of his execution.
This, however, would imply a precocity of stature and strength, and
a maturity of judgment too miraculous not to be dwelt on at greater
length by those early writers who have handed down his story. If he was
twenty-seven in 1305, he would consequently be only nineteen in 1297.
Can it be supposed that a youth of that age, without influence, and
without fame, would have been able to persuade men, his superiors in
birth, years and experience, to array themselves under his banner, and
submit to his control? In the work of the Minstrel we are told

    “Fourty and fyve off age, Wallace was cauld,
    That tym that he was to [the] Southeron sauld.”

As this, however, is at variance with what is elsewhere stated in
the same work, it is probably an error of the transcriber, who may
have mistaken “thirtie” for “fourty,” as we find it is said, in “Buke
Fyrst,” in alluding to our hero, “Scotland was lost quhen he was bot
a child.” The term “child” here made use of, is not to be considered
as inferring that degree of infancy usually understood in our day,
but a youth acting, or able to act, as page or squire to some feudal
superior. That this is the Minstrel’s meaning, is evident from the
following lines,

    “Yhit he was than semly, stark and bald;
    And he of age was bot auchtene yer auld,”

an age inconsistent with his being 45 at the time of his death. If we
are to suppose that Henry dated the loss of Scotland from the solemn
surrender of the kingdom, and all its fortifications, to Edward on
the 11th June 1291, it will nearly correspond with the correction now
offered; and if his words are to be taken in the strict literal sense,
that he was thirty-five years of age on the day he was betrayed to
the English, it will follow, that he was born on the 5th August 1270.
Wyntown, who first introduces him to notice in the spring of 1297, says
that he had already distinguished himself in such a manner, as to have
excited the envy and animosity of the English soldiers. In accordance
with the above date, Wallace would then be in his twenty-seventh year;
which, considering that there was no open rupture to call forth the
fiery spirits of the age till 1296, was allowing him no more than a
reasonable time for spreading his fame among the English garrisons
stationed in Scotland.

1291. His early years are said to have been passed under the
superintendence of his uncle, a wealthy ecclesiastic at Dunipace
in Stirlingshire, from whom he received the first rudiments of his
education. This worthy man had been at great pains in storing his
mind with the choicest apophthegms to be found in the Latin classics,
particularly those where the love of liberty is most powerfully
recommended; and the efforts of the tutor were amply rewarded by the
_amor patriæ_ excited in the breast of the pupil. How long he remained
at Dunipace is uncertain; but he appears to have been at Elderslie in
1291, when the order for an universal homage of the people of Scotland
was promulgated by Edward, in his assumed character of Lord Paramount.
“All who came were admitted to swear fealty. They who came and refused,
were to be arrested, until performance; they who came not, but sent
excuses, to have the validity of their excuses tried in the next
parliament; they who neither came nor sent excuses, to be committed to
close custody.”[46] The family of Elderslie appear to have been among
the last class of recusants. Sir Malcolm, setting all the penalties
of non-conformity at defiance, resolutely refused to take an oath so
subversive of the independence of his country. Aware, however, that the
strength of his fortalice at Elderslie was insufficient to protect him
against the consequences of his refusal, he retired with his eldest son
to the fastnesses of the Lennox, while William, along with his mother,
sought the protection of a powerful relation at Kilspindie in the Carse
of Gowrie; and from this latter place he was sent to the seminary
attached to the cathedral of Dundee, to receive what farther education
the learning of the age afforded. Here he contracted a sincere and
lasting friendship with his biographer, John Blair, a young man at
that time of great promise, who, on finishing his studies, became a
Benedictine monk, and afterwards officiated as chaplain to his heroic

With this faithful companion, and other youths of similar dispositions,
Wallace used to lament over the degradation to which the country
was daily subjected; and, fired with indignation at the growing
insolence of the English soldiers, he formed an association among
his fellow-students for the purpose of defending themselves, and
restraining the wanton outrages of the intruders, by chastising their
aggressions whenever the parties were to be found in convenient
situations. This, from the licentious habits of the soldiery,
frequently occurred; and seldom were they allowed to escape, without
experiencing the effects of their vengeance.

In these juvenile bickerings, too unimportant to attract the attention
of those in authority, Wallace had frequent opportunities of displaying
that dexterity and strength, with which Nature had so amply endowed
him. In him, his companions found united all the qualifications they
could desire in a leader--a head to devise, and a hand to execute,
the most daring enterprises--a fertile imagination ever teeming with
stratagems--and a prudence and foresight which provided against all
contingencies; so that, when once he determined on any project, however
difficult, they were always confident of its being crowned with success.

It is not to be imagined that an association of young men, among whom
talents and bravery were distinguishing characteristics, would not
feel deeply interested in the momentous crisis to which their country
was approaching. The ambition of Edward, and his designs against the
independence of their native land, were too apparent to escape the
notice of any who had not an interest in appearing wilfully blind. The
subserviency of those who represented the aristocracy was, therefore,
regarded by their countrymen with feelings of humiliation and shame.
It happened unfortunately for their characters, as well as for the
safety of the country, that most of the nobility held possessions
on both sides of the Tweed; and their selfishness dictated a line of
policy extremely dangerous to the independence of Scotland. A wish
to preserve their estates in both countries inclined them to a ready
obedience to whatever side was most likely to gain the preponderance.
Edward, who, in addition to his conquests on the Continent, had annexed
the principality of Wales to the English crown, appeared to them, in
the distracted state of their country’s affairs, as very likely to
consolidate Britain under his powerful and energetic sway. Under these
feelings, they vied with each other in their endeavours to propitiate
the usurper by disgraceful compliances. The poorer gentry, however,
entertained sentiments of a different description, and watched the
progress of the submission respecting the succession with feverish

1291. Since the surrender of the Regents on the 11th June, the
different towns and castles of Scotland had been garrisoned by English
soldiers. Between the military and the inhabitants, as might have been
expected, brawls were of no unfrequent occurrence--and in those which
came under the notice of our hero, he seldom remained an inactive
spectator. Gilbert de Umfraville[47] being removed from the command of
the castles of Dundee and Forfar, one Selby, the head of a freebooting
family in Cumberland, was appointed to succeed him. His son, a fiery
and impetuous youth, having too rashly insulted Wallace, the latter
struck him dead on the spot with his dagger; and, though surrounded by
the train of his insulter, effected his escape to the house of a female
dependent, who concealed him from his pursuers. Besides young Selby,
two or three others, who attempted to intercept him in his flight, were
either killed or severely wounded. The case, therefore, became one of
too serious a nature to be overlooked. The prudent management of his
preserver enabled him to quit the town without being observed. An act
of outlawry followed this slaughter; and Wallace was hunted from covert
to covert by the emissaries of the constable, who, eager to revenge
the death of his son, offered great rewards for his apprehension.
His success in eluding his pursuers was equal to the boldness of his

After lurking among the woods and impenetrable recesses of the country,
till the heat of the pursuit had subsided, Wallace ventured to
communicate with his relations at Kilspindie. The anxiety of his mother
respecting his fate required to be relieved; and, in obedience to her
solicitation, to remove himself further from the scene of danger, he
agreed to accompany her on a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Margaret
at Dumfries. The dress required for this purpose afforded a suitable
disguise; and the respect paid by the English to a saint of the royal
blood of their country, insured, in those days of superstition, all the
facilities which their situation required.

While our hero was thus employed, his father, it would appear, had
become obnoxious to the English; but in what manner, we are left
entirely to conjecture. Whether they had endeavoured to apprehend him,
for disobedience to the order already alluded to, or if, driven from
his house and his resources, he found himself constrained to retaliate
upon his oppressors the injuries they had inflicted, are circumstances
respecting which all authorities are silent.

An unfortunate rencounter, however, appears to have taken place in the
district of Kyle in Ayrshire, between Sir Malcolm, at the head of a
few of his retainers, and a party of the English, under an officer of
the name of Fenwick; in which, after a gallant resistance, the Scots
were defeated and their chieftain slain. Blind Harry asserts, that the
brother of Wallace also fell on this occasion; but he is evidently
mistaken, as it has already been shown from Wyntown, that Sir Malcolm
was succeeded in his estate by his eldest son.

The death of his father was not calculated to lessen the animosity
which Wallace had hitherto entertained towards the English. Thirsting
for revenge, he spurned the offers of some of his relations, who
proposed to use their influence to get the act of outlawry recalled;
and having placed his mother under the charge of his uncle Sir Raynald
Crawford, he again betook himself to the woods.

The talents, strength, and dexterity of the young outlaw, soon
attracted to his fortunes a number of reckless and intrepid spirits,
inclined alike from habit and from circumstances, to prefer a life
of savage and unrestrained liberty, to the uncertain and degrading
protection of those, who, though wearing the mask of friendship,
were daily wounding their feelings, by their encroachments on the
independence of their country.

1292. As Scotland, at that time, abounded with game of every
description, Wallace and his companions found no difficulty in
maintaining themselves in their woodland retreats; from whence also
they could issue forth to surprise the English, and supply themselves
with those necessaries which their situation otherwise prevented
them from obtaining. However well disposed the regency and barons of
Scotland might have been to submit to the claims of England, it was
quite different with the nation; and the proceedings of Wallace,
though not sanctioned by the shadow of government which still lingered
in the country, were viewed by the poorer classes of the Scots, not
only with indulgence, but with approbation. From the prevalence of
this feeling, he derived many important advantages, and much useful
information respecting the movements of his enemies.

At this early period of his history, his conduct is said to have drawn
upon him the notice of Thomas of Ercildoune, otherwise named Thomas
the Rymer. This _shrewd_ observer of the “signs of the times,” so
highly appreciated his talents and hardihood, as to risk his prophetic
fame, then in its zenith, by pointing him out to his countrymen as the
man destined to restore the ancient glory of Scotland. His matchless
strength and acute wit, joined to the sagacity with which he gave
effect to his stratagems, tended, no doubt, to impress the seer with
this favourable opinion. Among the stories told of his early years, the
following are perhaps entitled to a preference, on account of their
being, as Lord Hailes observes, “characteristical.”

One day, having visited Ayr in disguise, his attention was attracted
by a crowd collected near the quarters of the military. In the midst
of a circle of his own countrymen, there stood an Englishman of huge
dimensions, playing off his raillery against the Scots, and offering,
for a groat, an opportunity of avenging any injury they might have
received from the English, by permitting the best among them to exert
their utmost strength in striking a blow upon his back with a pole
which he held in his hand; accompanying this absurd declaration with
certain ridiculous gestures and scurrilous language, while his mailed
companions, with arms akimbo, stood loitering around, laughing, and
enjoying the humour of their bulky buffoon. Wallace approached, and
tendered treble the sum for the permission offered. This was readily
agreed to by the jester, who winked to his companions as he prepared
to fulfil the conditions. The wary Scot had observed the trick; and,
grasping the pole above the place where it was intended to give way,
he let fall a blow with such good will, that the spine yielded to its
force, and the foolish witling sunk with a groan at the feet of his
companions. Instantly the swords of the English were out to revenge
the slaughter of their favourite. One of them, advancing towards the
offender, received a blow on the head, which laid him lifeless across
the body of the jester. Surrounded on all sides by the increasing
numbers of his adversaries, he plied his weapon with a rapidity and
a force which kept the most forward of them at bay. Over the steel
bacinet of a powerful trooper, the fatal pole was shivered to pieces.
Others, seeing him, as they imagined, disarmed by this accident,
rushed forward, expecting to overwhelm him with their numbers; but
on drawing his sword, which he had concealed under his dress, they
as quickly receded from the well-known power of his arm. Having, by
his trusty blade, cleared the way to one of the outlets of the town,
he was there attacked by two of the boldest of the garrison, who had
not before mingled in the fray. The object of one of them appeared to
be, to engage him in a little sword-play, and thus give his party an
opportunity of hemming him in, but Wallace, aware of the value of his
time, broke through the guard of his artful opponent, with a blow which
clove him to the teeth; while the other, in the act of retreating,
received a thrust through an opening in his armour, which, reaching
his vitals, laid him senseless by the side of his companion. Five of
the English soldiers had now fallen beneath the arm of the youthful
warrior; and the rest seemed so averse to come within his reach,
that he had time to gain a little copse in the neighbourhood, where
he had left his horse before he entered the town, and, bounding into
the saddle, the hardy trooper was soon beyond the reach of any fresh
assistance they might procure. Horse and foot were, however, soon on
the alert; but after a long and a fruitless pursuit, they were obliged
to return,--some of those who had already witnessed his prowess no way
displeased at their want of success.

The entire absence of any thing like fear, seems to have formed the
most prominent feature in the character of Wallace. Although he had so
narrowly escaped on the above occasion, and also aware of the ease with
which he could be recognised, yet it was not long before he ventured
back to the same place. The occasion was as follows:

A report had circulated about the country, that on a day named, a
celebrated English prize-fighter would exhibit on the esplanade at
Ayr, as a general challenger. An occurrence of this kind had powerful
attractions, in an age when every man required to know something of the
use of a sword. Scots, as well as English, became deeply interested
as the day of exhibition drew on; and Wallace, instigated partly by
curiosity, and partly by a wish to acquire information respecting
the numbers and the motions of his enemies, determined to be present.
Having equipped himself and fifteen of his companions with dresses
which concealed their habergeons, he proceeded to the scene of action.
Their horses they left in a place of safety outside the town, and then
made their entry from different directions, in such numbers as would
not attract the notice of their enemies.

In the midst of the crowd collected to witness the feats of the English
champion, Wallace stood, with his face partially concealed in his
cloak, to all appearance an unconcerned spectator, till he saw several
of his countrymen, who had been baffled by the superior dexterity of
their more practised antagonist, afterwards scoffed at, and otherwise
insulted by the English soldiery. The feelings which this conduct
excited were displayed on the fine expressive countenance of our hero,
in such a manner as did not escape the notice of the victor; and
the latter, flushed with his success, invited him to a trial of his
skill. Wallace readily accepted the challenge; and, drawing his sword,
prepared for the onset. The ease and grace with which he handled his
weapon soon convinced the English that their “bukler-player” had at
last engaged in a perilous enterprise. His art and agility appeared
unavailing against the cool self-possession of the Scot, who, after
a few passes, became the assailant; and a blow, which descended with
the rapidity of lightning, laid the arrogant gladiator dead at his
feet. This unexpected interruption of their amusement irritated the
English; but when they discovered, in the successful combatant, the
bold and audacious outlaw with whom they had been so lately engaged,
they eagerly crowded round, and endeavoured to prevent his escape.
Unappalled by the numbers with whom he was environed, he dealt his
blows in all directions with unerring and deadly effect, while his
followers, drawing their swords, attacked those who were nearest them
with a fury that spread consternation and uproar through the whole

The English, finding themselves assailed from so many quarters,
conceived that they were surrounded by a multitude of enemies.
Wallace, always first in the place of danger, according to the
homely, but expressive phraseology of Blind Harry, “_Gret rowme”
about him “maid_;” and the enemy had already begun to give way, when
an additional force from the castle made its appearance. The battle
was now renewed with redoubled fury on both sides; and the capture of
our hero being the principal object in view, he became the subject
of their most inveterate hostility. The few, however, who ventured
within his reach, soon paid the forfeit of their temerity. Having
collected his companions in a body, he fearlessly advanced into the
centre of the English, diminishing their numbers with every stroke of
his broadsword, while his followers pressed with determined ferocity
upon those who attempted to intercept him. From the increasing number
of his opponents, he at last became apprehensive of having his retreat
cut off, if the unequal contest were much longer protracted. Placing
himself, therefore, in front of the battle he ordered them to make
the best of their way, while he endeavoured to prevent the enemy from
harassing their rear. By incredible exertions, they at last regained
their post at the outside of the town; and, mounting their horses,
they were soon lost to their pursuers amid the shades of Laglane woods,
leaving about thirty of the English, among whom were three knights
belonging to Northumberland, dead upon the streets of Ayr.

These, and similar exploits, appear to have furnished employment to
Wallace, during the time that the English held possession of the
country under the nominal authority of the Scottish regency. It will
now, however, be necessary to revert to the proceedings on the Border.



1292. The submission respecting the succession to the crown of Scotland
was now drawing near a close. There is reason to believe, that the
knowledge of many of the humiliating circumstances, which had occurred
during its progress, had been confined, in a great measure, to the
parties engaged in it. Enough, however, had transpired to excite
the jealousy of the poorer gentry, who, having no possessions out
of Scotland, considered their honour as inseparably connected with
its independence. When the edict, therefore, was proclaimed for a
general homage to the King of England, the national degradation became
apparent, and the servility of their more powerful representatives was
regarded with undissembled mortification. The dangerous practice of
allowing the influential barons to hold lands in England, might now
be regretted; but the fatal effects were, for the present, beyond the
power of remedy. Eager for the removal of the English garrisons, and
desirous for the establishment of something like a regular government,
the body of the Scottish nation, concealing their chagrin at the
conduct of Edward, became anxious for the decision. The machinations of
Frazer, and the influence of the Bishop of Durham, at last determined
the English King to declare in favour of John Baliol, who received
the crown with all humility, and swore fealty to the royal arbiter,
as his liege-lord, at Norham, on the 20th November 1292. On the 30th
of the same month, he was crowned at Scone; and, on the 26th December
following, he again repeated his oath of allegiance at Newcastle.

1293. John, though he had not made a greater sacrifice of the national
dignity than the other candidates were prepared to agree to, soon
found, on his return to Scotland, that the station he had been so
desirous to attain, was surrounded by cares and difficulties of no
ordinary description. The conduct of Edward, too, in continually
harassing Baliol with summonses to attend complaints instituted against
him in the English courts, on very trifling occasions, was a source of
unceasing annoyance; and while the latter reflected on the indignities
he had already submitted to, he was conscious of having forfeited every
claim to the sympathy or respect of his people, by the sacrifice he had
made of their independence. It seemed evident, indeed, that the only
chance which remained of recovering their favour, was to renounce the
fealty he had sworn, and to afford them an opportunity of effacing,
by force of arms, the stigma that had been affixed to their national

That this was the feeling of the Scots, is manifest from the alacrity
with which they came forward, when Baliol, stung almost to madness by
the repeated insults received from his liege-lord, had determined to
throw off his allegiance. Levies of Scottish troops had been ordered
by Edward to be made and sent to him, in order to be employed in an
expedition which he meditated against France. This, the newly crowned
vassal had neither the inclination nor the ability to perform; on the
contrary, he secretly negociated an alliance with the French King.

1294. The Scots assembled in parliament at Scone; and, “under the
specious pretence of diminishing the public charge, they prevailed
on Baliol to dismiss all the Englishmen whom he maintained at his
court.” “They then appointed a committee of twelve--four bishops, four
earls, and four barons--by whose advice all national affairs were to
be regulated. If we may credit the English historians, they had a
watchful eye over Baliol himself, and detained him in an honourable
captivity.”[49] This latter circumstance, more than any other, evinces
the feelings of the people on the occasion.

It would be difficult to say how Wallace was employed at this
particular period. It seems probable, that, relieved by the removal
of the English from the apprehensions he might have entertained
of the consequences of the act of outlawry, he became permanently
resident among his relations. In a charter of _James, Lord High
Steward of Scotland_, dated in 1294, confirming the donation of the
predecessors of Sir Arthur de Denoon[50] to the monastery of Paisley,
the witnesses are, _Robert, Bishop of Glasgow_, _John, the brother of
the Lord High Steward_, Sir Arthur de Denoon, _Sir Nicolas Campbell_,
_and Sir Reginald Crawford_, Knights; William de Shaw, Alexander de
Normanville, Esquires. Though Wallace is not mentioned here, yet we
have the names of five of his future companions in arms; and it may
be doubted if Sir Nicolas Campbell, whose patrimony lay at such a
distance, would have made a journey to Paisley for the mere purpose
of witnessing a charter in which he had no personal interest, had
objects of greater moment not attracted him to the spot;--and possibly,
a wish to visit Wallace at Elderslie, of whom, as has been already
stated, he was a school-companion and intimate associate, may in a
more satisfactory manner account for his appearance on that occasion,
while the presence of Sir Reginald Crawford, the uncle of Wallace,
rather increases the probability of this conjecture. The association
of the names of so many parties with whom he was afterwards so closely
connected, is at all events a very singular circumstance. The fame he
had acquired by the exploits already narrated, and the dangers he had
escaped, would no doubt have excited the curiosity and the sympathy of
his friends.

1295. The treaty which Baliol negociated with France was peculiarly
offensive to Edward. After stating that the King of Scotland,
“grievously affected at the undutiful behaviour of Edward to the King
of France his liege-lord,” he bound himself to assist King Philip with
all his power, and at his own charge, in the event of Edward invading
France. Philip also agreed to aid the Scots, if attacked by England,
either by making a diversion in their favour, or by sending succours.
In this treaty were included the prelates, earls, barons, and other
nobles of Scotland, as well as the Universities and distinguished
public bodies of that kingdom, who were thereto required to affix their
seals.[51] Indeed it may be considered as truly a national treaty,
shewing the degree of _surveillance_ which the Scots exercised over the
conduct of Baliol.

1296. The treaty was soon followed by a solemn renunciation of the
homage exacted by Edward; and a numerous army was collected for the
invasion of his northern counties. The Scots, though thus eager to
come to blows, were by no means in a state of discipline that would
enable them successfully to contend with the experienced veterans of
England, who had been inured to martial habits in their wars with
France, and possessed many advantages over troops that had never
seen the face of a foreign enemy. Thirty-three years had elapsed
since the battle of Largs; and the residue of those warriors who had
distinguished themselves on that occasion, could not now be either
very numerous or effective. The country, it is true, teemed with men
in the vigour of life, panting to restore the tarnished glory of their
country; but although individually brave, and not unacquainted with
their weapons, yet, unaccustomed to act in concert, they could neither
fully understand their own deficiency, nor sufficiently appreciate
the advantages of that discipline which gave the enemy so great a
superiority. Under these circumstances, and guided more by the hasty
dictates of their own passion than the commands of their leaders, the
army of the Scots burst into Cumberland, on 26th March 1296. The injury
done, however, was not very extensive. They assaulted Newcastle, and
set fire to the town, but were eventually compelled to a dishonourable

On the 8th April they also entered Northumberland, plundered Lanercoste
and Hexham, and retired in disorder from before Harbottle.

At this time, a circumstance of rather a curious nature took place.
An English nobleman, Sir Robert de Ros, lord of the Castle of Werk,
had become deeply enamoured of a Scottish lady, and, influenced by the
violence of his passion, he deserted the standard of his country, and
went over to the Scots. With the intention of gaining the affections of
the object of his desire, he endeavoured to seduce his kinsman, William
de Ros, from his allegiance. In this, however, he was unsuccessful;
for William, after upbraiding him with his baseness, proceeded to the
camp at Berwick to inform Edward of the treason, who furnished him with
1000 men, to garrison the Castle of Werk. Robert, in the mean time,
had joined the Scots; and learning that the troops sent by Edward were
to quarter the following night at Prestfen, on their way, he procured
a body of Scots from Roxburgh, and secretly surrounded the village.
To enable his followers to recognise each other, he gave them, as a
password, “_Tabard and Surcoat_;”[52] commanding, that whoever named
the first of these words, if the person to whom he expressed it did not
reply by giving the other, he should instantly kill him. With this
understanding they entered Prestfen at midnight, and, setting fire to
the houses, surprised and cut off the enemy.

Edward, who had now reached Berwick with an army equal in numbers to
that of the Scots, and more formidable from its superior discipline,
determined to attack the town both by sea and land. His navy was,
however, found unequal to the task, and eighteen of his ships were
either burnt or disabled. The exasperation[53] which this discomfiture
occasioned in the mind of Edward, increased, if possible, the natural
ferocity of his temper, and determined him to lead in person his army
to the assault.[54]

The first attack of the English was repulsed. On the second, a
well-concerted stratagem put them in possession of the town, which was
given over to pillage, and a frightful and unsparing massacre ensued.
Some English writers state, that no less than forty thousand of the
inhabitants[55] were immolated, to assuage the wrath of the victor.
Wyntown, however, may be considered nearer the truth, when he fixes
the amount of the carnage at seven thousand five hundred. Barons and
burgesses, nuns and friars, women and children,--_all_ were involved
in one indiscriminate and appalling butchery, which continued through
the day, and only subsided when the following occurrence rekindled
the spark of humanity, which had become extinct in the breast of the
unprincipled usurper.

    “Thus thai slayand ware sá fast
    All the day, qwhill at the last
    This Kyng Edward saw in that tyde
    A woman slayne, and of hyr syde
    A barne he saw fall out, sprewland
    Be-syd that woman slayne lyand.
    ‘_Lasses, Lasses_,’ than cryid he;
    ‘Leve off, leve off,’ that word suld be.”

            _Wyntown_, vol. ii. p. 83.

This catastrophe, from which Berwick never entirely recovered, took
place on _Good Friday_, while the people were preparing for the
celebration of that high festival--a circumstance which sufficiently
proves that the Scots were taken by surprise. Edward remained at
Berwick from the 30th of March till the 27th April, during which time
he received the formal renunciation of the allegiance of Baliol, who
also published an edict, ordering all English ecclesiastics holding
benefices in Scotland to quit the country.

On the 27th April, regardless of the atrocities resulting from his
guilty ambition, Edward left the shambles at Berwick, and proceeded
northward on his desolating career, having previously despatched the
Earl of Warren, with ten thousand chosen troops, to reduce the Castle
of Dunbar. This fortress, from its strong position, was considered as
one of the keys to the kingdom, and had belonged to the Earl of March,
a disappointed candidate for the crown, who had now attached himself to
the banner of England. His wife, however, possessing more patriotism
than her husband, delivered it over, in his absence, to be garrisoned
by the King of Scotland. Aware of its importance, Baliol led the army
he had collected, amounting to upwards of 40,000 men, to its defence.
In the meantime, Sir Richard Siward, the governor, had agreed to
deliver it up to Warren in three days, if not relieved. On the third
day, the army of Scotland appeared on the heights, and took up a strong
position on Downhill, above Dunbar. Warren advanced to attack them;
and from having a difficult line of road to traverse, his ranks became
irregular. The Scots, from their elevated station, saw the momentary
confusion, and foolishly imagined that the English were on the retreat.
Under this impression, they abandoned their strong and well-chosen
position, and rushed down on the enemy. The English received their
disorderly charge with firmness, and repulsed them with slaughter.
Broken, and dismayed at their unexpected reception, a great part of
the Scots betook themselves to flight. Sir Patrick Graham, however, and
a few chivalrous spirits, maintained the unequal contest; and, though
mostly cut to pieces, yet the heroism and self-devotion they displayed,
extorted the applause, and excited the regret, of their adversaries.

Though there be no direct evidence of the fact, yet there is reason
to conjecture, that both Wallace and his brother were present at
the battle of Dunbar. It has already been shown, from respectable
authority, that Sir Malcolm outlived his father; and, in the work
of the Minstrel, we have an account, though rather obscure, of the
manner in which he met his death. He is represented as surrounded by a
multitude of enemies, and bravely defending himself on his knees, with
all the energy of despair, after he had been hamstrung, in order to
prevent his escape. Being at last borne down by a mass of spearmen, he
was unmercifully put to death.[56] Though Henry does not mention when
this took place, yet, from the previous comparative tranquillity which
reigned in the country, the conflict of Dunbar appears most likely to
have been the scene of so deadly a struggle; and the close intimacy
which Wallace afterwards maintained with the family of Graham, may
have originated in the circumstance of his brother and himself having
been among the few who stood by their chief, Sir Patrick,[57] on this
disastrous occasion.

The banner of Sir Richard Siward (_black, with a white cross flowered
at the ends_)[58] still floated on the battlements of the Castle of
Dunbar. To this place many of the Scottish barons fled for refuge.
The protection they received, however, was of short duration. The
fortress, according to agreement, was surrendered to Warren. On this
Lord Hailes remarks, “Our historians impute this also to treachery;
and they accuse the Governor, Richard Siward. But this charge is
manifestly unjust. Siward had agreed to surrender the castle, if it
was not relieved within three days; and it was not relieved.” His
Lordship is sometimes rash in bringing charges against the historians
of his country. The treason of Siward did not consist in delivering
the castle, according to agreement, but in _making that agreement_.
There is enough in the fact of his consenting to surrender one of the
strongest and most commanding fortresses in the country, in so short a
time, to warrant the charge they have made against him. That the Scots
nobles were ignorant of the terms, is evident from their flying to it,
after the battle, as to a place of safety, which they would not have
done, had they known that they were instantly to be delivered over in
chains to the mercy of the enemy. Siward could have no certainty of
his being succoured in three days, as the Scottish army, according to
his Lordship’s account, only came in sight “on the _third_ day;” and
if any accident had detained it, Dunbar must have been surrendered on
the day following. Besides, if Lord Hailes had referred to Vol. II.
p. 274, 275, of the Chronicle of Peter Langtoft, an Englishman, and
a favourite authority of his own, he would have found not only the
statement of Scottish authors confirmed, but a regular detailed account
of the treason. That his Lordship, in the face of such evidence, should
have charged the Scottish historians with doing what was “_manifestly
unjust_,” can only be imputed to that singular predilection towards
white-washing the Negro, which his Lordship has displayed on so many

1296. Ten thousand Scots were slain at this memorable battle, and a
vast number were made prisoners, among whom were many of the principal
nobility of the kingdom, who were sent to the South in chains, and
distributed among the prisons of England and Wales. Baliol, after
performing a most degrading feudal penance, and imploring the clemency
of his conqueror, was sent prisoner, along with his son Edward, to the
Tower of London, having previously resigned the kingdom and the people
of Scotland into the hands of Edward. Thus terminated the brief and
unfortunate reign of John Baliol, who had aspired to a sceptre he had
neither the judgment nor the energy to wield. With a spirit subdued
before the commanding genius of Edward, any efforts he made to regain
the independence he had relinquished, were rather forced upon him, by
the impatience of his people to the English yoke, than the result of
any magnanimous resolution of his own. Though possessing qualities that
might have graced the seclusion of private life, he was destitute of
those talents which were required in the discharge of the duties of a

Selected by Edward from the other competitors, more on account of the
natural timidity of his character than the superior justice of his
claim, it is impossible to look on the degradation that was inflicted
on him, without feeling disgusted at the total want of generosity
which marked the character of the English monarch. Listening to the
_interested_ advice of the Bishop of Durham,[59] who counselled him
to set aside the claim of Bruce, because the talents and spirit of
the latter might be troublesome, he arrayed Baliol in the trappings
of royalty; and, while he insulted the tame unresisting puppet he had
created, he fancied himself trampling with impunity on the hitherto
unsullied majesty of a free people.

The destruction of Berwick, and the discomfiture at Dunbar, laid
Scotland prostrate at the feet of her invader, who marched triumphantly
through the kingdom, receiving the homage of the terrified chieftains,
and placing garrisons in the deserted fortresses; while churchmen of
all grades, Earls, Barons, Knights and Esquires, hastened to avert
his displeasure, by taking the oath of allegiance, and renouncing the
French alliance.

On the 6th June,[60] Edward besieged and took the Castle of Edinburgh,
in which he found the regalia, consisting of the crown, sceptre, and
cloth of gold. On the 14th, he was at Stirling and Linlithgow. On the
24th July, he encamped on the banks of the Spey. He was at Elgin on
the 26th, where he remained two days. He was at Aberbrothick on the
5th August, and again at Stirling on the 14th, at Edinburgh on the
17th, and at Berwick on the 22d, having spent twenty-one weeks in his
progress of subjugation.[61] For the final settlement of his conquest,
he appointed John, Earl of Warren, Lieutenant or Guardian of the
kingdom; Hugh de Cressingham, an avaricious ecclesiastic, treasurer;
William Ormsby, justiciary; Henry de Percy, keeper of the county of
Galloway and sheriffdom of Ayr; while Robert de Clifford had charge of
the eastern districts. The ancient Great Seal of Scotland, surrendered
by Baliol at Brechin, was broken in pieces, and a new seal in place of
it, was presented to Walter de Agmondesham, as chancellor.

The conduct of these ministers was ill calculated to secure the
conquest which the policy and talents of their master had achieved.
Haughty and rapacious themselves, they imposed little restraint on the
licentious soldiery, who lorded it over the wretched inhabitants with
the most intolerable brutality. While property of every description was
held by the frail tenure of the will of the usurpers, outrages were
committed on the domestic feelings of the oppressed, which the delicacy
of modern writers have withdrawn from the page of history. Neither
was this galling oppression confined to the common people; the cup of
misery went round; and the noblest of the land partook of its unmingled
bitterness. The unlimited exactions of Cressingham, and the little
controul he exercised over his underlings, soon banished commerce from
the Scottish shores. Deprived, by his impolitic proceedings, of this
lucrative branch of the national resources, with whetted appetite
for plunder, he turned upon the wretched and already impoverished
inhabitants, who looked in vain to their nobles for that protection
afforded them in times past. Those chieftains who would have stepped
forward in their defence, had either fallen beneath the axe of the
executioner, or were languishing out the prime of their existence in
the distant dungeons of the invader.

The fiendish policy that instigated the massacre of the Minstrels of
Wales, lest their strains should animate their countrymen to revolt,
had also suggested the idea of depriving the Scots of the monuments[62]
of their ancient glory. The nobility still remained tame spectators
of this fresh outrage, and relaxed not in their supple assiduities
to conciliate the favour of the tyrant. Thus abandoned by those who
ought to have been her protectors, the distracted country, crushed
and bleeding at every pore, lay convulsed within the _coils_ of this
human _Boa_. But that Providence which “ruleth in the kingdoms of men,”
had foreseen her calamity, and prepared a deliverer, with personal
qualifications beyond the common lot of men, and a mind endowed with
every requisite for the mighty undertaking.



Wallace, who had been stigmatized by the English as an outlaw and a
robber, found it necessary, after the battle of Dunbar, to withdraw
to his former mountainous retreat, from whence he would, no doubt,
observe the gaudy pageant of the feudal power of England, as it
traversed the devoted land in all the insolent security of conquest.
And while the national distress deepened around, and every tale that
reached him was fraught with tidings of the misery of his enslaved and
degraded countrymen, the resources of the enemy, and the possibility
of emancipating the beloved land of his nativity, formed the subject
of his unceasing reflections. He had observed, that the reverses
which the Scots had sustained in the field, arose more from a want
of subordination and discipline among themselves, than from any
superior valour on the part of their enemies. He was aware of, and
deeply lamented, the jealousy and treachery which existed among the
nobility, and their readiness to stoop in the most servile manner[63]
to the will of the Usurper, if they might thereby obtain even a
temporary exaltation for their party; and he justly conceived, that by
banding together a few resolute spirits, allied to no faction, but,
like himself, attached to the general good, that more could be done
toward the restoration of his country’s independence, than by all
the tumultuous hordes which the treacherous and disunited chieftains
could bring together. Fully impressed with this conviction, his days
and nights were passed in extending the number of his followers,
and in organizing a system of warfare, which was soon destined to
spread terror and dismay among the invaders. The _elite_ of every
district were instructed and disciplined in a manner peculiarly his
own. With the simple, but well-known sounds of his bugle-horn, he
could regulate all their operations. At the appearance of danger, he
could disperse them, to seek more secure retreats,--or rally them
around him, as circumstances might require. This mode of discipline,
either by himself or his most trusty associates, he secretly extended
over a great part of the Lowlands of Scotland; so that either amidst
the fastnesses of Carrick, the deep recesses of Cartland, or on the
shores of the Lomond, the rallying note of their country’s liberator
was followed by the prompt appearance of well-armed warriors at their
respective places of muster.

The prowess which he had displayed in his encounters with the
English--his almost miraculous escapes--and the prediction given out
in the name of the Seer of Ercildowne,[64] of his being destined to
deliver Scotland from the tyranny of England,--all conspired to excite
the hopes, and gain him the confidence, of the less wealthy classes of
his countrymen.

His tactics were admirably fitted for harassing the foes he had to
contend with. The fortresses in their possession were surrounded by
secret enemies, ever on the watch to discover and convey to their
leader any information that might enable him to way-lay their convoys,
or surprise them in their strongholds. It was in vain the warders
kept watch on their lofty stations: distant as the eye could reach,
no enemy appeared, no foreboding sound met their ear, to warrant
them in disturbing the tranquillity of the revellers within. Far in
the woodlands, the sound of a horn might be heard; but it passed
away unregarded, as proceeding from some lonely forester going his
rounds. The drawbridge is let down to admit fuel or provisions for the
garrison;--the loads are thrown in, the entrance of the gate;--the
porter knocked on the head, and the burden-bearers bristle into
resolute or well-armed assailants;--the wine-cup is dashed from the
hands of the astonished governor, who is only made sensible of his
situation by the carnage that ensues;--the castle demolished, and the
spoil divided among his followers, who are now allowed to return home.
Wallace, meanwhile, attended perhaps by a few select worthies, pursues
his way, to call forth the avenging swords of his adherents, in some
more remote part of the kingdom.

Such were the fruits of that admirable system of warfare which Wallace
was engaged in explaining and enforcing at the meetings of his
nonjuring countrymen, during the winter of 1296, and which it has been
thought proper to allude to at this stage of the history, in order that
the reader may be able to comprehend the possibility of certain of
those exploits which afterwards obtained for the heroic champion of the
Scots, the applause and admiration of mankind.

The spring of 1297 had scarcely set in before the _guerrilla_-parties
thus formed began to molest the invaders; and so persevering and
successful were their attacks, that in a very short time, throughout
the whole range of the forest of Clydesdale, Wallace and his followers
held undisputed sway; and, emerging from parts least expected by the
enemy, surprised and cut off their convoys. The English garrison which
occupied Bothwell Castle made several attempts to drive them from
their concealments in the woods, but all their efforts had ended in
discomfiture and disgrace; while the prisoners left in the hands of
the Scots were hung up at different parts, along the skirts of the
forest, as a warning to all hostile intruders. These proceedings of
the insurgents alarmed and perplexed the English, as it kept them in
profound ignorance of the numbers they had to cope with. Left to their
own conjectures, their heated imaginations peopled the impenetrable
recesses of the woods with swarms of fierce and merciless enemies,
headed by a chief against whose sword the strongest of their armour
afforded but a feeble protection.

