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Full text of "The history of Scotland from the accession of Alexander III. to the union"






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F.R.S.E. AND F.A.S. ' * 


VOL. I. 






THIS New Edition has been carefully cor- 
rected ; the authorities have been re-examined ; 
the quotations and references compared and 
tested by the originals. 




at the accession of Alexander the Third, because 
it is at this period that our national annals 
become particularly interesting to the general 
reader. During the reign of this monarch, Eng- 
land first began to entertain serious thoughts of 
the reduction of her sister country. The dark 
cloud of misfortune which gathered over Scot- 
land immediately after the death of Alexander, 
suggested to Edward the First his schemes of 
ambition and conquest ; and perhaps, in the 
history of Liberty, there is no more memorable 
war than that which took its rise under Wallace 
in 1297, and terminated in the final establish- 
ment of Scottish independence by Robert Bruce 
in 1328. 

In the composition of the present work, I 
have anxiously endeavoured to examine the most 
authentic sources of information, and to convey 


to my reader a true picture of the times without 
prepossession or partiality. To have done so, 
partakes more of the nature of a grave duty 
than of a merit ; and even after this has been 
accomplished, there will remain ample room for 
many imperfections. If, in the execution of my 
plan, I have been obliged to differ on some points 
of importance from authors of established cele- 
brity, I have fully stated the grounds of my 
opinion in the Notes and Illustrations, which 
are printed at the end of each volume ; and I 
trust that I shall not be blamed for the freedom 
of my remarks, until the historical authorities 
upon which they are founded have been exa- 
mined and compared. 

EDINBCKGH, April 12, 1828. 







Accession of Alexander III. 1 

State of the Kingdom 2-5 

Coronation 6-7 

The King's Marriage 7-9 

Jealousy of English Influence 10 

Change of Councillors 12 

Visit of Alexander and his Queen to England . . . 14 

The English faction put down by the Comyns . . . 15 

Unhappy State of the Country 17 

Second Visit of Alexander and his Queen to the English Court 19 

Birth of the Princess Margaret at Windsor ... 20 

Jealousies between Alexander and Haco king of Norway . 21 

Haco invades Scotland . 23 

Details of the Norwegian Expedition 24-30 

Distress of the Norwegian fleet 31 

Battle of Largs 33-35 

Defeat of the Norwegians i 36 

Death of King Haco in Orkney 38 

Birth of a Scottish Prince 39 

Submission of Man and the Western Isles, and settlement of 

the quarrel with Norway 40 

Demands of Fieschi the Papal Legate on the Scottish Clergy 41 

Their spirited resistance . 42 

Marriage of Robert de Bruce, father of King Robert Bruce, to 

Marjory countess of Carrick ..... 43 



Death of Henry III. of England 43 

Accession of Edward 1 44 

Alexander III. and his Queen attend the Coronation of Ed- 
ward ib. 

Alexander deputes the Earl of Carrick to perform homage to 

Edward in his name, for the lands which he holds of him 46 
Marriage of Princess Margaret of Scotland to Eric king of 

Norway 47 

Marriage of the Prince Royal of Scotland . . . . 48 
Death of the Prince Royal, and his sister Margaret queen of 

Norway ib. 

Settlement of the succession, and second marriage of Alex- 
ander III 49 

Death of Alexander III 50 

Reflections on his reign ....... 50-53 

Accession of Margaret, the grand-daughter of Alexander III., 

and appointment of a Regency ..... 54 

Precarious state of the kingdom 55 

Projects of Edward ib. 

Convention of Bruce the Competitor, and his friends at Turn- 
berry ib. 

Eric king of Norway sends Plenipotentiaries to treat with Ed- 
ward 57 

Conferences at Salisbury 58-60 

Meeting of the Scottish Estates at Brigham . . . 61-62 

Articles of the Treaty of Brigham 63-65 

Edward's demand for the delivery of the Scottish castles . 66 

It is refused ib. 

Death of the Maiden of Norway ib. 

Troubled state of the kingdom 67 

Edward's measures . 68 

Conference at Norham 70 

Edward's claim as Lord Paramount ..... ib. 

The competitors for the Crown assemble at Norham . . 72 

Recognise Edward as Superior 73 

Proceedings at Norham 74-76 

Edward's progress through Scotland ib. 

He meets the Competitors at Berwick . . . . 77 

Arguments of Bruce and Baliol 78-83 

Edward decides in favour of Baliol 84 

Baliol's Coronation . 85 

He swears homage to Edward ib. 






Edward treats Baliol with harshness 88 

Baliol's subjection 89 

Summoned to England . ..... 90 

His reply 92 

Parliament at Scone 93 

Baliol confined by the Scots, and a Regency appointed . 95 

Treaty with France . ib. 

A war with England ib. 

Edward invades Scotland ....... 96 

Siege and sack of Berwick 97-98 

Baliol's renunciation of his homage ..... 99 

Defence of Dunbar by Black Agnes 100 

Defeat of the Scots at Dunbar 101 

Edward's continued success 102 

Baliol's feudal penance ....... 103 

He is sent with his son to the Tower 104 


Edward's progress through Scotland 105 

Carries the stone of Scone, and the Scottish Regalia, to West- 
minster ib. 

Holds his Parliament at Berwick 106 

Settlement of Scotland 106-107 

Hatred against the English 108 


His first exploits 110-111 

He is joined by Sir William Douglas 112 

Surprises and routs Ormesby, the English Justiciary . . ib. 
Wallace joined by the Steward of Scotland, and other barons 113 

Inconsistent conduct of Bruce ib. 

Henry Percy invades Scotland 115 

Convention at Irvine 116 

Wallace's successes 117-118 

Critical position of the English army .... 119-121 
Battle of Stirling, and defeat of the English . . 122-124 



Surrender of Dundee to Wallace 125 

He occupies Berwick ib. 

Wallace invades England 127-129 

Lord Robert Clifford invades Annandale . . . . 130 

Wallace chosen Governor of Scotland 131 

Edward's decided measures 133 

Earl of Surrey advances to Roxburgh 134 

Edward invades Scotland 136 

Difficulties of Wallace 137 

Edward advances to Templeliston, now Kirkliston . . 138 
Critical situation of the English army . . . . 140 

Treachery of the Earls of Dunbar and Angus . . 141-142 

Position of the two armies 143-144 

Defeat of the Scots at Falkirk 145-146 

Edward's Progress after the battle 147 

Retreats to Carlisle 148 

Wallace resigns the office of Governor .... 149 

A Regency appointed 150 

The King of France's efforts to bring about peace . . 151 

Baliol retires to France 154 

Edward assembles an army . . . . . . 155 

The Scottish Regents become masters of Stirling . . 156 

Edward invades Scotland 157 

His difficulties 158 

A truce ib. 

The Pope claims Scotland as belonging to the Church of 

Rome 159-161 

Edward's indignation 162 

Parliament at Lincoln . . . . . . . 163 

Letter of the barons and community of England to the Pope 164-165 

Edward invades Scotland . 166 

The Scots deserted by the Pope and by Philip . . 167-168 

English defeated at Roslin 170 

Ungenerous conduct of Philip 171 

Distresses of the Scots 172 

Edward invades Scotland 173 

His desolating progress . . . . . . . 174 

His success 175 

Submission of Comyn the Governor 177 

Wallace retreats into the mountains . . . . 178 
Siege and reduction of Stirling castle .... 179-182 
Edward's severity 183 


Wallace betrayed by Sir John Menteith . . . . 185 

His trial and execution . . . . . . . 186 

Settlement of Scotland by Edward 187 



Early character of Brace 189 

His great estates and connexions 190 

Rivalry with the Comyns 193 

Is in favour with Edward I. 194 

Relative situation of Bruce and Comyn . . . . 195 

Agreement between Bruce and Comyn . . . . 196 

Comyn betrays the design ib. 

Comyn slain by Bruce and Kirkpatrick . . . . 198 

Critical situation of Bruce 199 

He openly asserts his right to the Crown .... 200 

He is crowned at Scone . 201 

Measures taken by Edward 204 

He proceeds to Carlisle 206 

Bruce defeated at Methven ...... 207 

Bruce and his friends driven into the mountains . . 208 

Attacked by the Lord of Lorn 209 

Sends his Queen to Kildrummie castle . . . . 210 

Bruce takes refuge in Rachrin 212 

Edward's severity ib. 

Cruel imprisonment of the Countess of Buchan . . . 213 
Execution of Nigel Bruce and Christopher de Seton . 214-215 

Execution of the Earl of Athole 216 

Execution of Sir Simon Eraser 217 

Bruce and his adherents excommunicated . . . . 218 

Bruce in Arran 219 

He passes over to Carrick and attacks Lord Percy . . ib. 

Sir James Douglas storms Douglas castle . . . . 221 

Execution of Thomas and Alexander Bruce . . . 222 

Bruce attacked by John of Lorn and Lord Pembroke . 223 

Bruce defeats Pembroke at Loudon Hill . . . 228 

He defeats the Earl of Gloucester , . . 22SI 


Death of Edward 1 229 

Bruce, and Edward Bruce, invade Galloway . . 230 

Edward II. appoints the Earl of Richmond, Governor of 

Scotland .231 

He attacks Bruce, who retreats to the north of Scotland . ib. 

Bruce's dangerous sickness 232 

He defeats the Earl of Buchan at Inverury . . . 233 

Continued success of Bruce 234 

Indecision of Edward II ib. 

Edward Bruce reduces Galloway .... 236-237 

Successes of Sir James Douglas 238 

Randolph taken prisoner by Douglas ib. 

Interview between Randolph and Bruce .... ib. 
Bruce defeats the Lord of Lorn at Loch Awe . . 239-240 

Fluctuating policy of Edward II 241-242 

Meeting of the Scottish Estates at Dundee ... 243 

Its important proceedings in favour of Bruce ... ib. 

Edward II. invades Scotland 244 

Bruce ravages the bishopric of Durham . . . . 246 

He takes Perth 247 

Bruce invades England 249 

Unsuccessful assault of Carlisle 250 

His successes in Scotland 251 

Castle of Linlithgow taken by Binny . . . . . 252 

Roxburgh castle taken by Sir James Douglas . . . 253 
Edinburgh castle taken by Randolph .... 254-255 

Bruce reduces the Isle of Man ...... 2 6 

Edward Bruce lays siege to Stirling castle .... ib. 

His imprudent treaty 257 

Edward II. makes great preparations to relieve Stirling 258-259 

Bruce assembles his army 260 

Its numbers and position ib. 

The advance of the English 263 

Conflict between Randolph and Clifford .... 264 
Personal conflict between Bruce and Sir Henry de Boune . 265 

Clifford defeated 266 

Bruce addresses his troops 267 

Circumstances before the battle 268-269 

BATTLE of BANNOCKBURN, and total defeat of the English 270-275 

Edward flees to Dunbar 276 

Courtesy of Bruce . 277 

Reflections upon the battle . 279 





Douglas and Edward Bruce invade England . . . 281 

Unsuccessful negotiations for peace 283 

Famine in England and Scotland . . 284 

A. Scottish force ravages Northumberland .... 285 

\cts regarding the succession to the Crown ... 286 

Marriage of Marjory Bruce to Walter the High Steward . ib. 

[nvasion of Ireland by Edward Bruce .... 287 

He is crowned King of Ireland ...... ib. 

Defeated and slain 289 

Expedition of Bruce against the Western Isles . . 290 

Imprisonment of John of Lorn 291 

Birth of Robert II 292 

Death of the Princess Marjory ...... ib. 

rhe Scots attack Wales ib. 

Bruce invades Yorkshire ....... 293 

Exploit of Sir James Douglas 294 

Che Bishop of Dunkeld repulses the English at Dunybristle 296 

[nterference of the Pope ib. 

Mission of the Papal Nuncios into Scotland . . . 298 

rheir interview with Bruce 299 

Mission of Adam Newton into Scotland . . . . 301 

3ruce refuses to receive him or his letters .... 302 

siege of Berwick 303 

fhe town and castle taken by Bruce 304 

iValter the High Steward made Governor of Berwick . 305 

3ruce excommunicated by the Cardinal Legates . . . 306 

3 arliament at Scone ib. 

Measures regarding the succession 307 

)ther enactments 308 

Berwick besieged by Edward II 309 

le is defeated and repulsed 313 

English defeated at Mitton 315 

V truce for two years 318 

Letter from the Scottish nobles to the Pope . . 319-321 

^nspiracy against Bruce . 322 



Edward II. invades Scotland 326 

Judicious policy of Bruce ....... ib. 

Retreat and loss of the English 327 

Defeat of Edward II. at Biland Abbey . . . 328-329 

Truce of thirteen years 331 

Bruce ratifies it as King of Scotland to which Edward con- 
sents ib. 

Mission of Randolph to the Papal court .... 332 

A son, afterwards David II., born to Bruce . . . 333 

Abortive negotiations for peace with England . . . 334 

Treaty of alliance with France 335 

Accession of Edward III. to the throne of England . . 336 

His great preparations against Scotland . . 337 

Bruce attacked by sickness ....... ib. 

Randolph and Douglas invade England .... 338 

Edward advances against them to Durham ... ib. 

Particulars of this expedition 339 

Distress of the English army 341 

Superior skill and tactics of the Scottish leaders . . . 343 

Exploit of Sir James Douglas ...... 345 

Strong position of the Scots on the Wear .... 346 

Their skilful retreat 347 

Distress of the English army ...... 348 

Anxiety of the English government for peace . . . 349 

Bruce invades England in person ib. 

Arrival of English commissioners in his camp ... ib. 

Negotiations for peace ....... 350 

Edward agrees to acknowledge Bruce as King, and to re- 
nounce all claim of superiority over Scotland . . ib. 

Peace of Northampton 352 

Particulars of the treaty 353 

Reflections 354 

Marriage of the Princess Joanna of England, to the Prince 

Royal of Scotland 356 

Death of Robert Bruce 359 

His last advice and counsel ib. 

Reflections on his character 360 

Discovery of his body 363 




THE lives of literary men do not ordinarily present to 
us the stirring events by which those of eminent 
statesmen and warriors are distinguished. Their 
biographies consist generally of little more than an 
account of their works ; still, the importance attri- 
buted by posterity to their labours adds an interest 
to the circumstances in which it may have been 
their lot to be cast. 

Amongst the many eminent men to whom Scot- 
land is indebted for the honourable place which she 
holds in the literature of Europe, there are few to 
whom she owes more than to the Tytlers of Wood- 
houselee. This family, long settled in the neighbour- 
hood of Edinburgh, produced in succession William 
Tytler, Alexander Eraser Tytler, afterwards Lord 
Woodhouselee, and Patrick Eraser Tytler, who, by 


the Merest and value of their writings extending 
over nearly a century have done honour to them- 
selves, and have contributed in no small degree to 
elucidate the history of their country. 

The first of the family distinguished by his devo- 
tion to literature was William Tytler, (the grand- 
father of the subject of this Memoir,) who was born 
in Edinburgh on the 32th of October 1711. He was 
the son of Alexander Tytler, a Writer to the Signet 
in that city, who enjoyed the highest reputation for 
the probity and excellence of his private charac- 
ter. Like his father, William Tytler studied law, 
and became a Writer to the Signet in 1744. But 
although carrying on a legal business of considerable 
extent, he found leisure to indulge his taste for lite- 
rary composition, and obtained considerable fame by 
publishing, in 1759, his well-known vindication of 
Mary Queen of Scots. This work, entitled "An 
Inquiry, Historical and Critical, into the Evidence 
against Mary Queen of Scots, and an Examination 
of the Histories of Dr Kobertson and Mr Hume with 
respect to that Evidence," was so favourably received 
by the public as to pass through four editions. In 
it Tytler sought to vindicate the memory of the un- 
fortunate Queen, by bringing forward many circum- 
stantial proofs that she was innocent of a complicity 
in the death of her husband Darnley, and attempting 
to show that the letters alleged to have been written 
by her to the Earl of Bothwell were spurious. 

This Vindication received the commendations of 


Samuel Johnson, Smollett, and other eminent literary 
men, who acknowledged the author's ingenuity, 
although they did not agree with the conclusion at 
which he arrived. 

In addition to this remarkable publication, Tytler 
made several other interesting contributions to 
Scottish literature, among which may be noticed, 
" The Poetical Eemains of James I., King of Scot- 
land, with a Dissertation on the Life and Writings of 
that Monarch." 

After spending a long life in the tranquil enjoy- 
ment of literary ease, Tytler died at the family seat of 
Woodhouselee on September 12, 1792, in the eighty- 
first year of his age. A high sense of honour, an 
uncorrupted integrity, a manly opposition to every 
kind of depravity or vice, were the distinguishing 
features of his character ; and he died without leav- 
ing an enemy or detractor in the world. 

Alexander Fraser Tytler, his eldest son, better 
known, perhaps, by his judicial title of Lord Wood- 
houselee, was born at Edinburgh on the 4th October 
1747. He was educated first at the High School of 
that city, and afterwards at a private school in the 
neighbourhood of London. When he had reached 
the age of seventeen he entered the University of 
Edinburgh, and, having passed through the course of 
education preparatory to a legal life, was called to 
the bar in the year 1770, when he was in his twenty- 
third year. He married, in 1776, Anne Fraser, eldest 
daughter of Mr William Fraser of Belnain, Writer to 


the Signet, by whom he had a family of eight chil- 
dren, of whom Patrick, the future historian of Scot- 
land, was tK youngest. 

In 1780 he was appointed Professor of Universal 
History in the University of Edinburgh, and dis- 
charged the duties of the chair with great ability and 
success. As Professor of History he published, in 
1782, his well-known "Elements of General His- 
tory," a work the merits of which have been 
generally recognised, and which is still a standard 
class-book on the subject. 

He published anonymously, in 1790, an " Essay on 
the Principles of Translation." This treatise speedily 
obtained a great reputation, and deserves to be re- 
garded as one of the best introductions to criticism 
in the English language. 

In the same year he was appointed, through the 
interest of Lord Melville, Judge- Advocate of Scot- 
land ; and about nine years afterwards was raised to 
the Bench under the title of Lord Woodhouselee. 

Besides the works already mentioned, and several 
smaller productions, Lord Woodhouselee published 
an elegantly written memoir of Henry Home, Lord 
Kames, which contains notices of many of the literary 
Scotsmen of the last century. He died on the 5th 
January 1813, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. 

PATRICK ERASES TYTLER, the fourth son and 
youngest child of Lord Woodhouselee, was born at 
Edinburgh on the 30th of August 1791. He was 
educated at the High School there, under Mr (after- 


wards Professor) Christison and Dr Adam of that 
seminary. These gentlemen were distinguished for 
their success as teachers, and under their care a large 
number of pupils, who afterwards filled eminent posi- 
tions in life, received the elements of a liberal educa- 
tion. As a boy, Tytler gave little promise of that 
devotion to literary pursuits by which he was to be 
afterwards distinguished. He was, however, beloved 
by his schoolfellows for the generous nature of his 
disposition, and for his spirited and manly character. 
His father early remarked the ability which lay 
under his apparent carelessness and inattention. 
"You do not understand the boy," he would say. 
"I tell you he is a wonderful boy. Look at the 
eager expression of his countenance when listening 
to conversation far above his years ; he is drinking 
in every word. You tell me he never opens an im- 
proving book; that it must always be an amusing 
story for him. I am much mistaken if he does not 
read grave enough books by and by." 

Tytler was fortunate in having as his tutor a young 
man who afterwards earned some reputation by his 
writings the Rev. John Black, minister of the parish 
of Coylton, in Ayrshire, and author of an elegant 
"Life of Tasso." Under the care of this accom- 
plished guide Tytler made rapid progress, and ac- 
quired that taste for reading which he afterwards 
turned to so good an account. At a somewhat later 
period he enjoyed the assistance in his studies of 
another gentleman afterwards highly distinguished 


the Rev. John Lee who, after filling several 
important academical offices, died Principal of the 
University of Edinburgh. 

In his youth Tytler had also the great advantage 
of participating in the literary society which his 
father gathered around him. He may, indeed, be 
said to have breathed a literary atmosphere from his 
boyhood. Henry Mackenzie, (the "Man of Feel- 
ing,") Scott, Sidney Smith, Mackintosh, and Jeffrey, 
were his father's frequent guests ; and young Tytler 
had the privilege of listening to the brilliant conver- 
sation of these eminent men. 

Intending that his son should enter the profession 
of the law, Lord Woodhouselee resolved that, before 
beginning his legal studies, he should spend a year 
at an academical institution in England. Accord- 
ingly, Tytler was sent to Chobham House School, and 
placed under the care of the Eev. Charles Jerram, 
a gentleman of great worth. Under this excellent 
master he made much progress, particularly in the 
art of writing Latin verses, and in the study of the 
Greek poets. At the same time he did not neglect 
his general reading ; and when he returned to Edin- 
burgh, he brought with him an increased taste for 
that polite literature which was the delight of his 
future life. 

The following Extract of a letter, which he wrote 
after his return from Chobham to his brother Alex- 
ander, is interesting as showing the early period at 
which his love for the study of history developed 


itself. It is dated June 14,1810: "I now come to 
give you some idea of my studies. When I first 
went to England, from having always lived in a 
literary family, where Mr Black and papa were con- 
tinually talking upon learned subjects, as well as 
having read a few books, I had picked up more 
general knowledge than is commonly to be found 
amongst the boys at an English school. This made 
me in some degree looked up to, and balanced my 
deficiency in classical knowledge. To this last I 
applied tooth and nail ; reading by myself, and often 
getting up in the winter mornings to study by candle- 
light. At last I began to understand and like Greek, 
and to make some progress in Latin versification. 
My vein improved amazingly at Chobham. The 
study of Virgil and Horace, of Milton and Thomson, 
was to me truly delightful. I often gave exercises 
in English verse; and Mr Jerram was sometimes 
pleased to express his approbation, and to ask for a 
copy of them. But I acquired a high relish for 
another noble branch of literature, and which I am 
at present pursuing with the greatest pleasure. I 
mean history. I there read Eobertson's admirable 
History of Charles V., and wrote short notes upon it. 
Since that I have been reading Machiavel's History 
of Florence, Watson's Philip II., Gibbon's Decline 
and Fall, Clarendon's noble work on the Rebellion, 
Sully's Memoirs, Clarendon's Life, Voltaire's Charles 
XII., Papa's Elements, Chevalier Eamsay's Life of 
Turenne, Junius's Letters, the Life of Lord Chatham ; 


and I am now engaged with Hume, and Eapin's Acta 
Eegia. What do you think of history, my dear 
Sandie? To me it seems the noblest of all studies. 
To say that it is entertaining is its least praise. It is 
the school of statesmen and warriors ; and the plea- 
sure, next to living in the times, and being a witness to 
the actions of these, is that of reading their lives 
and actions."* 

About the close of the year 1809 Tytler entered 
the University of Edinburgh, and began with enthu- 
siasm the study of law. But while he was working 
hard, along with his young friend Archibald (now 
Sir Archibald) Alison, at the Institutes of Heineccius, 
his favourite studies were not forgotten. At the 
request of his father, he wrote, in 1810, a poem, 
which he entitled "The Woodhouselee Masque," 
and which was allowed by competent judges to be a 
most graceful performance. This, and other unpub- 
lished poems, and also the elegant poetical trans- 
lations which exist in some of his minor works, dis- 
play a genius for poetry which, had it been cultivated, 
would have entitled him to rank amongst the poets 
of his country. 

Tytler was called to the Scottish Bar on the 3d of 
July 1813; shortly after which he had to mourn the 
loss of his excellent father, Lord Woodhouselee, who 
had long suffered from a painful disease. 

In the beginning of 1814, Tytler embraced the 
opportunity, which the peace of that year afforded, 

* Burgon's Memoir, p. 65. 


to visit France, in company with William and Archi- 
bald Alison, and Mr D. Anderson of Moredun. This 
tour lasted from April to June, and afforded the most 
lively gratification to the young tourists. They had 
the honour of being presented, while in Paris, to many 
distinguished men, including the great Platoff, and 
enjoyed the sight of innumerable celebrities. A record 
of this tour is preserved in an anonymous work, in 
two volumes, entitled " Travels in France during the 
Years 1814-15, comprising a Residence at Paris 
during the stay of the Allied Armies, and at Aix at 
the period of the Landing of Bonaparte." It was 
understood to be the production of Mr Archibald 
Alison, and contained certain chapters which Tytler 

Through the influence of Alexander Maconochie, 
Esq., afterwards Lord Meadowbank, then Lord- Advo- 
cate, Tytler was appointed, when he had only been three 
years at the bar, a Junior Crown Counsel in Exchequer 
an office worth 150 per annum. He also made 
some progress as a pleader at the bar. But literature 
and historical inquiry, although not engrossing all his 
attention, still occupied his leisure hours, and induced 
him to contribute various papers to literary journals. 

During the years 1817 and 1818, he wrote several 
articles for Blackwood's Magazine, then in its infancy. 
These were, "Eemarks on Lacunar Strevilinense ; " 
an address "To my Dog; "and a fanciful fragment, 
under the title of "A Literary Romance." 

The fatigues of his professional and other duties 


rendered him desirous of making a fresh tour for 
the benefit of his health; and he visited Norway in 

1818, in company with Mr D. Anderson of Moredun. 
While on their tour they happened to be at Dron- 
theim, when Bernadotte, after being crowned King 
of Sweden, made his entry, with his son Prince Oscar, 
into that city. The young Scotsmen had the honour 
of being presented to the king, by whom they were 
graciously received, and invited to dine with his 

The first separate work which Tytler published 
was his "Life of James Crichton of Cluny, commonly 
called the Admirable Crichton." It appeared in 

1819, and was dedicated to the memory of his father, 
Lord Woodhouselee. 

In this interesting memoir Tytler brought together 
the various materials bearing on the life and exploits 
of this extraordinary personage, whose remarkable 
attainments made Scotland celebrated throughout 
Europe in the sixteenth century. By a careful ex- 
amination of the contemporary literature of the period 
in which Crichton flourished, Tytler successfully 
refuted the attempts which had been made by several 
authors to discredit the evidence on which his fame 
had so long rested. 

Tytler's fondness for antiquarian research is nowhere 
more apparent than in this biography, which may 
be said to have left little to be gleaned by subse- 
quent inquirers. The work was well received by the 
public ; and a second edition was called for in 1823. 


In 1822 was founded the Bannatyne Club, of which 
Tytler was one of the original members. This literary 
society, founded on the model of the Eoxburghe 
Club, was formed by Sir W. Scott, Thomas Thomson, 
David Laing, and some other enthusiastic Scottish 

It existed until 1860; and, during that long 
period, issued to its members a series of works 
which have been described as forming the greatest, 
the most important, and the most splendid dis- 
closures that have been made of the latent historical 
treasures of Scotland. 

Following the example of the Eoxburghe Club, the 
members of the Bannatyne celebrated the anniversary 
of their institution by an elegant symposium. At 
these banquets original compositions were sung by 
such of the members as were of a poetical tempera- 
ment. Their songs, or "garlands/' as they were 
termed, were afterwards printed in a sumptuous style 
for the use of the members. Sir W. Scott produced 
the first, "Quhairin the President speaketh," and 
was followed by Tytler, who contributed three songs, 
which were quaintly described as having been "Brevit 
be ane lernit Councillar in the Kingis Chekar," and 
which displayed a considerable amount of humour 
and poetical ability. 

In addition to the volumes printed at the expense 
of the Club generally, it was, if not a condition of 
membership, at least expected that a volume should 
be printed by each of the members, and presented to 


the rest. Tytler, accordingly, in conjunction with 
his friends Mr Hog of Newliston and Mr Adam 
Urquhart, contributed a volume of "Memoirs of the 
Wars carried on in Scotland and Ireland, 1689-91, 
by Major-General Hugh Mackay." This curious 
volume was printed in 1833. 