While the Scots were thus engaged, their leader received advice that
a strong convoy was on its way from England for the supply of the
garrison of Ayr, under the command of Fenwick, the person who headed
the attack so fatal to Sir Malcolm Wallace. Roused by the hopes of
avenging the death of his father, our hero determined to way-lay the
party. For this purpose he selected fifty of those on whose strength
and courage he could place the greatest reliance; and thus attended,
he set forward to occupy a position on the road the enemy had to
pass. It was night when the little band of patriots reached the spot
from whence they meant to make their attack; but hearing nothing of
the advance of Fenwick, he ordered his men to take shelter for the
night in a neighbouring wood. The morning was pretty far advanced,
when two scouts, whom Wallace had sent forward at day-break, returned
with the intelligence that the enemy was at hand. Having arranged his
men for the onset, his friend, John Blair, offered up prayers for
their success, which were scarcely over before the English came in
sight. Fenwick, on observing the small body of Scots that awaited his
approach, felt perfectly assured of taking them, and the far-famed
chieftain, whom he suspected to be their leader, prisoners with him to
Ayr; and congratulated himself on the satisfaction which the capture
of the bold outlaw would afford to his superiors. This pleasing
reverie was, however, disturbed by a rapid movement of the Scots, who,
charging with their long spears, threw his advance into confusion,
and, following up their advantage with the most daring intrepidity,
carried disorder to the very centre of his squadron; where, undismayed
by the superior numbers that surrounded them, Wallace and his brave
companions fought with all the fury of exasperated lions. The repeated
charges of the English were repulsed and returned with such increasing
vigour and resolution as alarmed and confounded their commander.
Wherever he turned his eyes, the sword of the Scottish chief seemed
clearing a path toward him; helmet after helmet disappeared beneath
his ponderous weapon; and the whole exertion of his mighty arm seemed
directed towards the hated Fenwick. Conscious of the justice of that
vengeance which inspired our hero with more than usual ferocity, the
English chief would gladly have avoided a personal rencounter. His
attempts to escape, however, were in vain,--the brand of the vengeful
Scot reached him at last; and the blow, though broke by the intervening
sword of a trooper, fell with sufficient force to strike him from the
saddle. Falling on the opposite side of the horse, Wallace had not the
satisfaction of giving the deathblow;--this was an honour reserved for
Robert Boyd, one of his most intimate companions. Although Fenwick
was thus slain, yet the conflict continued with great obstinacy. The
English, under one Bowmond, who was second in command, made great
efforts to retrieve the advantages they had lost. The Scots, however,
maintained their ground with inflexible resolution, while the sword
of their chief was rapidly increasing the gaps in the ranks of their
enemies. Adam Wallace, the promising heir of Riccardtoun,[65] had the
good fortune to come in contact with the leader of the English; and,
after an obstinate engagement, the intrepid Bowmond fell beneath the
hand of the youthful Scot. Deprived of their leaders, the English now
fled in the utmost confusion, leaving one hundred of their companions
on the field. The Scots pursued them only so far as to make their
victory certain; and, returning to the spoil, found their labours amply
rewarded. A numerous train of waggons, loaded with flour, wine, and all
sorts of provisions, with warlike stores in abundance, and two hundred
draught-horses, besides money and other valuables, fell into the hands
of the victors, who, after dividing their booty, and appropriating part
of it to the relief of the oppressed inhabitants in the neighbourhood,
departed to secure the remainder in their inaccessible retreats among
the then extensive forests of Clydesdale.

The result of this affair with Fenwick was not less encouraging to the
Scots, than prejudicial to the English. The valuable convoy, which the
latter had been thus deprived of, was a subject of serious regret to
Percy; more particularly, as it appeared irretrievable--his foraging
parties having already exhausted the district under his controul, and
reduced the inhabitants to the most wretched expedients, in order to
maintain their miserable existence. The fields remained in a great
measure uncultivated; and those among the commons who were fortunate
enough to possess a cow, endeavoured to conceal her as their only
resource. The poor starveling was bled as often as nature would
permit; and the blood, boiled to a consistency, formed almost the sole
repast of the unhappy owners. Percy, already aware of the impoverished
situation of the country, had husbanded the resources of the garrison,
in order to make them hold out till the arrival of the expected
supplies. Under these circumstances, his disappointment may be easily
conceived, when the disordered remains of Fenwick’s party arrived at
Ayr without a leader, to give an account of their disaster, every man
being at liberty to tell his own story; and, as might be expected,
all of them agreed in exaggerating the number of the Scots, and the
gigantic stature and strength of their chief. Percy, even from the
most favourable view of the affair, could only see the embarrassing
situation in which he was placed. The uncertainty of procuring supplies
by land was but too evident; and to bring them by sea was equally
precarious, as the Scottish ships were still numerous on the coast, and
had not acknowledged the sovereignty of Edward, but in the unsettled
state of the country, continued to capture all the English vessels that
came in their tract.

In this battle, which was fought at a place called Beg,[66] above
Allanton, in the parish of Galston, few of any note among the Scots
were slain. Of those present on the occasion, the following names have
been handed down--Sir Andrew Murray, Sir William Douglas, Robert Boyd,
Alexander Scrimgeor, Roger Kilpatrick, Alexander Auchinleck, Walter
Newbigging, Stephen of Ireland, Hugh Dundas, John Kneland or Cleland,
Ruthven, Sir David Barclay, Adam Curry, John Blair and Thomas Gray.
In justice, therefore, to these brave and early confederates of our
hero, we shall appropriate the remaining part of this chapter, to such
notices of them as our scanty materials may afford. The following
account of the first of those worthies is taken from the Peerage and
Baronage of Scotland.

_Sir Andrew de Moravia, dominus de Bothwell_, succeeded his brother
Sir William Murray, in the Lordship of Bothwell. This Sir William was
chamberlain to Alexander III., and a man of singular merit; but dying
without issue in 1294, he was succeeded by his no less meritorious
brother, who also filled the office of chamberlain under the short
reign of Baliol. Sir Andrew married a daughter of Sir John Cumin, Lord
of Badenoch, by whom he had two sons, Sir Andrew and Sir William, the
former of whom was associated in the command of the Scottish army when
led by Wallace to the invasion of England. He also was chamberlain
to Bruce, and regent of the kingdom in the minority of David II. He
married Lady Christian Bruce, sister of the immortal King Robert, by
whom he had two sons, John and Robert. His brother William was the
progenitor of the Murrays of Abercairnie. The present “Sir Andrew sat
in parliament in 1290, and appears to have sworn fealty to Edward 1291.
When Sir William Wallace raised the standard of national independence,
and when the other powerful barons deserted the cause, he was the only
person of consequence who adhered to Wallace.”

_Sir William Douglas_, designated the Hardy, succeeded his brother
Hugh. He was also known by the name of _Long Leg_, and reckoned to be
a very handsome and powerful man, surpassing most of his countrymen in
stature. He appears to have been present in the Parliament at Brigham
in 1289, as his name is appended to the letter addressed by “the
community of Scotland,” to Edward I., as “_Guillame de Duglas_.” He
swore fealty to Edward in the Chapel of Thurston, 5th July 1291. His
first wife was Elizabeth, a near connection of the Steward of Scotland,
who died shortly after her marriage. His second was Eleanor, the widow
of William de Ferrier. She being a ward of the English crown, had an
assignation of the manors of Stubbings and Woodham Ferriers in Essex
(part of her husband’s lands), until she should have her dowry set
forth; which, being soon after assigned to her, she came to Scotland,
there to obtain her right to such lands as her husband had possessed
in that kingdom. But being at Tranent, (the manor-house of Helen la
Zusche), expecting the like assignation, Sir William de Duglas came and
forcibly carried her off.[67] As the lady had made oath before she left
England, not to marry without the royal consent;--to save appearances,
and to preserve her property, a complaint was made of the aggression,
and Edward sent his precept to the sheriff of Northumberland, to seize
all the goods and chattels of the said William de Duglas which were
in his bailiwick; but shortly after, in 1291, in consequence of a
fine of 10_l._ to the King, his permission was obtained. In 1296, Sir
William had the command of the Castle of Berwick, which he surrendered
to the English, being allowed to march out with the honours of war,
after taking an oath never to bear arms against England. Such oaths,
however, in that age it was reckoned more dishonourable to keep than to
break. The following account of some of his exploits is from Hume of
Godscroft’s History of the House of Douglas:

“When he” (Sir William) “heard that William Wallace was risen up,
and had taken open banner against the English, he joined with him;
by which accession of forces, Wallace’s army was much increased and
strengthened. Yet they were not always together; but, according to
the occasion, and as opportunity did offer, they did divide their
companies, and went to several places, where they hoped to get best
advantage of the enemy, and where there needed no great army, but some
few companies at once. In these adventures, Lord William recovered from
the English the castles of Desdier and Sanquhair.

“The manner of his taking the castle of Sanquhair is said to have been
thus:--There was one Anderson that served the castle, and furnished
them with wood and fuel, and had daily access to it upon that occasion.
The Lord Douglas directs one of his trustiest and stoutest servants to
deal with him, or to find some means to betray the castle to him, and
to bring him within the gates only.

“Anderson, either persuaded by entreaty, or corrupted with money, gave
my Lord’s servant, called Thomas Dickson, his apparel and carriages,
who, coming to the castle, was let in by the porter for Anderson.
Dickson stabbed the porter, and gave the signal to his Lord, who lay
near by with his companions, set open the gates, and received them into
the court. They, being entered, killed the captain and the whole of the
English garrison, and so remained masters of the place. The captain’s
name was Beauford, a kinsman of his own Lady Ferrars, who had oppressed
the country that lay near him very insolently. One of the English
that had been in the castle, escaping, went to the other garrisons
that were in other castles and towns adjacent, and told them what had
befallen his fellows, and withal informed them how the castle might
be recovered. Whereupon, joining their forces together, they came and
besieged it. Lord Douglas, finding himself straitened, and unprovided
of necessaries for his defence, did secretly convey his man Dickson out
at a postern, or some hidden passage, and sent him to William Wallace
for aid. Wallace was then in Lennox, and, hearing of the danger Douglas
was in, made all haste he could to come to his relief. The English,
having notice of Wallace’s approach, left the siege, and retired
towards England; yet not so quickly but that Wallace, accompanied by
Sir John Graham, did overtake them, and killed five hundred of their
number before they could pass Dalswinton. By these, and such like
means, Wallace, with his assistants, having beaten the English from
most part of their strengths in Scotland, did commit the care and
custody of the whole country, from Drumlanrig to Ayr, to the charge of
the Lord Douglas. Now, however, there be no mention of these things
in our chronology; yet, seeing the Book of Wallace (which is more
particular in many things) speaks of them, and the charter of the house
of Symington, descended lineally of the said Thomas Dickson, who, for
this and his other like services done to the Lord, and afterward to his
good son Sir James, got the twenty merk land of Hesle-side, which his
posterity doth still enjoy, holding of the Lords of Douglas and Angus;
and there is no doubt to be made, but he hath done much more in his
assistance he gave Wallace, than is recorded or extant any where; there
being no likelihood that, in these so busy times, these two valiant and
brave warriors did lie idle, although the particulars lie buried in
deep silence.” The above account is fully confirmed by the manuscript
history of the House of Douglas, written by Thomas Chambers, who adds,
that “Sir William, before the battle of Falkirk, was betrayed into the
hands of the English, and conveyed to Berwick, and from thence to York,
where he was keeped close prisoner in the castle until his death, which
took place in 1302, and was buried in a little chapel (now decayed)
at the south end of the bridge.” The banner of Douglas was “_azure a
chiffe sylvir_.”[68]

_Sir Robert Boyd_, or _Boyt_.--This bold and hardy warrior was also
one of those who swore fealty to Edward I., when he overran Scotland
in 1296; but throwing off his disgraceful allegiance in 1297, he
became ever after the inseparable companion of Wallace. His father,
in consequence of the gallantry he displayed at the battle of Largs,
obtained a grant of lands in Cunningham from Alexander III., and was
the near neighbour of Sir Raynald Crawford of Crosby,[69] the uncle of
Wallace; the castles of the two families could communicate by signals
with each other.

_Kneland_, or _Cleland_, _Edward Little_ and _Thomas Haliday_, all
near relatives of Wallace, whose names are frequently mentioned with
applause by the authors who write of this period.

_Stephen of Ireland._--This brave and useful soldier, is sometimes
called Stephen Ireland; but this is only by modern writers. Blind
Harry, and other ancient authors, invariably designate him as
_of Ireland_. It is highly probable that he was one of those
self-expatriated Irish noblemen, whose love of liberty induced them to
seek, in foreign countries, what they could no longer hope for at home.
Whatever his birth may have been, he appears to have come to Scotland
at an early period, perhaps in the reign of Alexander III., and seems,
from his being occasionally employed as a guide in the expeditions of
Wallace, to have had such a knowledge of the country, as could only be
acquired by a long residence in it. Through all the variety of fortunes
which attended Sir William Wallace, and amid the desertions of some
of his opulent countrymen, Stephen of Ireland adhered to him with
inflexible fidelity, and also induced others of his countrymen to come
over to the assistance of the Scots.

_John Blair_ and _Thomas Gray_.--The former of these worthy
ecclesiastics has already been mentioned as the schoolfellow of our
hero. After quitting Dundee, he went to finish his studies at Paris,
where, under the most eminent masters of the day, his progress did not
belie the early promise of his genius; and he returned to Scotland a
confirmed patriot, and an accomplished scholar. The latter had the
pastoral charge of Libertown, yet considered it no dereliction from his
duties to attend and assist in the emancipation of his country. Of his
literary talents we have reason to form the highest opinion, from the
circumstance of John Blair admitting him into the honour of assisting
in composing the history of their far-famed friend. This work, though
it now goes all under the name of Blair, was then known to have been
the joint composition of these worthies. Where Thomas Gray received
his education, is a matter of uncertainty; but it is highly probable
that he also finished his studies along with his friend at Paris, and
returned with him to Scotland; as we hear nothing of him previous to
the rencounter with Fenwick. It is not unlikely that, on this occasion,
John Blair was installed in his office of chaplain; and that he got
this preference from the circumstance of the other being already
provided for, as they both appear, from their learning and patriotism,
to have been equally deserving of the affection and confidence of their

_Alexander Scrimgeor._--This faithful patriot was the representative
of an ancient and respectable family in the neighbourhood of Dundee;
and as he most probably received his education along with Wallace,
he would no doubt have been one of the association already alluded
to. He enjoyed, in right of his ancestors, the honour of carrying the
banner of Scotland; and for his faithful discharge of this duty, he
was afterwards appointed by Wallace to the office of Constable[70]
of Dundee; which honour being hereditary, remained in the family
till after the restoration of Charles II., when the representative
of the family was created Earl of Dundee; on whose death, without
immediate issue, the heirs were unjustly deprived of their honours and
immunities. The family, however, continues to be represented by the
Scrymgeours of Birkhill, now the Wedderburns of that Ilk.--_Stat. Acc._
vol. viii. p. 239.

_Walter Newbigging_, otherwise _Gualter de Somerville_.--This gentleman
was of English extraction, and the son of William de Somerville, Baron
of Linton, and Margaret Newbigging, heiress of that Ilk, the daughter
of Walter Newbigging, which lands he inherited in right of his mother.
This accounts for his being called Walter Newbigging, or of Newbigging.
His father, William de Somerville, distinguished himself at the battle
of Largs, and was a constant attendant at the court of Alexander
III., with whom he was in high favour, and held the office of grand
falconer, a place at that time of considerable importance. Walter, the
subject of our present inquiries, received from his father a _ten merk
land_ within the barony of Linton, which enabled him to make an early
appearance at court, where his good qualities and noble deportment
attracted the notice of Alexander, from whose hand he received the
honour of knighthood, and distinguished himself at the tournament
held shortly after in honour of the marriage of Prince Alexander with
the daughter of the Earl of Flanders, at Roxburgh Castle. While in
attendance at court, he formed an acquaintance with Sir David Barclay
of Towie, in Aberdeenshire, whose sister Effie, or Euphemia, he
afterwards married in 1281; and at Aberdeen, the same year, he entered
into a bond of manrent, or manred, as it was sometimes called, with his
brother-in-law. These obligations were very common among the gentry of
Scotland, and often productive of great disorder in the country. By
this marriage he had a son named David, whom he devoted to the cause
of his country’s independence, when he himself joined the standard of
Wallace. This youth we shall afterwards have occasion to notice. It may
not be improper to remark, that Somerville, the author of “The Chase,”
was a scion from the English stock of this ancient and respectable

_David de Barclay._--Abercromby mentions a Sir Fergus Barclay, as being
one of the early adherents of Wallace; but there is reason to believe
he is partly in error. Sir David Barclay, as we have already seen, was
brother-in-law to Sir Walter Newbigging, with whom he had entered into
a bond of manrent, by which they were mutually bound to appear in arms
in support of the same cause, provided it was not against the royal
prerogative. When we find both the surnames associated together on
this occasion, we may reasonably suppose they are the same persons who
contracted the obligation, and had thought the present a very proper
opportunity for acting upon it.[71]

“_Hugh de Dundas_ was the son of Serle de Dundas, who swore fealty
to Edward I. in 1296 and in 1300. His son, Sir Hugh, was a man of
singular merit and fortitude, and joined the brave Sir William Wallace
in defence of the liberties of Scotland, and embraced every opportunity
to exert his courage against the enemies of his country. He died in the
reign of King Robert Bruce, and was succeeded by his son.”--_Douglas’s
Scottish Baronage._

       *       *       *       *       *

After the foregoing brief notices of the early companions of Wallace,
the curious reader may not be displeased, if, before concluding this
chapter, we present some account of the dress and armour in which our
hero appeared at the battle of Beg. The following description is from
the Minstrel, and is given with a minuteness which induces a belief
that it is a literal translation from the work of Blair, so often
mentioned;--it is at least of value, not only from its containing the
ideas entertained on the subject by a man of no mean genius, upwards
of three hundred years ago, but as it also agrees with the description
elsewhere handed down of the kind of armour in use at the period:--

    “A habergione vndyr his goune he war,
    A steylle capleyne in his bonet but mar;
    His glowis of plait in claith war couerit weill,
    In his doublet a closs coler of steyle;
    His face he kepit, for it was euir bar,
    With his twa handis, the quhilk full worthi war.”

            _Buke Thryd_, p. 31.

The “_habergione_” was a piece of defensive armour early in use among
the Scots, and even worn by some Highlanders and Isles-men so late as
the 17th century. It was a sort of chain or ringed mail, extremely
light and flexible, allowing the greatest freedom to the motions of
the wearer, and was equally well adapted for combat on foot or on
horseback. It was variously constructed according to the prevailing
taste. The most approved were those brought from Asia by the crusaders,
in the early part of the reign of Alexander III. They consisted of four
rings joined to a fifth, and all rivetted;--they were sometimes double.
Towards the end of the 13th century, this description seems to have
been in general use, both in England and Scotland. They had the form of
shirts, and were quite impervious to an arrow.

The “_goune_” which the Minstrel alludes to, as covering the
“habergione,” we conceive to mean the surcoat, or coat of arms,--a
fashion introduced into Britain in the 13th century. It is thus
described by Dr Meyrick:--“The surcoat, which had been adopted by the
crusaders in the 13th century, to prevent their armour from being
heated by the sun’s rays, a mode still continued by the Mamelukes in
Egypt, was at first of merely variegated patterns, but soon became
embellished with the same armorial bearings as the shield;--hence, the
expression ‘coat of arms.’ It was a long loose dress, without sleeves,
open before and behind, for the convenience of riding, and girted round
the waist by the _cingulum militare_, or belt. It was put on over the
hauberk, and reached to the neck; and when the hood was placed on the
head, it was covered by it as far as the shoulders. The front and back
were emblazoned alike.”

This piece of dress appears to have been the same as the tabard. It is
thus taken notice of by Thomas Hearne: “_Tabard_, a jacket, jerkin,
mandilion, or sleeveless coat, worne in times past by noblemen in the
warrs; but now only by heralds, and is called their coat-of-arms
in service.” Verstegan tells us, in his _Restitution of Decayed
Intelligence_, “That _tabert_ was anciently a short gown, that reached
no further than the mid-leg, that it remaineth for the name of a gown
in Germanie and in the Netherlands, and that in England, it is now
the name only of _a herald’s coat_.” But what Stowe tells us, in his
_Survey of London_, is more remarkable, where, talking of several
fair inns in Southwark, he takes occasion to speak of the Tabard Inn
as the most ancient of them, and thereupon writes thus: “Amongst the
which innes, the most ancient is the Tabard, so called of the signe,
which, as wee now term it, is of a jacket, or sleevelesse coate,
whole before, open on both sides, with a square collar, winged at the
shoulders: a stately garment, of old time commonly worne of noblemen
and others, both at home and abroad in the wars; but then (to-wit, in
the warres) their armes embroidered, or otherwise depict upon them,
that every man by his coate of armes might bee knowne from others: But
now these tabards are onely worne by the heralds, and bee called their
coates-of-armes in service.” Allusion is also made, by Wyntown, to the
tabard of John Baliol, who, on being stript of the ensigns of royalty
by his _magnanimous_ conqueror, the “_pelure_” or fur, was also torn
from his tabard. The passage is curious:--

    “This Jhon the Balliol on purpos
    He tuk, and browcht hym til Mwnros;
    And in the castell of that Town,
    That than wes famows in renown,
    This Jhon the Ballyol dyspoylyd he
    Of all hys Robys of Ryaltè.
    The Pelure thai tuk off hys Tabart,
    (Twme Tabart he wes callyt eftyrwart.)”

            _Wyntown_, vol. ii. p. 88.

The “_steylle capleyne_,” it is very likely, may have been taken from
the “_chapelle de fer_,” or “iron hat,” which, the same writer says,
had a rim and convex crown, and was worn over the capuchon or hood.
“After being placed on the head, it was kept from turning round, when
struck, by cords, with which it was fastened to the shoulders. The
effigy of Sir Roger de Trompington not only gives its form, but shows
that it was sometimes held to the body by means of a chain. It was
ornamented in front with a cross fleury, the transverse bar of which
was pierced with occularia, or openings for the sight.” That worn by
Wallace, however, does not appear to have had this advantage, for

    “_His face he kepit, for it was euir bar,
    With his twa handis._”

The limbs were usually defended at this time, by being encased in
boiled leather, on which knee-plates of iron, and guards for the
shin-bones, were fixed; these, with a round or triangular shield,
painted with the armorial bearings of the wearer, formed the defensive
armour of the period.

Wallace’s favourite weapon appears to have been a long and ponderous
two-handed sword, which his prodigious strength enabled him to wield
with the greatest ease.[72] The mace and spear were also at times
used by him; and for close rencounters in castles, peels, and other
confined situations, he was furnished with a dagger for each hand, of a
particular kind, having guards, which extended above the wrist, between
which the hand passed; and grasping a transverse bar about an inch
from the spring of the dagger, the weapon projected from the centre of
the first, like the horn of an unicorn. This sort of dagger was often
attached, by a kind of hinge, to the arm-plate, and could be folded
back under the arm between the wrist and the elbow when not in use, and
secured and concealed in that position by the cloth gloves, which our
hero appears to have worn over his “glowis of plate.”[73]

Having said thus much of the dress and equipment of Wallace, the
following anecdote respecting his strength and personal appearance, may
not be unacceptable to the reader; it is translated from Hector Boëce
by the learned editor of Morrison’s edition of Blind Harry, who thus
introduces it. “Though this author (Boëce) in general is not much to be
credited, yet it would be hard not to believe him in an instance which
happened near his own time, and in which, if he had spoken falsely, he
could immediately have been detected. The anecdote in another respect
is curious, as it affords an example of longevity, not unsimilar to
that of the Irish Countess of Desmond, who attained a still more
advanced age.

“The date is the year 1430. At that time, James I. was in Perth; and
perhaps having heard _Henry the Minstrel_[74] recite some of Wallace’s
exploits, found his curiosity excited to visit a noble lady of great
age, who was able to inform him of many ancient matters. She lived
in the castle of Kinnoul, on the opposite side of the river, and was
probably a widow of one of the Lords of Erskine, a branch of whose
family continued to be denominated from the barony of Kinnoul, till
about the year 1440. It was Boëce’s manner to relate an event as
circumstancially as if he had been one of the parties, and engaged
in it; I shall therefore give the anecdote in his own manner, by
translating his words:

“‘In consequence of her extreme old age, she had lost her sight,
but all her other senses were entire; and her body was yet firm and
lively; she had seen William Wallace and Robert Bruce, and frequently
told particulars concerning them. The King, who entertained a love
and veneration of greatness, resolved to visit the old lady, that he
might hear her describe the manners and strength of the two heroes,
who were admired in his time, as they now are in our’s. He therefore
sent a message, acquainting her that he was to come to her next day.
She received the message gratefully, and gave immediate orders to her
handmaids to prepare every thing for his reception in the best manner,
particularly that they should display her pieces of tapestry, some
of which were uncommonly rich and beautiful. All her servants became
busily employed, for their work was in some degree unusual, as she had
not for a long time been accustomed to receive princely visitors. The
next day, when told the King was approaching, she went down into the
hall of her castle, dressed with as much elegance and finery as her old
age and the fashion of the time would permit; attended by a train of
matrons, many of whom were her own descendants, of which number some
appeared more altered and disfigured by age than she herself was. One
of her matrons having informed her that the king was entering the
hall, she arose from her seat, and advanced to meet him so easily and
gracefully, that he doubted of her being wholly blind. At his desire
she embraced and kissed him. Her attendant assured him that she was
wholly blind; but that, from long custom, she had acquired these easy
movements. He took her by the hand and sat down, desiring her to sit
on the same seat next to him. And then, in a long conference, he
interrogated her respecting ancient matters. He was much delighted with
her conversation. Among other things, he asked her to tell him what
sort of a man William Wallace was? what was his personal figure? what
his courage? and with what degree of strength he was endowed? He put
the same questions to her concerning Bruce. Robert, she said, was a man
beautiful, and of a fine appearance. His strength was so great, that he
could easily have overcome any mortal man of his time:--But in so far
as he excelled other men, he was excelled by Wallace, both in stature
and in bodily strength; for, in wrestling, Wallace could have overcome
two such men as Robert was.

“‘The King made some inquiries concerning his own immediate parents,
and his other ancestors; and having heard her relate many things,
returned to Perth, well pleased with the visit he had made.’” (_Boeth.
Hist._ i. xvii.)



The Scottish insurgents, being now abundantly supplied with all the
munitions of war, and animated by their success to the highest pitch
of enthusiasm, became impatient to prosecute hostilities against their
oppressors; and their leader, who was not of a character to allow the
swords of brave men to rust in their scabbards, soon found them an
opportunity to gratify their wishes.

At Gargunnock, in the neighbourhood of Stirling, the English had
erected a small fortification or _peel_, which they had plentifully
furnished with provisions. Some of the Scots in that quarter, who
secretly adhered to Wallace, observed the carelessness which at
times prevailed in setting the watch, and that the drawbridge was
occasionally left down all night, for the purpose of admitting, in the
morning, the labourers who were still employed about it,--conveyed the
intelligence to their chief, who resolved to make himself master of
the place the following night. Accordingly, two spies were despatched
to ascertain the probability of success. Towards evening a column of
smoke was seen rising from a neighbouring hill: it was the signal
agreed upon, if the party were to advance. Wallace instantly set
his men in motion, and about midnight arrived in front of the place
which was the object of attack. As they expected, the drawbridge was
down, but they found the door strongly secured within. Impatient at
the delay this occasioned, our hero raised a heavy piece of timber,
and, rushing with it against the door, the fastenings gave way with
a violence that loosened the stones, not yet properly cemented, and
nearly a yard of the wall came tumbling to the ground. The porter,
awakened by the noise, attempted to strike him with a ponderous mace.
Wallace avoided the blow; and, before he could recover his unwieldy
weapon, laid him lifeless at his feet. Thornton, the captain of the
garrison, now appeared, with the men under his command; but the Scots
had got too firm footing within the fort, to be easily expelled.
After a sanguinary conflict, in which the captain fell by the hand of
Wallace, the garrison were put to the sword, with the exception of the
women and children, who received from the victors as much courtesy as
the rudeness of the age entitled them to expect. The wife and three
children of Thornton, after being supplied with what necessaries
they required, were allowed to depart along with the other females,
and furnished with a pass from Wallace, by which they could proceed
in safety to any of the towns in the possession of the English. The
Scots found in the peel of Gargunnock[75] abundance of all kinds
of necessaries, with a large sum of money, which Wallace divided
equally among his followers; and, after distributing what part of the
stores they did not require among his oppressed countrymen in the
neighbourhood, he demolished the fortification, and proceeded with his
companions on their crusade against the enemies of their independence.

Though Wallace was thus actively engaged in harassing the enemies
of the country, the calamities and acts of oppression with which
particular families or individuals were visited, neither escaped
his attention, nor failed to call forth that interference which
their circumstances demanded; and, amid the many cases of private
suffering which came under his notice, none appeared to affect him
more deeply than the desolation which had overtaken a respectable and
ancient family in the neighbourhood of Lanark. Hew de Bradfute, a
zealous advocate for the liberties of Scotland, possessed the lands
of Lamington, and left them at his death to his son, who had imbibed,
with all the ardour of youth, that love of liberty so fondly cherished
by his father. For some display of these patriotic feelings, he had
incurred the displeasure of Hasilrig, or Hasliope, the English governor
of Lanark, who found a pretext for attacking him in his castle, and
put him, along with a number of his friends, to the sword. The house
and lands of Lamington now became the right of a surviving sister.
The youth and beauty of this young gentlewoman attracted the notice
of the murderer of her friends; and, under the pretence of a regard
for her safety, obliged her to take up her residence in Lanark. For
this _protection_, considerable sums were, from time to time, levied
upon her property. The cupidity of Hasilrig, not satisfied with these
exactions, intended her as a match either for himself or his son; and
the helpless girl had no means of averting this hateful connection,
but by pleading for delay, till her grief for her slaughtered kindred
had abated. Every indulgence of this kind was accompanied by a fresh
exaction on her property, till the victim of his avarice became an
object of commiseration even to those who were themselves suffering
under the hand of the oppressor. Henry draws a most fascinating picture
of this lovely orphan; and we have no reason to doubt the assemblage of
virtues and graces in which he has arrayed her person and character,
particularly as he is borne out in what he says by the Prior of St
Serf’s, and other respectable authorities.

While attending her religious duties at a church near Lanark, Wallace
first saw this interesting female. The beauty of her person, the grace
and propriety of her demeanour, added to her forlorn situation, excited
the tenderest sensations in the bosom of our hero. A circumstance,
however, which occurred about this juncture, served to divide his
attention with the fair object of his solicitude.

For the purpose of levying fresh assessments on certain districts of
the country, an extraordinary council of the English authorities was
appointed to meet with the Bishop of Durham, at Glasgow, which see had
been now occupied by this ambitious ecclesiastic. Sir Raynald Crawford,
the uncle of our hero, though long since deprived of his commission,
was summoned to attend as sheriff of Ayr in right of his birth. Whether
this was an indirect attempt to conciliate Wallace, or if it was
merely done on the supposition that the Scots would submit to their
imposts with more patience if some of their countrymen appeared as the
assessors, cannot now be distinctly ascertained. The sheriff, however,
prepared to obey the mandate; while his nephew, always suspicious
of the intentions of the English, resolved, along with two of his
followers, to watch over the safety of his relative, and observe the
motions of the enemy. In those times the accommodations for travellers
were far from complete. With the exception of convents, such houses of
entertainment as might be found on the roads, afforded them little more
than shelter from the inclemency of the weather; and travellers who
came to spend the night, were expected to bring their food and other
necessaries along with them, particularly those who journeyed with
retinues. Under such circumstances, Sir Raynald’s party were provided
with a sumpter-horse to carry their provisions.

They had not proceeded far, before they came up with the servants of
Percy, conducting his baggage. One of their horses having met with an
accident, they stopped the sheriff’s party, and insisted on having
their sumpter-horse, in order to supply the place of the one that had
become disabled. It was in vain to remonstrate with those who had the
power, and were determined to do an act of injustice. Wallace, from a
distance, saw the load rudely thrown from the back of the horse, and
the animal carried off. The sheriff, in consequence, had to remain at
Mearns for the night.

The convoy that protected the baggage of Percy consisted of five of his
personal retainers, and had reached the vicinity of the little township
of Cathcart, when they heard the noise of our hero’s steed behind them,
followed by his companions; but as there appeared to be only three to
five, the English determined to stand on their defence. The contest,
however, was soon decided; and the English, from the loopholes of the
neighbouring castle of Cathcart, saw their countrymen slaughtered,
and the baggage under their protection rifled or carried off, without
venturing to quit their stronghold. Money and other valuables, to a
considerable amount, fell into the hands of the victors, who lost no
time in making their way towards Glasgow, in order to cross the Clyde
at that place, and thus effect their retreat into the Lennox before
Percy could be apprised of his loss.

Having effected their object, they sheltered themselves for the night
in the neighbourhood of Dumbarton, and on the morrow proceeded towards
the wilds of the Lomond. Here Wallace was joyfully received by Malcolm
Earl of Lennox, who, with a number of his trusty tenantry, maintained,
amid the fastnesses of that romantic district, a protracted, and
sometimes a successful struggle, for their independence. This nobleman
offered to place his followers under the command of Sir William,
provided he would remain among them for the defence of the Lennox.
His mind, however, was too deeply impressed with a desire for the
general good of his country, to allow him to think of confining his
exertions within the limits proposed. On explaining his plan of warfare
to this worthy chieftain, he found no difficulty in gaining him over
to his views, and inducing him to co-operate in extending the spirit
of insurrection, as well as to create a more powerful diversion in
favour of those who were already embarked in the cause. With this
understanding, Wallace took his departure, accompanied by a number of
his companions, who had resorted to him on discovering the place of his

The mortification of Percy, on receiving the accounts of the capture of
his baggage, was considerably increased by the subsequent proceedings
of Wallace and his partisans. An express had just reached Glasgow,
announcing the fate of the garrison of Gargunnock, when another made
his appearance, giving an account of the slaughter of a party of
English in the neighbourhood of Doune. Sir Raynald Crawford, who had
been put under an arrest on suspicion of being concerned in the affair
at Cathcart, was now ordered before the council, and, though he had
been able to establish an _alibi_ with regard to the offence charged
against him, yet, after being strictly interrogated as to his knowledge
of his nephew’s places of concealment, he was forced to take an oath
against affording him shelter, or holding any correspondence with
him, directly or indirectly, so long as he remained under the ban of
outlawry; he was also sworn to afford the English all the information
in his power, in order that means might be taken for bringing him to

While Percy and his coadjutor were thus employed at Glasgow, Wallace
and his followers were concerting measures, in the depths of Methven
wood, for an attack on a body of English troops which were to leave
St Johnstone on the day following; in order to proceed to Kincleven
Castle, headed by an old veteran knight named Butler, who had rendered
himself peculiarly obnoxious to the Scots by the cruelties which he
had inflicted upon them. Intelligence of this intended movement was
communicated to Wallace, who, having disguised himself in the dress
of a borderer, got introduced into St Johnstone under the name of
William Malcolmson. The mayor, before whom he had to appear, was so
well pleased with his humorous conversation, and the account which he
gave of himself, that he allowed him to go in search of the employment
he pretended to have come in quest of. By this means he had all the
facilities he could desire for becoming acquainted with the strength
and condition of the garrison. Having ascertained the intended removal
of the troops alluded to, he hastened back to his retreat in the woods,
where, sounding his horn, he rallied his associates around him, and
found them all willing to engage in the enterprise.

Sir James Butler, who was esteemed one of the bravest old warriors
among the English, had on this occasion about a hundred choice soldiers
under his command. With this force he was quietly proceeding, amid the
thick haze of the morning, to reinforce the garrison of Kincleven,
when, from behind a rock that projected over the road, he was suddenly
assailed by the Scots. The confusion occasioned by their unexpected
attack, disconcerted the English commander, and before he could
recover his troops from their consternation, a fresh charge threw
them into complete disorder. The strength and valour of the undaunted
champion of the Scots rendered the advantage which their enemies
possessed, in point of numbers, of little avail. It must, however, be
allowed, that the disparity in this instance was not so great as in
some previous rencounters: Wallace, according to some accounts, having
near sixty hardy warriors under his command, most part of whom had
distinguished themselves on former occasions. Kerlé or Kerle, to whom
he had presented the _mace_ or staff of steel, taken from the porter at
the Peel of Gargunnock, displayed on this occasion the most determined
bravery; his formidable weapon being wielded with a dexterity which
admirably seconded the efforts of our hero. Sixteen of the English
had fallen beneath the swords of the Scots; but when Wallace came in
contact with Sir James Butler, the conflict was of short duration. The
old veteran was no match for the young patriot; and on seeing their
chief fall beneath the arm of his adversary, the rout of the English
became general. The disordered rabble fled in terror towards Kincleven,
from the battlements of which their discomfiture had been observed; and
those within hastened to let down the drawbridge to receive and shelter
their flying countrymen. Onwards came the confused mass of friends
and foes,--the shouts of the victors mingling with the cries of the
vanquished, and thundering over the drawbridge, the pursued and their
pursuers entered the castle together. The few soldiers that were in the
place could render them but little assistance in making head against
their enemies; and the whole, with the exception of two priests, and
some women and children, were indiscriminately put to the sword.

Having cleared the place of the dead bodies of the English, and taken
precautions against a surprise during the time they might remain, they
proceeded to search the castle, in which was found a rich booty in
money, besides a plentiful stock of provisions and other stores. A part
of this valuable pillage they conveyed by night to Shortwood Forest,
where they prepared pits[76] and other places for its concealment,
there to remain as a resource against future emergencies.

The nonjurors under Wallace were not as yet sufficiently numerous to
enable him to put garrisons in those fortresses which fell into his
hands. It was therefore wisely determined to demolish every place of
strength that was likely to afford their enemies a footing in the
country. Hardy themselves, and inured to the inclemency of the weather,
they cared little for those comforts which were indispensable to their
more luxurious neighbours. In summer, the forest spread its leafy
canopy over their slumbers; and, in winter, their robust and sinewy
frames felt little inconvenience, though exposed, in their dens and
caverns, to all the rigour of the merciless elements. Such men heard
with indifference, and executed with alacrity, the command which their
leader gave for the destruction of Kincleven Castle. After securing
that part of the iron work which might be useful in their sylvan
retreats, the remaining furniture and lumber were formed into piles;
and, at the dead hour of night, the conflagration rose in volumes to
the sky. From the lateness of the hour, and the secluded situation
of the castle, its fate remained unknown until the morning, when the
smoke, which continued to ascend from the ruins, led the country people
to the knowledge of the desolating vengeance which had overtaken their
oppressors. The females, who had been allowed to depart before the
work of destruction commenced, carried to St Johnstone the melancholy
account of their disaster.

The grief and indignation which were felt among the English at St
Johnstone, on hearing the doleful recital of the slaughter of their
countrymen, induced Sir Gerald Heron,[77] the governor, to allow Sir
John Butler, son of the forementioned Sir James, to follow the Scots
with all the force of the garrison, to revenge the death of his father.
In this undertaking he was joined by Sir William de Lorayne, an officer
of reputation, and a great favourite with the soldiery.