Tytler's attention was at this time nearly equally 
divided between law and literature, and, as it has 
commonly been supposed that a literary man could 
not be a good lawyer, it seemed necessary that he 
should make his election between them, for success 
in his future career. But a compromise suited him 
better, and so he published, in 1823, "An Account 
of the Life and Works of Sir T. Craig of Biccarton," 
the author of a celebrated treatise on the Feudal Law 
of Scotland. Craig had been a man of studious and 
retired habits, and mixed but little in the factions 
and intrigues of his time. Tytler, while recording 
the facts in the uneventful life of the great lawyer, 
gave an interest to the work by incorporating many 
notices of the eminent statesmen who were his con- 
temporaries during the period between 1538 and 
1608. This work was well received by the members 
of the legal faculty 5 but, while it served to maintain 
its author's literary reputation, it failed to increase his 
practice at the bar. 

Tytler's agreeable manners and joyous tempera- 
ment made him a prominent member of the Midlothian 
troop of Yeomanry Cavalry, which numbered then, as 
it does still, many young men of rank connected with 


the Scottish metropolis. An incident which oc- 
curred in 1824 was the cause of much merriment 
amongst the troop, and called forth several of those 
amusing lyrical effusions in which Tytler so much 
excelled. " He had planned a quiet afternoon with 
his brother, under the paternal roof of Woodhouselee, 
and, with that view, had stolen away from his com- 
panions and the prospect of duty on the Portobello 
sands. But he was quickly missed at head-quarters; 
his intended line of march anticipated; and a cor- 
poral's troop, with a led horse, and a mock warrant 
for seizure, were despatched to apprehend and bring 
back the deserter. Tytler, the instant he espied the 
approach of this band, escaped by a back door, and 
took shelter in the glen above Woodhouselee. He 
remained there until he thought the danger must be 
over, and then ventured to return to the house ; but 
ill had he calculated on the sharpness of the lawyer- 
soldiers of the Lothian Yeomanry. He was captured 
at the very threshold by the ambush which awaited 
his return, deprived of his arms, mounted on the led 
horse, and carried off in triumph to the military en- 
campment at Musselburgh. The entire pantomime 
so touched his fancy, that he turned the incident into 
a song that same evening, and sang it the next day, 
(to the air of ' The Groves of Blarney,') at the mess 
table, amid the applause and laughter of his delighted 
companions. He confessed how ' Private Tytler, for- 
getting quite, sir,' the heinousness of desertion, and 
in defiance of 

VOL. L 4. 


1 That truth, the soul of discipline, 

Most undutif ully, in the month of July, 
Set out for Woodhouselee to dine.' 

The enemy's approach, and his own retreat to the glen, 
he graphically described, as well as the exceeding dis- 
comfort to which he had been subjected as he 

' Shrouded sat beneath the pine.' " * 

This song, called "The Deserter, 1 ' and several 
others, were privately printed, in 1825, as "The 
Songs of the Edinburgh Troop." 

Tytler and his yeomanry troop did good service on 
occasion of a great fire which happened in Edinburgh 
at that time. They were on duty for the purpose of 
guarding the effects which the inhabitants were en- 
deavouring to save from the conflagration. And to a 
happy suggestion of Tytler the preservation of the 
Advocates' Library from the flames may be said to 
be due. He suggested that the roof of the building 
in which the books were contained should be covered 
with wet blankets, and personally assisted in having 
this work done. The expedient was fortunately effec- 
tual, and that noble collection of books was saved. 

From his intimacy with Sir Walter Scott, whose 
antiquarian tastes and literary labours led him to in- 
quire minutely into almost every circumstance con- 
nected with Scottish history, Tytler derived much 
advantage. It was the advice of this great man that 
he should concentrate his energies on a historical 
work, which would supply a desideratum in Scottish 

*Burgon's Memoir, p. 166. 


literature. Scott possessed, in an eminent degree, the 
talent for imbuing his circle of friends with the same 
enthusiasm for literary enterprises which was charac- 
teristic of his own nature. He found in Tytler one 
of congenial sympathies ; and while his friend was on 
a visit to Abbotsford, in 1823, he had seriously urged 
him to undertake the task of writing a history of 

No one would have been so competent for such an 
enterprise as Sir Walter himself ; but the multifarious 
nature of his other literary pursuits deprived him of 
the leisure necessary for the great amount of pre- 
liminary research which such a work involves. The 
subject was one, however, in which he was deeply 
interested ; and as he at one time cherished the hope 
that an opportunity might occur when he might be 
enabled to devote his own energies to its treatment, 
he had collected various anecdotes from Scottish 
history for the purpose. These he afterwards pub- 
lished as the " Tales of a Grandfather," one of his most 
popular works. 

The following interesting account of the circum- 
stances to which we owe Tytler's invaluable work, is 
given in a letter written by Mr Pringle of Whytbank 
to Mr James Tytler in 1854. The historian had been 
on a visit to Mr Pringle at Yair, and, accompanied 
by that gentleman, had spent a most agreeable day at 
Abbotsford : " While we were riding home at night," 
continues Mr Pringle, " I remember the place ; it 
was just after we had forded the Tweed, at Birdside 


your brother told me, that in the course of that 
evening Sir Walter Scott had taken him aside, and 
suggested to him the scheme of writing a history of 
Scotland. Sir Walter stated that, some years "before, 
the booksellers had urged him to undertake such a 
work, and that he had at one time seriously contem- 
plated it. The subject was very congenial to his 
tastes; and he thought that by interspersing the 
narrative with romantic anecdotes illustrative of the 
manners of his countrymen, he could render such a 
work popular. But he soon found, while engaged in 
preparing his materials, that something more was 
wanted than a popular romance, that a right his- 
tory of Scotland was yet to be written ; but that there 
were ample materials for it in the national records, 
in collections of documents both private and public, 
and in Scottish authors whose works had become 
rare or were seldom perused. The research, however, 
which w r ould be required for bringing to light, and 
arranging and digesting these materials, he soon 
saw would be far more than he had it in his power 
to give to the subject; and it would be a work of 
tedious and patient labour, which must be pursued 
not in Scotland only, but amongst the national col- 
lections of records in London, and wherever else such 
documents may have been preserved. But such a 
labour his official duties and other avocations would 
not allow him to bestow upon it. He had, therefore, 
ended in a resolution to confine his undertaking to a 
collection of historical anecdotes for the amusement 


of the rising generation, calculated to impress upon 
their memories the worthy deeds of Scottish heroes, 
and inspire them with sentiments of nationality. He 
also mentioned that the article on the Culloden 
Papers, published in the Quarterly Review for 1816, 
which I have always considered as one of the most 
attractive as well as characteristic of all his writ- 
ings, had been originally conceived in the form of 
a portion of an introductory essay to the contem- 
plated historical work, which was now likely to go 
no further. 

" He then proposed to your brother to enter on the 
undertaking, and remarked to him, that he knew his 
tastes and favourite pursuits lay so strongly in the 
line of history, and the history of his native country 
must have such peculiar interest for him, that the 
labour could not fail to be congenial to him; that 
though the requisite researches would consume a 
great deal of time and thought, he had the advantage 
of youth on his side, and might live to complete the 
work, which, if executed under a deep sense of the 
importance of historical truth, would confer a lasting 
benefit on his country ; and he ended with offering 
all the aid in his power for obtaining access to the 
repositories of information, as well as advice in pur- 
suing the necessary investigations. 

" I asked my friend if the suggestion pleased him ? 
He replied, that the undertaking appeared very for- 
midable ; that I knew he had always been fond of 
historical pursuits, and though he confessed he had 


frequently cherished an ambition for becoming an 
historical author, yet it had never entered into his 
mind to attempt a history of his own country, as he 
knew too well the difficulties which he would have to 
encounter, especially those of attaining accuracy, and 
realising his own conception of what a history of 
Scotland ought to be ; but that the suggestion, com- 
ing from such a quarter, as well as the offered assist- 
ance, was not to be disregarded. You may be sure 
that I encouraged him to the best of my power ; for 
though I knew how much it was likely to withdraw 
his attention from his professional avocations, yet I 
also knew how much more congenial a pursuit it 
would prove, and how much more he was likely to 
attain to excellence, and establish his reputation 
in this channel. It was, therefore, with much satis- 
faction that I soon afterwards learned from him that 
he had entered seriously on the undertaking." * 

Before the first two volumes of the "History of 
Scotland" made their appearance, Tytler communi- 
cated an elegant paper to the Eoyal Society of Edin- 
burgh, which was published in its Transactions in 
1826. It is entitled, "An Historical and Critical 
Introduction to an Inquiry into the Revival of the 
Greek Literature in Italy after the Dark Ages." 

In March 1826 Tytler was married to Eachel, 
daughter of Thomas Hog, Esq., of Newliston, a 
lady to whom he had been long attached. This 
union afforded him unmixed happiness, which was 

*Burgon's Memoir, p. 175. 


only terminated by the early death of his wife in 
1835. After his marriage, Tytler established him- 
self in 36 Melville Street, Edinburgh, where he 
began the preparation of his History. He also pub- 
lished, anonymously, at this time, a life of John 
Wycliff, the precursor of the English Beformation. 

After his marriage, Tytler entered upon his histori- 
cal labours with the utmost enthusiasm. As the 
result of two years of unremitting exertion, the first 
volume appeared in March 1828, and was followed by 
the second in 1829. These volumes were favourably 
received, and were reviewed by Sir Walter Scott in 
an able article in the Quarterly for 1829. Sir Walter 
concluded his characteristic paper by referring to the 
laborious task thus begun, and wishing the author 
God speed 

" For long, though pleasing, is the way, 
And life, alas ! allows but an ill winter's day." 

He also expressed the hope that Tytler, young, ardent, 
and competent to the task, would not delay to pro- 
secute it with the same spirit which he had already 

Tytler appears at first to have had some difficulty 
in obtaining a suitable publisher for his History, and 
had calculated on but a moderate success for this 
first instalment of his great work He was agree- 
ably disappointed when the sale of the first edition 
of these two volumes exceeded one thousand copies. 
A fair success attended the publication of the other 


volumes, which appeared successively in 1831, 1834, 
1837, 1840, 1842, and 1843. 

In the further prosecution of his labours, Tytler 
visited London in 1830, to consult the manuscripts 
in the State Paper Office and in the British Museum. 
While in London he endeavoured to secure the suc- 
cession to the office of Historiographer for Scotland, 
when it should become vacant. This appointment 
was then held by the venerable Dr Gillies, who was 
in the eighty-third year of his age. Tytler was 
warmly received by many of the first literary men of 
the metropolis, and was engaged by Mr Murray to 
write a collection of biographies of illustrious Scots- 
men, for a series of popular works then projected by 
that eminent publisher. 

This very interesting work accordingly appeared 
as "Lives of Scottish Worthies" in 1831-33. It con- 
tained notices of the following twelve Scottish celeb- 
rities : Alexander III., Michael Scott the wizard of 
Scotland, Wallace, Bruce, Barbour, Wyntoun, Fordun, 
James I., Henry son, Dunbar, Gawin Douglas, and Sir 
David Lyndsay. 

In consequence of a change of ministry, Tytler 
lost his Exchequer appointment in 1830, which 
rendered him more dependent on his literary 
exertions. The failing health of his wife shortly 
afterwards induced him, as he was no longer neces- 
sitated to reside in Edinburgh, to try the effect of 
a change to a southern climate. He removed his 
family accordingly to Torquay, where they resided 


for a year. He also spent some time at Kothesay in 

Notwithstanding the interruptions caused by his 
changes of residence about this time, occasioned by 
the most ardent attachment to his amiable and ac- 
complished wife, Tytler found leisure to write a "Life 
of Sir Walter Ealeigh," and a " Historical View of 
the Progress of Discovery in America." These works 
formed part of a series issued by Messrs Oliver 
and Boyd, under the title of "The Edinburgh Cabinet 
Library," and were very popular. Of his Life of 
Ealeigh new editions were called for in 1840, 1844, 
1846, and 1847. 

From his fondness for research among the national 
archives, and his familiarity with the contents of the 
State Paper Office in London, Tytler was, in 1834, 
desirous of obtaining a permanent appointment of a 
congenial nature. As the keepership of the records 
in the Chapter House of Westminster (to which a 
salary of 400 a year was attached) was then vacant, 
Tytler became a candidate for that appointment. 
He was, however, unsuccessful, and the office was 
bestowed on Sir Francis Palgrave. 

In the following year, he suffered a severe blow 
to his domestic happiness through the death of his 
wife, which he bore with Christian resignation. By 
religious meditation, and by attention to the educa- 
tion of his youthful family, he strove to comfort him- 
self under this painful bereavement. 

He was destined to experience a great disappoint- 


ment in 1836. On the death of Dr Gillies, who sur- 
vived till he was in his eighty-ninth year, Tytler 
fully expected the appointment of Historiographer 
for Scotland. A promise had actually been made to 
his father, Lord Woodhouselee, that he should have 
this honour conferred on him ; but, by an unlooked- 
for change of ministry, the office was otherwise dis- 
posed of. It was bestowed on George Brodie, Esq., 

From his familiarity with the national archives, 
Tytler was, in 1836, examined, by a committee of 
the House of Commons, as to the best plan for render- 
ing these documents available to historical inquirers. 
His evidence tended to show the folly of attempting 
to print in extenso the whole of these ancient records. 
He suggested, however, the propriety of publishing 
lists or calendars of these papers, which should, at 
the same time, embrace a short analysis of their con- 
tents. This valuable suggestion, after the lapse of 
twenty years, has been adopted, and the collection 
of "Calendars of State Papers," now in course of 
publication, will, when completed, be an absolutely 
essential aid to those engaged in historical inquiries. 

Besides a volume of his "History of Scotland," 
Tytler published, in 1837, his "Life of Henry VIII.," 
which, like his "life of Kaleigh," formed a volume 
of Oliver and Boyd's " Edinburgh Cabinet Library/' 
It passed through several editions. He also, about 
this time, in conjunction with Mr John Miller, Q.C., 
and the Eev. Joseph Stevenson, instituted the 


English Historical Society. As the Bannatyne Club 
illustrated Scottish history, this society was originated 
for the purpose of publishing early chronicles and 
documents of interest to the student of the literature 
of England. It flourished for nearly twenty years, 
and printed for the use of its members a series of 
twenty-nine volumes, remarkable for the excellence 
of their typography, and for the care with which 
they were edited. The labours of Tytler in connexion 
with this society increased the debt this country owes 
to his unwearied exertions in the cause of historical 

As the nature of his literary avocations required 
constant reference to the manuscript treasures con- 
tained in London, Tytler found it expedient to take 
up his abode in the metropolis; he accordingly re- 
moved finally to London in 1837. 

Shortly after settling in his new residence in that 
city, Tytler published, in 1839, a work in two volumes, 
entitled, " England under the reigns of Edward VI. 
and Mary, with the contemporary History of Europe, 
illustrated in a Series of Original Letters never before 
printed." This work contains 191 letters, written by 
the most distinguished persons of the period, from 
1546 to 1558, with introductory remarks, biogra- 
phical sketches, and useful historical notes. It may 
be regarded as an attempt to popularise the immense 
mass of manuscript literature contained in the State 
Paper Office and other repositories, as the obsolete 
spelling of the letters was modernised to render 


them intelligible to general readers. From the multi- 
farious nature of the contents of these volumes, it is 
difficult to describe them. The work is, however, a 
favourable specimen of the manner in which a well- 
skilled antiquary may render generally attractive and 
interesting those ancient documents which, in their 
original form, would be seldom consulted. 

The publication of the "History of Scotland" was 
brought to a close in 1843 by the issue of the ninth 
and last volume, which Ty tier concludes as follows : 
"It is with feelings of gratitude, mingled with 
regret, that the author now closes this work the 
history of his country the labour of little less than 
eighteen years ; gratitude to the Giver of all good 
that life and health have been spared to complete, 
however imperfectly, an arduous undertaking; regret 
that the tranquil pleasures of historical investigation, 
the happy hours devoted to the pursuit of truth, are 
at an end, and that he must at last bid farewell to an 
old and dear companion." 

Tytler has the merit of having executed his great 
work with much candour and impartiality. On every 
period of Scottish history which he has examined he 
has thrown fresh light ; and he has given a clear and 
consistent narrative of events which, in many in- 
stances, had previously been the subject of the fiercest 
controversy. This work, whilst it displays an im- 
mense amount of antiquarian -knowledge, is, at the 
same time, replete with elevated sentiments ; and is 
written in that elegant style which might have been 


expected from its author's hereditary claims to liter- 
ary distinction. 

He begins his history with the accession of Alex- 
ander III., in 1242, and continues it to the union of 
the crowns of England and Scotland under James I., 
in 1603. The period which he thus assigned to him- 
self is illustrated by reference to nearly every source 
of authentic information which the recent spirit of 
antiquarian research had placed at the disposal of the 
historical inquirer. The voluminous publications of 
the Eecord Commission, embracing the Acts of the 
Scottish Parliament, and the Eotuli Scotiae, a work 
relating to the transactions between England and 
Scotland from 1290 to 1517; the accounts of the 
Great Chamberlain of Scotland from 1263 to 1435 ; 
and the publications of the Bannatyne Club, afforded, 
in addition to the original MSS. discovered by him- 
self in the national archives, the authentic materials 
with the aid of which his work was prepared. 

The history of Scotland, previous to the reign of 
Alexander, still remains an interesting field of re- 
search ; and it may be doubted whether this part of 
the subject has yet been so fully explored as to admit of 
its results being embodied in a history for popular use. 
The void has been supplied to a certain extent, by 
Tytler in his chapter on the state of Ancient Scot- 
land, in which he gives the most graphic account of 
its early condition anywhere to be found. 

In his treatment of what may be called the ques- 
tiones vcxatce of Scottish history, it must be said that 


he rarely allows his own sympathies to influence the 
impartiality of his narrative. As an instance of this, 
it may be remarked, that whilst he entertained the 
greatest respect for the memory of his grandfather 
whose vindication of Queen Mary laid the foundation 
of the literary fame of the family he came to a dif- 
ferent conclusion with reference to Queen Mary, so 
clearly had his researches established her guilt. 

It was at one time Tytler's intention to continue 
his history down to the period of the union of Scot- 
land with England, in 1707. But from the volumi- 
nous and important nature of the documents to be 
arranged and examined for this purpose he found 
himself unable to enter on such a herculean task. 

A short abstract of his History formed the article 
"Scotland" in the Seventh Edition of the "Encyclo- 
paedia Britannica." It first appeared in 1842, and was 
afterwards printed in a separate form as a suitable 
class-book for schools. 

Tytler at length began to receive the long- delayed 
rewards of his literary diligence and indefatigable 
research. A pension of ^200 was bestowed on 
him by Government in recognition of his services. 
This mark of royal favour was communicated to him 
in the most handsome terms by Sir Eobert Peel, then 
Prime Minister. He also had the honour of being 
consulted by Her Majesty and Prince Albert with 
reference to the collections of historical curiosities, 
drawings, and miniatures preserved at Windsor. On 
the occasions of his visiting the palace for this pur- 


pose, Tytler was received with much attention, and 
retained a lively sense of the affability of the royal 
family. At the desire of Her Majesty he wrote an 
account of a singular relic in the royal collection, 
known as the Darnley Jewel A few copies of his 
notes on this subject were printed for Her Majesty's 

In 1845, Tytler was united, for the second time, in 
marriage to Anastasia, daughter of Thomson Bonar, 
Esq., of Camden Place, Kent. 

The intense mental application which characterised 
the whole of Tytler's life, although relieved by an 
occasional indulgence in active field sports, had, as 
might be expected, a prejudicial effect on his health. 
He had a slight paralytic seizure in 1841, from the 
effects of which, by prompt attention, he recovered. 
His health, however, broke down in 1846, and he 
became a confirmed invalid. After residing for some 
years in Germany for the improvement of his health, 
he returned to England in 1849, and died in London 
on Christmas Eve of that year, when he was in the 
fifty-eighth year of his age. His remains were brought 
to Edinburgh, and were interred in the family vault, 
in the Grey friars' churchyard. He left three chil- 
dren, two sons, Alexander, and Thomas Patrick, who 
entered the East India Company's military service, 
and one daughter. 

The uneventful career of Tytler, thus closed at a 
comparatively early age, was well worthy of the dis- 
tinguished family from which he sprung. His high 


moral character, and his amiable and cheerful dispo- 
sition, endeared him to a large circle of friends. At 
the same time he was distinguished, from his youth 
upwards, by a deep sense of religion the result of his 
excellent early training by which his life was care- 
fully regulated. His numerous published works at- 
test the patient research with which he brought to 
light historical documents of the highest interest and 
value ; while to his indomitable perseverance in this 
respect was united an amount of perspicuous dis- 
crimination in the employment of them, which justly 
entitles him to take an honourable place among those 
authors who have most successfully laid open the his- 
torical treasures of their country for the instruction 
of the present and of future generations. 








Eittgt of England. 
Henry III. 
Edward I. 

King of France. 
Louis IX. 

Innocent IV. 
Alexander IV. 
Urban IV. 
Clement IV. 

ALEXANDER the Third had not completed his eighth 
year, when the death of the king, his father, on the 
8th July, 1249, opened to him the peaceable accession 
to the Scottish throne.* He was accordingly con- 
ducted by an assembly of the nobility to the Abbey 
of Scone, and there crowned.t 

* Winton, vol. i. p. 380, book vii. chap. x. Mathew Paris H5st. p. 770. 
+ Alexander the Third was son of Alexander the Second, by Mary, 
daughter of Ingelram de Couci. Imhoff. Regum Pariumque Magnse Britt. 
Histor. Genealogica, Part I. p. 42. The family of de Couci affected a royal 
pomp, and considered all titles as beneath their dignity. The Cri de Guerre 
of this Ingelram, or Enguerrand, was 

Je ne suis Roy, ni Prince aussi. 
Je suis le Seigneur de Couci. 

On account of his brave actions, possessions, and three marriages with 
ladies of royal and illustrious families, he was surnamed Le Grand. Win- 
ton, vol. ii. p. 482. 

VOL. I. B 


A long minority, at all times an unhappy event for 
a kingdom, was at this time especially unfortunate 
for Scotland. The vicinity of Henry the Third of 
England, who, although individually a weak monarch, 
allowed himself sometimes to be directed by able and 
powerful counsellors, and the divisions between the 
principal nobility of Scotland, facilitated the designs 
of ambition, and weakened the power of resistance ; 
nor can it be doubted, that during the early part of 
this reign, the first approaches were made towards 
that great plan for the reduction of Scotland, which 
was afterwards attempted to be carried into effect by 
Edward the First, and defeated by the bravery of 
Wallace and Bruce. But in order to show clearly 
the state of the kingdom upon the accession of this 
monarch, and more especially in its relations with 
England, it will be necessary to go back a few years, 
to recount a story of private revenge which happened 
in the conclusion of the reign of Alexander the Second, 
(] 242,) and drew after it important consequences. 

A tournament, the frequent amusement of this war- 
like age, was held near Haddington, on which occasion 
Walter Bisset, a powerful baron who piqued himself 
upon his skill in his weapons, was foiled by Patrick 
earl of Athole.* An old feud which existed between 
these families embittered the defeat ; and Athole was 
found murdered in his house, which, probably for the 
purpose of concealment, was set on fire by the assassins. 
The suspicion of this slaughter, which, even in an age 
familiar with ferocity, seems to have excited unwonted 
horror, immediately fell upon the Bissets; and, although 

* Henry earl of Athole had two daughters, Isohel and Fernelith. Isohel 
married Thomas of Galloway. Their only son was Patrick earl of Athole. 
Fernelith married David de Hastings. Hailes' Annals, vol. i. p. 157. 
Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 72. Math. Paris, p. 586. 


Walter was the person present at the tournament, the 
popular clamour pointed to William, the chief of the 
family.* He was pursued by the nobility, who were 
incited to vengeance by the Earl of March and David 
de Hastings ; and would have been torn to pieces, had 
not the interference of the king protected him from 
the fury of the friends of Athole. Bisset strenuously 
asserted his innocence. He offered to prove, that he 
had been fifty miles distant from Haddington when 
the murder was committed ; he instantly procured the 
sentence of excommunication against the assassins to 
be published in every chapel in Scotland ; he offered 
combat to any man who dared abide the issue ; but he 
declined a trial by jury on account of the inveterate 
malice of his enemies. The king accepted the office 
of judge : the Bissets were condemned, their estates 
forfeited to the crown, and they themselves compelled 
to swear upon the Holy Gospel that they would repair 
to Palestine, and there, for the remaining days of their 
lives, pray for the soul of the murdered earl. 

Walter Bisset, however, instead of Jerusalem, sought 
the English court. -f* There, by artfully representing 
to the king that Alexander owed him fealty, and that, 
as lord superior, he ought to have been first consulted 
before judgment was given, whilst he described Scot- 
land as the ally of France and the asylum of his 
expatriated rebels,J he contrived to inflame the passion 

* Lord Hailes remarks, vol. i. p. 157, that Fordun says the author of the 
conspiracy was Walter. Fordun, on the contrary, all along ascribes it, or 
rather says it was ascribed, to William Bisset. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. 
pp. 72, 73, 74. The name of the Bisset banished from Scotland, as shown 
in the Patent Rolls of Henry the Third, is Walter. 

+ Chronicon, Melross, a Stevenson. Bannatyne edition, p. 156. 

j Math. Paris, pp. 643, 645. Speed's Chronicle, p. 527. Speed ascribes 
the disagreement between Henry and Alexander to the influence of Ingelram 
de Couci ; and adds, that on the death of this nobleman, the humour of 
battle this is Nym's phrase ceased. De Couci, in passing a river on 


of the English monarch to so high a pitch, that Henry 
determined on an immediate invasion. Nor was the 
temper with which Alexander received this information 
in any way calculated to promote conciliation. To 
the complaints of the King of England, that he had 
violated the duty which he owed to him as his Lord 
Paramount, the Scottish monarch is said to have 
answered, that he neither did, nor ever would, consent 
to hold from the King of England the smallest portion 
of his kingdom of Scotland. His reply was warmly 
seconded by the spirit of his nobility. They fortified 
the castles on the marches ; and the king soon found 
himself at the head of an army of nearly a hundred 
thousand foot and a thousand horse. Henry, on the 
other hand, led into the field a large body of troops, 
with which he proceeded to Newcastle. The accoutre- 
ments and discipline of these two powerful hosts, which 
were commanded by kings and included the flower of 
the nobility of both countries, are highly extolled by 
Mathew Paris.* The Scottish cavalry, according to 
his account, were a fine body of men and well mounted, 
although their horses were neither of the Spanish nor 
Italian breed; and the horsemen were clothed in 
armour of iron net-work. In the number of its cavalry 
the English army far surpassed its rival force, including 
a power of five thousand men-at-arms, sumptuously 
accoutred. These armies came in sight of each other 
at a place in Northumberland called Ponteland ; and 
the Scots prepared for battle, by confessing themselves 
to their priests, and expressing to each other their 

horseback, was unseated, dragged in the stirrup, run through the body with 
his own lance, and drowned. 