Although the force under these leaders amounted to nearly a thousand
men, from the admirable management of the Scottish chief, they were
kept in a great measure ignorant of their own vast superiority. In the
forest of Shortwood, a part of which they endeavoured to invest, their
provident enemy had erected a number of rustic fortifications, in the
form of squares, communicating with each other, the walls of which
were made, by affixing two rows of planks to the trees, and filling
up the space between with thorns. Each of these squares had a small
opening towards the enemy, and another at the opposite side, for the
purpose of retreat; while the advance towards them was intersected by
defences, formed in a similar manner, in order to break, and otherwise
prevent the approach of too great a body of the enemy. By this means,
when the Scots found themselves obliged to retire for shelter to these
intrenchments, they could only be pursued in broken and straggling
detachments. These defences were not fully completed when the English
came in sight; and Wallace, therefore, in order to gain time, appeared
at a distant and almost detached part of the wood with a few of his
followers, leaving the rest under the command of Stephen of Ireland,
to complete the works. On the approach of the English, an arrow from
the powerful and unerring hand of our hero, brought down one of their
advanced-guard. This had the effect of attracting their attention
towards that part of the wood where he had stationed his little party,
who also sent their arrows among the English, though not with such
good effect as their chief, who continued to bring down his man as
they advanced. The enemy, having observed the opening at which Wallace
made his appearance to discharge his deadly shafts, sent forward one
of the most expert of their Lancashire bowmen to lie in wait for him,
while the rest directed their missiles at random toward those parts
where they conceived his men to be stationed. It was not long before
the eagerness of Wallace betrayed him to the practised hand of his
watchful adversary, whose well-directed shaft, after grazing the collar
of steel which he usually wore, stuck fast in the fleshy part of his
neck. His keen eye, however, soon discovered his lurking foe; and,
hurrying towards him, intercepted his retreat, and slew him in front
of his companions, who were so struck with the boldness of the deed,
that not one of them attempted to oppose his return to his associates.
Although the Scots were generally thought inferior to the English in
the use of the bow,[78] on the present occasion, having the covering
of the wood to shelter them from the superior number and direct view
of their adversaries, they managed, by shifting their ground as their
enemies advanced, to keep up a kind of bush-fight till after noon;
during which time fifteen of the English had been slain by the hand
of Wallace, besides a considerable number by his companions. Their
arrows being all expended, and having arrived at a part of the forest,
where a high cliff prevented their further retreat, Sir William de
Lorayne advanced upon them with nearly three hundred men, while Sir
Gerald Heron and young Butler remained without the forest, in order to
prevent the escape of any of the fugitives. Wallace had just time to
make a short animating address to his companions; and placing them so
as to have the advantage of the cliff as a protection to their rear,
they stood prepared for the onslaught. The English were astonished to
find themselves opposed to so small a number of Scots as now appeared
waiting their attack, and conceived they would have little else to do
than to surround the party and take them prisoners. The determined
valour, however, with which they received and repulsed their repeated
charges, convinced them that the toils of the day were not yet over.
Wallace, who was always a tower of strength to his friends in the hour
of danger, displayed, on this occasion, more than his usual heroism.
While the strength which nerved his resistless arm excited the greatest
enthusiasm among his followers, and spread horror and dismay through
the ranks of their enemies, Sir William de Lorayne still urged his
men on to the conflict, and they as quickly receded, when they found
themselves opposed to that champion of whose strength and exploits
they had heard so many appalling accounts. The battle, however, still
continued to rage with unabated fury on both sides;--the English, eager
to revenge the slaughter of their countrymen, and the Scots, frantic
with the wrongs they had already sustained, determined to conquer
or die on the spot. At this time their dauntless chief burst like a
thunderbolt amidst the thickest of the English; and, having scattered
them before him, ascended a little hillock behind which they had
retreated, and applying his bugle-horn to his mouth, made the woodlands
resound with a bold and animating war-note. The English leader,
conceiving that this was done in derision, rallied his forces, and
again advanced to the attack. Wallace and his few hardy veterans were
soon environed by their enraged assailants, and the battle commenced
anew with all the rancour of their former animosities. Though the Scots
fought with the most inflexible obstinacy, yet some of them, from the
severity of their wounds, appeared unable to continue much longer the
unequal contest; but at this critical juncture, Stephen of Ireland, and
his party, in obedience to the signal sounded by their chief, suddenly
emerged from the brush-wood, and fell upon the rear of the enemy with
determined ferocity. Surprised and dismayed at so unexpected an attack,
the English fled in the greatest confusion, followed by the victors,
who continued the pursuit, making dreadful carnage among them, till
they reached the boundary of the forest. Here the terrified fugitives
were met by Sir John Butler, at the head of five hundred men. This
accession of force obliged the Scots, in their turn, to retreat to
their defences--the first of which was carried by the enemy, but at
the expense of a considerable number of the bravest of their warriors.
The English had now the mortification to find that their opponents had
only retired to a second enclosure, from which Wallace, supported by
Cleland, Boyd, and a few of the most resolute of his companions, made
a sortie, in which, after killing a considerable number, Wallace came
in contact with the knight of Lorayne, and at one blow clove him to the
chin. His terrified followers shrunk aghast from the ponderous weapon
of their gigantic adversary; but urged on by Butler, to revenge the
death of their leader, they again crowded round the little band of
heroes. Again they were dispersed; and Butler, who had been foremost in
the attack, came within reach of the sword of the Scottish champion,
which descended with a force that would have cut him to the ground, had
not the intervening branch of a tree saved him from the blow, and his
men, rushing forward to his assistance, carried him off before it could
be repeated. According to some accounts, Butler is said to have been
first wounded, and that Sir William de Lorayne was slain in attempting
to rescue him from his perilous situation. Whatever may have been the
case, the English were so discouraged by the loss of one leader, and
the disabling of the other, that they hastily fell back upon the troops
left at the entrance of the forest under Sir Gerald Heron. Here a
council of war was held, wherein it was proposed to make a simultaneous
attack on the defences of the Scots. During the discussion, however,
which ensued on the manner of carrying the proposal into effect,
Wallace and his companions escaped by the opposite side of the forest,
and retreated to Cargyle wood, a situation which afforded them
more natural advantages in securing themselves from their numerous

The English, on the retreat of the Scots, now commenced a strict search
after the booty taken from Kincleven Castle. Nothing, however, could
be discovered, save the favourite steed of old Butler, which had been
left behind in one of the enclosures. On this his wounded son was
placed, and the whole cavalcade returned fatigued and dispirited to
St Johnstone, leaving one hundred and twenty of their companions dead
behind them. Of the Scots, seven were killed, and the rest more or
less injured.

From an elevated situation, Wallace had observed the English as they
retired to St Johnstone; and, though still smarting from the wounds he
had received, returned at midnight to the scene of action with a number
of his companions, and dug up the most valuable part of the concealed
plunder, which they conveyed to their new retreat, along with whatever
arms or other booty the light of the moon enabled them to strip from
the dead bodies that lay scattered around them.

A few days after the above rencounter, Wallace is said to have returned
to St Johnstone in the disguise of a priest; and a story is told of his
having been betrayed by a female, with whom he had become acquainted
during his former visit to that place. Repenting, however, of the
information she had given his enemies, she disclosed the danger that
awaited him just in time to effect his escape. His foes, enraged at
the disappointment, again set off in pursuit of him, taking along with
them a slough-hound[79] to assist them in discovering his retreats. A
sanguinary battle was again fought, in which Wallace lost nine of his
remaining followers, and the English leader about one hundred.

In this retreat of the Scots, their chief is also said to have slain
one of his followers, named Fawdon, an Irishman, whom he suspected of
treachery. Of this man, Blind Harry gives the following unprepossessing

    “To Wallace thar come ane that hecht Fawdoun;
    Melancoly he was of complexioun,
    Hewy of statur, dour in his contenance,
    Soroufull, sadde, ay dreidfull but plesance.”

The circumstances of his death, are thus narrated by the same author,
who justifies the deed on the plea of necessity:

    “To the next woode twa myil thai had to gang,
    Off vpwith erde; thai yeid with all thair mycht;
    Gud hope thai had for it was ner the nycht,
    Fawdoun tyryt, and said, he mycht nocht gang.
    Wallace was wa to leyff him in that thrang.
    He bade him ga, and said the strenth was ner;
    But he tharfor wald nocht fastir him ster.
    Wallace in ire on the crag cam him ta
    With his gud suerd, and strak the hed him fra.
    Dreidless to ground derfly he duschit dede,
    Fra him he lap, and left him in that stede.
    Sum demys it to ill, and othyr sum to gud;
    And I say her, into thir termyss rude,
    Bettir it was he did, as thinkis me.
    Fyrst, to the hunde it mycht gret stoppyn be.
    Als Fawdoun was haldyn at [gret] suspicioun;
    For he was haldyn of brokill complexioun.
    Rycht stark he was, and had bot litill gayne,
    Thus Wallace wist: had he beyne left allayne.
    And he war fals, to enemyss he wald ga;
    Gyff he war trew, the Sothroun wald him sla.
    Mycht he do ocht bot tyne him as it was?”

On the first view of the case, there appears a degree of barbarity in
the conduct of Wallace, which is quite at variance with that affection
and tenderness which he had uniformly displayed towards his adherents;
and we cannot help condemning the sternness of that policy which could
thus deprive a follower of his life, because worn out with toil, and
disabled by wounds, he could no longer keep up with his companions.
But, on reflection, we find the lives of Wallace, and of the few
that remained of the party, placed in jeopardy by one, who, from his
reluctance to make a little farther exertion, when assured that a place
of safety was at hand, gave good grounds to suspect that he had become
unsound at the core. We may also remark, that being acquainted with the
spot where the plunder taken from the English was concealed, Wallace
had an additional reason to suspect Fawdon’s motives for wishing to
be left behind; and it may be urged in support of the justice of this
suspicion, that his countryman Stephen, who introduced him to the
little band of patriots, remained the firm and confidential friend of
Wallace through all his difficulties. This he certainly would not have
done, had Wallace, on _slight_ grounds, inflicted death on one who
was not only his friend and countryman, but in some degree under his
protection. So far, indeed, was Stephen from feeling dissatisfaction
at the conduct of Wallace, that he and Kerle lingered behind, and,
favoured by the shades of night, which had now set in, mingled with the
enemy; and while their general, Sir Gerald Heron, was in the act of
stooping to examine the body of Fawdon, whose blood had arrested the
progress of the slough-hound, Kerle watched the opportunity, and gave
him a mortal stab in the throat with his dagger. The cry of “Treason!”
arose among the English; but, in the confusion, the two confederates
slipped down unobserved among the underwood that surrounded them, and
made the best of their way towards Loch Earne, the well-wooded banks
of which afforded them every chance of security. In the interval,
Wallace, and thirteen of his followers, all that were now left him,
made good their retreat to the deserted Castle of Gask situated in
the middle of a wood. This place possessed few advantages that could
recommend it as a desirable retreat; but, to men in their desperate
situation, the prospect of shelter from the swords of their pursuers
was a considerable relief, and though it appeared in a sad state of
dilapidation, a number of the apartments were entire; and the courtyard
was surrounded by a wall of great thickness, which, broken as it might
be in some parts, would nevertheless enable them to make a tolerable
defence. With this expectation, therefore, they determined to secure
themselves for the night, and trust to their good swords for a path
through their enemies in the morning.



After the confusion produced by the death of the English leader had
subsided, a party of forty men were despatched with the dead body to St
Johnstone; and Butler, who had so far recovered from his wound as to
be able to take the field under Sir Gerald, remained, with about five
hundred men, to look after the fugitives. With this force he proceeded
to secure all the neighbouring passes, and to take such other methods
as he thought would prevent their escape.

In the meantime, Wallace and his few remaining friends had put their
place of refuge in as good a state of defence as its ruinous condition
would admit; and having procured a sheep from a neighbouring fold, they
kindled a fire in the courtyard, and prepared for their evening repast.
Wallace now wisely considered, from the fatigue his followers had
undergone during the day, that however much they might stand in want
of refreshment, a few hours repose would be absolutely necessary for
recruiting their wearied and exhausted spirits, and rendering them fit
for the arduous enterprise that awaited them in the morning. As soon,
therefore, as they had allayed their hunger, he ordered them to betake
themselves to rest, while he undertook to keep watch by himself.

Surrounded by his sleeping companions, with no light but what the
expiring embers afforded, the mind of Wallace became overshadowed with
melancholy forebodings. Though in the late conflicts he had destroyed
a great number of the enemy, his own little band had been almost
annihilated; and, in his present situation, he saw little probability
of filling up their places with men on whom he could put the same
dependence. Two of his most devoted partisans, Stephen and Kerle, had
disappeared; and he had every reason to suppose they were either slain,
or fallen into the hands of the enemy. The apathy with which the most
powerful of the nobility continued to witness the exertions of himself
and his followers for the independence of their country, filled him
with grief and indignation; while, from the loss of so many brave
friends in the late encounter, he was apprehensive his few remaining
companions would now consider their undertaking as desperate. These
reflections, aided by the consideration that he was actually surrounded
by a force against which his expectations of success could not be very
sanguine, tended to excite the most gloomy apprehensions.

From this state of mind, he was suddenly aroused by the blowing of
horns,[80] mingled with frightful yells, which seemed to proceed from
a rising ground in the neighbourhood. Two of his party were despatched
to ascertain the cause of the uproar; but these not returning, and the
alarm still increasing, other scouts were sent out, till Wallace was at
last left alone, without any one to assist in the defence of the place,
if it should happen to be attacked.

It was now past midnight; and the flame that still lingered about the
remains of the almost extinguished faggots, continued, at intervals, to
throw its pale and flickering light on the ruinous walls of the castle,
when Wallace was suddenly startled by the shadow of a human figure.
Though broken and indistinct at first, yet the moon, which was slowly
emerging from behind a cloud, rendered it every moment more apparent.
From the feet to the shoulders, which was all of it that was visible,
it seemed to be of uncommon dimensions; and what more particularly
rivetted the attention of the forlorn chief, a human head hung dangling
from its hand, in a manner that gave it the appearance of something
supernatural. While gazing with intense anxiety on this singular
object, its hand was slowly raised, and the head, which it held, after
striking the helmet of Wallace, fell with considerable violence among
the dying embers before him. Snatching it up, he discovered, by the
light of the moon, the pale and ghastly features of the “ill-fated
Fawdon;” and, turning towards the place from whence it was thrown, he
observed the figure of a man endeavouring to descend by a broken part
of the wall. In the excitement of the moment, he hurled the head after
it, and, drawing his sword, hastened from the castle in pursuit of the
strange intruder.

Henry, or his authority, in narrating the above circumstance, gives
way to the popular belief of his time, and describes it as the real
apparition of the late faithless associate; but this evidently arises
from that love for the marvellous peculiar to the age. When stripped of
the poetical embellishments with which it is clothed, the story simply
appears to have been this:--The English, on coming to the headless body
of Fawdon, naturally conceived that the Scots had quarrelled among
themselves; and some one thinking it probable, from the size, that the
deceased might be Wallace, for whose head a considerable reward was
offered, took care to secure the prize. The impatience of Butler for
revenge made him think of a night-attack, provided they could discover
the enemy; and the horns, therefore, which had been taken from those
Scots who had fallen in the conflict, were made use of as a _ruse_ to
entrap them into the belief, that it was a party of their countrymen
coming to their assistance. The soldier, who had got the head into
his possession, appears to have been one of the scouts sent in search
of the fugitives; and no doubt, eager to ascertain the value of his
capture, had ventured forward with more confidence than his companions.
Disappointment at finding the Scottish chief alive, no doubt, induced
him to throw the head; and the terror which his name inspired made him
likewise think it prudent to effect his retreat.

Though the horns still continued to sound, Wallace was too cautious to
reply, but wandered about the forest, searching in silence for his lost
companions. His efforts, however, were unavailing; and, at the dawn of
the morning, he found himself on the verge of the forest. Here he was
observed by Butler, who had rode out to view the posts. Dissatisfied
with the answer returned to his challenge, the English leader drew his
sword, and urged forward his steed. Wallace advancing from under the
shade, which partly concealed him, Butler saw, with astonishment, the
formidable foe he was in quest of, and prepared to fall back on his
nearest position. His retreat, however, was anticipated by a blow which
struck him from the saddle, and, before he could recover himself, the
sword of his powerful antagonist had levelled him with the dust. Our
hero had just reached the stirrup of his fallen enemy, when he observed
an Englishman, armed cap-a-pee, advancing in full career towards him,
with his spear in rest. By a dexterous management of his horse, he
avoided the stroke; and whilst his foe, unable to recover himself,
was hurrying past, he lent him a blow on the neck, which sent him
headlong to the ground. The alarm was now spread among the English,
whom Wallace observed collecting from various quarters to intercept his
retreat. Giving the rein to his charger, he shot like an arrow through
a straggling party of horse that seemed the least formidable, but who,
on recovering from their surprise, set off in full pursuit, followed by
the whole of their force.

Though, from his superior knowledge of the country, Wallace was
frequently enabled to distance his pursuers; yet the keenness with
which they kept up the chase, obliged him several times to turn and
act on the offensive. As this was always done in situations where he
could not be surrounded, those that were most forward paid dearly
for their temerity; whilst the suddenness and fury of his repeated
attacks spread a panic to the rear of his enemy, from the idea that
he had met a reinforcement of his countrymen. Before the shades of
evening had set in, twenty of the English were strewed along the line
of his retreat; and those who were foremost, had become very cautious
in approaching within reach of his arm. A rising part of the ground
had, for some time, hid him from their view; and when they again came
in sight of him, he appeared leading his jaded and breathless steed
up a steep and rugged pass between two craggy precipices. Though he
was soon again obscured in the shades of twilight, from the exhausted
state of his horse, they saw little probability of his being able to
effect his escape. Having with difficulty followed in his tract, they
found, on descending a precipitous defile, an extensive morass spread
before them, far as the eye could penetrate, at the edge of which lay
the steed of their late commander, expiring from the wounds and fatigue
it had encountered; but the object of their pursuit was nowhere to
be seen. Strong picquets were sent out in every direction, but all
their exertions were fruitless; and they returned at midnight to their
head-quarters, without obtaining the slightest trace of the fugitive.

It has been mentioned, in the early part of our history, that the
juvenile years of our hero were spent with a brother of his father,
a wealthy ecclesiastic at Dunipace in Stirlingshire. Though he was
withdrawn from the protection of this relative at an early age, yet
he had been long enough under his roof to endear himself to all the
servants and dependants. One of the former, a widow, now lived with her
three sons in a secluded part of the Torwood, then an extensive forest
in Stirlingshire. In the cottage of this woman, Wallace had in former
emergencies found a place of concealment from his enemies; and on this
occasion, about the dead hour of night, the faithful inmates were
startled by the well-known signal at the window. Never did their heroic
guest appear before them in greater distress; exhausted from fatigue,
faint with hunger, his armour encrusted with blood, and every part of
his dress drenched with water, showed the hardships and perils he had

After quitting his pursuers at the morass, he had, by a passage
unknown to them, crossed over to the other side, and made the best
of his way towards the Forth. A large force of the enemy, however,
occupied Stirling, and he was therefore compelled to take the river
at Camskenneth. After much difficulty, from the weight of his armour,
he succeeded in gaining the opposite bank, and proceeded forward on
his journey, satisfied that he had got considerably the start of his

In the neighbourhood of the house where he had now taken refuge, was
an oak[81] of huge dimensions, in a cavity of which he had frequently
concealed himself from his enemies, when the search was too close to
allow of his remaining within doors. To this retreat he now repaired,
after partaking of that refreshment which his situation so much
required. One of the widow’s sons was despatched to acquaint his uncle
with his safety, and to request his assistance; while another was sent
off towards the scene of his late conflicts, to obtain, if possible,
some intelligence of his lost companions.

The morning was pretty far advanced, when Wallace was awakened from
his sleep by the sound of voices, and, starting to his feet, found
his uncle and two of the widow’s sons engaged in conversation, one of
whom had been watching him during his sleep. His uncle, taking him by
the arm, led him apart from the others, and began to inquire into his
situation, representing to him, at the same time, the difficulties
he was still likely to experience if he continued to persevere in so
hopeless a cause. “Your followers,” added he, “are now either slain or
dispersed, and all your efforts in the district you have been in, have
not procured you a single friend to replace those you have lost; the
plunder you have taken has either been recaptured, or left in places
where it would be madness to hazard yourself in regaining it. Besides,
were you even successful, to your utmost wish, in expelling the English
from our country, do you believe that so powerful, so ambitious a
prince as Edward, one who is considered the most accomplished warrior
of his age, would allow the laurels to be torn from his brow by the
son of an obscure Scottish laird? Would not the whole force of his
mighty kingdom, assisted, if necessary, by his foreign auxiliaries
and vassals, be poured upon our devoted country? Would not the
inhuman butcheries which were witnessed at Berwick be again renewed
in all our cities? Have we not already had too much experience of his
cruelty, to think of increasing our misfortunes by fresh provocations?
Listen, therefore, my dear son, to what I am authorized to propose to
you. You are aware, that those men, whose duty and interest it was
to have defended our country, have submitted to our enemies; if you
will, therefore, give over your fruitless hostility to Edward, and
acknowledge him as your liege Lord you will, in place of skulking from
covert to covert, have it in your power to become the most powerful
vassal of his crown.”

Before his uncle had time to explain, Wallace withdrew his arm from his
grasp. “My situation,” said he, “is gloomy enough, but not so desperate
as you imagine. I regret nothing that has yet happened, save the loss
of my gallant friends; but I know where the sound of my horn can still
call forth as many resolute spirits as will enable me to revenge their
fall. Those who have joined me, know that the liberty of our country
is the only object I have in view; and they also know, that I have
always been as ready to expose my own life as theirs in the quarrel.
The liberty which an unprincipled usurper is endeavouring to deprive us
of, is the birthright we have inherited from our ancestors, and which
belongs to our posterity, to whom it is our duty to transmit it. If we
perish in doing so, we perish in doing what is right; and that God, who
made us free men, will avert the scenes you dread, if we show ourselves
worthy of his gift. If, on the contrary, we basely surrender what we
only hold in trust for our children, the galling yoke of slavery will
be a just retribution for defrauding them of their sacred inheritance.
As to the proposal, come from whom it may, you can acquaint them, that
the destruction of a single enemy of my country’s independence affords
me more pleasure than all the wealth which our proud oppressor has it
in his power to bestow. Have you forgot, uncle,” said he, while his
stern features relaxed into a smile almost sarcastic--“have you forgot

  “Dico tibi verum, libertas optima rerum:
  Nunquam servili, sub nexu vivito, fili--”[82]

“have you forgot those sentiments which you was at such pains to
impress on my mind in the halcyon days of my childhood,[83] when peace
was in all our borders, and every man sat under his own vine and
fig-tree, enjoying the fatherly protection of a righteous sovereign?
And is there to be no effort, no sacrifice made to bring again those
days to our poor distracted country?” He was proceeding, when the old
man’s eyes became suffused, recollections of the past crowded upon his
mind, and he threw himself on the breast of his nephew.

While Wallace was thus engaged with his venerable relative, he was
agreeably surprised to see his two friends, Kerle and Stephen,
advancing towards him, accompanied by a son of his kind hostess. After
mutual congratulations and expressions of joy, for the unexpected
meeting, had passed between them, they communicated to each other the
particulars of the events that had taken place since their separation;
and, after receiving the benediction of the priest, and returning
thanks to the Virgin, they retired to consult about their future



It appears, that an oath similar to that which Sir Raynald Crawford
had been compelled to take, against holding correspondence with, or
affording assistance to Wallace, had also been forced upon his other
relatives, as we find the widow alluded to in the foregoing chapter
made the instrument of conveying to him the proofs of his uncle’s

Having, by her means, been supplied with a considerable sum of money,
as well as horses for himself and his companions, they set forward,
accompanied by two of her sons whom she devoted to the cause, toward
those districts where they had reason to expect a more cordial
co-operation, than what they had experienced in the neighbourhood of St

At the suggestion of his uncle, Wallace visited Dundaff Castle, on
his way towards Clydesdale. This fortress, with the lands of Dundaff,
Strathblane and Strathcarron, belonged to Sir David, or according to
others, to Sir John Graham, an old warrior, who, in his early years,
had recommended himself by his gallantry to Alexander, Lord High
Steward of Scotland, by whom he is supposed to have been intrusted
with an important command at the battle of Largs. His son and heir,
Sir John, received, when but a stripling, the honour of knighthood at
Berwick, on account of his conduct in a border feud with the Percys
of Northumberland. During three days which Wallace passed at Dundaff,
he and his companions experienced the most unbounded hospitality; and
the old chieftain saw, with delight, those feelings of admiration and
friendship with which his son and their noble guest appeared to view
each other. Before the departure of the latter, Sir John, with the
consent of his father, devoted himself to the cause of his country’s
independence, by swearing fidelity to Wallace as his chief, and would
have instantly accompanied him, but it was deemed more prudent to
remain with his father, till he was apprised of the number of followers
Wallace could muster in Clydesdale. Meantime, he was to hold himself in
readiness to advance, with his father’s vassals, as soon as he should
receive intimation. After mutual expressions of friendship, Wallace
proceeded on his journey, and lodged the same night at Bothwell, in the
house of one Crawford, from whom he received information of the state
of the country and the strength of the enemy. The following night he
reached Gillbank, in the neighbourhood of Lanark, where he remained
with a near relation of his own; and from thence he despatched Stephen
and Kerle, one to the west, and the other to the north, to acquaint his
friends of his situation, and appoint a time and place to meet him.

It seems about this time a report had been circulated among the
English, that Wallace had been slain in a mutiny of his followers. This
rumour, no doubt occasioned by the circumstances attending the death of
Fawdon, had reached Percy, along with the accounts of the destruction
of Kincleven Castle, and the slaughter of Butler and the other English
officers; but though he did not give it implicit belief, there was a
degree of credit attached to it, particularly by the English in the
upper part of Clydesdale, that caused our hero to be less taken notice
of when he appeared among them. This was particularly serviceable to
him in the visits which he now made to Lanark. We have already alluded
to an attachment which Wallace entertained for a young gentlewoman of
that place. A degree of obscurity hangs over the history of this amour.
It is supposed, by those writers who have taken notice of the subject,
that the parties had been privately married shortly after the battle
of Beg, during the time that he remained in the forest of Clydesdale,
and that the ceremony was performed by John Blair, but whether in the
church, or under the “Greenwood Tree,” is no where stated. Be that as
it may, his situation was too precarious to allow him to remove her
from her present residence. His visits were, therefore, made with the
utmost secrecy, in such disguises, and at such hours, as would best
enable him to escape the notice of his enemies. Meanwhile his sword
was not allowed to rust. He and his companions were continually on the
watch for stragglers from the English quarters; and as they always
attacked them in situations where none could escape, their mysterious
disappearance excited the greatest alarm among their countrymen.
Various anecdotes are still in circulation among the peasantry of the
Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, regarding exploits performed by him about
this time. Among others, there is a story still handed down, of the
severe retaliation he inflicted on a party of Englishmen, who, having
come to the same inn at which he and his companions were refreshing
themselves, had played off a barbarous attempt at waggery, by cutting
the tails from the horses of the Scots. Blind Harry alludes to this
circumstance; and the following address, which Wallace is represented
as having made to their captain, before he cut him down, may be
considered as no unfavourable specimen of the humour of the man:

                    “Gud freynd, abid,
    Seruice to tak for thi craft in this tyde.
    Marschell, thou art with out commaund off me;
    Reward agayne, me think, I suld pay the;
    Sen I off laitt, now come owt off the west
    In this cuntré, a barbour off the best
    To cutt and schaiff, and that a wondyr gude;
    Now thow sall feyll how I oyss to lat blude.”

According to some accounts, the above transactions is said to have
occurred at Lochmaben, and that he was afterwards pursued by Sir Hew
of Moreland, who traced the Scots to the Knock-wood by the blood that
still continued to issue from their horses. Wallace being here joined
by sixteen of his followers who had been lurking in the wood, an
engagement commenced, in which, though greatly superior in numbers,
the English were defeated, and Sir Hew, with near twenty of his men,
were slain. This account is confirmed by a tradition still current in
the neighbourhood; and is thus mentioned in the Statistical Account
of the Parish of Kirkmichael. “There are several indistinct remains
of ancient fortifications, but no tradition about any other than a
small fort in the Knock-wood, called Wallace’s house, said to have
been thrown up by Sir William Wallace after he had slain Sir Hew of
Moreland and five of his men, at a place still named from that event,
the ‘_Sax Corses_,’ i. e. the six corpses, and where there are two or
three large stones which seem to have been set up in remembrance of
some great transaction.” Tradition may be generally relied on when it
marks the spot where any remarkable occurrence has taken place; yet
the circumstances connected with it are often mis-stated. The rude
defence alluded to, under the name of Wallace’s House, may have been
either hastily formed during the advance of Moreland and his party--as
they are said to have been seen for some time before they reached the
position occupied by the Scots--or possibly it may be the remains of
some strength used in former wars. Wallace only seems to have availed
himself of it to protect, for the moment, his little band from being
overpowered by their numerous assailants; for we find him immediately
after this victory obliged to quit Knock-wood. Those Englishmen who
escaped, having fled to Lochmaben Castle, a detachment of three
hundred horse were ordered to go in pursuit, under the command of one
Graystock, an officer who had lately arrived from England with a strong
reinforcement to fill up the deficiencies which Wallace had made in the
garrisons. Ignorant in a great measure of the talents and prowess of
the man he had to contend with, he upbraided his fugitive countrymen
with cowardice, when they recommended caution to him in operations
against so wary an adversary, and bent on chastising what he termed
the insolence of the freebooter, pressed forward with the greatest

The Scots having supplied themselves with the horses of their slain
enemies, were preparing to advance into Clydesdale, near the confines
of which Wallace had appointed to meet his trusty associates, Kerle
and Stephen, with those friends who had promised to join him, when the
formidable array of Graystock came in sight, at full gallop. Wallace
now ordered his men to form, and retire with deliberation, taking
care to keep their horses in breath, while he remained in the rear to
repress any sudden attack that might be made. As the enemy advanced,
Wallace, mounted on the horse of Moreland, kept in front of them,
and rode, with so much _sang froid_, occasionally looking over his
shoulder, that an uninterested spectator might have supposed he was
rather leading the English party on, than watching for a favourable
opportunity of attacking them, while the terror of his name prevented
any of them from moving from their ranks. They had thus contrived to
follow the retreating Scots for some time, when Graystock ordered a
movement, by which he imagined he would be able to surround Wallace
and his little band. At this juncture Sir John Graham suddenly
appeared with about thirty horse, followed by Sir Roger Kilpatrick of
Torthorowald, a near relation of Wallace by the mother’s side, who,
in obedience to the message by the faithful Stephen, had taken the
field with twenty of his tenantry. Wallace received these worthy
confederates with three cheers, and instantly set them an example,
by charging through the centre of the enemy: his friends having put
themselves in array, pushed forward at their utmost speed, and soon
completed the confusion he had commenced. The left wing of the enemy
was thrown into disorder before the impetuous charge of the Scots;
and Sir John Graham was busily employed in pursuing and cutting down
the fugitives, when Wallace came up with him, and represented the
impropriety of killing the common soldiers while their leaders were
escaping; pointing out to him a body of one hundred of the enemy, which
Graystock was endeavouring to keep entire, and recommended, as his
horse were still in good condition, to charge and disperse them. Sir
John quickly arranged his little squadron, and prepared with alacrity
to execute the commands he had received. Wallace, who seldom gave
orders which he did not see executed, was soon in the fray. The charge
of Graham had been too impetuous to be withstood. Wallace found the
enemy in confusion, and Graystock engaged hand to hand with the young
knight of Dundaff. The conflict for a few moments remained doubtful,
but the superior strength and dexterity of Graham soon became apparent;
and the fall of the English leader was the signal of flight for his
followers, who sought refuge in the place whence the Scots had been
lately driven.

The victors were hastily recalled from the pursuit by the horn of their
chief. Having collected them around him, he complimented them on the
valour they had displayed, and proposed that they should instantly
attack the Castle of Lochmaben; representing to them, that as the
garrison had already been put to flight, if they could reach it before
the fugitives returned, the plunder they might find would amply reward
the labours they had undergone. The proposal was joyfully received; and
they instantly set out under the guidance of a person well acquainted
with the intricacies of the country.

As their chief expected, the fortress had been left to the care of the
porter and a few invalids, who were easily overpowered; and this place
they found well stored with abundance of every thing their situation
required. While enjoying themselves after the fatigues of the day, the
remains of their discomfited enemies were observed hastening towards
the castle. Orders being immediately given for their admission, on
reaching the castle-yard, they were surrounded by the Scots, and, after
a short conflict, indiscriminately put to the sword.

The fortress, which had thus unexpectedly fallen into their hands, was
deemed so important an acquisition, that Wallace thought it advisable
to leave a garrison in it. He then took his departure, accompanied by
Sir John Graham, Kerle, Stephen, and a few other worthies, for the
forest of Clydesdale.



The Castle of Lochmaben is supposed to have been the first fortress in
which Wallace ventured to place a garrison; and it is probable he was
enabled to do so, in consequence of a great many in the neighbourhood
having joined his standard, encouraged no doubt by his late successes.
This supposition is confirmed by the circumstance of his leaving behind
him a few of those who had been in the engagement with Graystock.

While the insurrection was thus spreading in Scotland, Edward was
prosecuting his views against France. The accounts of the proceedings
of Wallace occasionally reached him, and arrested his attention in the
midst of his victories; and though he felt no immediate apprehension
from the attempts of the freebooter, as he was pleased to call the
patriotic leader of the Scots, yet he considered him such an enemy as
it was not altogether prudent to neglect.

The applications, therefore, which were made from time to time, by
Percy and others intrusted with the management of Scottish affairs,
were promptly attended to, and the requisite supplies forwarded to
the different garrisons. Part of these supplies, as has been already
hinted, had reached Lochmaben before the late rencounter; most of the
other fortified places had received their quota; and the garrison of
the Castle of Crawford were in daily expectation of their proportion.

This fortress, which had belonged to the maternal ancestors of
Wallace,[84] attracted his attention. Having learned, from a female
whom he stopped on the moor, that the garrison, which consisted of
about twenty men, were carousing in an hostelry in the neighbourhood
of the castle, he proposed to Sir John Graham to attempt a surprise.
For this purpose, he directed Graham to follow slowly with the others
under his command, while, with a companion, he went forward himself
to observe the condition of the revellers. On approaching the door,
the language within had become sufficiently audible; and he soon
ascertained that he and his exploits were the subject of discussion;
their captain, one Martindale, in the heat of his pot-valour, declaring
to his men the pleasure which the presence of Wallace would afford him.
Finding himself in request, the fearless Scot stepped forward. The
“Benedicities” on both sides were brief. Wallace plied his weapon with
his usual effect; and, aided by his companion, the maudlin braggadocio
and his fellows were soon overpowered. Meanwhile, Sir John Graham, who
had reached the door during the contest, was ordered off to secure
the castle;[85] which duty, from the small number of its defenders, he
easily performed.

Having burnt the castle, and divided the spoil among his followers,
Wallace retired to Lanark, on purpose, it is supposed, to concert
measures for withdrawing from that place the object of his affections,
and placing her in some retreat less exposed to the exactions of

On this occasion, our hero, for the more effectually disguising
himself,[86] had thrown a green mantle over his armour, which he
fastened with a belt, from which depended his sword. At the entrance
of the town, his dress, and particularly the uncommon length of his
sword, attracted the notice of some of the soldiers belonging to the
garrison; and one of them, more insolent than the others, made a snatch
at it. Wallace evaded the attempt to deprive him of his weapon; when
a sarcastic[87] dialogue ensued, which soon ended in blows; and the
English, seeing their companion no match for the Scot, rushed forward
to his assistance. Hemmed in on all sides, Wallace became roused into
fury, and dealt his blows around him with fearful and destructive
energy. His ponderous blade descended with rapid and crashing effect
among the bucklers and head-pieces of the enemy, who had begun to
retire in confusion, before his irresistible arm; when others arriving,
who were unacquainted with the foe they had to contend with, rushed
headlong to the fray. Experience, however, soon taught them to be more
cautious in their advance; and Wallace had set them completely at bay,
when young Hazelrig came on with a fresh party to their assistance.
Thus re-inforced, and eager to revenge their companions, they were now
fast gathering round our hero, when a door facing him suddenly opened,
and a fair hand beckoned him from the _melée_. Wallace quickly embraced
the means of escape thus afforded him; and the door being instantly
shut against his enemies, gave him an opportunity of saving himself by
an outlet behind the house.

Old Hazelrig,[88] or, as Wyntown calls him, the Sheriff, was not in
Lanark at the time of this affray; but, on hearing the account of it,
and learning the number of English who had been killed, he hastened to
town, and caused the fair orphan of Lamington to be brought before him.
On discovering her connection with Wallace, and the assistance she had
so opportunely afforded him, in a paroxysm of rage and disappointment,
he ordered her for instant execution.

In the account of this affair, we have adhered to the statement of
Wyntown,[89] who adds, that Wallace, from a place of concealment, had
the heart-rending misfortune to be a spectator of the execution of
his mistress, without having the power of attempting a rescue. This
would not have been the case, if he had, as the Minstrel says, been
attended by Sir John Graham, and twenty-four of his associates. Wyntown
represents it as a mere personal adventure of Wallace; and states,
that, _after_ the melancholy catastrophe, he went in search of his
friends, to assist him in revenging the atrocity. Having collected
thirty of his followers, he returned with them, for that purpose, to
Lanark. At the dead hour of night, the door of the sheriff’s apartment
was burst from its hinges, and the iron-grasp of Wallace awakened
Hazelrig from his sleep. On being dragged headlong to the street,
after a stern reproof for his cowardly conduct, the trembling victim
instantly received the reward due to his villany. The alarm now spread,
and the garrison soon engaged with Wallace and his party; but deeply
incensed at the late disgusting act of barbarity, the people of Lanark
rose _en masse_ against their oppressors, who, unable to stand their
ground, were soon overpowered, and driven with great slaughter from the

The inhabitants of Lanark, having thus identified themselves with the
cause of Wallace, saw no alternative left them, but to join heart and
hand with the avenger of their country’s wrongs; and the number that
now flocked to his standard enabled him to take the field openly, and
bid defiance to the enemy. Indeed, so formidable was the force under
his command, that he met and defeated a considerable body of the
English in a regular engagement in the neighbourhood of Biggar. It has
been alleged, that, on this memorable occasion, Edward commanded in
person; but such could not have been the case, as the English monarch
was not in the country at the time. That a considerable battle was
fought in the neighbourhood, there is reason to believe, as well from
current tradition, as from the number of _tumuli_ which are still to be
seen. In the statistical account of Biggar, the subject is thus taken
notice of:--“At the west end of the town is a tumulus, which appears
never to have been opened; and there are vestiges of three camps, each
of a roundish figure, at different places in the neighbourhood. There
is a tradition of a battle having been fought at the east of the town,
between the Scots, under Sir William Wallace, and the English, who were
said to be sixty thousand strong, wherein a great slaughter was made on
both sides, especially among the latter.”