* M. Paris, p. 645. Chron. Melross, p. 156. Rapin is in an error when 
he says, vol. i. p. 318, that Alexander sent Henry word, he meant no longer 
to do him homage for the lands he held in England. 


readiness to die in defence of the independence of their 
country. As Alexander, however, was much beloved in 
England, the nobility of that country coldly seconded 
the rash enterprise of their king, and showed no anxiety 
to hurry into hostilities. Richard earl of Cornwall, 
brother to Henry, and the Archbishop of York, 
thought this a favourable moment for proposing an 
armistice ; and, by their endeavours, such great and 
solemn preparations ended in a treaty of peace, without 
a lance being put in rest. Its terms were just, and 
favourable to both countries.* 

Henry appears prudently to have waved all demand 
of homage from Alexander for the kingdom of Scot- 
land ; and the Scottish monarch, on the other hand, 
who possessed land in England for which, although 
the English historians assert the contrary, he does 
not appear to have ever refused homage, consented, 
for himself and his heirs, to maintain fidelity and 
affection to Henry and his heirs, as his liege lord, and 
not to enter into any league with the enemies of 
England, except in the case of unjust oppression. It 
was also stipulated, that the peace formerly signed at 
York, in the presence of Otto the pope's legate, should 
stand good ; and that the proposal there made, of a 
marriage between the daughter of the King of Eng- 
land and the son of the King of Scots, should be 
carried into effect. Alan Durward, at this time the 
most accomplished knight and the best military leader 
in Scotland, Henry de Baliol, and David de Lindesay, 
with other knights and prelates, then swore on the 
soul of their lord the king, that the treaty should be 
kept inviolate by him and his heirs. "f 

* Ryrner, vol. i. pp. 374, 428. Rapin's Acta Regia, by Whately,vol. i. p. 28. 
f The original charter granted to Henry by Alexander may be found in 


Thus ended this expedition of Henry's into Scot- 
land, formidable in its commencement, but happy and 
bloodless in its result ; * and such was the relative 
situation of the two countries, when Alexander the 
Third, yet a boy in his eighth year, mounted the 
Scottish throne. 

The mode in which the ceremony of his coronation 
was performed, is strikingly illustrative of the manners 
of that age. The Bishops of St Andrews and Dunkeld, 
with the Abbot of Scone, attended to officiate ; but an 
unexpected difficulty arose. Alan Durward, the great 
Justiciary, remarked, that the king ought not to be 
crowned before he was knighted, and that the day 
fixed for the ceremony was unlucky. The objection 
was selfish, and arose from Durward, who was then at 
the head of the Scottish chivalry, expecting that the 
honour of knighting Alexander would fall upon him- 
self. } But Comyn earl of Menteith, insisted that 
there were frequent examples of the consecration of 
kings before the solemnity of their knighthood ; he 
represented that the Bishop of St Andrews might per- 
form both ceremonies ; he cited the instance of William 
Rufus having been knighted by Lanfranc archbishop 
of Canterbury ; and he earnestly urged the danger of 
delay. Nor was this danger ideal. Henry the Third, 
in a letter to Rome, had artfully represented Scotland 
as a fief of England; and had requested the pope to 
interdict the ceremony of the coronation until Alex- 
ander obtained the permission of his feudal superior.^ 

Mathew Paris, p. 646, and in Rymer, Feed. vol. i. p. 428. See Illustrations, 
A. It is curious, as showing the state of the Scottish peerage in 1244. Nei- 
ther Lesley nor Buchanan take any notice of this expedition and treaty. 

* Tyrrel, History of England, vol. ii. p. 930. 

f Fordun a Hearne, p. 759. 

J. Hailes, vol. i. p. 162. Rymer, vol. i. p. 463. 


Fortunately the patriotic arguments of the Earl of 
Menteith prevailed. The Bishop of St Andrews 
girded the king with the belt of knighthood, and ex- 
plained to him the respective oaths which were to be 
taken by himself and his subjects, first in Latin, and 
afterwards in Norman French.* They then conducted 
the boy to the regal chair, or sacred stone of Scone, 
which stood before the cross in the eastern division of 
the chapel. Upon this he sat : the crown was placed 
on his head, the sceptre in his hand ; he was invested 
with the royal mantle ; and the nobility, kneeling in 
homage, threw their robes beneath his feet. A High- 
land sennachy or bard, of great age, clothed in a scarlet 
mantle, with hair venerably white, then advanced 
from the crowd; and, bending before the throne, 
repeated, in his native tongue, the genealogy of the 
youthful monarch, deducing his descent from the 
fabulous Gathelus. It is difficult to believe that, even 
in those days of credulity, the nobility could digest 
the absurdities of this savage genealogist.-f 

Henry the Third, at this time influenced by the 
devotional spirit of the age, had resolved on an expe- 
dition to the Holy Land ; and in order to secure 
tranquillity to his dominions on the side of Scotland, 
the marriage formerly agreed on, between his daughter 
Margaret and the young Scottish king, was solemnized 
at York on Christmas day, with much splendour and 
dignity.J The guests at the bridal were the King 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 81. 

t Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 80, 81, 82. Chron. Melross, p. 219. 
Lord Hailes has omitted the anecdote of the Highland sennachy ; but there 
seems no reason to doubt its authenticity. It was probably relying on this 
story that Nisbet has asserted (Heraldry, vol. ii. p. iv. p. 155,) that it was a 
part of the coronation ceremony to repeat six generations of the king's an- 
cestry. Martin's Western Isles, p. 241. 

J Math. Paris, p. 829. Rymer,vol.i.p.466. Fordun a Heame, pp. 76 1,762. 


and Queen of England ; Mary de Couci queen-dowa- 
ger of Scotland, who had come from France, with a 
train worthy of her high rank ;* the nobility, and the 
dignified clergy of both countries, and in their suite a 
numerous assemblage of vassals. A thousand knights, 
in robes of silk, attended the bride on the morn of her 
nuptials ; and after some days spent in tournaments, 
feasting, and other circumstances of feudal revelry, the 
youthful couple, neither of whom had reached their 
eleventh year, set out for Scotland. " Were I," says 
Mathew Paris, in one of those bursts of monastic 
eloquence which diversify his annals, " to explain at 
length the abundance of the feasts, the variety and 
the frequent changes of the vestments, the delight and 
the plaudits occasioned by the jugglers, and the mul- 
titude of those who sat down to meat, my narrative 
would become hyperbolical, and might produce irony 
in the hearts of the absent. I shall only mention, 
that the archbishop, who, as the great Prince of the 
North, showed himself a most serene host to all comers, 
made a donation of six hundred oxen, which were all 
spent upon the first course; and from this circumstance, 
I leave you to form a parallel judgment of the rest."-f- 
In the midst of these festivities, a circumstance of 
importance occurred. When Alexander performed 
homage for the lands which he held in England, 
Henry, relying upon the facility incident to his age, 
artfully proposed that he should also render fealty for 
his kingdom of Scotland. But the boy, either in- 
structed before-hand, or animated with a spirit and 
wisdom above his years, replied, " That he had come 
into England upon a joyful and pacific errand, and 

* Rymer, vol. i. edit. 1816, p. 278. Fordun a Hearne, p. 762. 
i Math. Paris, p. 830. Winton, book vii. chap. x. vol. i. p. 38a 


that he would not treat upon so arduous a question 
without the advice of the states of his kingdom ;"" 
upon which the king dissembled his mortification, and 
the ceremony proceeded.* 

Alan Durward, who, as High Justiciar, was the 
Scottish king's chief counsellor, had married the 
natural sister of Alexander ; and, during the rejoic- 
ings at York, was accused, hy Comyn earl of Menteith 
and William earl of Mar, of a design against the 
crown. The ground on which this accusation rested, 
was an attempt of Durward, in which he was seconded 
by the Scottish chancellor,^ to procure from the court 
of Rome the legitimation of his wife, in order, said 
his accusers, that his children should succeed to the 
crown, if the king happened to die without heirs. 
From the ambitious and intriguing character of Dur- 
ward, this story probably had some foundation in 
fact, and certain persons who were accused, actually 
fled from York ; upon which Henry made a new 
appointment of guardians to the young king, at the 
head of whom were placed the Earls of Menteith and 

The peace of Scotland was for many years after 
this interrupted by that natural jealousy of England, 
so likely to rise in a kingdom its equal in the sense of 
independence, although its inferior in national strength. 
Henry, too, adopted measures not calculated to secure 
the confidence of the Scottish people. He sent into 
Scotland, under the name of guardian to the king, 
Geoffry de Langley, a rapacious noble, who was imme- 
diately expelled. He procured Innocent the Fourth 

* Math. Paris, p. 829. Rapin's History, by Tindal, vol. iii. p. 392, 8vo. 
t Fordun a Hearne, p. 762. Chron. Melross, p. 179. Winton, vol. i. 
book vii. chap. x. p. 384. 


to grant him a twentieth of the ecclesiastical revenues 
of that kingdom, nominally for the aid of the Holy 
Land, but really for his own uses ; and he despatched 
Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester, on a mission, 
described as secret in his instructions,* but the object 
of which may be conjectured from the increasing 
animosity of the disputes between the Scottish nobility. 
Many English attendants, some of them persons of 
rank and consequence, accompanied Margaret into her 
new kingdom ; and between these intruders and the 
ancient nobility of Scotland, who fiercely asserted their 
privileges, disputes arose, which soon reached the ears 
of the English court. The young queen, accustomed 
to the indulgence and superior refinement of her 
father's court, bitterly lamented that she was immured 
in a dismal fortress, without being permitted to have 
her own attendants around her person, or allowed to 
enjoy the society of her husband, the king.j* 

These complaints, which appear to have been highly 
exaggerated, and a still more horrid report that the 
queen's physician had been poisoned by the same party 
because he ventured to remonstrate against the con- 
finement of his mistress, were not lost upon Alan 
Durward, the late justiciar. He had accompanied 
Henry in his expedition to Guienne, where, by his 
courage and address, he regained the confidence of 
that capricious monarch ;J and he now prevailed upon 
the king to despatch the Earl of Gloucester and 
Maunsell his chief secretary, to the Scottish court, 
for the purpose of dismissing those ministers who 
were found not sufficiently obsequious to England. 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. i. p. 523. 

f Math. Paris, p. 908. J Chron. Melross, p. 183. 

Rymer, Foedera, vol. i. pp. 558, 559. See Illustrations, B. 


In sending these noblemen upon this mission, Henrj 
solemnly engaged to attempt nothing against the person 
of the Scottish king, and never to insist upon his being 
disinherited, or upon the dissolution of the marriage 
settlement;* promises, the particular history of which 
is involved in much obscurity, but which strongly, 
though generally, demonstrate, that the English king 
had been accused of designs inimical to the honour and 
independence of Scotland. At the head of the party 
which steadily opposed the interested schemes of 
Henry, was Walter Comyn earl of Menteith, whose 
loyalty we have seen insisting on the speedy corona- 
tion of the young king, when it was attempted to be 
deferred by Alan Durward. Many of the principal 
nobility, and some of the best and wisest of the clergy, 
were found in the same ranks. 

The Earl of Gloucester and his associates accord- 
ingly repaired to Scotland; and, in concert with the 
Earls of Dunbar, Strathern, and Carrick, surprised 
the castle of Edinburgh, relieved the royal couple from 
the real or pretended durance in which they were held, 
and formally conducted them to the bridal chamber, 
although the king was yet scarcely fourteen years of 
age.^f English influence appears now to have been 
predominant ; and Henry, having heard of the success 
of his forerunners Maunsell and Gloucester, and con- 
ceiving that the time was come for the reduction of 
Scotland under his unfettered control, issued his writs 
to his military tenants, and assembled a numerous 
army. As he led this array towards the borders, he 
took care to conceal his real intentions, by directing, 
from Newcastle, a declaration, that in this progress to 

* Rymer, vol. i. p. 559. 

f Math. Paris, p. 908. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 90, book x. chap. ix. 


visit his dear son Alexander, he should attempt no- 
thing prejudicial to the rights of the king, or the 
liberties of Scotland.* In the meantime, the Comyns 
collected their forces, and the opposite faction suddenly 
removed the king and queen to Roxburgh, in which 
castle Alexander received Henry, who conducted him, 
with pomp and acclamation, to the Abbey of Kelso. 
The government of Scotland was there remodelled; a 
new set of counsellors appointed; and the party of the 
Comyns, with John Baliol and Robert de Ross, com- 
pletely deprived of their political influence. In the 
instruments drawn up upon this occasion, some provi- 
sions were inserted, which were loudly complained of 
as derogatory to the dignity of the kingdom; the 
abettors of England were stigmatized as conspirators, 
who were equally obnoxious to prelates, barons, and 
burgesses; and the Bishop of Glasgow, the Bishop 
elect of St Andrews, the chancellor, and the Earl of 
Menteith, indignantly refused to affix their seals to a 
deed, which, as they asserted, compromised the liber- 
ties of the country.-f- 

A regency was now appointed, which included the 
whole of the clergy and the nobility who were favourable 
to England, J to whom were intrusted the custody of 
the king's person, and the government of the realm 
for seven years, till Alexander had reached the age of 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. i. pp. 560, 561. The instrument is dated 25th 
August 1255. 

f" The Chronicle of Melrose, p. 181, calls the deed " nefandissimum scrip- 
turn." See Fordun a Goodal, book x. chap. ix. Winton, book vii. chap. x. 
vol. i. p. 385. 

+ Richard Inverkeithen bishop of Dunkeld, Peter de Ramsay bishop of 
Aberdeen, Malcolm earl of Fife, Patrick earl of Dunbar or March, Malise 
earl of Strathern, and Nigel earl of Carrick, Walter de Moray, David de 
Lindesay, William de Brechin, Robert de Meyners, Gilbert de Hay, and 
Hugh Gifford de Yester, -were the heads of the English party. Rymer, 
Foedera, vol. i. pp. 565, 566, 567. 

1256. ALEXANDER III. 13 

twenty-one. Henry assumed to himself the title of 
" principal counsellor to the illustrious King of Scot- 
land;" and the Comyns, with Bishop Gamelin, the 
Earl of Mar, Baliol, Ross, and their chief accomplices, 
were removed from all share in the government of the 

Alexander, upon his part, engaged to treat his 
young queen with all honour and affection; and the 
Earl of Dunbar, according to a common solemnity of 
this age, swore upon the soul of the king, that every 
article of the agreement should be faithfully performed. 
Thus ended a negotiation conducted entirely by Eng- 
lish influence; and which, although the ambition of 
the Comyns may have given some plausible colour to 
the designs of their enemies, was generally and justly 
unpopular in Scotland.-f- Alexander and his queen 
now repaired to Edinburgh ; and Henry, after having 
attempted to recruit his exhausted coffers, by selling 
a pardon to John de Baliol, and confiscating the 
estates of Robert de Ross, returned to commit new 
attacks upon the property of his English subjects.! 

* Rotul. Patent. 3d Hen. III. m. 2, in protectionibus duabus pro Euge- 
nio de Ergadia. 
f Winton, book vii. chap. x. 