These accounts, however, are decidedly at variance with truth, both
in regard to the amount of the English, and the person who commanded.
It is more probable, that the enemy did not exceed eight, or at most
ten thousand men, part of which appears to have been under the command
of Roden, Lord de Whichenour. On the side of the Scots, Sir Walter
Newbigging,[90] already referred to, headed a body of cavalry. His son
David, a youth, at that time little more than fifteen years of age,
held a command under him, and the well-tried military talents of the
father were not disgraced by the efforts of the young patriot, whose
conduct on this occasion was afterwards rewarded by the honour of
knighthood, probably conferred by the hand of our hero himself. The
family of Newbigging, as has already been noticed, came originally from
England; and Sir Walter and his son, on this occasion, found themselves
opposed to their near kinsman, the Lord of Whichenour.

At the head of what might now be called an army, Wallace kept
the field; and the celerity of his movements confounded all the
calculations of the enemy. While the main body of his forces appeared
in their formidable intrenchments, occupying the attention of the
English, distant garrisons were surprised, and put to the sword by
foes, who seemed to spring up as it were within their walls, and of
whose approach they had not the slightest intimation.

About this time, one of those iniquitous acts, so often met with in
the cold-blooded and relentless policy of Edward, was perpetrated at
Ayr, against the barons and gentry of the west of Scotland. This part
of the country had been the nucleus, as it were, of the insurrection;
and the ill-disposed and well-affected had now become equally objects
of suspicion to the usurper’s government. Under the pretext of holding
a Justice-Aire, they were summoned to attend; and those who appeared
(among whom were Sir Raynald Crawford, Sir Bryce Blair,[91] and Sir
Hugh Montgomerie) were treacherously seized, and hung up without even
the formality of a trial.

Wallace heard of the infamous proceeding, and determined on severe
retaliation. Selecting fifty of his confederates, he hastened to the
spot, and being joined by a number of the retainers of the murdered
gentlemen, they surrounded the buildings where the English were
cantoned, and who, indulging in fancied security arising from the
terror which they imagined the late severity was likely to impress upon
the Scots, had, after a deep carousal, betaken themselves to rest,
little dreaming of the vengeance that awaited them.

Having procured the necessary combustibles, Wallace, after disposing of
his men, so as to prevent the escape of any of the English, set fire
to the thatch, which being covered with pitch, the flames soon spread
to every part of the buildings, and rose in one general conflagration;
while the screaming wretches within vainly attempting to escape, were
received on the points of the Scottish swords, and either killed, or
forced back, to perish in the devouring element. It is said, that five
hundred of the English suffered in this lamentable manner. The severity
of the retaliation can only be palliated by the nature of the war the
parties were engaged in, and the desperation to which the cruelty of
the invaders had goaded on the wretched inhabitants. If tradition may
be credited, Wallace did not remain till the flames were extinguished;
for, when about two miles on his return, at an elevated part of the
road, he is said to have made his men look back on the still blazing
scene of their vengeance, remarking, at the same time, that “The barns
of Ayr burn weel.” The ruins of a church are still to be seen on the
spot where the chief and his followers stood to take their last look,
and which is named from the circumstance, “_Burn weel Kirk_.”[92]



A.D. 1297. About this time Sir William Douglas took the Castles of
Dresdier and Sanquhair, as already stated in the short notice we
have given of his exploits. In conjunction with Wallace, this active
and powerful baron, assuming the sanction of the name of Baliol,
endeavoured to enforce the edict for the expulsion of the English
ecclesiastics holding benefices in Scotland. This edict, issued between
the time of the taking of Berwick and the Castle of Dunbar, had been
rendered nugatory by the suppression of Scottish independence. It was
now, however, executed with the utmost rigour, wherever the influence
of the insurgents extended. In pursuance of this object, Wallace, at
the head of three hundred choice cavalry, proceeded to Glasgow to
dislodge Bishop Bek, who, with a garrison of one thousand men, kept
possession of the town and episcopal castle, belonging to Robert
Wishart, the Scottish Bishop of that place.

As the Scots drew near the spot against which their operations were
directed, Wallace divided his followers into two bands. Taking the
command of one himself, he committed the other to the guidance of
his uncle, the Laird of Auchinleck. “_Whether_,” said our hero to
his gallant kinsman, “_do you choose to bear up the Bishop’s tail,
or go forward and take his blessing._” Auchinleck at once understood
the intended plan of attack, and proposed assailing the rear of
the English, resigning the more honourable post to the merits of
his nephew, “_who_,” as he jocularly observed, “_had not yet been

Having received the necessary instructions, Wallace enjoined him to
be diligent; “for,” said he, “the men of Northumberland are all good
warriors.” The parties separated; that under Auchinleck to make a
compass round the town, so as to get in rear of the enemy; and the
other, under the conduct of Wallace, advanced up the principal street
leading to the castle. Their approach, however, had been discovered;
for, when near the present site of the college church, the Scots came
in contact with the English, and the inhabitants had scarcely time
to shelter themselves in their houses, before a dreadful conflict
commenced. The powerful and warlike prelate with whom our patriots
had to contend, possessed a feudal following of knights and esquires,
inferior only to that of Edward himself. The narrow street, however,
in which they were engaged was in favour of the Scots; and the sword
of Wallace told dreadfully on the helmets and headpieces of the enemy.
The manner in which he swept his antagonists before him, is still a
matter of tradition among the descendants of the early inhabitants of
Glasgow. Though the enemy fought with obstinacy, the gallantry of the
Scots sustained them against the efforts of their numerous opponents;
and in the heat of the engagement, Wallace having unhorsed Henry of
Hornecester, a stout monk, who carried the banner of the Bishop,[93]
this circumstance damped the ardour of some of the superstitious
vassals of the prelate, who now fell back before a vigorous charge of
the Scots. At this juncture, those under Auchinleck having reached the
elevated ground in the rear of the English, and seeing the turmoil
of battle that was raging below, hastily arranged themselves for the
charge, and, before the enemy were fully apprised of their danger,
the torrent of spears came rushing down upon them with overwhelming
impetuosity. Their dismay was now complete. A hasty and disordered
retreat ensued, and the by-ways leading from the High-street were so
choked up by the fugitives, that a number of them were trampled to
death by their companions. Bek[94] effected his escape, with about
three hundred horse, and directed his flight towards England, carrying
with him, it is supposed, the sacred banner of St Cuthbert and that of
St John of Beverly.[95]

While Wallace was thus employed in expelling the English ecclesiastics
from the west of Scotland, Sir William Douglas was engaged in
forwarding the same object in the south. In these proceedings they
are charged by the English authors with extreme cruelty. “The unhappy
priests,” says Knighton, “had their hands tied behind their backs,
and in this helpless state were thrown from high bridges into rivers,
their dying agonies affording sport to their merciless captors.” Fordun
merely says, that Wallace pretended to execute the edict of 1296, which
appointed all English ecclesiastics to be expelled from Scotland. On
which Lord Hailes remarks, “I hope this is not true; it has too much
the appearance of a political pretext, by which defenceless individuals
might be persecuted.”[96] There was little occasion for his Lordship’s
sympathy. The thirteenth century was not the period when _churchmen_
were the objects of _causeless_ persecutions. Their expulsion appears
to have been the result of their political intrigues and criminal
interference with the records of the country intrusted to their charge.
And from their placing these documents in the hands of Edward at
Norham, he was enabled to give a colouring of justice to his attempts
upon the independence of Scotland. The evidence which these falsified
muniments afforded is mentioned by Langtoft,[97] as being submitted
by Edward to the English barons for their advice before the business
of the submission respecting the Scottish crown was entered upon. When
the Scots reflected on the many thousands of their nation, of all ages,
who had already been butchered at Berwick and Dunbar,--the oppressions
that had followed,--the apparently interminable war entailed upon
them in support of the pretended proofs of the supremacy of England;
it is not to be wondered at, that they should attempt to get rid of
those canker-worms who had nestled in their country, and ungratefully
betrayed its sacred and most invaluable interests. The edict was early
published, and at a time when it could serve no other purpose than a
protest against the baseness of their conduct. When the insurrection,
therefore, broke out under Wallace, it was not to be expected that
individuals who had rendered themselves so deservedly obnoxious, would
be treated with much lenity, if they still attempted to retain their
temporalities at the expense of the people they had endeavoured to

Wallace, uniting his forces with those under Douglas, now made a rapid
march upon Scone, expecting to surprise Ormsby, the Justiciary of
Edward, who was holding his courts in that place. The attempt was
all but completely successful. They came unexpectedly on the enemy, a
great many of whom were either killed or taken prisoners, and a rich
booty fell into the hands of the Scots. Ormsby narrowly escaped; and,
impressed with terror at the late dreadful acts of retaliation, fled
with precipitation to England. Encouraged by these successes, a number
of the aristocracy joined the banner of our hero, among whom were the
Steward of Scotland, his brother the Knight of Bonkill, Alexander de
Lindsay, Sir John Stewart of Rusky (or Menteith), Sir Richard Lundin,
and Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow, whom he had so lately relieved
from the obnoxious interference of the Bishop of Durham. In consequence
of this timely assistance, Wallace was enabled to undertake an
enterprise of considerable importance.

The reader will perceive, by the annexed note,[99] that though Edward
had made a triumphal march with his army from Berwick to Elgin; yet
that interesting and extensive portion of Scotland, comprising the West
Highlands and Islands, had never been profaned by the foot of the
usurper. This may have been partly averted, by most of the chieftains
coming forward and taking the oath of allegiance, and partly by the
extreme difficulty of leading a numerous army through a country so
intersected by arms of the sea, and rendered almost inaccessible by its
rocky and mountainous barriers. In order to have some control over a
people so isolated, the policy of Edward at first suggested the idea of
carrying along with him those chieftains whose influence was considered
the most extensive. This measure, however, he soon perceived was not so
effectual as he anticipated, and he accordingly determined on sending a
colony of Irish to fix themselves in some central part of the country
he wished to overawe. With this view he compelled MacDougal of Lorn,
whom he had carried with him to London, to exchange his patrimony for
an equivalent of lands belonging to himself.

Having effected this, he gave a grant,[100] of no very certain limits,
to a creature of his own named M’Fadyan, who, with a tumultuous
horde of Anglo-Irish and renegade Scots, amounting to about fifteen
thousand, landed in Lorn, and proceeded to ravage the country with
fire and sword,--committing the most revolting atrocities on such of
the inhabitants as refused to join them. Much obscurity hangs over
the birth, connections, and character of the leader of this cloud of
locusts. According to Blind Harry, his origin was low, although high
in favour at the English court. He seems to have held some situation
of importance in Ireland, as the Minstrel, referring to those Irish
refugees who took shelter in Scotland under Wallace, says,

    “Sum part off tham was in to Irland borne,
    That Makfadyan had exilde furth beforne:
    King Eduuardis man he was suorn of Ingland,
    Off rycht law byrth, supposs he tuk on hand.”

            _Buke Feyrd_, 180.

Having talents and ambition he allied himself to the enemies of his
country, and, like other mushrooms, throve amid the rankness of that
corruption with which he had surrounded himself. A wretch that had
risen by oppressing and assisting to bind the necks of his free-born
countrymen to the yoke of slavery, was a very fit instrument to employ
in forwarding the views of Edward in the subjugation of Scotland.

He had not, however, proceeded far before the _Crann-tàir_, or fiery
cross, was seen hurrying on, by hill and glen, to gather the children
of the Gaël to repel their savage assailants. Duncan of Lorn, the
uncle, or, according to some, the younger brother of the chief,
unable to withstand the superior force of the enemy, had retreated
towards Loch-Awe, to obtain the protection of Sir Niel Campbell. This
brave man, along with his brother _Donnchadh dubh nan Caisteal_,
(Black Duncan of the Castles), had collected a body of three hundred
_Gall-oglaich_ (well armed warriors) part of whom were the vassals of
Malcolm MacGregor of Glenurchy.[101] With this force he continued to
embarrass the enemy, by attacking their foraging parties and cutting
off their supplies. This determined MacFadyan to follow him through
the fastnesses of the country, and endeavour to overwhelm him by his
superior numbers. Sir Niel managed his retreat with great dexterity.
After leading his unwary adversary round by the head of Bradher Pass,
he hurried down that dangerous and difficult defile, and, crossing the
narrow and ill constructed fabric which served for a bridge, he broke
it down; and thus being secure from immediate pursuit, found himself
in one of the strongest positions imaginable. His front was defended
by a castle, which commanded the only approach by which he could be
assailed; while his rear was protected by the Awe, a deep and rapid
river, running out of a loch of the same name. The almost perpendicular
barrier of rocks which lined the side of the Awe--down which, as has
already been mentioned, Sir Niel and his party had to make their way,
before they could place the river between them and their pursuers--was
of such a nature, that a man could not get on without the assistance of
his hands, to prevent him from slipping down into the deep and eddying
abyss below; and even with this assistance, at the present day, it is
a passage of considerable danger, from the enormous masses of loose
stones with which the sloping face of the rocks is covered, from the
brink of the water to their summits, which are of great elevation.
The least accidental derangement of the stones at the bottom, never
fails to put those above in motion, when an immense rush takes place,
attended often with serious consequences to the parties underneath.
The reader may readily conceive the facility, therefore, with which,
thus circumstanced, Sir Niel and his followers could, from the opposite
side of the river, retard the advance of even a larger army than that
of M’Fadyan. The difficulty of the pass is not perceptible till the
angle of the rock is fairly turned, consequently the Irish army had no
opportunity of covering their advance by discharging their missiles.
They were obliged to follow each other singly; thus affording, as they
came creeping along, fair marks for the arrows of the Scots, part of
whom plied their deadly shafts, while others were engaged in throwing
stones from their slings against the face of the rocks, and thus
bringing down masses of the loose fragments upon the heads of their
already embarrassed pursuers.

The castle to which Sir Niel retired, though small, possessed great
natural advantages. Situated on a rocky knoll at the edge of a deep
ravine, it could only be approached from the road through which
M’Fadyan had to advance, and that by means of a ladder which the party
within always kept on their own side. When they wished to admit any
one, a rope was thrown over that he might pull the ladder towards him;
he then descended to the bottom of the ravine, when, placing the ladder
against the opposite rock, in this manner he ascended and reached the

When Sir Niel Campbell had determined on his line of retreat, he
despatched Duncan of Lorn, and an old, but swift-footed Highlander,
named Michael or Gillemichel, to acquaint Wallace of his perilous
situation, and to crave his aid in driving the invaders from
the country. Wallace, aware of the importance of preventing the
establishment intended by Edward, lost no time in complying with the
request of his old confederate; and Sir Richard Lundin having joined
him with five hundred men, he now found himself enabled to march to the
relief of the West Highlanders, at the head of two thousand soldiers.

In Duncan of Lorn and his servant, Wallace had sure and intelligent
guides. At that time nothing but intricate footpaths, known only to the
natives, existed in the Highlands; and as they were often formed by
deer-stalkers, while tracing their game, they frequently led through
places both perilous and perplexing to the stranger.

By the time the Scottish army had reached the Chapel of St Phillan,
part of the foot soldiers began to flag, and get disordered in their
ranks. Wallace, therefore, stopped, and thus addressed them. “Good
men,” said he, “this will never do. If we come up with the enemy in
such broken array, we may receive serious injury ourselves, but can
do them very little hurt in return. It is also necessary that we
should be up with them as soon as possible; for if they hear of our
approach, they may choose a plain field, where their numbers will give
them advantage. To prevent this, I will go forward with those who are
able, and leave the rest to follow at more leisure.” Accordingly,
taking with himself two hundred of the tried veterans of Ayrshire, and
placing another hundred under the command of Sir John Graham, with
Sir Richard Lundin at the head of his own followers, they crossed a
mountain in their front, and descended into Glendouchar. Here they
met a scout, whom they had previously sent forward, acting as guide
to Sir Niel Campbell and his three hundred Highlanders. This wary
leader, on hearing of the advance of Wallace, thought it proper to
retire towards him, and leave the passage free to M’Fadyan, who, he
knew, if he followed, could make choice of very few positions where
his numbers would be of any advantage. Having given our hero a detail
of what information he possessed respecting the state of the invaders,
Gillemichel was again sent forward to watch the motions of the enemy;
and the tough old mountaineer having fallen in with a scout from
M’Fadyan, who had been sent to tract the route of Sir Niel, managed to
despatch him with his _claidh mòr_, and returned with the intelligence
to his chief.

The ground having now become impassable for cavalry, the Scots
dismounted, and proceeded on foot. Their march had not been perceived
by the enemy, and, from the superior knowledge they had of the country,
they managed to surprise the Irish in a situation where flight was
almost impracticable, and the superiority of their numbers became
rather a disadvantage. The conflict continued for two hours, with
unexampled fury on both sides. Multitudes of the Irish were forced over
the rocks into the gulf below. Many threw themselves into the water to
escape the swords of the Scots; while various bands of Highlanders,
stationed among the rocks, sent down showers of stones and arrows where
the enemy appeared most obstinate in the strife. Wallace, armed with
a steel mace, at the head of his veterans, now made a charge, which
decided the fate of the day. Those Scots who had joined the Irish,
threw away their arms, and on their knees implored mercy. M’Fadyan,
with fifteen of his men, having made his way over the rocks, and
attempted to conceal himself in a cave “wndyr cragmòr,” Duncan of
Lorn requested permission of Wallace to follow and punish him for the
atrocities he had committed; and it was not long before he returned,
bringing his head on a spear, which Sir Niel Campbell caused to be
fixed on the top of the rock in which he had taken shelter.

After the defeat of M’Fadyan, Wallace held a meeting of the chiefs of
the West Highlands, in the priory of Ardchattan; and having arranged
some important matters respecting the future defence of the district,
he returned to his duties in the Low Country, having received an
accession to his numbers, which covered any loss he had sustained in
the late engagement. The spoil which the Scots collected after the
battle is said to have been very considerable; any personal share in
which, our hero, as usual, refused.[103]



The success of the insurrection excited by Wallace, has been attributed
by some English authors--and by Langtoft[104] in particular--to the
foolish parsimony of Cressingham, who had disgusted the English
soldiery by withholding their pay, at a time when their services
might have been of the greatest advantage. In consequence of this
unjust procedure, many of the yeomen and pages, finding little else
than danger to be met with in the service, deserted their posts, and
returned to their own country. Although the impolitic and avaricious
character of the English treasurer is a matter on which the authors of
both countries are agreed, the precipitation with which the garrisons
of the Usurper now retreated on the approach of the Scots, shows that
the severe examples which had already been made were not without their

While our hero was thus following up his plan for the emancipation
of his country, his standard was unexpectedly joined by the younger
Robert Bruce. This powerful baron, it seems, had incurred the suspicion
of the Warden of the Western Marches, who summoned him to attend at
Carlisle, on pretence of business relating to the kingdom. Afraid to
disobey, Bruce made his appearance, accompanied by a numerous retinue
of his followers, and was there obliged to make oath on the consecrated
host, and the sword of Thomas à Becket, that he would remain the
faithful vassal of the King of England. In order to prove his loyalty,
and do away with the mistrust attached to him, he made an inroad on
the estates of Sir William Douglas, who at the time was acting with
Wallace, and carried off his wife and children to one of his own
fortresses in Annandale. Having thus lulled the suspicions that had
been awakened, he next assembled his father’s vassals, and endeavoured
to persuade them to join him in attempting the deliverance of their
country. In this, however, he was disappointed: he therefore collected
his own retainers, and marched to the quarters of Wallace; consoling
himself with the reflection, that the Pope would easily absolve him
from his extorted oath.

The insurrection in Scotland had hitherto been regarded by Edward
more as the unconnected operations of banditti, than any thing like
an organized scheme for regaining the national independence. Having
most of the Scottish barons in his power from whom he thought he had
any thing to apprehend, and conceiving that their vassals would not
dare to move without the warrant of their superior,--he looked upon
the affair as one which the troops he had left behind were more than
sufficient to suppress. In this opinion he was confirmed both by the
English and the Scotch barons whom he had along with him. The latter,
either ignorant, or pretending ignorance of the talents and resources
of our hero, represented their presence as being absolutely necessary
before any formidable force could be brought into the field; and
Langtoft[105] charges the English barons with deceiving their sovereign
in the affair, and concealing from him the real state of the country.
It is a matter of notoriety, that about this time, Edward and his
nobles were not on the best of terms. Having now, as he thought, in
addition to Wales, insured the subjection and obedience of Scotland,
and remembering the facility with which, by the aid of 30,000 Scots
lent him by Alexander III., he overawed and suppressed the Earl of
Gloucester and those who took part with him; he began to assume towards
the English nobility an imperious and haughty demeanour, which both
alarmed their fears and excited their jealousy. The unprincipled
stretches of power which he had attempted since his triumphal entry
into London after his victories in Scotland, had also sown the seeds of
dissatisfaction among the inferior classes, who, no longer dazzled with
the splendour of his achievements over the freedom of their neighbours,
began to reflect on the encroachments which their ambitious sovereign
was making on their own.

When Edward, therefore, became fully apprised of the serious nature
of the revolt in Scotland, he paused in the midst of preparations
for an expedition to Flanders, and despatched orders to the Earl of
Surrey for the suppression and punishment of the insurgents. This
distinguished and powerful nobleman, the most efficient perhaps of all
Edward’s generals, was at that time residing in Northumberland for the
recovery of his health. Having associated with him in the command, his
nephew Lord Henry Percy, and Robert de Clifford, he sent them forward
with forty thousand foot and three hundred cavalry, a force which he
deemed sufficient to restore the country to the allegiance of his

While the troops under Percy and Clifford were on their march through
Annandale, their camp was attacked during the night by a body of Scots,
led on by Wallace and Douglas. The darkness prevented the English from
at first discovering the numbers of their assailants. Much confusion
in consequence ensued; and many were either killed or driven into the
adjacent morass. In this extremity, the English set fire to a number of
their own tents; and, by the light thus obtained, they were enabled to
form their ranks, and repulse the enemy, who were too inconsiderable
in number to attempt any thing beyond a surprise. Hence, it may be
inferred, that Bruce and his Annandale vassals were not engaged in the

The English army lost no time in following the tract of the Scots, who
retired towards those districts where the cause of national liberty
had gained the greatest ascendancy. On reaching the neighbourhood
of Irvine, the English commander found Wallace and the insurgent
barons encamped on a well chosen position, and able, from their
numbers, to have given battle, had they not been wofully enfeebled
by dissension. The feuds among them ran so high, that Sir Richard
Lundin, whose services had lately proved so useful, went over in
disgust to the enemy, declaring that “he would no longer remain with
a party at variance with itself.” His example was speedily followed
by others, most of whom, as they were the cause of the dissension,
could not assign the same reason for their conduct. Pride of birth,
and reluctance on the part of the higher barons to submit to the only
man among them who had talents[107] to meet the emergency, have been
assigned, with great probability, as the cause of this unfortunate
disagreement. The Steward of Scotland; his brother, the Knight of
Bonkill; Robert Bruce; William Douglas; Alexander de Lindsay; and
Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow, with their followers, were among those
who submitted to the enemy. The Bishop negociated the terms on which
they were to be admitted to the peace of their “Lord Paramount:”--an
acknowledgment of their errors, and hostages for their future
obedience, were the basis of the treaty; and a copy of the deed, to
which their seals were appended, was sent to Wallace, in expectation
of his following their example. The high-minded patriot, however,
entertaining views of a more elevated nature, treated this record of
their desertion of the liberties of their country with merited disdain.

At the head of his personal adherents, and a large body of the “_liberi
firmarii_,” or free yeomanry of Scotland, Wallace retired indignantly
towards the North. This latter class of men consisted of the tenants,
and descendants of tenants, of the crown and church-lands, or those who
occupied farms on the demesnes of the barons, for which they paid an
equivalent rent in money or produce. They had the privilege of removing
to whatever place they might think most desirable, and owed no military
service except to the King for the defence of the country. Among
them the independence of Scotland always found its most faithful and
stubborn supporters. These “liberi firmarii,” for so they are called in
the chartularies, and chamberlains’ accounts, were considered so useful
from their superior industry, and agricultural knowledge, that during
the minority of the Maid of Norway, a sum of money appears to have been
distributed among them as an inducement to remain on the crown lands
of Libertoun and Lawrence-town, which they were preparing to leave in
consequence of a mortality among their cattle. They formed a striking
contrast to the _cottars_ or _villeyns_, who were entirely subject,
both in body and means, to the will of the landholder, and were sold or
transferred along with the estate; and could be claimed or brought back
to it, if they removed, in the same manner as strayed cattle.[108]
These formed the bulk of the degraded horde who followed the banners of
the recreant barons, and whose servility, ignorance and ferocity, often
made them dangerous to the liberties of the country; while the former
class, along with the freemen of the boroughs, supplied the materials
from which Wallace recruited the ranks of his patriotic battalions.

Aware, from former experience, of the difficulty of bringing Wallace to
action if he were not so inclined, Percy and Clifford appear to have
withdrawn their forces, satisfied with having detached the aristocracy
from his standard; none remaining with our hero save the gallant Sir
Andrew Murray, Sir John Graham, and a few of his own personal friends.

But the system which Wallace had organised for the emancipation of his
country, was not liable to any material derangement, in consequence of
the defection of a few timid and interested barons. It is true, the
desertion of such men as Sir William Douglas must have occasioned him
considerable regret, being thereby prevented from meeting the enemy
openly in the field, with such an equality of force as would have
insured success. This feeling, however, did not retard his exertions,
but rather stimulated him to fresh undertakings; for we find that he
shortly afterwards surprised and garrisoned the Castle of Dunotter.
Tyber,[109] or Tibber, on the banks of the Nith, he also took and
destroyed. Forfar, Brechin and Montrose, were either taken, or deserted
by their garrisons on his approach. Aberdeen, which the enemy set on
fire, and then retreated to their ships, afterwards fell into his
hands. He then led his troops against the Castle of Dundee, and had
already made considerable progress in the siege of that strong-hold,
when he was apprised of the advance of an English army under the Earl
of Warren, and Cressingham the treasurer.

Edward, dissatisfied with the imperfect measures which had been taken
for the suppression of the Scottish revolt, and irritated by the
accounts which were daily received of the operations of the insurgents,
had despatched peremptory orders for Warren to proceed in person to
the North. He also directed his writs to the Bishop and Sheriff of
Aberdeenshire, commanding them to adopt strong and effectual means for
extinguishing the flame of rebellion within the boundaries of their
jurisdiction. They were likewise required to furnish whatever supplies
might be wanted by William de Warren[110] for the defence of the Castle
of Urquhart, a strong and extensive fortress on the banks of Loch
Ness, of which he was governor. Warren was also ordered to be at his
post, and fully prepared to meet any attempt of the enemy.

On learning the movements of the English, Wallace collected those of
the burgesses of Dundee who were able to bear arms, and, placing them
under the command of their townsman, Sir Alexander Scrymgeour, enjoined
them, at the peril of “lyf and lyme,”[111] to continue the siege. He
then retired, with his followers, who were now considerably increased,
to watch the motions of the advancing army.

In cases of invasion, a favourite plan adopted by the Scots for
the defence of their country, was to convey their cattle and other
valuables to the more inaccessible districts north of the Forth.
By this measure, they not only secured their own suppplies, but,
by depriving their enemies of the means of subsistence, compelled
them to an early retreat as the only resource against the miseries
of starvation. On the present occasion the usual precaution was not

The success which had attended our hero, since the affair of Irvine,
and the formidable character of the well-disciplined force which now
adhered to his banner, occasioned a wavering among a number of those
barons who had so shamefully submitted to the usurper. Their situation,
it must be allowed, had become one of great difficulty. The character
of Wallace was stern and decisive. The punishment he inflicted on
such offenders, they had reason to know was seldom mitigated by any
consideration for the high rank of the parties;[113] and the English
had repeatedly shown, that they were unable to protect the _serviles_
from the vengeance of their indignant countrymen. It was therefore with
no slight alarm that the party heard of the house of the Bishop of
Glasgow being attacked, and pillaged, and his family carried off they
knew not whither. The selection which Wallace had made of Wishart, as
an example to the others, had no doubt been suggested partly by the
ingratitude of that churchman, in deserting the cause, after having
been, by means of the patriots, so lately restored to his diocese; and
partly from his being so instrumental in the disgraceful negociation
with the enemy. The sacredness attached to his character, as a priest,
would speedily disappear before the heinous offence of assisting to
detach, in the hour of need, the swords of a Douglas, a Lundin, and
a Bruce, from the service of their country. Meanwhile the hostages
for their fidelity had been carelessly exacted; and when soon after
called for by Warren, (whose remiss conduct had so far incurred the
displeasure of Edward, that he sent Brian Fitz Alan to supersede him
as lieutenant), he found them more inclined for a new arrangement,
than willing to fulfil the terms of the former. They wished, in
particular, to introduce some stipulations respecting the liberty of
Scotland, a proposal no doubt made for the purpose of allaying in some
degree the indignation of their patriotic countrymen. The continued
obstinacy, and increasing power of Wallace, was made a pretext for
their non-compliance; and they could now with apparent justice decline
the final ratification of a deed of treason against the independence of
their country, when protection from the consequences was so extremely

In this dilemma the Steward and the Earl of Lennox sought permission
of Warren to open a communication with the leader of the Scots,
under pretext of bringing him over to the interests of Edward. In
consequence of this arrangement, these chiefs ventured to visit the
Scottish army, which, by this time, had reached the neighbourhood of
Stirling, and taken up a strong position near the bridge, where it
appeared determined to wait the approach of the English. The retiring
population had left little behind them that could be useful to the
enemy; all their cattle and provisions being now secured in the rear of
the protecting columns of their countrymen. This rendered the position
of Wallace still more valuable, prepared, as he was, in the event of a
defeat, to fall back to certain supplies, while his opponents would be
still farther removed from their resources.

But if feuds had rendered the Scots inert and submissive to the
enemy at Irvine, the councils of the English were now, in their turn,
distracted from the same cause. The mind of Warren appeared more
occupied in brooding over his late disgrace, than in attending to the
details of the campaign; while Cressingham,[114] a haughty, ambitious,
and imperious churchman, assumed additional importance on learning that
his colleague had incurred the royal displeasure. Conflicting measures,
supported by querulous and acrimonious language, engendered a dangerous
spirit of animosity between them. Cressingham, on the plea of economy,
ordered the disbanding of a body of eight thousand foot and three
hundred cavalry, commanded by Lord Henry Percy, a force which Warren
wished to retain as a reserve; and during the altercations which this
occasioned, the communications of the Steward and the Earl of Lennox
with the Scottish camp were injudiciously allowed to continue.

On the arrival, however, of the English in front of the position
occupied by the Scots, those noblemen returned. With well feigned
displeasure they announced their inability to make any pacific
impression on Wallace and his followers; and then took their leave, for
the alleged purpose of bringing up a number of their mounted vassals to
join the English, who were to defile along the bridge in the morning.

Five thousand foot and a body of Welsh archers had passed the bridge
before Warren had left his bed.[115] Whether this sluggishness on the
part of the English general arose from indisposition or chagrin, is not
explicitly stated. The troops, however, on finding that they were not
supported by the rest of the army, returned to their station. Warren,
who arose about an hour after,--feeling, perhaps, reluctant to attack
the Scots in their present position, and not deeming it prudent to
calculate on the recurrence of the same mistake which had given him so
easy a victory at Dunbar,--despatched two friars to make a last attempt
at pacification.

The answer returned was evidently intended to exasperate the English,
and bring them on headlong to the fray. After a bold declaration
of independence, a taunting allusion was made to the conquerors of
England. “We came not here,” said the intrepid assertor of Scotland’s
rights, “to negociate, but to fight; and were even your masters to come
and attack us, we are ready to meet them at our swords’ point, and show
them that our country is free.” Enraged at this stern and provoking
defiance, the English became clamorous to be led on.

A council of war being called, it was proposed by Cressingham that
the army should instantly cross the river and attack the Scots. In
this he was opposed by Sir Richard Lundin, who pointed out the many
difficulties they would have to encounter in attempting to defile along
a bridge, so narrow, in presence of so wary an enemy; and offered to
guide them to a ford not far distant, where they could pass with less
hazard. Cressingham,--either displeased at being contradicted,--or
not placing full reliance on the fidelity of Lundin, who had but
recently joined the English, told Warren,--who appeared to hesitate,
that, as treasurer of the King of England, he (Cressingham) could not
be answerable for squandering the money of his master in protracted
warfare with a handful of enemies, who,--in order to be defeated, had
only to be attacked, and would always be formidable,--provided they
were never brought to an engagement. Stung by the reproach conveyed in
these remarks, Warren gave orders for the troops to move onwards.

Sir Marmaduke Twenge, a knight belonging to the North-Riding of
Yorkshire, of much experience and distinguished personal prowess,
assisted Cressingham in leading the van. When nearly one half of the
English had cleared the bridge without opposition, an attempt was
made to dislodge the Scots from the ground they had chosen; and for
that purpose, Sir Marmaduke rather impatiently charged up-hill with
a body of heavy-armed cavalry. The consequence was, however, fatal
to the assailants, as the enemy, from their vantage-ground, drove
them headlong before them with their long spears. In the mean time,
the communication between the bridge and the van of the English army
was cut off by a masterly movement of a division of the Scots, who
afterwards kept up such an incessant discharge of arrows, darts,[116]
“gavelocks,” and other missiles, as completely interrupted the
progress of the enemy. Wallace contemplated, for a moment, the
success of his plan, and instantly rushed down to the attack with an
impetuosity which the scarcely formed battalions of the English were
ill prepared to withstand. Giving way to the shock, they fell into
irretrievable confusion, while the repeated charges of the compact
bodies of the Scottish spearmen were fast covering the ground with
the splendid wreck of the chivalry of England. The scene now became
animating beyond measure; and many of those who had defended the bridge
forsook their companions to join in the desperate _mêleé_. The passage
being thus left comparatively open, the royal standard of England,
displaying “_Three gold leopards courant, set on red_,” was advanced
to the cry of--“For God and St George!” attended by a strong body of
knights, who, with their triangular shields, defending themselves from
the missiles which still showered thick upon the bridge, rushed forward
to aid their fellow-combatants. The banner of Warren next appeared,
_chequered with gold and azure_, and followed by his numerous vassals.
The day, however, was too far gone to be retrieved, even by this
powerful assistance. Finding no room to form, they only increased the
confusion, and swelled the slaughter made by the Scottish spearmen,
before whose steady and overwhelming charges thousands were either
borne down or driven into the river.

While Warren, with inexpressible anxiety, beheld from the opposite bank
the destruction of the flower of his army, the Steward of Scotland
and the Earl of Lennox were seen approaching with a strong body of
horse; but, as might be expected, instead of joining the English,
they assisted their countrymen in pursuing and killing those who were
attempting to save themselves. Sir Marmaduke Twenge gallantly cut his
way to the bridge, and escaped.[117]

The panic now became general, and the face of the country was soon
covered with a confused mass of terrified fugitives, hurrying on to
avoid the swords of their conquerors, and increasing, as they fled,
the disorder of their retreat, by throwing away their arms and their
standards, in order to facilitate their flight.

Wallace having crossed the ford alluded to by Lundin, the pursuit
was followed up with the most destructive perseverance. The day of
retribution had arrived;--the butcheries of Berwick, the carnage
of Dunbar, with a long list of national indignities and personal
sufferings had now to be atoned for. Conscious of the provocation which
had roused to frenzy the vengeance of an infuriated people, Warren
turned with dismay from the scene of havoc, leaving twenty thousand
of his soldiers to manure the fields of those they had so lately
oppressed. Cressingham, the most detested of all the tools of Edward,
was among the number of the slain;--and when Wallace came up, a party
were employed in flaying the body. According to the MS. Chronicle of
Lanercost, he is said to have ordered only as much of the skin to be
taken off as would make a sword-belt; and his men, perhaps, imitating
his example, might have appropriated the rest. This, says a respectable
author,[118] is no doubt the origin of the tale told by Abercromby and
some other historians, of the Scots having used it as girths to their
horses. An order of this kind, given in the heat of the pursuit, was
perhaps never thought of afterwards; at least, we have no account of
Wallace ever wearing such an appendage. The circumstance, however,
shows the deep-rooted detestation with which the individual was

Warren, who fled rapidly to Berwick, was most probably, like another
English general of more modern times, the first herald of his own
discomfiture. The consternation which his disaster occasioned among his
countrymen in Scotland was so great, that few or none would venture to
wait the approach of the enemy; but, abandoning their strongholds, they
hurried southward with the greatest precipitation, justly conceiving
that the terms they were likely to obtain from one who followed up his
victories with so much energy, were hardly worth staying for. The loss
on the part of the Scots was comparatively small; none of note having
fallen, save the brave Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell.[119]

In this manner was Scotland once more restored to that liberty of which
she had been so unjustly deprived. Nor was the benefit conferred on the
country less, than the glory which redounded to her gallant liberator.
The brilliant and decisive victory at Stirling Bridge was gained on the
11th September 1297, exactly twelve months and eleven days from the
return of Edward to Berwick, after what he conceived to be the final
subjugation of the kingdom.

The state of Scotland in the early part of 1297, was such as might well
have extinguished the ardour of any mind possessed of less energy than
that of Wallace. He saw his country humbled and debased at the feet of
a tyrant, whose talents and power forbade every hope of emancipation,
while the boldest of her nobles dared not express a wish to be free.
His own indignant feelings blazed forth, and, with his kindling
enthusiasm, he breathed into his torpid and enslaved countrymen, the
breath as it were of a new existence. The regenerating influence of
his heroic example, was quickly caught by those whose bosoms still
beat responsive to the call of honour; and in the short space we have
mentioned, those banners which had lately waved over hecatombs of
butchered Scots, and had been paraded through the land with all the
triumphant arrogance of conquest, were now trampled under foot, and
the colossal power by which they were sustained, overthrown before
the virtuous indignation of a people determined to be free. When we
contemplate the might and the resources of Edward, who, in addition
to those of his own kingdom, had Ireland, Wales, and his Continental
possessions to depend upon; it is impossible not to feel impressed with
admiration at the greatness of that mind, which, with the fractions of
a divided and dispirited people, could form the idea of braving a force
so overwhelming: But when we find those plans which he had conceived
in the deep recesses of his woodland retreats, not only perseveringly
carried on against a tide of adverse circumstances--in defiance of the
aristocracy of his own country, and the opposition of secret and avowed
enemies--it may with truth be said, that, however highly he may have
been extolled, a tythe of his greatness has not yet been appreciated.
Much has been said of romance being mixed up with the accounts given
of him; but it would be difficult for any of those who delight in
_nibbling_ at great names, to point out any tradition respecting
Wallace, sufficiently romantic to outstrip the simple facts that stand
recorded of him in the authentic annals of British history.