Thare vres made S'wylk ordynans, 
That -wes gret grefe and displesans 
Till of Scotland ye thre statis, 
Burgens, Barownys, and Prelatis. 

Nothing can be more slight or inaccurate than the account of the early 
transactions of Alexander's reign, to be found in Buchanan, Boece, and 
Major. Nor are our more modern historians, who have not submitted to 
the task of examining the original authorities, free from the same fault. 
Maitland gives almost a transcript of Buchanan. Lingard, the author of a 
valuable history of England, has advanced opinions regarding the conduct 
of Henry the Third and the once keenly-contested subject of homage, which 
do not appear to me to be -well founded : and even Hailes has not exposed, 
in sufficiently strong colours, that cunning and ambition in the English king, 
which, under the mask of friendship and protection, concealed a design 
against the liberties of the kingdom. 
Mathew Paris, p. 91 1. 


Upon his departure, Scotland became the scene of 
civil faction and ecclesiastical violence. There were 
at this time in that kingdom thirty-two knights and 
three powerful earls of the name of Comyn;* and 
these, with their armed vassals, assisted by many of 
the disgraced nobility, formed an effectual check upon 
the measures of the regency. Gamelin, the Bishop 
elect of St Andrews, and the steady enemy of English 
influence, unawed by his late removal, procured him- 
self to be consecrated by the Bishop of Glasgow ; and 
although placed without the protection of the laws, he 
yet, in an appeal to the court of Rome, induced the 
pope to excommunicate his accusers, and to declare 
him worthy of his bishopric.-f- Henry, enraged at the 
bold opposition of Gamelin, prohibited his return, and 
issued orders to arrest him if he attempted to land in 
England; while the regents performed their part in 
the persecution, by seizing the rich revenues of his 

In the midst of these scenes of faction and distur- 
oance, the King and Queen of Scotland proceeded to 
London on a visit to their father, and were received 
with great magnificence. They were entertained at 
Oxford, Woodstock, and in London. Tents were 
raised in the meadows for the accommodation of their 
followers; and Henry renewed to Alexander a grant 
of the honour of Huntingdon, which had been held by 
some of his predecessors. The party of the Comyns, 
however, were slowly regaining ground. The pope, 
by his judgment in favour of Gamelin, espoused their 
quarrel; and they soon received a powerful support 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 92. 

+ Chron. Melross, p. 181. Haiies, vol. i. p. 170, 4to. 

Rymer, Feed. vol. i. p. 652. Math. Paris, p. 930. 

1257. ALEXANDER III. 15 

in Mary de Couci the widow of Alexander the Second, 
and John of Acre her husband, who at this time 
passed through England into Scotland.* This was 
deemed a favourable conjuncture by the delegates of 
the pope, to publish the sentence of excommunication 
against the counsellors of the king. The ceremony, 
in those days an affair of awful moment, was performed 
by the Bishop of Dumblane, and the Abbots of Jed- 
burgh and Melrose, in the abbey church of Cambus- 
kenneth, and repeated, " by bell and candle," in every 
chapel in the kingdom.-f- 

To follow this up, the Comyns now assembled in 
great strength : they declared that the government 
of the kingdom had been shamefully mismanaged, 
that foreigners were promoted to the highest offices, 
that their sovereign was detained in the hands of 
excommunicated 'and accursed persons, and that an 
interdict would soon be fulminated against the whole 
kingdom.^ Finding that their party increased in 
weight and popularity, they resorted to more desperate 
measures. Under cover of night they attacked the 
court of the king, which was then held at Kinross ; 
seized the young monarch in his bed; carried him and 
his queen before morning to Stirling; made themselves 
masters of the great seal of the kingdom; and totally 
dispersed the opposite faction. Nor were they remiss 
in strengthening their interest by foreign alliance. 
They entered into a remarkable treaty with Wales 
at this time the enemy of England which, with a 
wisdom scarcely to be looked for in those rude times, 
included in its provisions some important regulations 
regarding the commerce of both countries. 

* Rymer, vol. i. p. 625. f Chron. Melross, p. 182. 

J See Illustrations, C. Ibid. D. 


Alan Durward meanwhile precipitately fled to Eng- 
land;* and the Comyns, eager to press their advantage 
to the utmost, assembled their forces, and marched 
with the king against the English party. A nego- 
tiation at length took place at Roxburgh ; and the 
nobility and principal knights, who had leagued with 
Henry, engaged to submit themselves to the king and 
the laws, and to settle all disputes in a conference to 
be held at Forfar. This was merely an artifice to 
gain time, for they immediately fled to England ; and 
the Earls of Hereford and Albemarle, along with John 
de Baliol, soon after repaired to Melrose, where the 
Scottish king awaited the arrival of his army. Their 
avowed purpose was to act as mediators between the 
two factions : their real intention to seize, if possible, 
the person of the king, and to carry him into England.^ 
But the plot was suspected ; and Alexander, with the 
Comyns, defeated all hopes of its success, by appoint- 
ing for the scene of their conference the forest of Jed- 
burgh, in which a great part of his troops had already 

The two English earls, therefore, resumed their 
more pacific design of negotiation. It was difficult 
and protracted ; so that in the interval, the king and 
the Comyns, having time to collect a large force, 
found themselves in a situation to insist upon terms 
which were alike favourable to their own power and to 
the liberty of the country. The King of England 
was compelled to dissemble his animosity, to forget 
his bitter opposition against Bishop Gamelin, and to 
reserve to some other opportunity all reference to the 
obnoxious treaty of Roxburgh. A new regency was 

* Chron. Melross, p. 182. f Chron. Melross, p. 183. 

1258. ALEXANDER III. 17 

appointed, which left the principal power in the hands 
of the queen-mother and of the Comyns, but endea- 
voured to reconcile the opposite parties, by including 
in its numbers four of the former regents.* Mean- 
while the country, torn by contending factions, was 
gradually reduced to a state of great misery. Men 
forgot their respect for the kingly authority, and 
despised the restraint of the laws ; the higher nobles 
enlisted under one or other of the opposite parties, 
plundered the lands and slew the retainers of their 
rival barons ; churches were violated, castles and 
hamlets razed to the ground, and the regular returns 
of seed-time and harvest interrupted by the flames of 
private war. In short, the struggle to resist English 
interference was fatal, for the time, to the prosperity 
of the kingdom ; and what Scotland gained in inde- 
pendence, she lost in improvement and national happi- 
ness, -f- 

At this crisis, when they had effectually succeeded 
in diminishing, if not destroying, the English influence, 
the Comyns lost the leader whose courage and energy 
were the soul of their councils. Walter Comyn earl 
of Menteith died suddenly. It was reported in Eng- 
land that his death was occasioned by a fall from his 
horse ; J but a darker story arose in Scotland. The 
Countess of Menteith had encouraged a criminal pas- 
sion for an English baron named Russel, and was 
openly accused of having poisoned her husband to 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. i. p. 670. 

+ Fordun a Goodal, vol. li. p. 85 J Math. Paris, p. 660 

Buchanan, copying Boece, as he generally does, calls Russel ignobilis 
Anglus. But I suspect, that the paramour of the countess was John 
Russel, one of the witnesses, in 1220, who signs the agreement for the 
marriage of Johanna, sister of Henry the Third, to Alexander the Second, 
giving his obligation to Alexander for the fulfilment of the treaty, and who 
could not he an ohscure individual. Foedera, vol. i. p. 240. 




make way for her paramour, whom she married with 
indecent haste. Insulted and disgraced, she and her 
husband were thrown into prison, despoiled of their 
estates, and at last compelled to leave the kingdom.* 
Encouraged by the death of his opponent, and 
anxious to regain his lost influence, the English king 
now became desirous that Alexander and his queen 
should pay him a visit at London ; and for this pur- 
pose he sent William de Horton, a monk of St Albans, 
on a secret mission into Scotland. Horton arrived at 
the period when the king and his nobles were assem- 
bled in council, and found them jealous of this perpe- 
tual interference of England. They deemed these 
visits incompatible with the independence of the coun- 
try ; and the messenger of Henry met with great 
opposition. "f* The nature of the message increased 
this alarm. It was a request that Alexander and his 
queen should repair to London, to treat of matters of 
great importance, but which were not communicated 
to the parliament ; and it was not surprising that the 
nobility, profiting by former experience, should have 
taken precautions against any sinister designs of 
Henry. Accordingly, the Earl of Buchan, Durward 
the Justiciar, and the Chancellor Wishart, were in 
their turn despatched upon a secret mission into 
England ; and the result was, that Alexander and his 
queen consented to visit London, under two condi- 
tions : first, an express stipulation was made that, 
during their stay at court, neither the king, nor any 
of his attendants, were to be required to treat of state 
affairs ; and, secondly, an oath was to be taken by 
the English monarch, that if the Queen of Scotland 

* Hailei' Hist. vol. i. p. 172, 4to. f Math. Paris, p. 985. 

1260. ALEXANDER III. 19 

became pregnant, or if she gave birth to a child during 
her absence, neither the mother nor the infant should 
be detained in England;* so great, at this moment, 
in the minds of the Scottish nobility, was the jealousy 
of English ambition and intrigue. 

In fulfilment of this promise, the King of Scotland 
repaired with a concourse of his nobility to the court 
of England ; and left his queen, whose situation now 
speedily promised an heir to the Scottish throne, to 
follow him, by slow stages, with the Bishop of Glasgow. 
On her approach to St Albans, she was met by her 
younger brother Edmund, who received her with a 
splendid retinue, and conducted her in the morning to 
London. The object of this visit of Alexander was 
not solely to gratify the King of England. He was 
anxious to exercise his rights over the territory of 
Huntingdon, which he held of the English crown; 
and the payment of his wife's portion had been so long 
delayed, that he wished to reclaim the debt. The 
reception of the royal persons appears to have been 
unusually magnificent ; and the country round the 
court was greatly exhausted by the sumptuous enter- 
tainments, and the intolerable expenses which they 
demanded.-f- In the midst of these festivities, the 
queen drew near her time; and, at the pressing instance 
of her father, it was agreed that she should lie-in at 
the court of England : not however without a renewed 
stipulation, sworn upon the soul of the king, that the 
infant, in the event of the death of its mother or of 
Alexander, should be delivered to an appointed body 
of the Scottish nobility. 

Having secured this, Alexander returned to his 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. i. pp. 713, 714. Math. Westminster, p. 376. 
t Math. Westminster, p. 376. 


kingdom; and in the month of February 1261, his 
young queen was delivered at Windsor of a daughter, 
Margaret, afterwards married to Eric king of Norway.* 

In the beginning of the following year, Henry seems 
to have interposed his good offices, to prevent a rup- 
ture between Alexander and Haco king of Norway, 
regarding the possession of the western islands, the 
petty chiefs of which had for a long period been feuda- 
tory to the Norwegian crown. ^ Their habits of 
constant war and piratical excursion had at this time 
rendered the Norwegians a formidable people; and 
their near vicinity to Scotland enabled them, at a very 
early period, to overspread the whole of the Western 
Archipelago. The little sovereignties of these islands, 
under the protection of a warlike government, appear 
to have been in a flourishing condition. They were 
crowded with people; and the useful and ornamental 
arts were carried in them to a higher degree of perfec- 
tion than in the other European countries. A poet 
of the north, in describing a dress unusually gorgeous, 
adds, that it was spun by the Sudreyans.J And even 
in science and literature, this remarkable people had, 
in their colonies especially, attained to no inconsider- 
able distinction. 

The vicinity of such enterprising neighbours was 
particularly irksome to the Scottish kings, and they 
anxiously endeavoured to get possession of these 
islands. When treaty failed, they encouraged their 
subjects of Scotland to invade them ; and Alan lord 

* Math. Westminster, p. 377. TheChron. Melross, p. 185, places her birth 
in the year 1260. She certainly was not born as late as the 16th November, 

f Macpherson's Geographical Illustrations of Scottish History, under the 
word " Ills." A valuable work. 

J Johnstone's Lodbrokar-Quida, stanza xv. and explanatory note. 

Macpherson's Illustrations, ut supra, voce " His." 

1262. ALEXANDER III. 21 

of Galloway, assisted by Thomas earl of Athole, about 
thirty years before this, carried on a successful war 
against the isles, and expelled Olaf the Black, King 
of Man, from his dominions.* These Scottish chiefs 
had collected a large fleet, with a proportionably 
numerous army ; and it required all the exertions of 
the Norwegian king to re-establish his vassal on his 
island throne. After this, the authority of Norway 
became gradually more and more precarious throughout 
the isles. Some of the chiefs were compelled, others 
induced by motives of interest, to renounce their 
allegiance, and to embrace the nearer superiority of 
Scotland : some, who held lands of both crowns, were 
uncertain to whom they should pay their paramount 
allegiance ; and Alexander the Second, the immediate 
predecessor of Alexander the Third, after an unsuc- 
cessful attempt at negotiation, prepared an expedition 
for their complete reduction. The expressions used 
in threatening this invasion, may convince us that the 
Norwegians had not only acquired the sovereignty of 
the isles, but had established themselves upon the 
mainland of Scotland ; for the Scottish king declares, 
" that he will not desist till he hath set his standard 
upon the cliffs of Thurso, and subdued all that the 
King of Norway possessed to the westward of the 
German Ocean."-f- Alexander the Second, however, 
lived only to conduct his fleet and army to the shores 
of Argyleshire ; and, on the king's death, the object 
of the expedition was abandoned.! 

* Johnstone, Antiquitates Celto-Normannicae, p. 30. See also a Memoir, 
by Mr Dillon, in the Transactions of the Society of Scottish Antiquaries, 
p. 356, vol. ii. p. 2. The fleet of Earl Alan alone consisted of 150 ships : small 
craft, of course, but formidable in piratic warfare. 

f Chronicle of Man, p. 43. 

i Math. Paris, p. 770. Mathew describes Alexander as having sailed on 
this expedition, for the purpose of compelling Angus of Argyle to do him 


During the minority of Alexander the Third, all 
idea of reducing the isles seems to have been abandoned; 
but when the king was no longer a boy, the measure 
was seriously resumed : and after an unsuccessful 
embassy to the Norwegian court,* the Earl of Ross 
and other island chiefs were induced to invade the 
reguli, or petty kings of the Hebrides, in the western 
seas. Their expedition was accompanied with circum- 
stances of extreme cruelty. The ketherans and soldiers 
of the isles, if we may believe the Norwegian Chronicles, 
not content with the sack of villages and the plunder 
of churches, in their wanton fury raised the children 
on the points of their spears, and shook them till they 
fell down to their hands : barbarities which might be 
thought incredible, were we not acquainted with the 
horrid atrocities which, even in our own days, have 
accompanied piratic warfare.^ 

Such conduct effectually roused Haco, the Norwe- 
gian king. He determined to revenge the injuries 
offered to his vassals, and immediately issued orders 
for the assembling of a fleet and army, whilst he 
repaired in person to Bergen to superintend the pre- 
parations for the expedition. The magnitude of these 
spread an alarm even upon the coasts of England. It 
was reported, that the Kings of Denmark and Norway, 
with an overwhelming fleet, had bent their course 
against the Scottish islands ;| and although the 
apparent object of Haco was nothing more than the 

homage for certain lands which were held of Norway : Alexander's object 
was to compel all the vassals of Norway to renounce their allegiance. 

* Chronicle of Man, p. 45. 

f- The Chronicle of Man, p. 45, says, the Earl of Ross was assisted by 
Kearnach and the son of Macalmal. Macalmal is conjectured to be Mac- 
donald. Who was Kearnach ? As to the inhuman practice mentioned in 
the text, see Johnstone, Notes to the Norwegian Expedition. 

Rymer, Fcedera, vol. i. p. 772. Letter from Ralph de Nevil, captain 
of Bamborough castle. 

1263. ALEXANDER III. 23 

protection of his vassals, yet the final destination of 
so powerful an armament was anxiously contemplated. 
On the 7th of July, the fleet set sail from Herlover. 
The king commanded in person. His ship, which had 
been built at Bergen, was entirely of oak, of great 
dimensions,* and ornamented with richly-carved 
dragons, overlaid with gold. Every thing at first 
seemed to favour the expedition. It was midsummer, 
the day was fine, and innumerable flags and pennons 
flaunted in the breeze ; the decks were crowded with 
knights and soldiers, whose armour glittered in the 
sun ; and the armament, which was considered as the 
most powerful and splendid that had ever sailed from 
Norway, bore away with a light wind for Shetland, 
which it reached in two days.^f Haco thence sailed to 
Orkney, where he proposed to separate his forces into 
two divisions, and to send one of these to plunder in 
the Firth of Forth ; whilst he himself, remained in 
reserve, with his largest ships and the greater part of 
his army, in Orkney. It happened, however, that the 
higher vassals and retainers, who appear to have had 
a powerful influence in the general direction of the 
expedition, refused to go any where without the king 
himself ; and this project was abandoned. J The fleet, 
therefore, directed its course to the south; and, after 
being joined by a small squadron which had previously 
been despatched to the westward, Haco conducted 
his ships into the bay of Ronaldsvoe, and sent mes- 

* Norse Account of this Expedition, with its translation, published by 
Johnstone, p. 25. According to this work, Haco's ship had twenty-seven 
banks of oars ; that is, twenty-seven seats for the rowers. 

*t* Norse Account of the Expedition, pp. 38, 39. It calls it a mighty and 
splendid armament. Haco anchored in Breydeyiar Sound. 

% Norse Account, p. 43. 

Observations on the Norwegian Expedition, Antiquarian Transactions, 
Tol. ii. p. 363. 


sengers to the neighbouring coast of Caithness to levy 
contributions. This country, exposed from its situa- 
tion to perpetual piratic invasions, was, as we have 
seen, in 1249 under the dominion of Norway. But 
this did not long continue. The exertions of the 
Scottish government had succeeded in reducing the 
inhabitants ; hostages were exacted for their fidelity; 
and now we find this remote district in the state of a 
Scottish province, exposed to the exactions of Norway. 

No aid, however, appeared from Scotland; and the 
Caithnesians quietly submitted to the tribute which 
Haco imposed upon them. It is remarked by the 
Norwegian Chronicle, that when their king lay with 
his fleet in Ronaldsvoe, " a great darkness drew over 
the sun, so that only a little ring was bright round 
his orb." The ancient historian thus unconsciously 
afforded to modern science the means of exactly ascer- 
taining the date of this great expedition. The eclipse 
was calculated, and it was found to have taken place 
on the 5th of August, 1263,* and to have been annular 
at Ronaldsvoe in Orkney: a fine example of the clear 
and certain light reflected by the exact sciences upon 
history. Early in August, the king sailed across the 
Pentland Firth, having left orders for the Orkney 
men to follow him when their preparations were com- 
pleted ; thence he proceeded by the Lewes to the Isle 
of Sky, where he was joined by Magnus, the Lord of 
Man ; and from this holding on to the Sound of Mull, 
he met Dugal and other Hebridean chiefs with their 
whole forces. 

The united armament of Haco now amounted to 
above a hundred vessels, most of them large, all well 

* The Chronicle of Melrose is thus evidently wrong in placing this ex- 
pedition in 1262. 

1263. ALEXANDER III. 25 

provided with men and arms ; and, on the junction of 
the fleet, the business of piracy commenced. A divi- 
sion of the forces first took place.* A squadron of 
fifty ships, under Magnus and Dugal, was sent to 
plunder in the Mull of Kentire ; five ships were de- 
spatched for the same purpose to Bute ; and the king 
himself, with the rest of the fleet, remained at Gigha, 
a little island between the coast of Kentire and Isla. 
He was here met by King John, one of the island 
chiefs, whom Alexander the Second had in vain 
attempted to seduce from his fidelity to Norway. 
John was now, however, differently situated; and a 
scene took place which is strongly illustrative of feudal 
manners. Haco desired him to follow his banner, as 
was his duty; upon which the island prince excused 
himself. He affirmed that he had taken the oaths as 
a vassal of the Scottish king; that he held of him 
more lands than of his Norwegian master; and he 
entreated Haco to dispose of all those estates which 
he had conferred on him. This reasoning, although 
not agreeable to his powerful superior, was apparently 
such as Haco could not dispute; and after a short 
time John was dismissed, not only uninjured, but 
with presents.^ 

Many of these island chiefs found themselves, dur- 
ing this northern invasion, in a very distressing 
situation.' On one hand, the destroying fleet of Haco 
lay close to the shores of their little territories, eager 
to plunder them should they manifest the slightest 
resistance. On the other, they had given hostages 
for their loyal behaviour to the King of Scotland; 
and the liberty, perhaps the lives, of their friends or 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 49. 
flbid. p. 51. See also p. 69. 

VOL. I. 


their children were forfeited if they deserted to the 
enemy. In this cruel dilemma was Angus lord of 
Kentire and Isla, apparently a person of high authority 
in these parts, and whose allegiance the Scottish king 
seems to have adopted every method to secure. He 
held his infant son as a hostage ; an instrument had 
been drawn out, which declared his territories subject 
to instant forfeiture if he deserted ; and the barons of 
Argyle were compelled to promise that they would 
faithfully serve the king against Angus of Isla, and 
unite in accomplishing his ruin, unless he continued 
true to his oaths.* But the power of the King of 
Scotland was remote ; the vengeance of piratical war- 
fare was at his door ; and Angus, with another island 
prince, Murchad of Kentire, submitted to Haco, and 
delivered up the whole lands which they held of 
Alexander. A fine of a thousand head of cattle was 
esteemed a proper punishment for their desertion from 
Norway ; and when they renewed their oaths to Haco, 
he promised, what he did not live to perform, to recon- 
cile them to the offended majesty of Scotland.-f- 

In the meantime, the squadron which had been 
despatched towards the Mull of Kentire, made a de- 
solating descent upon the peninsula ; but in the midst 
of their havoc, and when they were proceeding to 
attack the greater villages, they received letters from 
Haco, forbidding them to plunder, and commanding 
them to rejoin the king's fleet at Gigha. Haco next 
despatched one of his captains, with some small vessels, 
to join the little squadron which had sailed against 
Bute ; and intelligence soon after reached him, that 

* Observations on the Norwegian Expedition, Antiquarian Transactions, 
pp. 367, 368. See Ayloffe's Calendar of Ancient Charters, pp. 336, 342. 
f None Account of the Expedition, pp. 55, 56. 

1263. ALEXANDER III. 27 

the castle of Rothesay, in that island, had been taken 
by his soldiers, and that the Scottish garrison had 
capitulated. A pirate chief, named Roderic, who 
claimed Bute as his inheritance, but who had been 
opposed by the islanders and outlawed by Alexander, 
was at this time with Haco. His knowledge of the 
seas in these quarters made him useful to the invaders, 
and the power of Haco enabled him to gratify his 
revenge. He accordingly laid waste the island, basely 
murdered part of the garrison of Rothesay, and leading 
a party of plunderers from Bute into Scotland, carried 
fire and sword into the heart of the neighbouring 

While the king's fleet lay at Gigha, Haco received 
messengers from the Irish Ostmen, with proposals of 
submitting themselves to his power ; under the condi- 
tion that he would pass over to Ireland with his fleet, 
and grant them his protection against the attacks of 
their English invaders, who had acquired the principal 
towns upon the coast. In reply to this proposal, the 
king despatched Sigurd, one of his chief captains, to 
communicate with the Ostmen ;-f-and in the meantime, 
he himself, with the whole fleet, sailed round the point 
of Kentire, and, entering the Firth of Clyde, anchored 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, pp. 63, 67. This valuable historical 
chronicle is interspersed with pieces of poetry, descriptive of the events 
which occurred. The invasion of Bute and the inroad of Rudri into 
Scotland are thus sung : 

" The habitations of men, the dwellings of the wretched, flamed. Fire, 
the devourer of halls, glowed in their granaries. The hapless throwers of 
the dart fell near the swan-frequented plain, while south from our floating 
pines marched a host of warriors." 

+ Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 67. These Ostmen, or Easter- 
lings, appear to have been the descendants of the Norwegians, or Ostmen, 
who long inhabited the eastern coast of Ireland, and founded some of its 
best towns. They were still, in 1201, so considerable, that, at a recognition 
taken of the diocese of Limerick, the arbitrators were twelve English, 
twelve Irish, and twelve Ostmen. Edward the First gave Gilmorys, and 
other Ostmen of the county of Waterford, particular privileges. Johnstone'i 
Notes on p. 66 of the Norse Expedition. 


in the sound of Kilbrannan, which lies between the 
island of Arran and the mainland. 

Hitherto the great body of the Norwegian fleet had 
remained in the Hebrides, and Scotland was only made 
acquainted with this formidable invasion by the small 
squadrons which had been despatched for the purposes 
of plunder. But the whole naval armament of Haco, 
amounting to a hundred and sixty ships, as it entered 
the Firth of Clyde, became conspicuous from the oppo- 
site shores of Kyle, Carrick, and Wigtown ; and the 
more immediate danger of a descent, induced the 
Scottish government to think seriously of some terms 
of pacification. Accordingly, there soon after arrived 
from Alexander a deputation of Prsedicant, or Bare- 
footed Friars, whose object was to sound Haco regard- 
ing the conditions upon which a peace might be con- 
cluded ; and, in consequence of these overtures, five 
Norwegian commissioners* were sent to treat with the 
King of Scotland. They were honourably received by 
Alexander, and dismissed with a promise, that such 
terms of accommodation as the Scottish king could 
consent to, should be transmitted to Haco within a 
short time ; and in the meanwhile a temporary truce 
was agreed on. 

This was wise : for to delay any pacification, with- 
out irritating their enemy, was the manifest policy of 
Scotland. Every day gave them more time to levy 
and concentrate their army ; and as the autumn was 
drawing to a close, it brought the Norwegians a nearer 
prospect of wreck and disaster from the winter storms. 
Envoys were new despatched from Alexander to Haco ; 

* These were Gilbert bishop of Hamar, Henry bishop of Orkney, Andrew 
Nicolson, Andrew Plytt, and Paul Soor. Norse Account of the Expedition, 
p. 69. 

1263. ALEXANDER III. 29 

and the moderate demands of the King of Scotland 
made it apparent, that, at this moment, he was not 
prepared to resist the fleet and army of Norway. He 
claimed Bute, Arran, and the two islands of the 
Cumrays, all lying in the Firth of Clyde, as the pro- 
perty of Scotland ; but it appears that he was willing 
to have given up to Norway the whole of the Isles of 
the Hebrides.* These terms, so advantageous to 
Haco, were, fortunately for Scotland, rejected: no 
pacification took place ; and the fleet of Norway bore 
in through the narrow strait between the larger and 
the lesser Cumray, thus menacing a descent upon the 
coast of Ayrshire, which is scarcely two miles distant. 
The crews had now run short of provisions, the 
weather was daily becoming more threatening, a strong 
Scottish force of armed peasants had gathered on the 
shore, and Haco was anxiously exhorted by his officers 
to give orders for a descent on the coast, were it only 
to recruit, by plunder, the exhausted state of their 
provisions.-f- This measure, it seems, he was unwill- 
ing to adopt, without a last message to the King of 
Scotland ; and for this purpose he sent an ambassador J 
to Alexander, whose commission was worded in the 
true style of ancient chivalry. He was to propose, 
"That the sovereigns should meet amicably at the 
head of their armies, and treat regarding a peace, 
which if, by the grace of God, it took place, it was 
well ; but if the attempt at negotiation failed, he was 
to throw down the gauntlet from Norway, to challenge 
the Scottish monarch to debate the matter with his 
army in the field, and let God, in his pleasure, deter- 
mine the victory." Alexander, however, would agree 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 71. + Ibid. pp. 73, 75. 

J Kolbein Rich was his name. 


to no explanation ; but " seemed," says the Norse 
Chronicle, " in no respect unwilling to fight ;"* upon 
which the envoy returned from his unsatisfactory 
mission, and the truce was declared at an end. 