Deserted by the barons at a time when he conceived he had united in
the sacred cause all that was noble, and all that was high minded in
the land, it required no common intrepidity to bear up against their
heartless and unseemly defection; and to recruit his ranks after so
serious a diminution, required talents of the highest order, and
exertions beyond the reach of ordinary men. This, however, he not
only accomplished, but also recovered a number of fortresses,--drove
the enemy from the North, and, with a numerous and gallant army, sat
down in a well-chosen position, to await the advance of the legions
of England,--all within two months of the disgraceful negociation at

After a victory achieved in the face of difficulties so formidable;
with what feelings must the hero of Stirling Bridge and the Scottish
aristocracy have regarded each other! The mighty force of him whom
they had acknowledged as their Lord Paramount, was now broken and
dispersed before the superior valour and steadiness of one whom they
had so rashly abandoned. In the rich harvest of laurels which had been
acquired, they had excluded themselves from all participation; and,
though conscious that they could not lay claim to a single leaf, they
were sensible that the heroism of their late companions would soon
be emblazoned through every country in Europe; while they had the
mortification to reflect, that the tale of their own pusillanimous
submission, would be held up as a counterpart to the gallantry of
those friends whom they had so shamefully forsaken in the road to




Page 179.

The following memoranda respecting this celebrated tree, will doubtless
be acceptable to the reader:[120]

“In Dunipace parish is the famous Torwood, in the middle of which
there are the remains of Wallace’s Tree, an oak, which, according to a
measurement when entire, was said to be about 12 feet diameter. To this
wood Wallace is said to have fled, and secreted himself in the body of
that tree, then hollow, after his defeat in the north.”--_Stat. Acc._
iii. 336.

“This oak is still dignified by the name of _Wallace’s Tree_. It stands
in the middle of a swampy moss, having a causeway round its ruins;
and its destruction has been much precipitated, by the veneration in
which the Scottish hero has been long held; numerous pieces have been
carried off, to be converted into various memorials of the Champion of
Scotland.”--_Kerr’s Hist. of Bruce_, i. 127.

“Wallace’s Oak, as it has been called for ages, still remains in the
Torwood near Stirling. The old tradition of the country bears, that Sir
William Wallace, after a lost battle, secreted himself in this tree,
and escaped the pursuit of his enemies. By this account, it behoved
then, that is, about 500 years ago, to have been a large tree. Whatever
may be its age, it certainly has in its ruins the appearance of greater
antiquity than what I have observed in any tree in Scotland.

“At a very remote period it has separated in the middle, and the one
half of it has mouldered entirely away. The other half remains, and is
in one place about twenty feet high. But what the tree was above this
height, is unknown. All the original part of the tree is putrid. Yet
one may perceive that the whole of it, from the head to the very bark,
has been red wood, and is so hard even in its putrid state as to admit
of a polish.

“In this ancient Torwood, it stands in a manner alone. For there are
no trees, nor any ruin of a tree, to be seen that is nearly coeval.
Compared to it, even the oldest of them is of a very modern date. The
memory of its having saved Wallace, has probably been the means of its
preservation, when all the rest of the wood at different times has been
destroyed. It has been immemorially held in veneration, and is still
viewed in that light.

“There is a peculiar sort of renovation of an old tree that sometimes
occurs, and has taken place in this. A young bark has shot upwards from
the root in several places, which has formed fresh branches towards the
top of the old trunk. This young bark has spread, and still spreads,
like a callus, over several parts of the old tree that are dead; and
particularly over a very large arm, which has had no bark on it in the
remembrance of the oldest person alive.

“The tree stands in carse land, in a deep wet clay-soil. The road
that passes by it in the wood is laid crossways with thick branches
of trees, to prevent carriages from sinking to the axles in wet
weather.”--_Essays on Natural History, by John Walker, D.D._ (1771.)

The ground on which this tree stood was elevated above the surrounding
level, which appears at one time to have been a sort of swamp.
Causeways of a rude construction led up to the oak on different
directions; and as the first formation of these causeways is beyond
the memory of the oldest inhabitants living, it proves that the
sheltering place of the Defender of Scotland must have been an object
of deep interest to his countrymen at a very early period. Although
this ancient memorial of Wallace measured, in the recollection of
people still living, 42 feet in circumference, not a vestige of it
is now to be discovered. The veneration with which it was regarded,
secured it from all human interference; and it was left to the winds
of heaven, and the hand of time, till it reached that state of decay
which indicated an approaching crisis. Its extinction was then hastened
by an anxiety on the part of visitors to possess some portion of it,
as a relict of one with whose name it had been so long associated;
and so far was this feeling carried, that, after the trunk had
disappeared, the ground was dug up to the extent of twelve feet round
it, in order to get at any fragment of the root that might chance to
remain. This grand search took place after the time was fixed for the
visit of George IV. to Scotland; and Mr Craig, an artist residing at
Helensburgh, of considerable taste in his profession, used a part of it
which had then been found, in the formation of a snuff-box, ingeniously
composed, besides, of various small pieces of wood, including portions
of “the Elderslie Oak,” “Queen Mary’s Yew,” the “Bush abune Traquair,”
and other celebrated inmates of the forest, which have been consecrated
by the historical and poetical Muse of Scotland. This elegant little
national gem was with much propriety presented to, and graciously
accepted by, his Majesty, during his residence in Scotland. Thus, after
a lapse of ages, the root of that oak which had preserved the houseless
patriot when outlawed by the enemies of his country, has, by a strange
vicissitude, been transplanted to the personal possession of the
legitimate descendant of that race of kings for whose right he so nobly
contended, and whose beloved representative now wields a sceptre over a
countless accumulation of subjects, and a dominion from which the sun
may be said never to withdraw his light.

The wood-cut which we are now about to introduce, shows the state
of the tree in 1789, at which time it measured twenty-four feet in
height. It is taken from a drawing with which the publishers have been
politely favoured by the family of the late Mr A. Kincaid, a gentleman
of literary attainments, to whom the public are indebted for a History
of Edinburgh, and some other meritorious publications; and who visited
the Torwood, and made the following sketch in the year above mentioned.
Although exhibiting the same general appearance as the drawing made
by Mr Nasmyth eighteen years earlier, which forms the vignette to this
volume, it will be observed that it was gradually hastening to decay;
and, as partially filling up a _hiatus_ in the history of the “august
vegetable,” we have much pleasure in presenting it to our readers.


In the preceding year, at the depth of a foot from the surface, and
about 30 feet west of Wallace’s tree, the head of an ancient Scottish
spear was found, which was presented to the Society of Antiquaries of
Scotland, by Mr Alexander Kincaid. By the kindness of that learned
body, we are also enabled to give the following wood-cut of this
antique and once-powerful weapon. It measures 8 inches in length, and,
if not of higher antiquity, was probably one of those used in the fatal
conflict which took place in the Torwood between James III. and his
rebellious nobles in 1488.

[Illustration: Length 8 inches.]



Page 193.

Crawfurd, is a corruption of two Celtic words _Crodh-Phort_, pronounced
_Cro-forst_, signifying _a sheltering place for cattle_, a designation
expressive of the general appearance of the parish of Crawford-John.
As every thing relating to so illustrious a character as Wallace is
important, the following pedigree, showing his maternal descent, will
doubtless be acceptable to many.

According to that accurate genealogist _George Crawfurd_, author of
the _Scottish Peerage_, and the _History of Renfrewshire_, and of the
_House of Stewart_, published more than 100 years ago, the Craufurds
are derived from Thorlongus, an Anglo-Danish chief, who, being expelled
from Northumberland by William the Conqueror, found an asylum in
Scotland, and, in particular, had a grant of land in the Merse from
Edgar, King of Scots, whose reign is included betwixt the year 1097 and
the 8th January 1106-7.

This appears from _Crawfurd’s_ MS. “History of the Craufurds,” in
the Advocates’ Library, and is corroborated by _Anderson_ in his
_Diplomata_, compiled at the desire of the Scots Parliament, who has
this notice of Thor-Longus:--“Hic vir nobilis et Anglus genere fuisse,
videtur ac forte idem qui _Thor_ in Libro vulgo dicto _Doomsday-Book_,
sæpius memoratus amplissimis suis prædiis in borealibus Angliæ partibus
sitis a Gullielmo Conquisitore erat exûtus.”

At what particular time his expulsion took place, does not precisely
appear; but it seems probable that it must have been betwixt the years
1069 and 1074, when, from the unsubmissive spirit of the Northumbrians,
they brought down on their own heads the most direful wrath of the
conqueror, who was so provoked with them, for joining their original
countrymen the Danes, who had at that time invaded England, (and whom,
for all his prowess, he was fain to buy off), that “he swore by the
splendour of God he would not leave a soul alive;” and so soon as he
found it in his power (the foreigners being now gone) to be avenged of
them, he ravaged their country in so merciless a manner, that for 60
miles together he did not leave a single house standing.--See _Rapin_,
vol. i. p. 172.

All this took place betwixt the years as above stated; and as they
were quite subdued by the last of these dates (1074), and as there
appeared to have been no more exterminating spoliation of this part of
the country afterwards during William’s reign, it seems to be a fair
conclusion, that this Anglo-Danish chief had found it necessary to fly,
and make his escape to Scotland during the interim mentioned. The era
of the _Doomsday-Book_ itself (1079), in which Thor is mentioned to
have been, before that time, deprived of his possessions, should be a
concluding evidence of the fact. That he obtained lands in Scotland
during the reign of King Edgar, appears distinctly from the following
writs, copied from the MS. History of Crawfurd, and which also are to
be found in the archives of the cathedral of Durham.


Omnibus sanctæ matris Ecclesiæ filiis Thorlongus in Domino, salutem:
Sciatis quod Edgarus Dominus meus Rex Scottorum, dedit mihi Ednaham
desertam, quam ego, suo auxilio et mea propria pecunia inhabitavi,
et ecclesiam in honorem Sancti Cuthberti fabricavi, quam ecclesiam
cum una carrucata terræ, Deo et Sancto Cuthberto et monachis ejus in
perpetuum possidendum dedi; hanc igitur donationem feci pro anima
domini mei Regis Edgari, et pro animabus patris et matris illius, et
pro redemptione Lefwini patris mei dilectissimi, et pro meimet ipsius
tam corporis quam animæ salute, et siquis hanc meam donationem sancto
predicto et monachis sibi servientibus aliqua vi vel ingenio auferre
presumserit, auferat ab eo Deus omnipotens vitam Regni celestis, et cum
diabolo et angelis ejus pœnas sustinet eternas. Amen.



Domino suo charissmo David Comiti Thor, omnibusque suis, salutem:
Scias domine mi, quod Edgarus Rex frater vester dedit mihi Ednaham
desertam, quam ego suo auxilio et mea pecunia inhabitavi, et ecclesiam
a fundamentis fabricavi quam frater vester Rex in honorem Sancti
Cuthberti fecit, dedicavit, et una carrucata terræ eam dotavit. Hanc
eandem ecclesiam pro anima ejusdem domini mei Regis Edgari et patris
et matris vestri et pro salute vostra et Regis Alexandri et Mathildis
Reginæ, sancto predicto et monachis ejus dedi, unde vos precor sicut
dominum meum charissimum, ut pro animabus parentum vestrorum et pro
salute vivorum hanc donationem Sancto Cuthberto, et monachis sibi in
perpetuam servituris concedatis.

This historian deduces the Crawfurds from the above Thorlongus, in the
following order of succession:--

I. Thorlongus, who has charters as above in the reign of King Edgar
(_inter_ 1097 _et_ 1107), and whose seal in the first is quite entire,
had two sons; 1. Swane; 2. William, whose name appears in a charter by
William de Vetereponte, in the archives of Durham.

II. Swane, son of Thorlongus, whose name appears in several charters of
the same age, as in one by king Edgar to the monastery of Coldingham,
of the lands of Swinton; also in one of the reign of David I., as
possessing the Fishery at Fiswick, near Berwick, and others in these

III. Galfredus, son of Swane, also mentioned in these archives. He is
stated by Crawford to have had two sons; 1. Hugh, the next in this
line; 2. Reginaldus, of whom afterwards.

IV. Hugh, the eldest son of Galfredus, from whom came the Crawfords of
Crawford proper, as under.

V. Galfredus de Crawford, who is a witness to a charter of Roger,
Bishop of St Andrew’s, to the monastery of Kelso, in 1179, and died
about 1202.

VI. Reginald de Crawford, probably his son, is witness to a charter
of Richard le Bard to the same monastery, together with William, John
and Adam, his sons, in 1228. Of the first and third no other memorial
exists. The second,

VII. Sir John Crawfurd, his successor, is designated, _Dominus de eodem
miles_, in several donations. He died without male issue in 1248,
leaving two daughters, of whom the eldest was married to Archibald de
Douglas, ancestor of all the Douglases whose descent can be traced; and
the youngest was married to David de Lindsay of Wauchopedale, ancestor
of all the Lindsays in Scotland.

The last three are extracted from _Wood’s Peerage_, under the title
_Crawford_; and the authorities are stated on the margin. That these
ladies, the daughters of Sir John Crawfurd, were descended from Hugh,
No. IV., is distinctly mentioned by _Crawfurd_, in the MS. History of
the Crawfurds, as above. To return now to the second son of Galfredus,
No. III.

_Crawfurd_ further states, that Galfredus, No. III., as above, besides
Hugh, had another son,

IV. Reginald, with whom another portion of the barony of Craufurd
remained, and that from him descended his son,

V. John; and hence the distinction of this part of the barony into
Crawford-John. This John, he adds, is the first on record that used the
surname of Craufurd from his lands; and he is mentioned as a witness
to a charter by Arnold, Abbot of Kelso, in 1140. In the account of
Craufurd of Auchnames, in Renfrewshire, p. 365, it is stated, that Sir
Gregan Craufurd, ancestor of the Dalmagregan branch of Craufurds, was
a younger brother of Sir John Craufurd of Crawford-John; of course,
he must also have been a son of Reginald, No. IV. This point may
afterwards be more clearly verified. Suffice it here to say, that
this branch diverged into several, as those of Torringzean, Drongan,
Camlarg, Balquhanny, Liffnoris, &c. all either now extinct, or whose
history is very little known. They were distinguished by the stag’s
head in their armorial bearings, in allusion to their common ancestor
Sir Gregan’s having rescued David I. from the attack of a stag which
had unhorsed him. This exploit is said to have taken place near
Edinburgh, in 1127, which date corresponds not unfitly with the era of
his supposed brother, Sir John Craufurd of Crawford-John, who appears
as a witness, as above-mentioned, in 1140.

VI. Dominus Galfredus de Craufurd, is the next stated by Craufurd
the historian, in the succession in this line. He lived in the reign
of Malcolm IV. (_inter_ 1153 et 1165), and in that of his successor
William; and is a frequent witness to the donations of that prince to
the abbacy of Arbroath, particularly in 1179.

VII. Hugh de Craufurd appears to be the next in succession, though it
is more from probable conjecture than from precise evidence, that he is
reported to be the son of the preceding. But that this Hugh was father

VIII. Sir Reginald de Craufurd, sheriff of Ayrshire, Crawfurd has no
hesitation in affirming. This Sir Reginald, about the beginning of the
13th century, married the heiress of Loudoun, and from him all the
Crawfurds of that family, and their numerous cadets, are descended. It
would appear that he had four sons; 1. Hugh; 2. William; 3. John, from
whom is descended the Crawfordland family; and, 4. Adam.

IX. Hugh carried on the line of Loudoun. He had two sons; 1. Hugh; 2.
Reginald, who was the first of Kerse.

X. Hugh, the eldest son, was of Loudoun. He had a son, said to be
ancestor of the Baidland Craufurds, and a daughter, Margaret, who was
married to Sir Malcolm Wallace. She was the mother of the Guardian of
Scotland, Sir William Wallace, from whom the Bailies of Lamington are
maternally descended.--_Robertson’s “Ayrshire Families.”_



Page 201.

As this is one of those portions of our history on which Lord Hailes
has thought proper to be sceptical, the following remarks of the
learned Dr Jamieson[121] on the subject maybe satisfactory to the
reader. With respect to the date, it may, with great propriety, be
fixed about midsummer 1297.

“The story of the destruction of these buildings, and of the immediate
reason of it, is supported by the universal tradition of the country to
this day; and local tradition is often entitled to more regard than is
given to it by the fastidiousness of the learned. Whatever allowances
it may be necessary to make for subsequent exaggeration, it is not
easily conceivable, that an event should be connected with a particular
spot, during a succession of ages, without some foundation.

“Sir D. Dalrymple deems this story ‘inconsistent with probability.’
He objects to it, because it is said, ‘that Wallace, accompanied by
Sir John Graham, Sir John Menteth, and Alexander Scrymgeour, constable
of Dundee, went into the west of Scotland, to chastise the men of
Galloway, who had espoused the part of the Comyns, and of the English;’
and that, ‘_on the 28th August 1298_, they set fire to some granaries
in the neighbourhood of Ayr, and burned the English cantoned in
them.’--Annals, I. 255, N. Here he refers to the relations of Arnold
Blair and to Major, and produces three objections to the narrative. One
of these is, that ‘Comyn, the younger of Badenoch, was the only man
of the name of Comyn who had any interest in Galloway; and he was at
that time of Wallace’s party. The other two are; that ‘Sir John Graham
could have no share in the enterprise, for he was killed at Falkirk,
22d July 1298;’ and that ‘it is not probable that Wallace would have
undertaken such an enterprise immediately after the discomfiture at
Falkirk.’ Although it had been said by mistake, that Graham and Comyn
were present, this could not invalidate the whole relation, for we
often find that leading facts are faithfully narrated in a history,
when there are considerable mistakes as to the persons said to have
been engaged.

“But although our annalist refers both to Major and Blair, it is the
latter only who mentions either the design of the visit paid to the
west of Scotland, or the persons who are said to have been associates
in it. The whole of Sir David’s reasoning rests on the correctness
of a date, and of one given _only_ in the meagre remains ascribed
to Arnold Blair. If his date be accurate, the transaction at Ayr,
whatever it was, must have taken place thirty-seven days afterwards.
Had the learned writer exercised his usual acumen here--had he not been
resolved to throw discredit on this part of the history of Wallace--it
would have been most natural for him to have supposed, that this event
was post-dated by Blair. It seems, indeed, to have been long before
the battle of Falkirk. Blind Harry narrates the former in his Seventh,
the latter in his Eleventh Book. Sir David himself, after pushing the
argument from the date given by Blair as far as possible, virtually
gives it up, and makes the acknowledgment which he ought to have made
before. ‘I believe,’ he says, ‘that this story _took its rise_ from
the pillaging of the English quarters, about the time of the treaty of
Irvine, in 1297, which, as being an incident of little consequence, I
omitted in the course of this history.’ Here he refers to Hemingford,
T. I. p. 123.

“Hemingford says, that ‘many of the Scots and men of Galloway had, in
a hostile manner, made prey of their stores, having slain more than
five hundred men, with women and children.’ Whether he means to say
that this took place at Ayr, or at Irvine, seems doubtful. But here,
I think, we have the nucleus of the story. The _barns_, according to
the diction of Blind Harry, seem to have been merely ‘the English
quarters,’ erected by order of Edward for the accommodation of his
troops. Although denominated _barns_ by the Minstrel, and _horreas_ by
Arnold Blair, both writers seem to have used these terms with great
latitude, as equivalent to what are now called _barracks_. It is rather
surprising, that our learned annalist should view the loss of upwards
of five hundred men, besides women and children, with that of their
property, ‘as an incident of little consequence,’ in a great national

“Major gives nearly the same account as Blair. Speaking of Wallace,
he says, ‘Anglorum insignes viros apud _horrea_ Aerie residentes
de nocte incendit, et qui a voraci flamma euaserunt ejus mucrone
occubuerunt.’--Fol. lxx.

“There is also far more unquestionable evidence as to the cause of
this severe retaliation, than is generally supposed. Lord Hailes has
still quoted Barbour as an historian of undoubted veracity. Speaking of
Crystal of Seton, he says--

    “It wes gret sorow sekyrly,
    That so worthy persoune as he
    Suld on sic maner hangyt be.
    Thusgate endyt his worthynes.
    And off Crauford als Schyr Ranald wes,
    And Schyr Bryce als the Blar,
    _Hangyt in till a berne in Ar_.”

            _The Bruce_, III. 260 v. &c.

“This tallies very well with the account given by the Minstrel.

    “_Four thousand haill that nycht was in till Ayr.
    In gret bernyss, biggyt with out the toun,
    The justice lay, with mony bald barroun._”

            _Wallace_, vii. 334.

“The testimony of the _Complaynt of Scotland_, a well-known national
work, written A. D. 1548, concurs. Speaking of the king of England, the
writer says:

“Ony of you that consentis til his fals conques of your cuntre, ye
sal be recompenssit as your forbears var at the blac perliament at
_the bernis of Ayre_, quhen kyng Eduard maid ane conuocatione of al
the nobillis of Scotland at the toune of Ayre, vndir culour of faitht
and concord, quha comperit at his instance, nocht heffand suspitione
of his tresonabil consait. Than thai beand in his subiectione vndir
culour of familiarite, he gart hang, cruelly and dishonestly, to
the nummer of sexten scoir of the maist nobillis of the cuntre, tua
and tua, ouer ane balk, the quhilk sextene scoir var cause that the
Inglismen conquest sa far vithtin your cuntre.”--_Compl. Scotl._ p. 144.

“The author refers to this as a fact universally acknowledged among his
countrymen, although, it must be recollected, no edition of the Life
of Wallace was printed for more than twenty years after this work was
written. He introduces it again, as a proof of treachery and cruelty,
which still continued to excite national feeling.

“Doubtles thai that ar participant of the cruel inuasione of Inglismen
contrar thar natyue cuntraye, ther cragges sal be put in ane mair
strait yoik nor the Samnetes did to the Romans, as Kyng Eduard did til
Scottis men at the blac parlament at _the bernis of Ayr_, quhen he gart
put the craggis of sexten scoir in faldomis of cordis, tua and tua,
ouer ane balk, of the maist principal of them,” &c.--_Ibid._ p. 159,



Page 205.

For the following biographical notice of this ecclesiastical warrior,
who, in ambition, power, and talents for political intrigue, may justly
be considered as the Cardinal Wolsey of his day, we are indebted to a
work of Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Esq., a name sufficient to recommend
it to all who have any taste for antiquarian research.

“Of the period of Bek’s birth we have no precise information. He was
a younger son of Walter Bek, Baron of Eresby; and in the 54th Henry
III. 1270, was signed with the cross on going to the Holy Land with
Prince Edward,[122] who nominated him one of the executors of his will,
which was dated at Acre in June 1272.[123] In 3rd Edward I. 1275, being
then a clerk, he was appointed Constable of the Tower of London;[124]
and was constituted Archdeacon of Durham as early as 1273.[125]
He was present in the Parliament at Westminster at the feast of St
Michael, 6th Edward I. 1278, when the King of Scotland did homage to
Edward;[126] and on the 9th July 1283, was elected Bishop of Durham.
The ceremony of his consecration was performed by the Archbishop of
York, in the presence of the King, on the 9th of January following;
but at his enthronization at Durham on Christmas eve, a dispute arose
between the official of the Archbishop of York and the Prior of Durham,
as to the right of performing the office, which the bishop-elect
terminated, by receiving the mitre from the hands of his brother,
Thomas Bek, Bishop of St David’s. On the festival of St John the
Evangelist, he presented the church with two pieces of rich embroidery,
wrought with the history of the Nativity.

“It is impossible to state even the principal occasions on which
Bishop Bek was conspicuous; it being perhaps sufficient to observe,
that scarcely a single event of any importance took place during the
reign of Edward the First, whether of war or diplomacy, but in which
he was concerned. Several facts might be mentioned which tend to
prove the influence that he at one time possessed over the mind of
his sovereign. According to Fordun, it was by his advice that Edward
supported the claim of Baliol instead of that of Bruce,[127] in
the competition for the crown of Scotland; and he was frequently a
mediator, not only between the King and his barons, but between his
Majesty and his children. The Prelate’s ambition was equal to his
resources; and both were evinced by the splendour of his equipage,
and the number of his followers. If his biographer,[128] from whom
Mr Surtees has derived a great part of his statements, may be
believed, the retinue with which he attended the King in his wars
amounted to twenty-six standard-bearers of his household;[129] one
hundred and forty knights, and five hundred horse; and one thousand
foot marched under the consecrated banner of St Cuthbert, which was
borne by Henry de Horncestre, a monk of Durham. The Bishop’s wealth
and power soon, however, excited the suspicion of the King; and the
process of ‘quo warranto’ was applied, with the view of reducing
them. His temporalities were seized, but he recovered them after
an appeal to Parliament; and his palatine rights were confirmed in
the most ample manner by the Justices Itinerant in 1293. From the
proceedings in Parliament in the 21st Edward I., it seems, that on
the Wednesday before the feast of St James the Apostle, in the 20th
Edward I., namely, on the 23d July 1292, at Derlyngton, and afterwards
at Alverton, and other places, the Archbishop of York had formerly
excommunicated the Bishop of Durham, he being then engaged in the
King’s service in the North; for which offence the Archbishop was
imprisoned, but pardoned on paying a fine of 4000 merks.[130] Bek’s
frequent quarrels with the Prior of Durham, whom he had of his own
authority deprived and ejected, soon afforded a pretext for the royal
interference; and a formidable attack was afterwards made upon his
possessions. About the same time he espoused the popular cause by
joining the Earl Marshal and the Earl of Hereford against the crown;
and when charged by the King with deserting his interests, he boldly
replied, ‘That the Earls laboured for the advantage and honour of the
sovereign and his realm, and therefore he stood with them, and not with
the King, against them.’ In the meanwhile he obeyed a second citation
to Rome, for having deprived the Prior, where he appeared with his
usual magnificence, and triumphed over his adversaries, by obtaining
from the Pontiff a confirmation of his visitorial superiority over the
convent. By quitting the realm without license, he exposed himself to
the enmity of the crown; and his vassals availed themselves of his
absence to urge their complaints. The Palatinate was seized into the
King’s hands; and, in July 1301, the temporalities of the see were
committed to the custody of Robert de Clifford. In the parliament in
the following year, having effected a reconciliation with his vassals,
and submitted to the King, the bishop obtained a restitution of his
temporalities. But Bek’s intractable spirit soon involved him in fresh
disputes with the Prior; and being accused of having infringed on the
dignity of the crown, by some instruments which he had obtained from
Rome, his temporalities were, in December 1305, once more seized; and
the King seems to have used every exertion, not only to humiliate the
haughty prelate, but to divest his see of some part of its extensive
territories. From this time until Edward’s demise, he continued under
the royal displeasure; but no sooner was Edward the Second on the
throne, than he added to his power and titles, by procuring the dignity
of King of the Isle of Man, together with ample restitution of what had
been arrested from him by the late monarch.

“It is here, however, necessary to refer to the notice of the Bishop in
the poem.” (See Siege of Carlaverock). Mr Surtees has evidently adopted
the translation given of it in the ‘Antiquarian Repertory,’ where the
words ‘uns plaitz’ are rendered ‘a wound,’ as he says, ‘the Bishop of
Durham is described in the roll of Carlaverock, as being absent from
the siege on account of a wound; whereas the passage is presumed to
have meant, that the Bishop was detained in England in consequence of
a treaty on some other public transaction. It appears that he then
sent the King one hundred and sixty men-at-arms; and at the battle of
Falkirk, he is stated to have led the second division of the English
army with thirty-nine banners.[131] In the 35th Edward I., being sent
to Rome with other Bishops and the Earl of Lincoln, to present some
vessels of gold to the Pope from the King, his Holiness conferred on
him the title of Patriarch of Jerusalem.[132] Thus, Mr Surtees remarks,
on receiving the sovereignty of the Isle of Man, ‘his haughty spirit
was gratified by the accumulated dignities of Bishop, Count Palatine,
Patriarch and King.’ The last political transaction of his life was his
union with the Earl of Lancaster, against Piers de Gaveston, in 1310;
and, on the 3d of March following, 1310-11, he expired at his manor of
Eltham in Kent.

The character of Anthony Bek is given with more elegance than truth in
the Poem. ‘The mirror of Christianity’ is an emphatic allusion to his
piety and virtue; and his wisdom, eloquence, temperance, justice and
chastity, are as forcibly pointed out, as the total absence of pride,
covetousness and envy, for which he is said to have been distinguished.
But this is rather a brilliant painting, than a true portrait; for, if
all the other qualities which are there ascribed to him be conceded, it
is impossible to consider that humility formed any part of his merits.
His latest biographer, Mr Surtees, has however described him with so
much discrimination and elegance, that his words are transferred to
these pages, because they form the most appropriate conclusion of this
sketch, and powerfully tend to redeem its many imperfections.

“‘The Palatine power reached its highest elevation under the splendid
pontificate of Anthony Bek. Surrounded by his officers of state, or
marching at the head of his troops, in peace or in war, he appeared as
the military chief of a powerful and independent franchise. The court
of Durham exhibited all the appendages of royalty; nobles addressed
the Palatine sovereign kneeling; and, instead of menial servants,
knights waited in his presence-chamber and at his table, bare-headed
and standing. Impatient of control, whilst he asserted an oppressive
superiority over the convent, and trampled on the rights of his
vassals, he jealously guarded his own Palatine franchise, and resisted
the encroachments of the crown when they trenched on the privileges of
the aristocracy.[133] When his pride or his patriotism had provoked
the displeasure of his sovereign, he met the storm with firmness; and
had the fortune or the address to emerge from disgrace and difficulty,
with added rank and influence. His high birth gave him a natural
claim to power; and he possessed every popular and splendid quality
which could command obedience, or excite admiration. His courage and
constancy were shown in the service of his sovereign. His liberality
knew no bounds; and he regarded no expense, however enormous, when
placed in competition with any object of pleasure or magnificence.[134]
Yet, in the midst of apparent profusion, he was too prudent ever to
feel the embarrassment of want. Surrounded by habitual luxury, his
personal temperance was as strict as it was singular; and his chastity
was exemplary, in an age of general corruption.[135] Not less an enemy
to sloth[136] than to intemperance, his leisure was devoted either to
splendid progresses[137] from one manor to another, or to the sports of
the field; and his activity and temperance preserved his faculties of
mind and body vigorous, under the approach of age and infirmity.

“‘In the munificence of his public works he rivalled the greatest
of his predecessors. Within the bishopric of Durham he founded the
colleges of Chester and Lanchester, erected towers at Gainford and
Coniscliff, and added to the buildings of Alnwick and Barnard Castles.
He gave Evenwood manor to the convent, and appropriated the vicarage
of Morpeth to the chapel which he had founded at Auckland.[138] In his
native county of Lincoln, he endowed Alvingham priory, and built a
castle at Somerton.[139] In Kent he erected the beautiful manor-house
of Eltham whose ruins still speak the taste and magnificence of its
founder. Notwithstanding the vast expenses incurred in these and
other works, in his contests with the crown and with his vassals, in
his foreign journeys, and in the continued and excessive charges of
his household, he died wealthier than any of his predecessors, leaving
immense treasures in the riches of the age; gallant horses, costly
robes, rich furniture, plate and jewels.’[140]

“Anthony Bek was the first prelate of Durham who was buried within
the walls of the cathedral. His predecessors had been restrained from
sepulture within the sacred edifice by a reverential awe for the body
of the holy confessor;[141] and on this occasion, from some motive of
superstition, the corpse was not allowed to enter the doors, although
a passage was broken through the wall[142] for its reception, near the
place of interment. The tomb was placed in the east transept, between
the altars of St Adrian and St Michael, close to the holy shrine. A
brass, long since destroyed, surrounded the ledge of the marble, and
bore the following inscription:

    “Presul magnanimus Antonius hic jacet imus
    Jerusalem strenuus Patriarcha fuit, quod opimus
    Annis vicenis regnabit sex et j plenis
    Mille trecentenis Christo moritur quoque denis.”

“The Bishop’s heirs were found, by the inquisition held after his
decease, to be his nephew, Robert de Willoughby, son of Alice his
eldest sister; and his nephew John de Harcourt, son of his second
sister Margaret.”



Page 216.

In this account of the expedition to Loch-Awe, the statements, as the
reader will perceive, are all taken from the pages of the Minstrel.
The writer was induced to do so, not from the circumstance of Henry
being the only ancient author who has recorded the transaction, but
from the evidence of its truth, which may be found in the traditions
of the country where the conflict took place. These have already been
alluded to in the Introduction. It may not, however, be improper to
state, that “_Uagh Mhac Phadan_,” or M’Fadyan’s cave, can still be
pointed out by old Highlanders, who add, on the authority of tradition,
that the determination with which the Irish leader defended himself
was such, that his pursuers had to throw down bundles of burning furze
into the cave before he surrendered. The rock on which his head was
afterwards set up, still goes by the name of _Beinnean Mhac Phadan_,
the _Peak or Pinnacle of MacFadyan_. In short, the localities of the
country are so correctly described, particularly the scene of the
battle, which appears to have been on the comparatively open space
between _Crag-an-àradh_ and the rock of _Bradhir_ or _Brandir_, as it
is called, for the convenience of the English reader, that few who have
had an opportunity of contrasting the scenery with the account of the
Minstrel, can resist the impression of its being either the work, or
translated from the work, of an eyewitness. This, taken in connection
with the evidence afforded by the coins of Edward I., which from time
to time have been found about the ruins of Ardchattan priory, and which
have also been previously adverted to in the “Introduction,” ought to
be pretty conclusive as to the occurrence narrated.

This subject has already engaged the attention of a literary
gentleman[143] of talent and intelligence, who has handled the matter
with no small degree of acumen. The following extracts may therefore
be interesting to those readers who have not had opportunities for
personal investigation.

“Blind Harrie has very particularly related the circumstances of
MacPhadian’s proceedings; and his account so exactly coincides with the
tradition and topography of the district where the facts are said to
have been performed, that there can be little or no doubt of the truth
of his narration.

“Loch-Awe, upon the banks of which the scene of action took place, is
thirty-four miles in length. The north side is bounded by wide muirs
and inconsiderable hills, which occupy an extent of country from twelve
to twenty miles in breadth, and the whole of this space is enclosed as
by a circumvallation. Upon the north it is barred by Loch-Eitive, on
the south by Loch-Awe, and on the east by the deep and dreadful pass
of Brandir, through which an arm of the latter lake opens at about
four miles from its eastern extremity, and discharges the river Awe
into the former. The pass is about three miles in length; its east
side is bounded by the almost inaccessible steeps which form the base
of the vast and rugged mountain of Cruächan. The craigs rise in some
places almost perpendicularly from the water; and, for their chief
extent, show no space nor level at their feet, but a rough and narrow
edge of stony beach. Upon the whole of these cliffs grew a thick and
interwoven wood of all kinds of trees, both timber, dwarf, and coppice;
no track existed through the wilderness, but a winding path which
sometimes crept along the precipitous height, and sometimes descended
in a straight pass along the margin of the water. Near the extremity
of the defile, a narrow level opened between the water and the craig;
but a great part of this, as well as the preceding steeps, was formerly
enveloped in a thicket, which showed little facility to the feet of any
but the martins and the wild cats. Along the west side of the pass,
lies a wall of sheer and barren craigs: from behind they rise in rough,
uneven, and heathy declivities, out of the wide muir before mentioned,
between Loch-Eitive and Loch-Awe; but in front they terminate abruptly
in the most frightful precipices, which form the whole side of the
pass, and descend at one fall into the water which fills its trough. At
the north end of this barrier, and at the termination of the pass, lies
that part of the cliff which is called Craiganuni: at its foot the arm
of the lake gradually contracts its water to a very narrow space, and
at length terminates at two rocks (called the rocks of Brandir), which
form a straight channel, something resembling the lock of a canal. From
this outlet there is a continual descent toward Loch-Eitive, and from
hence the river Awe pours out its current in a furious stream, foaming
over a bed broken with holes, and cumbered with masses of granite and

“If ever there was a bridge near Craiganuni in ancient times, it
must have been at the rocks of Brandir. From the days of Wallace to
those of General Wade, there were never passages of this kind; but in
places of great necessity, too narrow for a boat, and too wide for a
leap, even then they were but an unsafe footway, formed of the trunk
of trees, placed transversely from rock to rock, unstripped of their
bark, and destitute of either plank or rail. For such a structure
there is no place in the neighbourhood of Craiganuni, but at the
rocks above-mentioned. In the lake, and on the river, the water is
far too wide; but, at the strait, the space is not greater than might
be crossed by a tall mountain pine, and the rocks on either side are
formed by nature like a pier. That this point was always a place of
passage, is rendered probable by its facility, and the use of recent
times. It is not long since it was the common gate of the country on
either side the river and the pass. The mode of crossing is yet in the
memory of people living, and was performed by a little currach moored
on either side the water, and a stout coble fixed across the stream
from bank to bank, by which the passengers drew themselves across,
in the manner still practised in places of the same nature. It is
no argument against the existence of a bridge in former times, that
the above method only existed in ours, rather than a passage of that
kind which might seem the more improved expedient. The contradiction
is sufficiently accounted for, by the decay of timber in the
neighbourhood. Of old, both oaks and firs of an immense size abounded
within a very inconsiderable distance; but it is now many years since
the destruction of the forests of Glen-Eitive and Glen-Urcha has
deprived the country of all the trees of a sufficient size to cross
the strait of Brandir; and it is probable, that the currach was not
introduced till the want of timber had disenabled the inhabitants of
the country from maintaining a bridge. It only further remains to be
noticed, that at some distance below the rock of Brandir there was
formerly a ford, which was used for cattle in the memory of people yet
living. From the narrowness of the passage, the force of the stream,
and the broken bed of the river, it was, however, a dangerous pass, and
could only be attempted with safety at leisure, and by experience.

“Such is the topography of the country in which, tradition says, that
Sir Niel Campbell made his retreat and refuge. It now remains to show,
what correspondence there is between its features, and the relation
given by Blind Harrie. The words of the Minstrel are as follows:

    “Ye knycht Cambell maid gud defens for yi
    Till _Craigunyn_ with thre hunder he zeid,
    Yat strenth he held for all his[144] cruel deed,
    Syne brak ye _bryg_ quhar yai mycht not out pass
    Bot throuch a _furd_ quhar narow passage was
    Abandounly Cambell agayne yaim baid
    Fast upon _Avis_ yat was bathe deep and braid,
    Makfadzan was apon ye toyir syd,
    And yar on force behuffyt hym for to byd,
    For at ye furd _he durst nocht_ entir out,
    For gud Cambell mycht _set hym yan in dout_,
    Mak Fadzane socht, and a small passage fond
    Had he lasar he mycht pass off yat land
    Betwix a roch and ye gret wattir syd
    Bot four in frount na ma mycht gang or ryd.”

            Book vii. Chap. iv. (Edin. Edit. 1758.)

The correspondence between the above description and the account which
I have before given of the topography of the Pass of Brandir, must be
evident to every examiner. But the identity of that place and the one
mentioned in the poem, is confirmed to a degree of certainty; first,
by the fact, that such a correspondence can be found in no other part
of the neighbouring districts; and, secondly, by the mention which is
made in the description of the poem, of names which _now_ exist in the
appellation of the place to which it is supposed to apply. ‘Avis’ is
well known to have been the ancient name of Loch Awe,[145] and is often
met with in old poems which make mention of that lake; and Cragunyn
is clearly but a mis-spelling of ‘Craiganuni,’ the name of the rocks
at the extremity of the Pass of Brandir. The error is merely owing to
the ignorance of the transcribers of the poem, who did not understand
Gaëlic orthography. Except by persons very competently masters of the
language of the country, there is scarcely a name in the Highlands more
correctly written at the present day.

“It is easy to show the solitude of the correspondence between Blind
Harry’s description of the position of Sir Niel, and the topography of
the Pass of Brandir. In the eighth line of the passage above quoted,
it is said, that when the Campbell had gained the craig to which he
retreated, he ‘baid’ (abode) fast upon Loch-Avis. From whence it is
plain, that this post was immediately above the shore of Loch-Awe. In
the brief notices of MacPhadian’s situation at the same period, it is
equally evident, that he was entangled in a narrow and dangerous pass,
bounded on one side by rocks, and on the other side by the lake. It is
expressly said that he was on the opposite side from the Campbells. The
water was then between them, and yet their positions were communicable
by a bridge and a ford. In the whole sixty-eight miles, which form the
circuit of Loch-Awe, there is not a spot where these circumstances
could have existed except in the Pass of Brandir. On no part of the
shore is there a pass of the nature and difficulty implied in Blind
Harry’s notices of MacPhadian’s embarrassment except there. Neither
is there any part of the lake which could be interposed between two
bodies of men, and yet rendered evadable by a bridge, except the arm
which terminates in the river Awe. In all other places the water is
from one to three miles wide, and does not contract into any stream
or inlet which could prolong its barrier sufficiently to prevent it
from being turned, and yet admit of its being evaded by a passage
of the nature above mentioned. But in the Pass of Brandir all these
particulars are identically to be traced. The narrowing of the lake to
an inconsiderable channel, and its prolongation into the river Awe, by
which the former might be interposed as a barrier, and yet evaded by
an immediate crossing; the bridge mentioned by Blind Harry as having
existed at the foot of Craigunyn, and the probability that one formerly
did exist in the corresponding spot of Craiganuni; the ford described
as having been the only remaining communication in the separating
water, its dangerous character, and the actual being of a pass of the
same nature, and the same relative position in the water of Awe, all
give the strongest evidence of the truth of the Minstrel’s relation,
and the application of the scene which he has described. Having then
established so much from the circumstances of the poem and the nature
of the country, we may draw a clear deduction of the proceedings and
motives of Sir Neil Campbell previous to his entering Craiganuni.

“Allowing that this spot was the place to which that chief retreated
from MacPhadian, it follows as a necessary consequence, from the
situation of the latter at the breaking of the bridge, that he must
have made his pursuit round the east end of Loch-Awe; and it will very
clearly appear, that he could not have chosen this direction, had
he not been enticed into it by a similar route in the flight of the
Campbell. The proof that MacPhadian did take the direction which I
have advanced, is sufficiently decisive. We are expressly told, that
when Sir Neil had gained Craiganuni, he was stopped in his pursuit
on the opposite, or _east_ side of the water beneath. Now, as he
possessed no vessels on Loch-Awe, he could not have gained this side
of the arm of the water which runs under Craiganuni, had he not come
to it by encircling the east end of the whole lake, which is only
four miles distant. The conviction of this fact leads decisively to
discover the march of Sir Neil. It is perfectly evident that he must
have entered the heights from the same side as that on which it is
apparent MacPhadian endeavoured to follow him; for, had he proceeded
to Craiganuni by the west end of the lake, or crossed the water any
where west of the Pass of Brandir, his enemy could have had no motive
in taking the eastern route. In the first instance, he would have
marched in an opposite direction to those whom he was pursuing; and
in the second, he would have taken a road, which, allowing it might
have been the shortest, would have placed between him and his enemy an
impassable barrier, and have entangled him in a strait and dangerous
labyrinth, where his numbers would have become useless, his attacks
impracticable, and his retreat dangerous. Among such difficulties,
it is not to be supposed that MacPhadian would voluntarily and
unnecessarily have hazarded his success and his safety; he could only,
therefore, have been enticed into them, by the allurement of pursuing
upon the footsteps of his enemies. The proceedings of Sir Neil are thus
reduced to a degree of certainty, and leave no alternative from the
circumstances which I have pointed out.

“He observed, that entered from the east, and having his enemy on
that side, Craiganuni was the most inaccessible and advantageous hold
in all Argyleshire; but that entered and attacked from the opposite
direction, all the securities of the place were converted into dangers.
Placed then on this quarter, it was only by a stratagem that he could
win the desired advantage; and in prosecution of its attainment, he
adopted the only plan which could have been unforeseen by his enemy,
and carried into execution with a certainty of success. At the approach
of MacPhadian into Nether Loch-Awe, he fled before him along the south
side, and towards the east end of the lake. Drawn after him by the
consciousness of superiority, and the facility of the pursuit, the
Irish Captain followed him with no thought but the eagerness of capture.

“The advantage, however, of Sir Neil in point of time, was sufficient
to prevent him from falling into his hands in the open district from
Inch-Connel to Glen-Urcha; and suddenly turning the head of the lake,
and circling towards the west, he dived down the Pass of Brandir,
crossed the water, broke down the bridge, ascended the height, and
threw between him and his pursuers, the craigs, the rivers, and the
lakes. It was then that the plan of the chief was seen in all its

“Had he passed round the west end of the lake, or crossed it westward
of the Pass of Brandir, he would have entered that wide and open
country which I have before described,--a country every where
untenable, and so surrounded by natural barriers, that it would have
been almost impossible for him to have evacuated it under the closeness
of his pursuit. Craiganuni, which had been before him, would have been
not only totally unserviceable to him, from the direction in which he
entered; but its barriers, lying wholly in his rear, would have made
it the most dangerous situation. Had he been beset in the moors, the
multitude of his enemies had devoured him; had he been overtaken at the
craig, his flight would have been cut off by the gulf below; and those
who had fled from the sword would have been driven over the precipices,
and plunged into the water. Had he escaped these alternatives of ruin,
every hardship would have been presented to his retreat. The country
round the pass was wild and barren, even to horror and desolation; and
had he succeeded in gaining it with security, he must have pursued
his flight, hopeless of reinforcement and straitened for subsistence.
By the tactic upon which he acted, he not only avoided all the evils,
but converted the whole of their disadvantages to the inconvenience
of his enemy. The instant he had occupied Craiganuni, and broken
down the bridge over the mouth of the river, he was inaccessible on
every side, and possessed in his rear a tract of nearly three hundred
square miles, wholly open to his operations, but secured from his
enemies by the same barriers which rendered himself unapproachable.
In front, the depth of the water, and the precipices of the pass,
were an insurmountable barrier; on the north, Loch-Eitive continued
the line of circumvallation from the sea to Beann Starabh; and on the
south it was extended by Loch-Awe from Lorn to Glen-Urcha. Sir Niel
was thus encompassed by a formidable barrier of seventy-three miles in
circumference; and from the obstacles of this cordon, and the security
of the wide space in his rear, he could at pleasure have evacuated his
position under cover of the night, and have retreated, in unmolested
security, to Loch-Fine, from whence he might have proceeded in his
galleys to the coast of Airshire, and here joined himself with the
successful associates of the late victorious Wallace.

“I have said nothing of the ford through the Awe, by which there
was an approach to the position of Sir Niel, nor of the capability
of MacPhadian, to have passed Loch-Eitive by means of his fleet; of
the first, the enemy feared to avail himself from the danger of the
passage, and the want of discipline among his troops; and from the
second, he could have reaped little avail, since, in the consumption of
time necessary to have brought round these vessels from the sea, Sir
Niel might have abandoned his position, and in one night have made good
his retreat beyond Loch-Awe.

“Thus baffled and out-manœuvred, MacPhadian not only failed in his
object of offence, but found himself drawn into an intricate and
desolate labyrinth, where his multitude encumbered themselves; the want
of subsistence prevented him from remaining to blockade Sir Niel, and
his ignorance of the clues of the place made it difficult to extricate
himself by a retreat. In this exigence he was desirous of returning to
Nether Loch-Awe, where there was abundance of cattle and game for the
support of his men. At length he discovered a passage between the rocks
and the water; the way was only wide enough for four persons to pass
abreast; yet as they were not in danger of pursuit, they retired in
safety, and effected their march to the south side of the lake.[146]

“Here we must leave Mac-Phadian, and return to Duncan of Lorn. In his
youth the latter had been a school-companion of Wallace at Dundee;
and he now determined to resort to him, and make use of their old
acquaintance to prevail on the champion of Scotland to come to the
assistance of Sir Niel Campbell. As soon, therefore, as Mac-Phadian
had evacuated the Pass, Duncan descended from Craiganuni, and pursued
his way for the Low country, attended only by a single follower, named
Gillemichel. This faithful clansman was an aged man, but even in his
age was still famous for an uncommon speed of foot,[147] and on their
return performed good service for his master. When Duncan arrived in
the Low country he found the Wallace at Dundaff, with Sir John the
Græme. The patriot chieftain had just returned from the overthrow of
the English in the Barns of Air and the city of Glasgow; and besides
the friends and forces who had come to him upon those occasions, he
had been joined by Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, and Richard of Lundi, who
brought with them a considerable number of their followers. No sooner
had Wallace heard the tidings of Duncan MacDougall, than he resolved
to go to the aid of Sir Niel Campbell; and, assembling his force, he
instantly set out upon his march. He directed his course by Stirling,
either to gather increase of followers, or apprehensive of leaving
behind him an English garrison on the threshold of the Highlands. The
castle, however, was not a place to be taken in a day; and bent upon
the destruction of Mac-Phadian, Wallace would not delay his march to
pursue the siege in person, but, leaving the Earl of Lennox to carry
on that service, he determined to push forward his expedition into
Argyleshire. Having assembled his forces at the bridge of Stirling,
and found them to amount to two thousand men, ‘worthi and wycht,’ he
hastened forward on his way. Duncan of Lorn acted as his guide; and
while they pursued their march, he sent forward his man Gillemichel to
discover intelligence of the enemy. Blind Harrie proceeds to relate,
that as the army proceeded, it became fatigued with its march, that a
great part of the men and horses were incapable to continue their way
with that speed which the urgency of the expedition required. Upon this
Wallace determined to divide the weary from the strong, and to hasten
forward with the latter only, and surprise the enemy before they could
have the opportunity of choosing a position, where their superiority
of numbers could be displayed to its advantage. For this purpose he
divided his host into two bodies; the first, consisting of seven
hundred men, he chose to haste forward with himself; and the second,
which contained but five hundred, and which was spent with fatigue, he
left in the rear to follow as well as they might. Before they continued
their march Wallace again separated the first division into three
companies; the first, consisting of one hundred men, his own chosen
West country veterans, he led in person as the advance guard; the
second, of the same numbers, he committed to Sir John the Græme; and
the last, to the amount of five hundred, he gave to Richard of Lundi,
with whom he joined Wallace of Richardtown, his cousin. After this
disposition, the two grand divisions separated: that under the leading
of Wallace hastened forward on its march, and, crossing the mountain in
their front, lost sight of their feeble comrades. In Glen-Dochart they
were met by Gillemichel the scout; with him came Sir Niel Campbell,
who had escaped from Craiganuni, and at the head of his three hundred
clansmen had hastened to join the approaching aid of Wallace.

“In this part of Blind Harrie’s poem there is an error, which throws
some confusion upon the traces of the march of Wallace. It appears,
however, to have been the fault of the transcriber or reciter, and I
think may be satisfactorily explained. The mistake consists in the
contradiction of the name of the place where the host of Wallace
began to fail with fatigue, and of that in which it is said, that he
afterwards met Sir Niel Campbell. The words of the poem are thus:--

    “Be our party was passit _Straithfulan_,
    Ye small fute folk began to irk ilk ane.”

            _Book vii._ l. 763.

To which it is subsequently said,

    “In _Glendowchar_ yair spy met yaim agayne,
    With lord Cambell,” &c.

            _Ib._ l. 785.

“Straith-Phillan opens from the _west_ end of Glen-Dochart towards the
_north-west_; and consequently, as Wallace came from the _south-east_,
it must have been the second of the two places in the succession of
his march, and could not, as it stands in the poem, have been the
first. I shall presently show, that there is every evidence from
the narrative of the Minstrel, and the evidence of tradition, that
Wallace did not pass through Straith-Phillan in any part of his
march. The mention of the name, in this place, must therefore have
been an error altogether, arising either from the carelessness of the
transcriber, or from the confusion of two appellations, something
similar in import. I am inclined to lean to the latter opinion. At the
northern extremity of Straithearn, between the Glen and Loch-Earn,
the mountains form a little amphitheatre, in the middle of which
there is a small conical hill, once sacred to St Phillan, and still
called by his name. Near its summit was a holy spring, distinguished
also by the name of the apostle, and at its foot was a small cell of
religious, formed originally by his disciples. It appears to me highly
probable, that Wallace entered the Highlands by Straithearn; that it
was at St Phillan’s Hill that his men became fatigued; and that it was
this place which the reciter or transcriber of Blind Harrie’s poem
confounded with Straith-Phillan. This supposition is much supported by
the correspondence between the circumstances mentioned by the Minstrel,
respecting the march of Wallace, and the route between Straith-Earn and
Glen-Dochart. A few miles north of St Phillan’s Hill, the old and short
track of the country emerges from the level side of Loch-Earn, and,
passing over the transverse mountains at its extremity, enters into
Glen-Dochart, at the foot of Bean Mòr, and near the eastern extremity
of the lake.

“This was the common Pass used of old by the Highlanders, before the
construction of the roads. It is a wild and pathless track, but is
still used by shepherds, and is shorter than the modern ‘Rad mòr an
righ’[148] by some miles. The mention which Blind Harrie makes of the
march of Wallace, after the separation from his weary men, agrees very
much with this path, and its direction:--

    “Yus Wallace ost began to tak ye hycht,
    Our a montayne sone passit off yar sycht.
    In Glendowchar yair spy met yaim agayne
    With lord Cambell, yan was our folk rycht fayne.”

            _Book vii._ l. 783.

“The correspondence is made still more near by the hint which is
given of the spot where the men of Wallace met Sir Niel Campbell. It
appears to have happened immediately upon their entering Glen-Dochart;
and, after having described the meeting of the two parties, when the
Minstrel tells us, that they resumed their march, he says--

    “By Louthdochyr full sodynlye yaim drew.”

            _Ib._ l. 792.

“From this it would appear, that Wallace entered the glen near the
extremity of the lake, and this is the exact point where the mountain
path enters from Loch-Earn.

“From this period of the poem to the conclusion of the episode of
MacPhadian, the relation of the Minstrel is clear and consistent;
and, by the aid of the tradition of the country, the route pursued by
Wallace may be well identified with the localities of its existent
topography. The oral account, handed down in Argyleshire, states, that
at the coming of Wallace, MacPhadian and his host were posted in the
northern extremity of the Pass of Brandir; and that they were there
attacked and overthrown by Sir William and the Campbells. It will
be found, that this account is much confirmed by the correspondence
between the nature of the country from Glen-Dochart to Loch-Awe, and
the particulars of the route described by Blind Harrie, as having
been pursued by Wallace from the latter place to the hold where he
encountered MacPhadian: it is still farther avouched by the exact
conformity between the description of the scene of battle in the
poem, and that marked as its site by the tradition. Immediately after
passing Loch-Dochart, and consequently leaving that glen, the Minstrel
describes the host of Wallace as entering a moss of such an extent and
difficulty, that it prevented the farther march of the horses, and
obliged the men to dismount and pursue their way on foot.

    “Yan Wallace ost upon yair fute yai lycht,
    Yair hors yai left yocht yai war neuir so wycht:
    For moss and crag yai mycht na langer dre
    Yan Wallace said quha gangs best let se.”

            _Book vii._ l. 803.

“A short distance beyond the west end of Glen-Dochart, there is a
high and wide tract of moss and moor, called ‘The Churan Beag,’ which
occupies the most considerable extent of the space between Glen-Dochart
and Glen-Urcha, the entrance to Loch-Awe. It is difficult to conceive a
more desolate spot, nor one which could more correspond with the moss
noticed by Blind Harrie. Its whole extent is a vast waste of swamps,
gullies, and broken peat-bags; and its outlets and entrances are by
rugged and steep declivities, embarrassed with fragments of rocks, and
torn into vast chasms by the torrents which rise on the moss above.
Through this miserable region lies the shortest path from Glen-Dochart
to Glen-Urcha; and though impassable for horses, yet, in the olden
time, when these were little used by the Highlanders, it was the most
common thoroughfare between the above-mentioned places, and is still
used, on account of its brevity, by the shepherds of the country, and
foot-travellers who require expedition. It is several miles shorter
than the way by Straith-Phillan and Glen-Lochie; for this reason, and
also for its utter solitude, it is highly probable that it should
have been the route chosen by Wallace in preference to the other. In
addition to the proofs offered in its favour, by the correspondence of
its features with those of the road mentioned by Blind Harrie, there
is the negative confirmation, that no place of the same nature occurs
within the neighbourhood of Glen-Dochart, in any direction by which
it is probable that the march of Wallace could have been destined.
For this reason, it is, as I have before hinted, impossible that he
could have passed through Straith-Phillan; for in the whole way from
Glen-Dochart to Glen-Urcha by that road, there is neither moss nor
muir, but plain straith and narrow glen. From all these circumstances,
it seems very conclusive, that it was through the moss of ‘the Churan
Beag’ that Wallace took his march, after his junction with Sir Niel
Campbell in Glen-Dochart. But to return to the relation of the Minstrel.

“Previous to the entrance of Wallace upon the muir, he mentions that
Gillemichel had been again sent forward to reconnoitre the route. He
had not been long entered the moss, when he met a scout of MacPhadian,
doubtless sent to discover the approach of Wallace. At the appearance
of Gillemichel, the foeman fled; but his speed was not sufficient to
enable him to outstrip the fleet foot of his pursuer, and he was
overtaken and slain. Delivered from this danger of a discovery, the
host of Wallace effected their march through the Churan in perfect
secrecy, and reached the hold of MacPhadian before their approach
was even known. It may, perhaps, be remarked, that the paucity of
the Minstrel, in his relation of this part of the march of Wallace,
is inconsistent with the description of the country through which
tradition supposes it to have been made; since the poem makes no
mention of the progress of the expedition through the intermediate
space of ten miles, which lies between the Churan and the pass of
Brandir, but, from declaring Wallace’s delivery from the moss,
immediately proceeds to communicate his entrance to the hold, without
taking any notice of his arrival on the shore of Loch-Awe. But it is
to be observed, that, through the whole march of Wallace, it describes
those situations only, the circumstances of which affect the incidents
of the story. The space from the Churan being destitute of any feature
dangerous or advantageous, and the grand interest of the episode being
the hold of MacPhadian, the Minstrel appears to have been absorbed in
that object, and to have passed without regard the intervening way.
This is palpably the fact, by the certain evidence, that, wherever the
post of MacPhadian was situated, there was between its entrance and the
moss passed by Wallace, a space of water which has not been mentioned
by the Minstrel.

       *       *       *       *       *

    “Then Wallace said quha gangs best let se,
    Throuchout ye moss deliverly yai zeid,
    Syne tuk ye hauld quharof yai had maist dreid,
    _Endlong ye schoir_ ay four in front yai past,” &c.

            _Book vii. l._ 806.

“From this notice of the shore, it is here evident that Wallace arrived
on the banks of some water immediately previous to entering the
position of his enemy, and that Blind Harrie has neglected to mention
the circumstance. His omission of the mention of Loch-Awe in his
description of the march of Wallace, is therefore no objection that the
latter was not made in the route affirmed by tradition.

“From the arrival of Wallace in the hold of MacPhadian, the account of
Blind Harrie corresponds entirely with the accounts of the oral record,
and the nature of the pass of Brandir. The place in which the old
people of the country point out the site of the battle, is that narrow
stripe of open space which lies near the northern extremity of the
pass, between the foot of Cruächan and the narrowing of the lake to the
rock of Brandir. The Minstrel coincides with this account.

    “Endlong ye schoir ay four in front yai past,
    _Quhill yai within assemblyt at ye last._”

            _Ib. l._ 810.

“From this narrowness of the column, and the number of Wallace’s men,
the whole host could not have entered within the pass, till the head
had arrived as far as the space before mentioned. The description of
the straitened situation of the position also agrees with the pass of

    “Her is na gait to fle zone pepil can,
    Bot rockis heich and wattir depe and wan.”

            _Book vii. l._ 814.

“As soon as the men of Wallace arrived at the post of their enemies,
they fell upon them with the utmost fury. Their scout having been
slain, as before mentioned, MacPhadian’s followers were completely
surprised and taken at disarray. Undismayed, however, by this ill
fortune, they snatched up their arms, and rushed to defend the pass
with the boldest resolution. At the first onset, the Scots bore back
their enemies over five acres of ground; and Wallace, with his iron
mace, made a fearful havoc among the enemy. Encouraged, however,
by MacPhadian, the Irish came to the rescue; the battle thickened
with more stubborn fury; and for two hours was maintained, with such
obstinate eagerness on both sides, that neither party had any apparent
advantage; and, says the Minstrel, the fiercest found ‘eneuch’ of
fighting. At length the cause, and the valour of Wallace, prevailed.
The Irish gave way and fled; and the Scots of their party threw down
their arms, and, kneeling for mercy, Wallace commanded them to be
spared for their birth sake, but urged forward the pursuit upon the
Irish. Pent in by the rocks and the water, the latter had but little
hope in flight. Many were overtaken and slain as they endeavoured
to climb the craigs; and two thousand were driven into the lake and
drowned. MacPhadian, with fifteen men, fled to a cave, and hoped
to have concealed himself till the pursuit was over; but Duncan of
Lorn having discovered his retreat, pursued and slew him with his
companions; and having cut off the head of the leader, brought it to
Wallace, and set it upon a stone high in one of the craigs, as a trophy
of the victory.”

·.· Before the writer met with the work whence the preceding extract
is made, he entertained the belief that he was the first who had
studied the topography and tradition of this romantic district,
with a view of illustrating the labours of the Minstrel, and hence
bringing into notice a portion of our history hitherto overlooked by
all, save that ill-requited author. Under this impression, he was
arranging the materials he had collected, when he became aware of his
being anticipated by a more able hand. On comparing his notes with
the details of Mr Allan, the similarity of their views appeared too
striking to be supposed accidental; and unwilling to incur the charge
of appropriating to himself the merits of another, he has suppressed
his own observations, in deference to the ingenious author of the
“Bridal of Caölchairn.”




Page 220.

It is presumed the writer will not be far wrong, if he anticipates a
little curiosity on the part of the reader, respecting the personal
history of so conspicuous a character as the conqueror of Dunbar; and
as our English neighbours consider it a matter of difficulty, for a
Scotsman to be impartial when the conduct of an enemy of his country
happens to be the subject of his investigation, we shall, without
either denying or admitting the truth of this allegation, endeavour to
escape from the charge, by giving the following biographical notice in
the elegant language of one of their own countrymen:[149]

“John Earl of Warren and Surrey was the son of William Earl of Warren
and Surrey, by his second wife, Maud, widow of Hugh Bigot, Earl of
Norfolk, and sister and coheiress of Anselm Marshal, Earl of Pembroke.
In 1240, being then five years of age, he succeeded his father in his
dignities. In 1247 he married Alice, daughter of Hugh le Brun, Count
of March, and uterine sister of King Henry the Third; and in the
following year, though he could not have been above thirteen years of
age, he is said to have attended the Parliament which met at London in
the octaves of the Purification. During the reign of Henry the Third,
he is stated to have filled those stations which, from his high rank,
naturally devolved upon him, and at the battle of Lewes he served in
the van of the royal army with Prince Edward; but, together with the
Earl of Pembroke, disgracefully deserted him at the commencement of the
action, and fled first to Pevensey Castle, and from thence to France.
Their flight is thus quaintly alluded to by Peter de Langtoft:[150]

    “=The Erle of Warenne, I wote, he scaped over the se,
    And Sir Hugh Bigote als with the Erle fled he.=

“In May following he returned, and claimed the restitution of his
possessions, which, notwithstanding his treachery to the Prince, the
rebellious Barons had declared to have been forfeited. The refusal of
his demand induced him once more to change sides, and he confederated
with the Earl of Gloucester for the restoration of the King’s power,
and was present with the royal forces at the battle of Evesham. Thus
his interest, rather than his honour, seems to have been his sole rule
of action; and unfortunately, such conduct was then far too general to
entail upon those who adopted it either punishment or reproach. In 1268
he had a dispute with Henry Earl of Lincoln; and about the same time
became involved in a serious affray with Alan Lord Zouche, relative to
some lands. This affair was attended with great violence; for, finding
that he must submit to the judgment of a court of law, he abused his
adversary and his son in the strongest terms, and then assaulted them
in such an outrageous manner in Westminster-Hall, that he nearly
killed the baron, and severely wounded his son. Neither his power nor
influence could save the Earl from the vengeance of the laws he had so
flagrantly violated; and, though he retired to his Castle at Ryegate,
he was closely pursued by Prince Edward with a strong force, and,
finding that opposition would be useless, he met the Prince on foot,
and implored the royal clemency with great humility. For his offence he
was fined ten thousand marks; but this sum was afterwards reduced to
eight thousand four hundred, and he was permitted to pay it by annual
instalments of two hundred marks each.

“Immediately after the solemnization of the funeral of Henry the Third
at Westminster, the Earl of Warren and the Earl of Gloucester proceeded
to the high altar, and swore fealty to his son and successor, King
Edward the First. In the 3d Edward I. he received that monarch at his
castle of Ryegate in so honourable a manner, upon his return from
Gascony, that Edward was induced to remit him one thousand marks of the
sum which he had been fined for the affair with Lord le Zouche.

“The next circumstance recorded of the Earl, is one in which that
proud and sturdy spirit for which he was celebrated, was displayed
in a manner so consonant to the feelings of the present day, that
this nobleman has always been a favourite character in English
biography; and the pencil was on one occasion employed to perpetuate
his independent conduct. After the enactment of the statute of _quo
warranto_, the Earl of Warren was, under its provisions, questioned by
what title he held his lands; to which inquiry, first unsheathing an
old sword, he is said to have replied, ‘Behold, my Lords, here is my
warranty. My ancestors coming into this land with William the Bastard,
did obtain their lands by the sword; and with the sword I am resolved
to defend them against whomsoever that shall endeavour to dispossess
me. For that King did not himself conquer the land and subdue it, but
our progenitors were sharers and assistants therein.’

“In the 23d Edward I., the Castle of Bamburgh was intrusted to his
custody; and, in the 24th Edward I., he commanded the forces sent to
reduce Dunbar Castle, which, after a siege of three days, surrendered
to him; and having met the Scotch army which came to its relief, he
defeated them on Friday the 27th April, and pursued them several miles
from the field of battle, when the enemy sustained a loss of 10,000
men. Soon after this event, the Earl was appointed Regent of Scotland;
and in the following year was constituted general of all the English
forces north of the Trent. But his previous good fortune now deserted
him; and his army sustained a signal overthrow at the battle of
Stirling, in September 1297.

“His misfortune did not, however, lessen him in Edward’s esteem, for he
was immediately afterwards reappointed to the command of the English
forces; and, in the 28th Edward I., was made Governor of Hope Castle,
in the county of Derby. In that year, also, he commanded the second
squadron at the siege of Carlaverock, at which time he must have been
about sixty-five years of age.

“In the 29th Edward I., the Earl was appointed, jointly with the Earl
of Warwick and others, to treat with the agents of the King of France,
relative to a peace between England and Scotland; and in the same year
he was a party to the letter from the barons to Pope Boniface VIII., in
which he is only styled “Comes Warenne,” though on his seal he is also
properly called Earl of Surrey.[151] On the 5th calends of October, 32
Edward I., i. e. 27th September 1304, being then, according to Peter de
Langtoft,[152] employed in Scotland, he died.

    “The moneth of September yolden was Strivelyn,
    Edward may remembre the travaille and the pyn.
    With many grete encumbre of in hard stoure,
    At Brustwick opon Humbre there he mad sojoure.
    Sir Jon of Warenne that ilk tyme gan deie,
    His body was redy then in grave for to leie,
    After the enterment the King tok his way,
    To the south,” &c.

“But according to the registry of the Priory of Lewes, the Earl died
that day at Kennington, having, says Dugdale, been Earl of Surrey no
less than fifty-four years; though, as he succeeded his father in 1240,
it is evident he must have borne that title sixty-four years. He was
buried in the midst of the pavement, in the quire of the Abbey of
Lewes, before the high altar, and the following epitaph was engraved
upon his tomb.

    “=Vous qe passez on bouche close.
    Priez pur cely ke cy repose:
    En vie come vous estis jadis fu,
    Et vous tiel serretz come je su.=

    =Sire Johan Count de Gareyn gyst ycy.
    Dieu de sa alme eit mercy:
    Ky pur sa alme priera,
    Trois mill jours de pardon avera.=”

“Of the subject of this article, but little that is favourable to his
memory can be said; though his faults, or more properly his vices,
were those of the age in which he lived. His treachery at the battle
of Lewes has, to apply the beautiful expression of a distinguished
statesman of the present day, ‘left indelible stains upon his
character, which all the laurels of’ Dunbar ‘cannot cover, nor its
blood wash away;’ whilst his subsequent conduct was invariably marked
by a turbulent and intractable spirit. Not only was he frequently
embroiled in disputes both with his compeers and his sovereign, but,
with almost unparalleled hardihood, he dared, in a court of justice,
to use personal violence towards a baron of the realm. That he should
acquire renown in the field, and consequently become possessed of the
King’s esteem, is perfectly consistent with that impetuous temper for
which he is celebrated. Bravery is, however, but one redeeming trait in
a picture, where all besides is dark and repulsive; and even the bold
answer relative to his right to his lands, when properly considered,
affords no room for praise; for the same resolute opposition to such
an inquiry would, there is no doubt, be as readily evinced to defend
any part of his property, if it had been acquired by the most flagrant
injustice on his part, instead of on that of his ancestors.

“A proof of the estimation in which the Earl was held by Edward the
First, is afforded, in Dugdale’s opinion, by the fact, that the King
issued precepts, directed to the Bishops of Canterbury and London, and
to several Abbots, commanding them to cause masses to be said for his
soul; but this testimony of the royal consideration might have arisen
from the near connection between the Earl and his Majesty, as is shown
by the annexed table:--

  King John == Isabel, daughter, and heiress == Hugh le Brun,
            |    of Aymer, Count of          | Count of March,
            |    Angoulesme.                 |   2d husband.
       +----+                            +---+
       |                                 |
  King Henry III. ==                   Alice == John Earl of
                  |                          |    Warren.
       +----------+                          +
  King Edward I.

“By the said Alice le Brun, who died on the 9th February 1291, the
Earl of Warren had issue, William, who died in his father’s lifetime,
leaving his wife _enceinte_ with John, his son and heir, who succeeded
his grandfather in his honours. Alianor, who married, first, Henry
Lord Percy, by whom she had Henry Lord Percy, spoken of in the poem,
(_i.e._ Caerlaverock Castle), as the Earl’s ‘nevou;’ and, secondly,
the son of a Scotch Baron; and Isabel, wife of John Baliol, King of


“If the biographer of an ancient warrior,” says Mr Nicolas, “is in any
degree influenced by that enthusiasm which deeds of chivalrous courage
are calculated to excite, it is only by more than ordinary restraint
upon his feelings that he is enabled to relate them in the sober and
chastened language suitable to historical truth; and, perhaps, in no
instance is that caution so necessary as when any member of the house
of Percy is the subject of his pen. In the age to which Henry de Percy
belonged, as well as in a few succeeding centuries, that name was
synonymous with almost uncontrollable power, impetuous valour, and all
those stern military virtues which characterized the time; and the
difficulty of successfully detailing the career of an individual is
considerably increased, when, as in the case of this Baron, the merits
of his descendants have been sung, not only by rude contemporary bards,
but have been immortalized by the greatest dramatic genius that ever

“Henry de Percy was the third son of Henry Lord Percy, by Eleanor,
daughter of John Earl of Warren and Earl of Surrey, and succeeded
to the barony upon the death of his brother John de Percy, who died
under age soon after the year 1272, at which time he appears to have
been very young. The first circumstance recorded of him is, that, in
the 15th Edward I., being then in ward, on the King’s expedition into
Wales, he was acquitted of 120_l._ required from him for scutage. In
the 22d Edward I. 1294, he made proof of his age, obtained livery of
his lands, and was summoned to attend the King into Gascony; and in
March 1296, having accompanied Edward in his invasion of Scotland, he
received the honour of knighthood before Berwick. He was present at
the battle of Dunbar, and was soon afterwards appointed Governor of
Galloway and Aire in Scotland; and in 1297, being with Lord Robert
Clifford, commander for the King of England in the eastern parts of
Scotland, they were appointed to receive Margery, daughter of Robert
Brus Earl of Carreck, as an hostage for his fidelity to Edward. About
the same time he was sent by the Earl Warren, then General of all
the English army beyond the Trent, with the forces at Carlisle into
Scotland; and having entered Annandale with 300 men-at-arms, and 40,000
foot, about the 10th August he proceeded to Aire, where he endeavoured
to persuade the inhabitants of Galloway to submit. Finding that a
party of Scots were on their route to oppose him, he marched towards
them; but from the inferiority of their numbers, they surrendered upon
condition of being pardoned.

“In the 26th Edward I., Lord Percy was again in the wars of Scotland,
in which year he obtained a grant of the lands forfeited by Ingelrom
de Umfreville; and in the following year he was present at the
siege of Carlaverock--a fact unnoticed by either of the writers just
mentioned--when he must have been about forty-two years of age. The
poet alludes to his determined hostility against the Scots, which
feeling appears to have been inherited by his descendants, and
describes him as the ‘nevou’ of the Earl Warren, which, like the word
‘nepos,’ seems to have been used for grandson as well as nephew, he
being the son of Eleanor, the daughter of that nobleman. In February,
28th Edward I., 1301, he was a party to the letter from the Barons to
Pope Boniface, wherein he is styled ‘Lord of Topclive;’ and in the
34th Edward I., was again sent into Scotland, to oppose Robert Bruce,
against whom he valiantly defended Kenteir. In the 35th Edward I., he
was a party to the treaty of peace with Scotland.

“On the accession of Edward the Second, he was, in common with
the other peers of the realm, summoned to attend that monarch’s
coronation; and in the 3d Edward II., he purchased the celebrated
castle of Alnwick, which is now possessed by his representative the
Duke of Northumberland. In the 5th Edward II., he succeeded John de
Segrave, as Constable of Nottingham Castle, and Justice of the Forests
beyond the Trent, and about the same period was constituted Governor
of Scarborough and Bamburgh Castles. From a writ tested on the 14th
September, 1309, it appears that he was then Constable of the Castle of
York, and in that and the preceding years he was again in the wars of

“Lord Percy distinguished himself by his enmity to Piers de Gaveston,
and it is perhaps just to consider that his hostility arose from
patriotic motives; but there is a suspicion attached to his behaviour
towards the unhappy favourite, which the biassed historian of the house
of Percy has rather increased than lessened, by his laboured attempt
to remove. It appears that Gaveston was besieged in Scarborough Castle
by the Earl of Pembroke; that he surrendered upon condition that his
life and person should be secured; and that both the Earl and Percy
solemnly pledged themselves to that effect. Through a false reliance,
however, on the Earl’s honour, by Percy, as Collins relates it, the
promise was speedily broken, and Gaveston perished on the scaffold
at Warwick Castle. This is a version of the tale, which so partial a
biographer as that writer uniformly shows himself, would naturally
give; but although the impossibility of ascertaining the real merits
of the case render it unjust to pass a positive censure upon Percy’s
conduct, it is at least equally unfair to conclude that the whole shame
of the transaction belongs to his colleague, and that his only error
arose from a misplaced confidence. Certain, however, it is, that the
King considered him guilty of Gaveston’s death, for he issued special
precepts, tested on the 30th and 31st July, 1312, for his apprehension,
and for the siezure of all his lands, tenements, and chattels. Towards
the end of that year, however, Percy was included in the treaty between
the King and the barons; and on making his submission his offence was
pardoned, and his lands restored to him. The acquittance of the King to
Thomas Earl of Lancaster, Guy Earl of Warwick, Robert de Clifford, and
this Baron, of the jewels and horses that belonged to Gaveston, dated
on the 6th February, 1313, 6. Edw. II., by which he acknowledges to
have received from them the articles therein mentioned, by the hands of
Humphrey Earl of Hereford, is still preserved. The document is highly
curious; and with the hope of relieving the dullness of this memoir,
the following interesting extracts from it are introduced:

  ‘Un anel d’or, od un saphir, lequel seint Dunstan forga de ses

  Une boiste d’argent en d’orrez pur porter eynz un anel entour le
    col de un homme.

  Une grant rubi hors d’or, que fust trove sur sire Piers de Gavaston
    quant il fust pris; le pris de mille livres.

  Trois granz rubis en aneaux, une amiraude, un diamaund de grant
    pris, en une boiste d’argent enamille, que fust trove sur le dit
    Pierres quant il fust pris.

  Deux seaux un grant e un petit; e un petit seal une clief
    pendaunte, un esterling plie, et un calcedoyne; les queux furent
    trovez en la burse quant il fuit pris.

  En un cofre, lie de feer, une mirour d’argent enamaille; un pigne;
    un priket, que fust donné au Roi par la Countesse de Bar à Gant.

  Un coronal d’or od diverse perie, pris de cent mars.

  Un chapelet d’argent garnis de diverse perie, pris de doze soutz.

  En un autre cofre, un grant pot d’argent od trois peiz pur chaufer
    eawe, que poise sis livres quinze soutz dis deners.

  Trois plates d’argent por especierie, e poisent quatre livres.

  Deux plates d’argent pur fruit, des armes de roy d’Engleterre, que
    poisent sessant dis oit souz quatre deners.

  Une burse de drap d’or ove deux pierres de Jerlm’ dedenz.

  Un mors d’argent od quatre botons d’orrez, od deux lions pur chaq’e
    de cuir.

  Un veil seal entaille, e un pere de Calcedoine. Trois furchesces
    d’argent pur mangier poires.

  Une ceinture de fil de argent blank.

  Une chapelet de Paris, pris de sis souz oit deners.

  En un sak un bacenet burny od surcils.

  En autre saak une peire de treppes des armes de dit Pieres.

  Deux cotes de velvet pur plates coverir.

  Une Nouche pur palefrei, des armes du Roy.

  Quatre chemises et trois brais de Gascoigne orfresez.

  Une veille banere des armes le dit Piers.

  Quarant un destres et coucers e un palefrei.

  Noef Somers. Duze chivaus charetters.

  Deux charettes od tut le herneis.’[154]

“Great part of Gaveston’s plate was marked with an eagle, and several
articles of jewellery were in that form, his arms being, _Vert, six
eagles displayed, Or._

“The little that remains to be said of this Baron, may be related in a
very few words. In 1313 he received letters of safe conduct from the
King, for all his dominions; in June in the following year he was
present at the fatal battle of Bannockburn, and was regularly summoned
to parliament from the 6th February, 27th Edward I. 1299, to the 29th
July, 8th Edward II. 1314. He died in 1315, and was buried in the Abbey
of Fountains in Yorkshire; and by Eleanor his wife, daughter of John
Earl of Arundel, who survived him, he left issue. Henry his eldest son,
then aged sixteen years; and William, who was made a Knight of the
Bath, 20th Edward II. and died in 1355.”

          _Siege of Carlaverock._


“Robert de Clifford was the eldest son of Roger de Clifford, who
was accidently slain between Snowden and Anglesey in 1280. He was
born about Easter, April, 1274, and in the 14th Edward I., 1286, he
succeeded his grandfather in his baronial honours, being then twelve
years of age. In the 13th Edward I., he was found to be one of the
heirs of Ralph de Gaugy, and paid 100_l._ for his relief; after
which, the next circumstance which has been found recorded of him is,
that he was summoned to attend the King, with horse and arms, on his
expedition beyond the sea on the 4th May, 25th Edward I. 1297; and
on the 26th September following, he was ordered to be at Carlisle,
similarly equipped, to serve against the Scots, at the ensuing Feast
of Pentecost; but Dugdale asserts, that he was present at the battle
of Dunbar, in 24th Edward I.; that in the 25th Edward I., he was sent
with a hundred men-at-arms and twenty-thousand foot from Carlisle to
plunder in Scotland; and that, after much slaughter, he returned with
considerable booty on Christmas eve. In that year he was also appointed
Justice of all the King’s forests beyond the Trent; in 26th Edward I.,
he was made governor of Nottingham Castle; and on the 27th Edward I.,
being constituted the King’s Lieutenant and Captain-General in the
counties of Cumberland, Westmoreland and Lancaster, and throughout
Annandale and the Marches of Scotland, he was joined in commission
with the Bishop of Durham and others, to consider of the means of
garrisoning the castles in that kingdom, and for guarding the marches.
Clifford was again summoned to the Scottish wars on the 7th May, 27th
Edward I., 1299, and received his first writ to parliament on the 29th
December in the same year.

“As Clifford did not attain his majority till 1295, he consequently
could not have been above twenty-five when he was thus honoured with
his sovereign’s confidence,--a fact which speaks forcibly in his
praise. It was at this period of his life that he was noticed in the
poem;[155] and as his conduct at Carlaverock is wholly passed over
by his former biographer, it claims especial regard in this memoir.
After stating that he served in the third squadron, which was led
by the King in person, and extolling Clifford’s valour, descent and
prudence, the writer adds, that if he were a young maiden, he would
bestow on him his heart and person, in consideration of his renown.
During the siege, we are told that he particularly distinguished
himself, and was rewarded by being appointed Governor of the Castle
when it surrendered; in consequence of which, his banner was placed
on its battlements. Clifford was a party to the letter from the Barons
to Pope Boniface, in the 29th Edward I., February 1301, in which he
is described as “Castellanus de Appelby;” and, in the 34th Edward I.,
in recompense for his numerous services, he obtained a grant of the
borough of Hartlepole, and of all the lands of Robert de Brus. In the
same year, he was sent with Aymer de Valence against the said Robert,
who had then assumed the title of King of Scotland; about which time
the lands of Christopher de Seyton were granted to him. Clifford
attended the deathbed of the King in 1307, and received the dying
monarch’s injunctions to prevent the return of Gaveston into the realm.
In the 1st Edward II., he was again made Governor of Nottingham Castle,
and constituted Earl Marshal of England; and, on the 31st January 1308,
he joined several other Lords in an engagement to support the title
and honour of the young King with their lives and fortunes. In the
2d Edward II. he was constituted Warden of the Marches of Scotland,
and soon afterwards Governor of that kingdom; and on the 17th March
1309-10, was one of the Peers selected to regulate the royal household.
Several valuable grants of lands were bestowed upon him in the 3d
and 4th Edward II., in consideration of his merits; and he was again
summoned to serve in Scotland, in the 4th Edward II. In the 6th Edward
II. he was joined in commission with the Earl of Hereford and others,
to continue a treaty begun at Margate with the Count of Eureux and the
Bishop of Poitou, upon some important affairs. On the 6th February
1313, he received an acquittance from the King, for the jewels, horses,
&c. belonging to Piers de Gaveston; and he firmly adhered to Thomas
Earl of Lancaster, against the unfortunate favourite, for his agency in
whose death he afterwards procured the royal pardon.

“Lord Clifford was regularly summoned to parliament from the 29th
December, 28th Edward I. 1299, to the 26th November, 7th Edward II.
1313; and he terminated his career in a manner strictly consistent with
his life, for he fell in the battle of Bannockburn, on the 25th June
1314, at the early age of forty years. His body was sent to King Edward
at Berwick, and is supposed to have been buried at Shapp Abbey, in

“Clifford married Maud, daughter, and eventually coheir of Thomas de
Clare, steward of Waltham-Forest, son of Thomas, younger son of Richard
de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, by whom, who survived him,
and remarried Robert, Baron Welles, he had issue Roger, his successor
in the barony, then aged fifteen years, but who died, S. P. in 1337;
Robert, brother and heir of Roger, and, according to some pedigrees,
two other sons, John and Andrew; and a daughter, Idonea, the wife of
Henry Lord Clifford.

“From Robert de Clifford, the second son of the subject of this
article, descended the baronial line of Clifford, which, in the reign
of Henry the Eighth, was elevated to the earldom of Cumberland. The
barony of Clifford is now possessed by Edward Southwell, the present
Lord de Clifford, the abeyance having been terminated in favour of his
Lordship’s father in 1776.”[156]



Page 229.

Respecting this avaricious and time-serving minion, few particulars
are known. The historians of his country appear to have left his
memory in a state between obloquy and oblivion, and the odium he drew
upon himself, during his short administration in Scotland, remains
unrelieved by the relation of any redeeming circumstances on the part
of those who may be supposed intimately acquainted with his character.
Sir Walter Scott, in his Border Antiquities, mentions, that he was
Rector of Ruddely, Chief Justiciary of York Assizes, and Prebendary of
many churches.

But his numerous ecclesiastical duties were totally neglected, for the
more congenial pursuits afforded by the cabinet and the camp; and it is
stated, that though in the possession of so many lucrative benefices,
he never assumed the garb peculiar to his sacred profession. In his
character of Treasurer, he incurred a degree of detestation, which does
not appear to have been attached to any of the other officers appointed
by Edward to the management of affairs in Scotland. Among his own
countrymen, his peculation occasioned disgust, and in many instances
desertion; while his short-sighted rapacity chafed the impatient and
angry feelings of a people smarting under the infliction of a yoke to
which they had been hitherto unaccustomed, and greatly contributed in
raising that spirit of insurrection in which his aggressions met with
the vengeance they had provoked.




[1] Glasgow, 1825.

[2] Hemingford says, that there were _fifty thousand slain_, many
drowned, and _three hundred thousand foot_ taken prisoners, besides a
thousand horsemen.

[3] Hist. Lib. iv. c. 15.

[4] Appendix to Blair’s Relationes in the Library of the College of

[5] Scottish Historical Library, p. 68. quarto ed.

[6] In England, Thomas à Becket conceded to Henry II., that, in the
event of a bondsman becoming a clerk, he should not receive orders
without the consent of his lord; and further, if a man of holy church
held any lay-fee, he must do the King’s service thereto attached,
except in cases connected with the execution of criminals. See
_Hearne’s_ Glossary to Langtoft’s Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 530.

[7] Macpherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. 324.

[8] Fordun, vol. ii. lib. x. cap. 42.

[9] Fordun, vol. ii. lib. x. cap. 42.--If we compare the following
provisions of an act put forth by Edward I., with the above-mentioned
enactment, some idea may be formed respecting the views entertained
by the two British monarchs, on the subject of foreign commercial
intercourse. “It is ordained, that no fishmonger shall have any
partnership with a stranger who brings fish from sea to the city; but
let them seek for fish in their _own_ ships, and permit foreigners
to bring it and sell, when they come in their own ships. Because,
by such partnerships, they who are of the city, and have known the
state of the city, and the defect of victuals, will hold the fish at
a dearer rate than foreigners, who shall not have known it; and also,
that they who are of the city, when they cannot sell, as they will lay
it up in cellars, and sell it _dearer than the strangers would do,
if they came without partnership, and knew not where they might be
harboured_.”--Lambert’s Historical Survey of London, vol. i. p. 156,

[10] Fœdera, vol. i. p. 467.

[11] Torfæi Orcades, lib. i. cap. 4.

[12] Chron. of Lanercoste. See Macpherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol.
i. p. 446. In 1282, the customs of England were farmed by Bonricini,
Guidicon & Co. of Lucca, and the sum realized, from Easter 1281 till
Easter 1282, netted 8411_l._ 19s. 11½d. The money, it may be observed
at this time, was the same in both countries. _Madox, History of the
Exchequer_, c. 23. fo. 1.

[13] The use of coal as fuel was very early known in Scotland. By a
charter, dated in April 1291, William de Obervill granted liberty to
the monks of Dunfermline, to dig coal for their own use in his lands
of Pittencrieff, but upon no account to sell any, (Chart. in Statist.
Account of Scotland, vol. xiii. p. 469.) By this restriction, it would
seem that the proprietor not only set a value on the sale of coal, but
also that the monks of those days were in the habit of improving their
resources, by trafficking in temporal as well as in spiritual matters.

[14] Ayloff’s Calendar, p. 88. Some idea may be formed of the
injury which the trade of Scotland sustained by the long protracted
and impoverishing warfare she had to maintain in support of her
independence, from the circumstance of James I. being obliged, in
1430, to commission two citizens of London to send him the following
articles for his own use: viz. 20 tuns of wine, 12 bows, 4 dozen yards
of cloth of different colours, and 12 yards of scarlet, 20 yards of red
worsted, 8 dozen pewter vessels, 1200 wooden bowls (or caps), packed
in 4 barrels, 3 dozen coverels, a bason and font, 2 summer saddles,
1 hackney saddle, 1 woman’s saddle, with furniture, 2 portmanteaus,
4 yards of motley, 5 yards of morray, 5 yards of black cloth of Lyn,
12 yards kersey, 12 skins of red leather, and some trifling articles.
These goods, shipped on board a vessel belonging to London, were
secured by a royal order from being molested by English cruizers, but
they were to pay the customary duties. _Fœdera_, vol. x. p. 470.

[15] Rymer’s Coll. MS. vol. ii. p. 287.

[16] This traffic was frequently interrupted by war; in time of peace,
it was carried on to a considerable extent. The first notice that we
have of its revival after the wars of Wallace and Bruce, occurs in a
letter of safe-conduct granted 12th January 1359, to Andrew Murray
and Alan Erskine, two Scottish drovers, with three horsemen and
their servants for travelling through England, or the King’s foreign
dominions, for a year, with horses, oxen, cows, and other goods and
merchandise.--Fœdera, vol. vi. p. 114.

[17] The greyhounds, “_leporarii_,” of Scotland were considered so
superior, that the Duke of Berry, in France, thought it worth while to
send his valet, and three other men, to procure some of them, and to
obtain letters of safe-conduct from the King of England, to enable them
to travel through his dominions on that business.--Fœdera, vol. vii.
page 831.

[18] By the chamberlain’s accounts, it appears that the 178 hogsheads
cost 439_l._ 16s. 8d. Sterling, while the 67 hogsheads and 1 pipe cost
373_l._ 16s. 8d. Could this difference arise from the latter being of
superior quality, or from the market being overstocked, in consequence
of the expected demand? No doubt there were speculators in those days,
as well as at present.

[19] Wyntown, vol. i. p. 286.

[20] Some fine specimens of these battle-axes may be seen in the museum
at Inverness.

[21] By the chamberlain’s accounts it appears, that in the reign of
Alexander III., the King’s _Balistarius_, or keeper of the cross-bows
for the Castle of Ayr, was allowed yearly two merks and a half.

[22] P. 668.

[23] Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. 397 & 398.

[24] Philosophical Transactions, vol. xxi. p. 230.

[25] Macpherson’s Annals of Commerce, vol. i. p. 440.

[26] The following proverb is still floating on the breath of tradition
among the Highlanders--“_Már thubhairt clag Scáin, an rud nach buin
duit na buin da_;” “As the bell of Scoon rang, what belongs not to you
meddle not with.”

[27] The name and labours of this priest have created a little
perplexity among the learned. He appears to have made a sort of census
of the kingdom, in which the names of the Bishops, Abbots, Priors,
Parsons, Vicars, Abbesses, Earls, Barons, Knights, Freeholders, and
Communities of cities and burghs, were registered. This roll, in which
their rentals were stated, is known in Scottish history by the name of
“Bagamont’s Roll,” and was always referred to in disputes respecting
church property. For the purpose of a like assessment, Bagamont appears
to have made a similar census in England. A copy of the Scotch roll,
carried off most likely by Edward, along with the other documents, from
Scone, was found in the Tower of London, and given to the world, by the
more modern historians of England, as the “Homage Roll of Scotland,”
under the cognomen of “Ragman’s Roll.” The disgrace which this document
seems to infer, is pathetically bewailed by Abercromby. If he had
turned to the learned Bishop of Carlisle’s Scottish Historical Library,
p. 53, his grief might have been a little assuaged by the following
passage:--“One of the most ancient repertories of the primitive state
and rights of the Scottish church, is the old Book of the Taxation
of Ecclesiastical Benefices, whereof Sir John Skene has given us the
following account. [A] ‘The Pape, in the time of King [B] James the
Third, sent in this realm ane cardinal and legate, called Bagimont:
quha did make ane taxation of all the rentals of the benefices, that
the samin might be knawin to the Pape: to the effect, that, when any
person came to Rome seikin Bulles, or right to ony benefice fra him,
he might conform to the said rental as he pleased, sell the samin for
sa meikle silver or gold as he thocht maist profitable.’ This is by no
means exact, nor answerable to what we commonly have from that learned
writer; for that very law of [C] James the Third, to which he refers,
cites this taxation by the name of the ‘Provinciallis Buik, or the auld
taxation of Bagimont;’ and shews, that in this King’s time, endeavours
were used to raise the values of the livings above what they were rated
at, to the advantage of the Court of Rome, and against ‘the common
gude of the realme.’ This act was confirmed by his son and successor
James the Fourth, who made [D] the crime capital in laymen, ordaining
that all such should ‘tine their life and gudes.’ We are, therefore,
still in the dark as to the true author of this ancient valuation;
being certainly misinformed of the time wherein he lived, and (perhaps)
knowing as little of his proper name. If I may be allowed to offer my
conjecture, I should guess that this ecclesiastical survey is about
the same age with that which was made (of the lands in England) by our
Edward the First; and possibly the names of [E] Rageman and Bagimont
were heretofore one and the same. What this or the other means, or how
both have been corrupted, let the nicer etymologists inquire.”

    [A] De Verb. Sign. in voce Bagimont.

    [B] It should be Alex.

    [C] Vide Spotswood, lib. 2. p. 46. (3) Parl. 6. Ja. 3. Act 43.

    [D] Parl. 4. St. 39.

    [E] Vide D. Hen. Spelman. Gloss. in voce Rageman, and Repository
        of Records, p. 26. Had this candid and generally correct
        writer referred to Fordun, Book X. chap, xvii., he might have
        satisfied himself as to the date, origin, and nature of this
        roll, as well as the name and character of its author. The
        alteration of Bagimont to Rageman, is evidently an English
        corruption, which the writers of that country ought to be
        best able to explain. Ragman’s Roll, as a roll of vassalage
        to Edward, is unknown to _ancient_ English and Scottish

[28] Hailes, 137, 138.

[29] Hailes, 155, 156.

[30] Vol. ii. p. 443 & 444.

[31] Vol. ii. p. 187. 3d edition.

[32] Chron. Melrose, p. 179.

[33] Hoveden, fol. 420.

[34] Fœdera, vol. i. p. 155.

[35] Icelandic Chronicle.

[36] Hailes, 188, 189.

[37] This reply of Alexander has been noticed, by various historians,
as an uncommon instance of the precocity of the Royal intellect. Lord
Hailes speaks of it as displaying “prudence and resolution superior to
his years.” Without detracting from the merits of Alexander, it might
with more propriety be considered as merely the well-conned lesson
given him by the watchful guardians of the independence of his crown,
whom experience had taught to be prepared for the attempt.

[38] The following quotation is from the work of a learned Englishman.

“There is” (inter Poemata, M.S. D. R. Maithland, p. _S. Pepys_, Armig.)
“a manuscript account of _Robert_ the Third’s contest with our _Henry_
the Fourth, upon the subject of Homage; in the conclusion whereof
(after the word _Finis_) is this inscription--The _Ring_ (for _Reign_)
_of the Roy_ Robert, _made be Dean_ David Steill. In this the King of
_England_ summons _Robert_ to do fealty at _London_.

  _Eftir the richt of_ Brutus _King_,
  _Quhilck had all Ingland in governing_, &c.

In return to which, ’tis affirm’d that

  Scotland _evir yit hes bene free_,
  _Sin_ Scota of Ægypt _tuick the see_.

It’s likewise observ’d, that _England_ itself (having been four times
conquer’d by the _Romans_, _Saxons_, _Danes_, and _Normans_) has little
ground for such a challenge; and ought to remember how frequently she
has miscarry’d in her adventures of that kind. In conclusion, _Robert_
proposes the deciding this controversie by sixty against sixty (of the
Royal blood of both kingdoms), forty against forty, or twenty against
twenty: Or, if _Henry_ approves it, that the two Kings themselves may
end it in a single combat. In which last offer, are these remarkable

    “_I proffer me to prief on the_
    _At we and_ Scotland _yit are free_,
    _And of the_ Paip _nothing we hauld_,
    _But of the Kirk our Faith of auld_.”

See _Nicholson’s Scottish Historical Library_, p. 154, 155, 8vo. ed.
and 43 of 4to.

[39] Hailes, p. 243, 244.

[40] Baliol, who, on the death of the Scottish Queen, assumed the title
of “_Hæres regni Scotiæ_,” had engaged the powerful interest of the
Bishop of Durham, by a grant of all the manors possessed by Alexander
III. in Cumberland;--or, in the event of Edward refusing to sanction
the grant, fifty manors in Scotland, in lieu of them. Had any of the
other competitors been preferred, this grant must have fallen to the
ground.--_Original Charter in possession of Mr Astle, and published
in his Account of the Seals of the Kings of Scotland, p. 22._ It is
more than probable that the influence and services of the Bishop of St
Andrew’s had been secured by prospects perhaps equally advantageous.

[41] In support of this claim, Dr Lingard has, with great industry,
collected the evidence afforded by the ancient chronicles of England
from Brutus downward. These fabrications of the cloisters, however, are
contradicted by events, respecting the truth of which the historians of
both countries are agreed. It is rather singular, that when John became
the _liegeman_ of the See of Rome, and, with the consent of his barons,
POPE IN FEE, FOR A THOUSAND MERKS,” that he should have _tricked_ his
Holiness out of THE KINGDOM OF SCOTLAND. Surely the example of Ananias
was lost on the English monarch, when he thus trifled with the church,
and kept back a _third_ of _his_ kingdoms. Dr Lingard does not inform
his readers how the watchful guardian of “the Patrimony of St Peter”
came to wink at so gross an imposition.

After all that the learned Doctor has advanced on the subject, it is
pretty plain, that the homage of England over Scotland is something
like that which was extorted by St Dunstan from a certain potentate who
shall be nameless. Though the saint compelled him to cry _peccavi_, in
a manner that made a great noise in the world at the time, yet when he
became relieved from the scrape, and had got his nose in order, his
_saintship_ found his _vassal_ as troublesome and evil disposed as ever.

[42] Hailes, p. 245, 246.

[43] Langtoft, vol. ii. p. 248.

[44] A family of the name of Waleis also existed in England, some of
whom appear to have attained the highest civic honours in the city
of London. We are informed by Stowe, that, in 1299, when part of the
palace of Westminster, and the public buildings of the adjoining
monastery, were destroyed by fire, a Parliament was held by Edward
in the house of Henry Waleis, Mayor of London, at Stehenheth, “when
crokards, pollards, and rosaries, coyned in foreign parts beyond seas,
and uttered for sterlings, were cried down.” Henry Waleis was also
Mayor in 1300; and a person of the same name is mentioned as having
contributed largely to the building of “St Martyn’s Church, in the
vintry of London;” he is also said to have filled the office of Mayor,
during which time he built a prison, called the Tun, in Cornhill, for
night-walkers. In 1296, when Edward granted the citizens of London the
right of electing their chief magistrate, one William Waleis was called
by the public voice to the civic chair.

[45] Fordun says the name of the elder son was _Andrew_, and thus
speaks of him--“Cujus frater senior miles Andreas nomine, et militiæ
cingulo succinctus.”

[46] Hailes, p. 253.

[47] This Gilbert de Umfraville, according to Dugdale, was descended
from Robert de Umfraville, Knight of Tours, otherwise called Robert
with the Beard, who was a kinsman of William the Conqueror. Having
obtained a grant of the Scottish as well as the English inheritance of
Ingram de Baliol, Umfraville became Earl of Angus, and was constituted
governor of the castles of Dundee and Forfar. Justly considering that
he held these fortresses in charge from the Scottish Regency, he could
not surrender them to England, unless Edward and the Scottish Regency
joined in an obligation to indemnify him. His demand was complied with;
on which Lord Hailes remarks, that “he was the only _Scotsman_ who
acted with integrity and spirit on this trial of national integrity
and spirit.” But, unfortunately for even this solitary instance of
integrity, Gilbert de Umfraville was an _Englishman_, and, as his
conduct showed, a prudent, cautious, circumspect man of the world, who
wished to preserve his possessions in both countries, by standing fair
with both governments. His request could not be objected to by either
of the parties. The expenses he laid out in maintaining the castle were
afterwards allowed him, in consequence of a precept sent by Edward to
the Bishops of St Andrews and Glasgow, and the other guardians of the
kingdom. In 22 Edward I. (according to Dugdale) he was summoned to
Portsmouth, with horse and arms, to attend Edward on his expedition to
France; and in 23 Edward I. he was summoned to Parliament, but not by
the title of Earl of Angus, till 25 Edward I., at which time, says the
above authority, “our lawyers of England were somewhat startled, and
refused, in their briefs and instruments, to acknowledge him Earl, by
reason that Angus was not within the kingdom of England, until he had
openly produced the King’s warrant.”

[48] Lord Hailes, in remarking on this anecdote, as told by Buchanan,
says, “I suspect, however, that this is nothing more than an
abridgement of Blind Harry in classical Latin. It may be remarked,
by the way, that this is one of the most specious tales in the book,
for it is characteristical.” The value of his Lordship’s “Historical
Doubts” are now beginning to be appreciated. There are many tales
equally specious, and equally characteristical, to be found in the
book, which his natural acuteness would have found no difficulty in
discovering, had he laid down the quill of the lawyer, when he took up
the pen of the historian. Mr Tytler gives the story, and quotes Wyntown
as one of his authorities. This is a mistake; Wyntown is silent on the
subject; and I suspect the truth of it must rest on the evidence of the
Minstrel, and traditions still current in the country, among which are
the following:--“Edward I. thought Dundee of sufficient consequence to
be occupied by an English garrison; and the illustrious Wallace (with
his companions, John Blair, probably of the Balthayock family, and Sir
Niel Campbell of Lochaw) is said by tradition to have received his
education at Dundee school, and, in this situation, to have begun his
exploits with the death of the son of the English Governor.”--_Stat.
Account, vol. viii. p. 212, 213._

“There is a very respectable man in Longforgan (in Perthshire), of
the name of Smith, a weaver, and the farmer of a few acres of land,
who has in his possession a stone which is called _Wallace’s Stone_.
It is what was formerly called in this country a _bear-stone_, hollow
like a large mortar, and was made use of to unhusk the bear or barley,
as a preparative for the pot, with a large wooden mell, long before
barley-mills were known. Its station was on one side of the door, and
covered with a flat stone for a seat when not otherwise employed. Upon
this stone Wallace sat on his way from Dundee, when he fled after
killing the governor’s son, and was fed with bread and milk by the
goodwife of the house, from whom the man who now lives there, and is
the proprietor of the stone, is lineally descended; and here, his
forbears (ancestors) have lived ever since, in nearly the same station
and circumstances, for about five hundred years.”--_Stat. Account, xix.
561, 562._

[49] Hailes, p. 284.

[50] Douglas’ Baronage, p. 456.

[51] Quod tam Prælati quam Comites, Barones et alii nobiles, _necnon
universitates communitatesque notabiles_ dicti _regni_ Scotiæ, suas
nobis super hoc patentes literas suis munitas sigillis quam citius
fieri poterit destinabunt.--_Fœdera_, T. ii. p. 696.

[52] Dugdale.

[53] Wyntown thus quaintly describes the feelings of Edward, on being
told of the loss of his fleet:--

    “Quhen the Kyng Edward of Ingland
    Had herd of this deidfull Tythand,
    All breme he belyd in-to berth,
    And wrythyd all in wedand werth,
    Alsá kobbyd in his crope
    As he had ettin are Attyrcope.”

            _Wyntown_, vol. ii. p. 81.

[54] Before the attack, Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, joined the
English army, with 140 knights, 500 horse, and 1000 foot, accompanied
by the consecrated banners of St Cuthbert and St John of Beverley;
the former carried by Henry de Horncester, a stout monk of Durham,
and the latter by Gilbert de Grymmesby (so called by the English), a
Scottish Vicar of Beverley College, born in the district of Kyle in
Ayrshire,--who had spent a great part of his life in the service of
Edward in France, where he had acted as a pursuivant. The banner of
St Cuthbert accompanied the King only on extraordinary occasions. The
following description of it may not be unacceptable.

“This banner was fastened to a staff, five yards in length. All the
pipes were of silver, to be sliven (_slipt_) on along the banner-staff;
and on the uppermost pipe, on the height of it, was a little silver
cross, and a goodly banner-cloth pertaining to it, and in the midst of
the banner-cloth was a white velvet, half a yard square every way, and
a cross of crimson velvet over it, and within the said white velvet was
the holy relique, wherewith St Cuthbert covered the chalice when he
said mass, and the residue of the banner-cloth was of crimson velvet,
embroidered all over with gold and green silk most sumptuously. It
was not carried out but on his anniversary, and some other principal
festivals in procession. It was the clerk’s office to wait on it in his
surplice, with a fair red-painted staff, having a fork or cleft at the
upper end, which cleft was lined with soft silk, having a down under
the silk to prevent it hurting or bruising the pipes of the banner,
which were of silver, to take it down and raise it up again, by reason
of the weightiness thereof. There were always four men to wait on it,
besides the clerk, and divers who carried it. This last wore a strong
girdle of white leather, to which the banner was fastened by two pieces
of the same, having at each end of them a socket of horn to put the end
of the banner-staff into.”--_Hist. and Antiq. of Durham Abbey, p. 118,

By the Wardrobe Accounts, it appears that the monk who carried the
banner of St Cuthbert into Scotland, was paid 1s. per day,--while he
who carried that of St John was allowed 8½d., and _one penny_ per day
to bring it back.

[55] Knighton says there were 17,000 killed, and that rivulets of
blood flowed through the city for two days. Langtoft informs us, that
Edward was the first to enter the breach, which he did on his favourite
horse, named “Bayard.” He has omitted to say, if “Bayard” was _a pale
horse_. This distinguishing trait seems only a-wanting, to render the
description given of this “_most pious and clement_ prince,” no unapt
representation of the Grand Destroyer and last enemy of mankind.

The only man of consequence who fell on the side of the English, was
Sir Richard de Cornwall. He was killed by a quarrell, shot by a Flemish
merchant from the “Red Hall.” This place was a fortified factory or
store, occupied by a company of Flemings trading in Berwick, and held
by them of the crown of Scotland, on condition of defending it against
the English to the last extremity. Their knightly devoirs they bravely
performed. The fortress held out the whole day against all the force
the English could bring against it. At night it was set on fire, and
the faithful little band of trading warriors perished in the flames.

[56] Henry, Buke Fyrst, p. 10, 11.

[57] Some accounts say that Sir Patrick Graham was the elder brother of
the gallant Sir John.

[58] Walter of Exeter.

[59] Wyntown.

[60] Stowe.

[61] Vide Appendix to Tytler’s History of Scotland, vol. i.

[62] The object of the greatest national importance, and of the most
venerable antiquity, which he carried off on this occasion, was the
_Lia-faile_, called also _Clach na cineamhuinn_ (fatal stone), on which
the Kings of Scotland, from the earliest ages of their monarchy, had
been crowned. At the ceremony of their inauguration, a _seanachaidh_,
or heraldic bard, clothed in a robe of sky-blue, stood before the
_lia-faile_, and recited to the King, as he sat on it, the genealogy of
the Kings of Scotland, from the foundation of their dynasty. The last
performance of this ancient Celtic custom, was at the coronation of
Alexander III. The person who officiated on that occasion, is said to
have had on a scarlet robe. This, however, was not the colour used by
the Celts, for that office. The person of the heraldic bard was sacred
above all others, and he wore sky-blue as emblematic of peace. The
early history of the _Lia-faile_ is involved in the obscurity of fable,
and no small degree of sacredness has been attached to it from the
connection it is supposed to have with the destinies of the Scots. The
following Druidical Oracle, is considered as first giving currency to
this belief.

    Cioniodh scuit saor an fine,
    Man ba breag an Faisdine.
    Mar a bh’ fhuighid an lia-fail,
    Dlighid flaitheas do ghabhail.

Which Hector Boethius has thus rendered into Latin:

    Ne fallat fatum, Scoti quocunque locatum
    Invenient lapidem hunc, regnare tenentur ibidem.

_English Translations._

    Except old saws do feign,
    And wizards’ wits be blind,
    The Scots in place must reign,
    Where they this stone shall find.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Consider, Scot, where’er you find this stone,
    If fates fail not (or lie not), there fix’d must be your throne.

_Another from Langtoft_, vol. ii. p. 527.

    The Scottis sall bruke that realme, as natyve Ground,
    (Geif weirdis fayll nocht) quhair euir this chiar is found.

That part of the history of the _Lia-faile_ which is considered
authentic, may soon be told.--It was at an early period brought from
Ireland to Dunstaffnage; from thence to Scone, in 842, by Kenneth
II.; and, lastly, to Westminster, in 1296. In the Wardrobe Account of
Edward, for March 1299, there is the following entry of a payment to
“Walter the painter, for a step to the foot of the _New Chair, in which
the Stone of Scotland_ was placed, near the altar, before the shrine
of St Edward, in Westminster Abbey, and to the carpenters and painters
painting the said step; and the gold and colours to paint it with;
and making a case to cover the said chair, L.1: 19: 7.”--_Remarks on
the Wardrobe Account_, page xli. Walsingham says, that the use Edward
put it to, was to serve as a chair for the celebrating priests at

In the treaty of peace between Robert Bruce and Edward III., there
is a particular stipulation for the restoration of this Stone. The
Londoners, however, had taken a fancy to it, and excited a commotion
to prevent its removal; and Robert had no difficulty to persuade
his people, to waive the performance of the agreement. Indeed, so
deep-rooted has been the belief of the Scots in the augury attached to
it, that many looked upon the accession of James to the British throne
as the fulfilment of the prediction. Even in the present day, when
there is so much anxiety evinced for the recovery of objects held in
national estimation, we do not hear of any application being made to
his Majesty for the restoration of the _Lia-faile_. There is no doubt
but many of those who witnessed the original aggression, would console
themselves with the reflection, that the _“Lang-shanked Southerone” had
caught a Tartar_.

[63] The servility of the Scottish Barons was not always unrequited.
By the Rotuli Scotiæ, 19 Edward I. _et passim_ 24, it appears he gave
obligations of the following import.

                                        _Annual Value._
  To the Bishop of Glasgow, lands of      L.100
  To James the Steward                      100
  To Patrick Earl of Dunbar                 100
  To John de Soulis                         100 merks.
  To William Sinclair                       100
  To Patrick de Graham                      100
  To William de Soulis                      100

Edward afterwards changed his plan, and gave these barons and prelates
gratifications in money, or other value. But to John Comyn the King
gave the enormous sum of L.1563: 14: 6½d.--_Tytler’s Hist._ vol. i. p.

[64] Prophetic announcements respecting him were also, at an after
period, sent abroad by the Scottish clergy.--“Nam revelatione mirifica
ostensum est fide dignioribus diversis, sanctissimum apostolum Andream,
regni Scotiæ, protectorem et patronum, dicto Willielmo Wallace
gladium cruentatum manu aliter commisisse, stricte sibi præcipiendo
eo utrobique uti ad defensionem regni Anglicos propulsando.--Custos
itaque effectus, misit manum suam ad fortia, Anglicos prosternens,
Anglicatos reconcilians, oppressos relevans, et quotidianis incrementis
proficiens.” _M.S. Cuprensis._ See Fordun’s Scotichronicon, vol. ii.
p. 170.--This vision of St Andrew is also taken notice of by Blind
Harry.--_Vide_ Buke Sewynd, v. 57.

[65] “Riccardtoun is evidently a corruption of Richardtown. It is
generally said to have been so called from a Sir Richard Wallace, who
lived in the vicinity of the village, and who is said to have been
uncle to the celebrated patriot Sir William Wallace. Of his house no
vestige now remains. The place, however, where it stood is well known.
The village of Riccardtown is within one mile of the market town of
Kilmarnock.”--_Stat. Acc._ vol. vi. p. 117.

[66] “Among other antiquities, there may be mentioned a place called
Beg, above Allinton, where the brave Wallace lay in a species of rude
fortification, with only fifty of his friends, yet obtained a complete
victory over an English officer of the name of Fenwick, who had two
hundred men under his command. This gallant hero, it is well known,
had several places of retirement towards the head of this parish, and
in the neighbourhood, some of which still retain his name to this day.
Wallace-hill, in particular, an eminence near Galla-law, and a place
called Wallace-Gill, in the parish of Loudoun, a hollow glen to which
he probably retired for shelter, when pursued by his enemies.”--_Stat.
Acc._ ii. 74.

[67] Dugdale, vol. i. p. 266.

[68] Froisart.

[69] The ruins which are now called Crosby Castle, are situated in the
district of Cunningham, within a short distance of the village of West
Kilbride. They occupy part of the ground on which stood the old castle
belonging to Sir Raynald Crawford. By the date on the wall, it seems to
have undergone repairs in 1676. The present building has never been a
place of great strength. From the ap *pearance of the ground, however,
and other indications in the neighbourhood, the former castle must have
been of a different character. On the edge of a deep precipitous glen,
well adapted for concealment, it afforded every facility for eluding
the pursuit of an enemy. A noisy brook dashes from rock to rock down
the dark and well-wooded ravine, whose craggy sides must often have
witnessed the meeting of Wallace and his associates.

[70] The Charter of Wallace, by which Scrimgeor held the Constabulary
of Dundee, is still in existence, and will be given in vol. ii. of
this work. The seal affixed to the instrument is that of Baliol, and
accompanies, as a frontispiece, the present volume.

The peculiarities of a constable’s office, are thus enumerated in
_Bray’s History of Surrey, vol. iii. p. 136_. “In an instrument of
William de Wickham, dated at Eshu, 19. January 1379, 3. Richard II.,
by which he appointed William de Wimbledon constable, the duty of
his office is stated to be, to keep, govern, and oversee the castle,
together with the manor, lordship, lands, franchises, liberties, parks,
chases, warrens, &c. belonging to the same; also to hold the courts and
to prosecute, challenge, claim, and defend all rights and franchises
belonging to the bishop and church of Winchester within the said

[71] The following is a copy of the “band of manrent” alluded to, from
the original Latin, in the possession of the family of Somerville.

“Be it kend till all men be thir present letters, me, Sir Walter of
Newbigging, and me, Sir David of Towie, for all the dayes of our lyves
to be obleidged and bound be the faith of our bodies and thir present
letters in mandred, and sworne counsell as brothers in law, to be with
one another in all actiones, causes, and quarrills pertaineing to us,
both in peace and in warr, against all that lyves and dyes, excepting
our alleadgeance to our soveraigne lord the king. In witnes of the
whilk thing, and of ther present letters, wee have hung to our sealles,
att Aberdean, the twentieth day of Apryle, the year of God 1281, before
ther witnesses, William Somervill, our brother, and John Somervill and
Thomas Stelfeir.” To this band of mandrey is appended two sealles, very
legible and knowne, for the Somervills and Barclayes differed nothing
from what they are at present, save a little in the placeing of the
armes.“--_Memorie of the Somervills_, vol. i. p. 75, 76.

[72] Respecting the armour and sword of Wallace, Doctor Jamieson has
the following note. “In the Castle of Dunbarton, they pretend to show
the mail, and, if I mistake not, also the sword of Wallace. If he was
confined in that fortress by Monteith, before being sent into England,
as some have supposed, it is not improbable that his armour might be
left there. The popular belief on this head, however, is very strong;
of which I recollect a singular proof, which took place many years ago,
and of which I was an eye-witness. In the procession of King Crispin,
at Glasgow, his majesty was always preceded by one on horseback,
appearing as his _champion_. In former times, this champion of the
awl thought it enough to wear a leathern jerkin, formed like one of
mail. One fellow, however, was appointed, of a more aspiring genius
than his predecessors, who was determined to appear in real mail; and
who, having sent to Dunbarton Castle, and hired the use of Wallace’s
armour for a day, made his perambulations with it through the streets
of Glasgow. I can never forget the ghastly appearance of this poor
man, who was so chilled and overburdened by the armour, that, as the
procession moved, he was under the necessity of frequently supporting
himself with a cordial. It was said that he took to bed immediately
after the termination of this procession, and never rose from it.
From that time forward, his successors in office were content to wear
the proper badge of their profession.”--_Dr Jamieson’s Notes on Blind

On this extract from the Doctor’s invaluable work, the writer has to
remark, that information derived from inquiry made on the subject,
does not entirely confirm the correctness of _all_ the statements that
extract contains. That a man in _real armour_ figured in the procession
of King Crispin at Glasgow, about forty years ago, is a well-known
fact; but that the armour had belonged to Wallace, is any thing but
certain. If so precious a deposit had been in the charge of the
Governor of Dumbarton Castle, it is conceived he must have possessed
more good nature than became his situation, if he lent it out to grace
any such fooleries. Certain it is, if such armour was in Dumbarton
Castle at the time, it is unknown to those connected with the garrison
at present; and we can *not conceive that a relic, so valuable in the
estimation of the public, would have totally disappeared, without its
being known what had become of it. The inquiries of the writer enable
him to state, that the mail used on this occasion was lent to the
followers of King Crispin by a gentleman belonging to Glasgow of the
name of Wilsone. It was plate-armour and highly polished. The sons of
the awl, however, had a taste of their own in such matters, and took
the liberty of painting it in oil, of a colour more to their fancy. But
on being returned in this altered condition, it was thrown aside by the
indignant proprietor. All that they _pretend_ to show in the Castle of
Dumbarton, as having belonged to Wallace, is a sword of a very antique
fashion, intended to be used with both hands, but by no means of a
weight that would prevent men of ordinary strength of the present day
from wielding it. There is no proof, however, that it belonged to the
Deliverer of Scotland; and, if we may credit the account given by old
people, of its having been dragged up from the bottom of the Clyde by
the anchor of a vessel about sixty years ago, its identity becomes more
than doubtful. Such, however, is the prevalence of the report in its
favour, that it was some time since sent to London for the inspection
of certain official characters connected with the Board of Ordnance.
At the time it was sent off, it wanted several inches of its length,
which, it seems, had been broke off by some accident. Whatever may
have been the opinion of those to whom it was sent, respecting its
connection with Wallace, we know not; but as they were at the trouble
of getting it repaired, in a manner that reflects credit on the talents
of the artist, and returning it with a handsome scabbard, they have at
least paid a compliment to the prejudice in its favour.

[73] A specimen of this formidable weapon the writer has seen in the
Museum at Inverness.

[74] According to Pinkerton and other authorities, Henry did not finish
his work till 1470. It is therefore more probable that the curiosity
of James was excited by the original narrative of Blair; a book which,
from his long captivity in England, he had perhaps heard little about,
till his return to Scotland. The rehearsal, therefore, of the heroic
achievements of his illustrious countryman, may have produced all the
excitement which the Editor of the Perth edition supposes, though not
made by the Minstrel.

[75] “A little south of the village, there is a conical height called
Kin-hill, which is evidently artificial, and seems to have been a
military work. There are the remains of a ditch or rampart of a
circular form, which proves that it is not of Roman origin. It is
probably of later date, and appears to have been the place from which
Sir William Wallace sallied forth on the night when he took by surprise
the _Peel of Gargunnock_.”--_Stat. Acc._ xviii. 116, 117.

[76] The concealing of money and other valuables in the earth, appears
to have been a very common practice in Scotland, during the calamitous
periods of her history; and many an instance has been recorded of
little depôts coming to light; which it is very probable were composed
of the hard-earned plunder of the military adventurer, whose ambition,
avarice, or duty, called him off to other fields, where he and his
secret perished together.

From the many notices we have seen of the discovery of hidden
treasures, we shall select the following, as alluding more particularly
to the period embraced in our narrative. We cannot, however, agree
with the learned Editor in the opinion, that the coins in question
were hidden by the soldiers of Edward; they held the country by too
precarious a tenure to make such deposits. It is more likely to have
been the share of booty belonging to some patriot Scot, who had
afterwards fallen in the cause of his country’s independence. “There
was lately found, on the farm of Mr Rankine of Whitehall, parish of New
Cumnock, Ayrshire, by a person employed in turning up the ground with
a spade, about two feet from the surface, a small vase, of an antique
form, similar to those in the Englefield Collection, and of very coarse
materials, containing about a hundred silver pennies of Alexander III.
of Scotland, and Edward I. of England, in good preservation, having the
head and characters distinctly legible. The English coins were more
numerous than the Scotch. Those of Alexander represent him in profile,
as do all the coins of his reign, and have round the head, _Alexander
Dei Gra:_; and on the other side, _Rex Scotorum_, with a cross
extending to the edge, and a spur level in each of the quarters. This
coin is No. 33, first page of plates appended to Adam de Cardonnel’s
_Numismata Scotiæ_. Those of Edward represent him in full face, with
_Edw. Ang._; _Dus Hyb._; and on the reverse of the different coins,
_Civitas Cantor_, _Civitas London_, _Civitas Lincoln_, and almost all
the mint-towns of England, with the cross extending to the edge, and
three roses in each quarter. From the great number of these coins
found in this part of the country, it is probable they were deposited
in the earth by the soldiers of Edward, who had taken refuge in these
mountainous regions, when flying from the well-merited indignation of
the Scotch. They must have been placed in the ground some time about
the beginning of the fourteenth century. Bruce having obtained the
crown in the year 1306, and relating, as they do, to a most interesting
period of our history, and which is embalmed in the memory of every
Scotsman, they are worthy of occupying a place in the cabinets of
the curious. A few of them have been sent to the Museum of Edinburgh

Within these few years also, a depôt was discovered at Ascog, in the
island of Bute, in which four thousand silver pennies of Edward I. were
found, most of them of the London mintage.

[77] “This appears to have been the head of the ancient family of Heron
who held Ford Castle in Northumberland. In the reign of Henry III. it
was in possession of Sir William Heron, who was Governor of the Castles
of Bamborough, Pickering, and Scarborough, Lord Warden of the Forests
north of Trent, and Sheriff of Northumberland for eleven successive
years.”--Vide _Hutchinson’s Northumberland_, ii. 19. “This Castle has
attracted much attention, as having been the scene of the enchantments
of its fair mistress, by means of which our infatuated James IV. was
disarmed before the battle of Flodden; and it has acquired additional
celebrity, from the no less be *witching muse of the Author of
Marmion.”--_Dr Jamieson’s Notes on Blind Harry._

[78] It would be rather difficult to assign sufficient reasons for the
inferiority of the Scottish archers to those of England; and perhaps
it may be one of those popular errors, which, being once promulgated,
has passed unquestioned. The ridicule which James I. has thrown upon
a certain portion of his countrymen, in his poem of Chryst’s Kirk on
the Green, has no doubt tended to confirm, or perhaps to give rise
to the opinion. The advice which Robert Bruce gave his countrymen,
always to attack and disperse the English archers, as early in the
engagement as possible, is likewise quoted as an instance of the dread
which the Scots entertained for this description of their enemies’
force. But this advice most probably was suggested, more from the
vast multitudes of bowmen which the English had it in their power to
bring into the field, than from any peculiar or individual advantage
they possessed at their weapon. The archers whom Bruce attacked and
dispersed at the battle of Bannockburn were chiefly Welch;--when
individual trials of skill occurred, any inferiority on the part of
the Scots was never very conspicuous; and there appears no reason it
should have been so. The attention they bestowed on the art was at
least equal to that of their neighbours. This is evident, from the
numerous wapenschaws established all over the country. In the works of
Lindsay of Pittscottie, we have the following account of a “waigeour
of archerie,” between the Queen Dowager of Scotland and her son James
V.:--“In this yeir cam an Inglisch ambassadour out of Ingland, callit
Lord Williame, ane bischope, and vther gentlmen, to the number of thrie
scoir horss, quhilkis war all able, wailled gentlmen, for all kynd of
pastime, as schotting, louping, wrastling, runing, and casting of the
stone. Bot they war weill assayed in all these or they went home; and
that be thair awin provocatioun, and almost evir tint, quhill at the
last the kingis mother favoured the Inglismen, becaus shoe was the king
of Inglandis sister: and thairfoir shoe tuik ane waigeour of archerie
vpoun the Inglishmanis handis, contrair the King hir sone, and any
half duzoun Scottismen, either noblmen, gentlmen, or yeamanes, that
so many Inglisch men sould schott againes them at riveris, buttis,
or prick bonnett. The King, heiring of this bonspeill of his mother,
was weill content. So thair was laid an hundreth crounes and ane tun
of wyne pandit on everie syd. The ground was chosin in St Androis;
the Scottis archeris was thrie landit gentlmen and thrie yeamanes,
to witt, David Weimes of that ilk, David Arnott of that ilk, and Mr
Johne Wedderburne, viccar of Dundie. The yeamanes was Johne Thomsone
in Leith, Stevin Tabroner, and Alexander Baillie, who was ane pyper,
and schott vondrous neir, and wan the vaigour from the Inglismen; and
thairefter went in to the toun and maid ane banquett to the king and
the queine, and the Inglisch ambassadour, with the wholl tuo hundreth
crounes, and the tuo tunes of wyne. Albeit that the Inglismen confessed
that the Scottismen sauld have been fried of the payment of that
banqueitt, quhilk was so gorgeous that it was of no les awaill than the
said gold and wyne extended to.”--_Chronicles of Scotland, by Lindsay
of Pitscottie_, vol. ii. p. 347, 348. It may also be observed, that the
value which the Scots set upon the quality of the feathers used for
their arrows, bespeaks a considerable proficiency in the art. Those
of the Earn appear, from the following extract, to have been in the
greatest request. “In the west and north-west of Scotland, there is a
great repayring of the Erne, of a marvellous nature: the people are
very curious to catch him, and punze his wings, that hee fly not. Hee
is of a hudge quantity, and a ravenous kind as the hawks, and the same
qualitie. They doe give him such sort of meat, in great quantity at
once, that hee lives contented therewith 14, 16, or 20 dayes, and some
of them a moneth. Their feathers are good for garnishing of arrowes,
for they receive no raine nor water, but remaine alwayes of a durable
estate, and uncorruptible. The people doe use them either when they be
a hunting, or at warres.”--_A Memoriall of the most Rare and Wonderful
Things in Scotland._

[79] “So late as the reign of James I. of England, there is an order
dated A. D. 1616, that no less then nine bloodhounds should be kept on
the Border, upon Esk and other places mentioned.”--_Pennant’s Tour_,
1772. i. 77. ii. 397.

John Harding has given a curious account of the means used by Edward
I. for taking Bruce, similar to that here said to have been employed
against Wallace.

    “The king Edward with _hornes_ and _houndes_ him soght,
    With menne on fote, through marris, mosse & myre,
    Through wodes also & mountens, (wher they fought),
    And euer the kyng Edward hight men greate hyre,
    Hym for to take by might conquere;
    But thei might hym not gette, by force ne by traine,
    He satte by the fyre when thei (went) in the rain.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The following description of these dogs is from an old writer, well
acquainted with their character. “In Scotland are dogs of marveylous
condition, above the nature of other dogs. The first is a hound of
great swiftnesse, hardiness and strength, fierce and cruell upon all
wilde beasts, and eger against thieves that offer their masters any
violence. The second is a rach, or hound, verie exquisite in following
the foote, (which is called drawing), whether it bee of man or beast;
yea, he will pursue any maner of fowle, and find out whatsoever fish
haunting the land, or lurking amongst the rocks, specially the otter,
by that excellent sent of smelling wherewith he is indued. The third
sort is no greater than the aforesaid raches, in colour for the most
part red, with blacke spots, or else black and full of red markes.
These are so skilfull, (being used by practise), that they will pursue
a thiefe, or thiefe-stolne goods, in the most precise maner, and
finding the trespasser, with great audacity they will make a race upon
him, or if hee take the water for his safegard, he shrinketh not to
follow him; and entring and issuing at the same places where the party
went in and out, hee never ceaseth to range till he hath noysed his
footing, and bee come to the place wherein the thiefe is shrowded or
hid. These dogs are called Sleuth-hounds. There was a law amongst the
borderers of England and Scotland, that whosoever denyed entrance to
such a hound, in pursute made after felons and stolne goods, should
be holden as accessary unto the theft, or taken for the selfe same
thiefe.”--_Account of the Red Deer and Wild Beasts in Scotland._

[80] In the Scottish armies of the 13th and 14th centuries, every man
was supplied with a horn, generally that of a bullock, which he blew
with vehemence, as he rushed on to the charge. The horrible noise this
occasioned had often the effect of throwing the cavalry into confusion.
These horns are sometimes alluded to in our national ballads.

[81] See Appendix A.


  I tell you a truth, Liberty is the best of all things:
  My son, never live under any slavish bond.

[83] “The uncle of Wallace, a priest, so often inculcated, and so
deeply imprinted, the following lines upon his mind and memory, that by
them he squared all the thoughts of his great soul, and efforts of his
vigorous body:

  “_Dico tibi verum, libertas optima rerum;
  Nunquam servili, sub nexu vivito, fili._”

_Scotichron. Maj._ lib. 12. cap. iii.--_See also Fordun_, Lib. xii.
cap. iii.

[84] See Appendix, B.

[85] According to a tradition still current about Crawford, Wallace
is said to have first approached the castle in the disguise of an
old beggar, with a patch over one eye, and his sword concealed under
his cloak. In this dress, he entered into conversation with a woman
engaged in washing clothes in the Clyde. From her he learned, that
part of the garrison, amounting to about fifteen men, were carousing
in a “hostelrie” hard by, kept by two brothers of the name of Watt. To
this place he repaired, and getting among them, it was not long before
he discovered that he was the subject of their conversation. Some,
more elated with the contents of the cup than their neighbours, loudly
expressed the satisfaction they would feel at having a “bout” with the
champion of the Scots; while he who appeared to bear command among
them, declared how willingly and handsomely he would reward the man who
would bring them together. Wallace offered, for “sma’ hire,” to comply
with their wishes; and rising, as if for the purpose, drew forth his
formidable weapon, and commenced an attack upon the party, whom he was
fortunate enough, by his superior strength and dexterity, to overpower
and put to death. His horn was then sounded; and his companions,
quitting their lurking places, rallied around him, and surprised the
castle in the manner described. The house where the above action is
understood to have taken place, is still to be seen in the village
of Crawford-John. It continues to be occupied by the descendants of
one of the two brothers above alluded to, who was married to a woman
named Dalziel, and whose progeny continued to rent it as tenants, till
about three hundred years ago, when one of them, who was piper to the
proprietor, received a perpetual feu of the house, and a small portion
of land attached to it, for some piece of service he had performed. The
room in which the above adventure is said to have occurred, is at the
end of the building, nearest to the ruins of Crawford Castle; and the
present occupant, Mr Dalziel, with praiseworthy attention, endeavours
to preserve, as much as possible, the original appearance of the house.
The ditch into which the dead bodies of the English were thrown, is
still pointed out.

[86] Wyntoune, vol. ii. p. 92.

[87] _Vide_ Introduction to this work, p. 26.

[88] Fordun calls him, _Willielmus de Hasliope_

[89] Wyntown, vol. ii. p. 92-95.

[90] Memorie of the Somervills, vol. i. p. 80, 81.

[91] The family, from which Sir Bryce Blair is descended, has come
down till the present time. He was third in succession from William
de Blair, mentioned in a contract between Ralph de Eglinton and the
town of Irvine, in 1205; and who is said to have died in the reign
of Alexander II., betwixt the years 1214 and 1249, leaving a son
also named William, who, in a charter of Alexander III., is styled
_Willielmus de Blair_, _Dominus de eodem_, or of that Ilk. This William
left two sons; 1st Bryce, and 2d David. He was succeeded by the eldest,
Sir Bryce Blair of that Ilk, who, having given umbrage to the English,
by joining our hero, was put to death in the treacherous manner
described in our history. His brother David, who succeeded to the
estates, had submitted to Edward, along with the aristocracy in 1296.
Though the head of this family was considered as the chief of all the
Blairs in Scotland, yet their title was often called in question by the
Blairs of Balthycock, a family of great antiquity. The affair was at
last brought before James VI., who decided, that “_the oldest man, for
the time being, of either family should have the precedency_.” It is
probable that John Blair, who acted as chaplain to Wallace, was a cadet
of this family.

[92] See Appendix, C.

[93] The family banner of Bek, according to Walter of Exeter, a
cotemporary authority, was, “_Gules, with a fer de moulin of ermine_.”
Though Henry de Hornecester was in the habit of carrying the banner of
St Cuthbert, it was only on extraordinary occasions that this unwieldy
ensign was displayed; and it is not likely, that, amid the bustle of so
unexpected an attack, they could spare time to get it ready, even if
the occasion had been a proper one, it being chiefly reserved for high
festivals. As it had been brought into Scotland the preceding year, it
was very likely retained, along with that of St John of Beverly, to
grace the processions of the proud and imperious churchman in his new

[94] It has been asserted that Henry de Percy was killed on this
occasion. It is, however, a mistake; Percy, at the time of the
rencounter, was either in the eastern part of Scotland, along with
Robert de Clifford, or in attendance on his uncle the Earl of Warren,
in Northumberland.

[95] See Appendix, D.

[96] Annals, vol. i. p. 299.

[97] Vol. ii. p. 248.

[98] It is hoped that the writer will not be considered as attempting
to justify any thing like wanton cruelty on the part of Wallace and
his compatriots. When he finds authors, Scottish as well as English,
bewailing the fate of these unfortunate churchmen, he considers it but
an act of justice to the accused, that the crime of the other party
should be put upon record, in order that the reader may be able to
ascertain the degree of sympathy to which the sufferers may be entitled.

[99] The following diary of the progress of Edward through Scotland in
1296, has been lately published by Mr N. H. Nicolas, in a volume of the
Transactions of the Antiquarian Society of London. It is translated
from a MS. in old Norman French; and the names of the places are
sometimes a little obscure.

‘On the 28th March 1296, being Wednesday in Easter week, King Edward
passed the Tweed, and lay in Scotland.--

‘At Coldstream Priory.

‘Hatton or Haudene, 29th March, Thursday.

‘Friday, being Good-Friday, 30th March, Sack of Berwick.

‘Battle of Dunbar, April 24, 26, 27.

‘Edward marches from Berwick to Coldingham; 28th April to Dunbar.

‘Haddington, Wednesday, Even of Ascension, May 3.

‘Lauder, Sunday, May 6.

‘Rokisburgh, Monday, May 7. where Edward remained fourteen days.

‘Jedworth, May 23.

‘Wyel, Thursday, May 24.; Friday, 25., to Castleton; Sunday, 27., again
to Wyel.

‘Jedworth, Monday, May 28.

‘Rokisburgh, Friday, June 1.

‘Lauder, Monday, June 4.

‘Newbattle, Tuesday, June 5.

‘Edinburgh, Wednesday, June 6. siege of Edinburgh.

‘Linlithgow, June 14.

‘Stirling, Thursday, June 14. At Outreard, June 20.

‘Perth, Thursday, June 21., where he remained three days.

‘Kincleven on the Tay, June 25.

‘Cluny, Tuesday, June 26. Abode there till July 1.

‘Entrecoit, Monday, July 2.

‘Forfar, Tuesday, July 3.

‘Fernwell, Friday, July 6.

‘Montrose, Saturday, July 7. Abode there till the 10th.

‘Kincardine in the Mearns, Wednesday, July 11.

‘Bervie, Thursday, July 12.

‘Dunn Castle, Friday, July 13.

‘Aberdeen, Saturday, July 14.

‘Kinkell, Friday, July 20.

‘Fyvie, Saturday, July 21.

‘Banff, Sunday, July 22.

‘Invercullen, Monday, 23.

‘In tents on the river Spey, district of Enzie, Tuesday, July 24.

‘Repenage, in the county of Moray, Wednesday, July 25.

‘Elgin, Thursday, July 26. Remained for two days.

‘Rothes, Sunday, July 29.

‘Innerkerack, Monday, July 30.

‘Kildrummie, Tuesday, July 31.

‘Kincardine in the Mearns.

‘Kildrummie, Tuesday.

‘Kincardine in the Mearns, Thursday, August 2.

‘Brechin, Saturday, August 4.

‘Aberbrothoc, Sunday, August 5.

‘Dundee, Monday, August 6.

‘Baligarnach, the Redcastle, Tuesday, August 7.

‘St Johnston’s, Wednesday August 8.

‘Abbey of Lindores, Thursday, August 9. Tarried Friday.

‘St Andrew’s, Saturday, August 11.

‘Markinch, Sunday. August 12.

‘Dunfermline, Monday, August 13.

‘Stirling, Tuesday, August 14. Tarried Wednesday 15th.

‘Linlithgow, Thursday, August 16.

‘Edinburgh, Friday, August 17. Tarried Saturday 18th.

‘Haddington, Sunday, August 19.

‘Pykelton, near Dunbar, Monday, August 20.

‘Coldingham, Tuesday, August 21.

‘Berwick, Wednesday, August 22.

‘Having spent twenty one weeks in his expedition.’

[100] This grant included Argyle as well as Lorn.

[101] This person was the chief of the ancient and warlike clan
Gregor, and one of the few of the West Highland chiefs who took a
part in the struggle for the independence of the country. He remained
steady in his loyalty to Robert Bruce, who he is said to have rescued
from John of Lorn at Dalreoch. On this occasion he was mounted on a
milk-white steed. He afterwards harboured the King in a large cave near
Cragcrastan, which is to this day called “_Uagh na riogh_”, or the
_King’s Cave_, from which he crossed over and met the Earl of Lennox at
Lochlomond. Malcolm fought at the Battle of Bannockburn, and is said
to have been the person who brought the relict of St Fillan’s arm from
the country of that name, then part of his property, to King Robert’s
chaplain, who very adroitly passed it off for a miracle, and thereby
excited the hopes and stimulated the valour of the army. So sensible
was Bruce of this piece of service, that he founded a priory in honour
of the saint in Strathfillan in 1314. Malcolm was much celebrated in
the songs of the bards. He fought under King Edward Bruce in Ireland;
and having received a wound at the battle of Dundalk, he retired home
in consequence; and as he never entirely recovered, he was called ever
after, “_Mórfhear bacach_” or the lame lord.

[102] The rock on which the castle stood, was then known, as it is to
this day, by the name of _Crag-an-àradh_, or the _rock of the ladder_.
The Minstrel calls it _Crage unyn_. This deviation is extremely small,
and more in the orthography than the orthoepy. The West-Highlanders
pronounce _crag-an-àradh_, nearly as if spelled _craganari_. The
difference may have easily occurred in the act of transcribing. The
mode of crossing the ravine as above described, was in use till the
present road was made by government, when a bridge was substituted for
the less commodious expedient of a ladder.

[103] See Appendix, E.

[104] Vol. ii. p. 297.

[105] Vol. ii p. 197.

[106] See Appendix, F.

[107] The military genius of Bruce had not yet developed itself.
Nothing can exhibit a greater contrast than the early and the later
career of this illustrious individual. The indecision and inertness
which mark his first appearance in public life, and the sublimity of
heroism to which he afterwards attained, almost entitle him to be
considered as the Cimon of Scottish history.

[108] Some curious and authentic information on this subject may
be found in vol. i. p. 252-260 of Tytler’s History of Scotland,--a
valuable work at present in the course of publication.

[109] “The vestiges of Tiber Castle, which has been a large building,
are to be seen on the banks of the Nith. A small part of the wall next
the river remains; fosses are visible; and some intrenchments, where it
was most accessible. It is supposed that the barony of _Tiber_ is named
from Tiber, or Tiberius. There is a Roman encampment too. The English
had a garrison in this castle, in the time of Sir William Wallace, who
took it by surprise.”--_Stat. Acc. Parish of Penpont_, i. 209.

[110] William de Warren was the son of John, Earl of Warren and Surrey
(according to Dugdale), by Alice, daughter of Hugh le Brun, Count of
March, uterine sister of Henry the Third. In 5th Edward I., he was sent
into Wales on the King’s business. In 22d Edward I., he was employed
in pressing ships in the southern and western counties, and in cutting
down timber for the use of the Royal Navy, which was to rendezvous at
Portsmouth. In 25th Edward I., he was taken prisoner by the Scots, on
which occasion the King committed the care of his lands to his own
attorney, William de Berquey. According to Dugdale, he had a claim,
through his wife Mary, to the Isle of Man; but Edward having reserved
the Island for his own use, it is uncertain what compensation, or, if
any, was made. He appears to have allowed her, by the name of _Regina
Manniæ, quondam uxor Domini William filii_ Warren, for her support, the
value of 2 hogsheads wine, 40 quarters wheat, and 40 of malt, amounting
to 31_l._ 6s. 8d., but on what account is not stated. William died
during his father’s lifetime, leaving his wife _enceinte_ of John, who
succeeded his grandfather in his honours. See _Observations on the
Wardrobe of Edward_ I., page lviii. lix.

[111] _Wyntown, vol. ii, p. 97, and Fordun, Lib. xi. cap. xxix_.

[112] This system of warfare, from the following effusion, appears also
to have met the approbation of the immortal Bruce:--

    “_Scotica sit guerra pedites, mons, mossica terra:
    Silvæ pro muris sint, arcus, et hasta securis.
    Per loca stricta greges munientur. Plana perignes
    Sic inflammentur, ut ab hostibus evacuentur.
    Insidiæ vigiles sint, noctu vociferantes.
    Sic male turbati redient velut[F] ense fugati
    Hostes pro certo, sic regæ docente Roberto._”

Scottish version, ex edit. Hearn.

    On fut suld be all Scottis weire,
    Be hyll and mosse thaim self to weire.
    Lat wod for wallis be bow and speire,
    That innymeis do thaim na dreire.
    In strait placis gar keip all stoire,
    And byrnen the planen land thaim before:
    Thanen sall thai pass away in haist,
    Quhen that they find nathing bot waist.
    With wyllis and wakenen of the nicht,
    And mekill noyes maid on hycht.
    Thanen sall they turnen with gret affrai,
    As thai were chasit with several away.
    This is the counsall and intent.
    Of gud King Robert’s testament.

    [F] _Famis ense_ MSS. Cupr. and Perth.--See Fordun, vol. ii. p.
        232. [Edin. Ed. 1775.]


    The grettast Lordis of oure land
    Til hym he gert thame be bowand:
    Ild thai, wald thai, all gert he
    Bowsum til hys Byddyng be:
    And til hys Byddyng qwhay war noucht bown
    He tuk, and put thame in Presown.

            _Wyntown, vol. ii. p. 96._

[114] See Appendix G.

[115] Langtoft partly attributes the loss of this battle to the
indolence of the English general. The return of so considerable a body
of troops, on account of their not being supported by the rest of the
army, would no doubt encourage the Scots, and perhaps suggested to
their leader the admirable manœuvre which he afterwards put in practice.

[116] Langtoft, vol. ii. p. 297.

[117] This man, though a brave soldier, it seems, was no _swimmer_.
Being advised by some of his companions to throw himself into
the river, he replied, “It shall never be said of me, that I did
voluntarily drown myself. God forbid, that such a dishonour should fall
upon me, or any Englishman;” and, setting spurs to his horse, rushed
into the thick of the battle, killing many of his opponents, and was
fast making his way to the bridge, when he was called to by his nephew,
who was wounded, to save him. “Get up and follow me,” was the answer.
“Alas! I am weak, and cannot,” returned the other. Sir Marmaduke’s
squire dismounted, and placed him behind his uncle, who brought him off
in safety to Stirling Castle, where they both found refuge.

Notwithstanding this unfortunate expedition, Sir Marmaduke returned
the following year to the Scottish wars. He was also engaged 29th and
32d Edw. I. and 1st Edw. II., and died 16th Edw. II., leaving issue
by Isabel, his wife, William, his son and heir. He himself succeeded
Robert de Twenge, to Cleveland and other possessions in the North of

[118] P. F. Tytler, Esq.

[119] Among those who distinguished themselves in this memorable
engagement, there is reason to believe that the burgesses of Stirling,
and the tenants of the Abbey-Alands at Cambuskenneth, were particularly
active; and it is supposed, that, from their behaviour on this
occasion, they were allowed to assume an allusion to the battle in the
town’s seal, which, after the date of the above transaction, displayed
on the obverse a bridge, composed of seven arches; in the centre
appeared a crucifix, on the south side of which stand three soldiers
with bows, (the national weapon of the English), endeavouring to force
the passage, and on the north side are the same number of soldiers,
armed with spears, the characteristic weapon of the Scots. The legend
is, “_Híc armis Bruti Scoti stant, híc crucie tuti_.”

[120] See also an interesting paper on this subject, in _The Edinburgh
Literary Journal_, No. 70.

[121] Notes to “Wallace.”

[122] In Dugdale’s Baronage, vol. i. p. 426. In this memoir all the
statements are taken from Surtees’ History of Durham, excepting where
other authorities are cited.

[123] Royal Wills, p. 18, and Testamenta Vetusta, p. 8.

[124] Dugdale’s Baronage, vol. i, p. 426.

[125] Le Neve’s Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, p. 353.

[126] Rot. Parl. vol. i. p. 224.

[127] Wyntown states the same thing; and the words he puts in the mouth
of the subtile ecclesiastic are highly complimentary to the spirit
and military talents of Bruce, against the consequences of which he
effectually succeeded in awakening the apprehensions of Edward.--_Vide,
vol. ii. p. 45-46._

[128] Robert de Gledstanes, who was elected Bishop of Durham in 1333,
but was set aside by the Pope, and died soon afterwards. His labours
are preserved in the Cottonian MS. Titus, A. ii.

[129] “Habuit de familia sua xxvj. vexillarios.” _Bannerets_ were most
probably meant.

[130] Rot. Parl. vol. i. p. 102, _et seq._

[131] This passage probably meant, that among the Bishop’s followers
there were thirty-nine bannerets.

[132] Dugdale’s Baronage, vol. i. p. 426.

[133] During one of Edward’s progresses to Scotland, a palfrey
belonging to the royal train threw and killed its rider; and Anthony
seized the palfrey as a deodand: “dedeins sa fraunchise roiale.”

[134] He gave 40s. for as many fresh herrings, “Aliis magnatibus
tune in Parliamento ibi consistentibus pro nimiâ caristiâ emere non
curantibus.” _Grayst._ c. 14. On another occasion, hearing one say,
“this cloth is so dear, that even Bishop Anthony would not venture to
pay for it;” he immediately ordered it to be bought and cut up into

[135] “Castissimè vixit, vix mulierum faciem fixis oculis aspiciens;
unde in translatione S. Willelmi Eboracensis cum alii Episcopi ossa
ejus timerent tangere, remordente eos conscientiâ de virginitate
amissâ, iste audacter manus imposuit; et quod negotium poposcit
reverenter egit.”--_Ibid._

[136] “Quietis impatiens vix ultra unum somnum in lecto expectans,
dixit illum non esse hominem qui in lecto de latere in latus se

[137] “In nullo loco mansurus, continuè circuibat de manerio
in manerium, de austro in boream; et equorum, canum et avium
sectator.”--_Ibid._ And here one cannot avoid being reminded of the
satirical lines of Piers Plowman:

    “And piked a boute on palfrays: fro place to maners
    Have an hepe of houndes at his ers: as he a Lord were.”

Bishop-Middleham, then a fortress of the first class, appears, from the
date of several charters, to have been Anthony Bek’s chief residence
within the county of Durham. The reasons which led to this preference
are obvious. Defended by a morass on two sides, and by broken
ground to the north, the fortress presented an almost impregnable
stronghold during the wars of the Border, whilst Auckland lay bare and
defenceless, on the direct route of Scottish invasion. It is no wonder
that, in after times, Middleham was deserted for the green glades of

The following lines are extracted from an inedited poem on the
“Superstitions of the North.”

    “There Valour bowed before the rood and book,
      And kneeling Knighthood served a Prelate Lord;
    Yet little deigned he on such train to look,
      Or glance of ruth or pity to afford.
    There time has heard the peal rung out by night,
      Has seen from every tower the cressets stream:
    When the red bale-fire on yon western height,
      Had roused the Warder from his fitful dream;
    Has seen old Durham’s lion-banner float
      O’er the proud bulwark, that, with giant pride,
    And feet deep plunged amidst the circling moat,
      The efforts of the roving Scot defied.

    “Long rolling years have swept those scenes away,
      And peace is on the mountain and the fell;
    And rosy dawn, and closing twilight gray,
      But hears the distant sheep-walk’s tinkling bell.
    And years have fled since last the gallant deer
      Sprung from yon covert at the thrilling horn:
    Yet still, when Autumn shakes the forest sear,
      Black Hugo’s voice upon the blast is borne.
    Woe to the wight who shall his ire provoke,
      When the stern huntsman stalks his nightly round,
    By blasted ash, or lightning-shivered oak,
      And cheers with surly voice his spectre hound.”

Of this black Hugh, take the following legendary account:--“Sir Anthon
Bek, Busshop of Dureme in the tyme of King Eduarde, the son of King
Henry, was the maist prowd and masterfull Busshop in all England; and
it was com’only said that he was the prowdest Lord in Christienty. It
chanced that, emong other lewd persons, this Sir Anthon entertained
at his court one Hugh de Pountchardon, that for his evill deeds and
manifold robberies had been driven out of the Inglische Court, and had
come from the southe to seek a little bread, and to live by stalynge.
And to this Hughe, whom also he imployed to good purpose in the warr of
Scotland, the Busshop gave the lande of Thikley, since of him caulied
Thikley-Pountchardon, and also made him his chief huntsman. And after,
this blake Hugh dyed afore the Busshop: and efter that the Busshop
chasid the wild hart in Galtres forest, and sodainly ther met with him
Hugh de Pontchardon that was afore deid, on a wythe horse; and the said
Hugh loked earnestly on the Busshop, and the Busshop said unto him,
‘Hughe, what makethe thee here?’ and he spake never word, but lifte up
his cloke, and then he shewed Sir Anton his ribbes set with bones, and
nothing more; and none other of the varlets saw him but the Busshop
only; and the said Hughe went his way, and Sir Anton toke corage,
and cheered the dogges; and shortly efter he was made Patriarque of
Hierusalem, and he sawe nothing no moe; and this Hughe is him that the
silly people in Galtres doe call _Le gros Venour_, and he was seen
twice efter that by simple folk, afore that the forest was felled in
the tyme of Henry, father of King Henry that now ys.”

[138] “Sed ipso mortuo Radulphus filius Willelmi Dominus de Graystoke
patronatum præfatæ Ecclesiæ per litem, obtinuit; et presentato
per ipsum per Episcopum admisso et instituto, capella indotota
remansit.”--_Grayst._ c. 22. The patronage still remains with the heir
of Greystoke.

[139] Castrum de Somerton curiosissimé ædificavit.--_Grayst._ c. 22.

[140] Ibid.

[141] “Ante illum enim ob reverentiam corporis S. Cuthberti non est
permissum corpus mortuum ingredi ecclesiam Dunelmensem.” Anthony Bek
was, therefore, the first who dared to bring

    “A slovenly, unhandsome corse,
    Betwixt the wind and his nobility.”

[142] If, however, the funeral of the patriarch Bishop was conducted
with the same solemnities as that of his successor Cardinal Langley,
the breaking an entrance through the wall was a matter of necessity
rather than superstition, for Langley’s hearse was drawn into the nave
of the cathedral by four stately black horses, which, with all their
housings of velvet, become the official perquisite of the sacrist.

[143] John Hay Allan, Esq.

[144] MacPhadian’s.

[145] In this instance, it would rather seem that Henry has merely
preserved the name as he found it latinized by Blair.

[146] Book vii. l. 660.

[147] Book vii. l. 674.

[148] King’s highway.

[149] N. H. Nicolas, Esq.

[150] Vol. i. p. 218.

[151] See some Remarks on the Titles and Surname of this Earl in the
Archæologia, vol. xxi. p. 195, 196.

[152] P. 327.

[153] _Vide_ Siege of Carlaverock, edited by N. H. Nicolas, Esq.

[154] FOEDERA, N. E. Vol. II. p. 203.

The following translation may be acceptable to some readers.

  One gold ring, and a sapphire prepared by the hands of St Dunstan.

  One silver box, gilt, for containing a ring, to be worne round the
    neck of a man.

  A large ruby, not set in gold, which was found on Sir Piers de
    Gaveston when he was taken; value one thousand livres.

  Three large rubies, set in rings,--an emerald,--a diamond of great
    value (in a silver box enamelled), which was found on the said
    Piers when he was taken.

  Two seals, one large and one small; and one little seal, (_une
    clief pendaunte_)--a key attached to it, one crooked Sterling (i.
    e. silver penny), and a chalcedony, which were found in the purse
    when he was taken.

  In a coffer, iron-bound, one silver mirror, enamelled; one comb;
    one tooth-pick, which had been given to the King by the Countess
    de Bar at Ghent.

  One _coronal_ of gold, and sundry precious stones, valued at one
    hundred marcs.

  One _chapelet_ of silver, ornamented with sundry precious stones,
    valued at twelve sols (_doze soutz_).

  In another coffer, a large silver pot, and three utensils (_peiz_)
    for heating water, weighing six livres fifteen sols and ten

  Three silver dishes for spiceries, and weighing four livres.

  Two silver fruit-dishes, with the arms of the King of England,
    weighing seventy-eight sols four deniers.

  One purse, of cloth of gold, containing two Jerusalem stones.

  One silver bit, and four gilt buttons, and two _lions_ for each, of

  One old seal cut, and a stone of chalcedony.

  Three silver forks for eating pears.

  One white girdle of silver lace.

  One _chapelet de Paris_, value six sols eight deniers.

  In a bag, one burnished bacinet and vizor (_od surcils_).

  In another bag, one pair trappings with the arms of said Piers.

  Two surcoats of velvet for covering armour.

  One bridle for palfrey, with the King’s arms.

  Four shirts and three kerchiefs _de Gascoigne_ embroidered.

  An old banner with the arms of said Piers.

  Forty-one stallions and hunters, and one palfrey.

  Nine sumpter-horses. Two cart-horses.

  Two carts and all the harness.

[155] Siege of Carlaverock, by Walter of Exeter.

[156] Vide, Siege of Carlaverock, edited by N. H. Nicolas, Esq.

Transcribers’ Notes

Variations in punctuation, spelling, and hyphenation have been retained
except as noted below.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks have been retained except as noted below.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines have been retained.

Black Letter text is represented here as =boldface=.

Primary footnotes have been placed into a single ascending sequence and
are identified by number. Footnotes to footnotes have been placed into
a single ascending sequence and are identified by letter.

Text uses “Bagamont” and “Bagimont”, “control” and “controul”,
“Dunbarton” and “Dumbarton”; “Riccardtoun”, “Richardtown”, and

Page 14: Missing closing quotation mark added after “overwhelmed the
lances”; it may belong further down, after “lanceas funderent”.

Page 56: may have two footnote 3’s; they’ve been combined here.

Page 59: “vallies” was printed that way.

Page 65: Missing closing quotation mark added after “captivity of

Page 76: “16th March 1285-6” was printed that way.

Footnote 38, referenced on page 77: missing closing quotation mark has
not been remedied.

Page 80: Possibly missing opening double-quotation mark in paragraph
beginning “The whole assembly stood motionless” not remedied.

Page 111: Opening double-quotation mark added at beginning of poem.

Footnote 71, referenced on page 139: Missing opening quotation mark or
extraneous closing quotation mark; not remedied.

Page 182: Extraneous opening quotation mark removed just before “Have
you forgot”.

Page 209: Closing single quotation mark added at the end of the diary

Page 213: Missing closing quotation mark added after “Uagh na riogh”.

Footnotes 135 and 137, referenced on page 266: Missing opening
quotation mark added at the beginning of each.

Footnotes 138 and 141, referenced on page 268: Missing opening
quotation mark added at the beginning.

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