Haco next despatched a fleet of sixty ships up the 
Clyde, into Loch Long, under the command of Magnus 
king of Man, and with him four Hebridean chiefs, and 
two principal Norwegian officers. They penetrated 
and plundered to the head of Loch Long ; they then 
took to their boats, and dragging them across the 
narrow neck of land between Arrochar and Tarbet, 
launched them into Loch Lomond, the islands of which 
lake were then full of inhabitants. To these islands 
the Scots had retreated for security, no doubt ; little 
anticipating the measure, which the lightness of the 
Norwegian craft, and the active perseverance of that 
bold people, enabled them to carry into execution. 
Their safeholds now became the scenes of plunder and 
bloodshed ; the islands were wasted with fire, the shores 
of this beautiful lake completely ravaged, andthe houses 
on its borders burnt to the ground.-f- After this, one 
of the Hebridean chiefs made an expedition into the 
rich and populous county of Stirling, in which he slew 
great numbers of the inhabitants and returned, driving 
herds of cattle before him, and loaded with booty.;}: 

But the measure of Norwegian success was now 
full : the spirit of the Scottish nation was highly ex- 
asperated time had been given them to collect their 
forces and, as had been foreseen, the elements began 

* Norse Account of the Expedition. 

f* Ibid. pp. 78, 79. Sturlas sings of this, " The persevering shielded 
warriors of the thrower of the whizzing spear drew their boats across the 
broad isthmus. Our fearless troops, the exactors of contribution, with flam- 
ing brands wasted the populous islands in the lake, and the mansions around 
its winding bays." 

J Excerpt, e Rotul. Compot. Temp. Alex. III. p. 38. 

1263. ALEXANDER III. 31 

to fight on their side. Upon returning to their ships 
in Loch Long, the invaders encountered so dreadful a 
storm, that ten of their vessels were completely 
wrecked.* King Haco still lay with the rest of the 
fleet in the Firth of Clyde, near the little islands of 
the Cumrays, when, on Monday the 1st of October, a 
second tempest came on, accompanied with such tor- 
rents of hailstones and rain, that the Norwegians 
ascribe its extreme violence to the powers of enchant- 
ment a prevalent belief at this period.^ The wind 
blew from the south-west, making the coast of Ayr- 
shire a lee-shore to the fleet, and thus infinitely 
increasing its distress. At midnight a cry of distress 
was heard in the king's ship ; and before assistance 
could be given, the rigging of a transport, driven loose 
by the storm, got entangled with the royal vessel, and 
carried away her head. The transport then fell along- 
side, so that her anchor grappled the cordage of the 
king's ship ; and Haco, perceiving the storm increas- 
ing, and finding his own ship beginning to drag her 
anchors, ordered the cable of the transport to be cut, 
and let her drift to sea. When morning came, she 
and another vessel were seen cast ashore. The wind 
still increased ; and the king, imagining that the 
powers of magic might be controlled by the services 
of religion, rowed in his long boat to the islands of 
the Cumrays, and there, amid the roaring of the 
elements, ordered mass to he celebrated.^ But the 
tempest increased in fury. Many vessels cut away 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, pp. 81, 83, 84. 

f " Now our deep-inquiring sovereign encountered the horrid powers of 
enchantment. The troubled flood tore many fair galleys from their moor- 
ings, and swept them anchorless before its waves. * * The roaring bil- 
lows and stormy blast threw shielded companies of our adventurous nation 
on the Scottish strand." Norse Account, p. 87. 

Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 85. 


their masts ; his own ship, although secured by seven 
anchors, drove from her moorings ; five galleys were 
cast ashore, and the rest of the fleet violently beat up 
the channel towards Largs.* 

Meanwhile, Alexander had neglected no precaution 
which was likely to ensure the discomfiture of this 
great armament. Before it appeared on the coast, the 
warders in the different castles which commanded a 
view of the sea, were directed to keep a strict look- 
out ; a communication by beacons was established 
with the interior of the country ;-f- and now, when the 
tempest seemed to threaten the total destruction of 
their enemies, a multitude of armed peasants hovered 
on the surrounding heights observing every motion of 
the Norwegian fleet, and ready to take instant advan- 
tage of its distress. Accordingly, when the five galleys, 
with their armed crews, were cast ashore, the Scots 
rushed down from the heights, and attacked them. The 
Norwegians defended themselves with great gallantry; 
and the king, as the wind had somewhat abated, 
succeeded in sending in boats with reinforcements ; but 
as soon as their crews landed, the Scots retired, satis- 
fying themselves with returning during the night, to 
plunder the transports 4 

When morning broke, Haco came on shore with 
a large reinforcement, and ordered the transports to 
be lightened, and towed to the ships. Soon after, the 
Scottish army appeared at a distance, upon the high 
grounds above the village of Largs ; and as it advanced, 
the sun's rays glancing from the lines, made it evident 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 85. 

f- Observations on the Norwegian Expedition against Scotland, pp. 390, 
391. Also, Excerpt, e Eot. Compot. Tempore Regis Alexandri III. pp. 9, 
31, 48. 

J Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 91. 


to the Norwegians, that a formidable body of troops 
were about to attack them. The cavalry, although 
they only amounted to fifteen hundred horsemen, had 
a formidable appearance on the heights, most of them 
being knights or barons from the neighbouring 
counties, armed from head to heel, and mounted on 
Spanish horses, which were clothed in complete 
armour.* All the other horses were defended with 
breastplates; and besides this cavalry, there was a 
numerous body of foot soldiers, well accoutred, and for 
the most part armed with spears and bows. This force 
was led by the king in person, along with Alexander 
the High Steward of Scotland. }* 

On the shore, at this time, was a body of nine 
hundred Norwegians, commanded by three principal 
leaders ; two hundred men occupied in advance a small 
hill which rises behind the village of Largs, and the 
rest of the troops were drawn up on the beach. With 
the advance also was the king, whom, as the main 
battle of the Scots approached, his officers anxiously 
entreated to row out to his fleet, and send them farther 
reinforcements. Haco, for some time, pertinaciously 
insisted on remaining on shore; but as he became 
more and more exposed, the barons would not consent 
to this, and at last prevailed on him to return in his 
barge to his fleet at the Cumrays. The van of the 
Scottish army now began to skirmish with the advance 
of the Norwegians, and greatly outnumbering them, 
pressed on both flanks with so much fury, that, afraid 
of being surrounded and cut to pieces, they began a 
retreat, which soon changed into a flight. At this 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, pp. 94, 95. 

+ Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 95. Winton, vol. i. p. 387. 
Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 98. 

VOL. I. D 


critical moment, when everything depended on Haco's 
returning with additional forces before the main body 
of the Scots had time to charge his troops on the 
beach, a third storm came on, which completed the 
ruin of the Norwegian fleet, already shattered by the 
former furious gales. This cut off all hopes of landing 
a reinforcement, and they were completely routed. 
Indeed, without a miracle, it could not have been 
otherwise. The main body of the Scots far out- 
numbered the force of the Norwegians;* and their 


advance, under Ogmund, flying back in confusion, 
threw into disorder the small squadrons which were 
drawn up on the beach. Many of these attempted to 
save themselves, by leaping into their boats and push- 
ing off from land; others endeavoured to defend 
themselves in the transport which had been stranded; 
and, between the anger of the elements, the ceaseless 
showers of missile weapons from the enemy, and the 
impossibility of receiving succour from the fleet, their 
army was greatly distressed. Their leaders, too, 
began to desert them; and their boats became over- 
loaded and went down.-f- The Norwegians were now 
driven along the shore, but they constantly rallied, 
and behaved with their accustomed national bravery. 
Some had placed themselves in and round the stranded 
vessels; and while the main body retreated slowly, 
and in good order, a conflict took place beside the 
ships, where Piers de Curry,]: a Scottish knight, was 
encountered and slain. Curry appears to have been a 
person of some note, for he and the Steward of Scot- 
land are the only Scottish soldiers whose names have 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 97, says, that ten Scots fought 
against one Norwegian. This is no doubt exaggerated. 
f 1 Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 97. 
J Winton, voL i. p. 388. " Perrys of Curry call'd be name." 

1263. ALEXANDER III. 35 

come down to us as acting a principal part upon 
this occasion. His death is minutely described in 
the Norwegian Chronicle. Gallantly mounted, and 
splendidly armed, his helmet and coat of mail being 
inlaid with gold, Sir Piers rode fearlessly up to the 
Norwegian line, attempting, in the chivalrous style of 
the times, to provoke an encounter. In this he was 
soon satisfied; for a Norwegian, who conducted the 
retreat, irritated by his defiance, engaged him in single 
combat; and after a short resistance, killed him by a 
blow which severed his thigh from his body, the sword 
cutting through the cuisses of his armour, and pene- 
trating to his saddle.* A conflict now took place 
round the body of this young knight, the plunder of 
whose rich armour the retreating Norwegians could not 
resist; their little square was thrown into confusion; 
and, as the Scots pressed on, the slaughter became 
great. Haco, a Norse baron, and near in blood to the 
king, was slain, along with many others of the prin- 
cipal leaders; and the Norwegians would have been 
entirely cut to pieces, if they had not at last succeeded 
in bringing a reinforcement from the fleet, by landing 
their boats through a tremendous surf.*f 

These new troops instantly attacked the enemy 
upon two points; and their arrival reinspirited the 
Norsemen, and enabled them to form anew. It was 
now evening, and the day had been occupied by a 
protracted battle, or rather a succession of obstinate 
skirmishes. The Norwegians, although they fought 
with uncommon spirit, had sustained severe loss ; and 
they now made a last effort to repulse the Scots from 
the high grounds immediately overhanging the shore. 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 99. f Ibid. p. 101. 


The impetuosity of their attack succeeded, and the 
enemy were driven back after a short and furious 
resistance.* The relics of this brave body of invaders 
then re-embarked in their boats, and, although the 
storm continued, arrived safely at the fleet. 

During the whole of this conflict, which lasted from 
morning till night, the storm continued raging with 
unabated fury, and the remaining ships of Haco were 
dreadfully shattered and distressed. They drove from 
their anchors, stranded on the shore, where multitudes 
perished struck against shallows and rocks, or found 
equal destruction by running foul of each other ; and 
the morning presented a beach covered with dead 
bodies, and a sea strewed with sails, masts, cordage, 
and all the melancholy accompaniments of wreck.-f- 
A truce was now granted to the king 4 and the interval 
employed in burying his dead, and in raising above 
them those rude memorials, which, in the shape of 
tumuli and huge perpendicular stones, still remain to 
mark the field of battle. The Norwegians then burnt 
the stranded vessels ; and, after a few days, having 
been joined by the remains of the fleet, which had been 
sent up Loch Long, their shattered navy weighed 
anchor, and sailed towards Arran.J 

In Lamlash bay the king was met by the commis- 
sioners whom he had sent to Ireland, and they assured 
him that the Irish Ostmen would willingly maintain 
his forces, until he had freed them from the dominion of 
the English. Haco was eager to embrace the proposal. 
He appears to have been anxious to engage in any new 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 103. " At the conflict of corslets 
on the blood-red hill, the damasked blade hewed the mail of hostile tribes, 
ere the Scot, nimble as the hound, would leave the field to the followers of 
our all-conquering king." 

+ Fordun, chap. xvi. book x. vol. ii. p. 98. 

Observations on the Norwegian Expedition, Antiq. Trans, vol. ii. p. 385. 

1263. ALEXANDER III. 37 

expedition which might have banished their recent 
misfortunes from the minds of his soldiers, whilst it 
afforded him another chance of victory, with the 
certainty of reprovisioning the fleet ; but their late 
disasters had made too deep an impression ; and, on 
calling a council, the Irish expedition was opposed by 
the whole army.* 

The shattered squadron, therefore, steered for the 
Hebrides ; and in passing Isla, again levied a large 
contribution on that island. The northern monarch, 
however, now felt the difference between sailing thro ugh 
this northern archipelago, as he had done a few months 
before, with a splendid and conquering fleet, when 
every day brought the island princes as willing vassals 
of his flag, and retreating as he now did, a baffled 
invader. His boat crews were attacked, and cut off 
by the islanders. He appears to have in vain solicited 
an interview with John the prince of the Isles. The 
pirate chiefs who had joined him, disappointed of their 
hopes of plunder, returned to their ocean strongholds ; 
and although he went through the forms of bestowing 
upon his followers the islands of Bute and Arran, with 
other imaginary conquests, all must have seen, that 
the success and power of Scotland rendered these 
grants utterly unavailing.^ The weather, too, which 
had been his worst enemy, continued lowering, and 
winter had set in. The fleet encountered, in their 
return a severe gale off Isla ; and, after doubling Cape 
Wrath, were met in the Pentland Firth by a second 
storm, in which one vessel, with all on board, went 
down, and another narrowly escaped the same fate. 
The king's ship, however, with the rest of the fleet, 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 109. 
f Ibid. pp. Ill, 113, 1J7. 



weathered the tempest, and at last arrived in Orkney 
on the 29th of October.* 

It was here found advisable to grant the troops per- 
mission to return to Norway ; as, to use the simple expres- 
sion of the Norwegian Chronicle, " many had already 
taken leave for themselves ." At first the king resolved 
on accompanying them ; but anxiety of mind, the in- 
cessant fatigues in which he had passed the summer and 
autumn, and the bitter disappointment in which they 
ended, had sunk deep into his heart, and the symptoms 
of a mortal distemper began to show themselves in his 
constitution. His increasing sickness soon after this 
confined him to his chamber ; and although for some 
time he struggled against the disease, and endeavoured 
to strengthen his mind by the cares of government 
and the consolations of religion, yet all proved in vain. 
At last, feeling himself dying, the spirit of the old 
Norse warrior seemed to revive with the decay of his 
bodily frame; and, after some time spent in the services 
of the church, he commanded the Chronicles of his 
ancestors the Pirate Kings to be read to him. On 
the 12th of December, the principal of the nobility 
and clergy, aware that there was no hope, attended in 
his bedchamber. Though greatly debilitated, Haco 
spoke distinctly, bade them all affectionately farewell, 
and kissed them. He then received extreme unction, 
and declared that he left no other heir than Prince 
Magnus. The Chronicle of King Swerar was still 
read aloud to him when he was indisposed to sleep, 
but soon after this his voice became inaudible ; and on 
the 15th of December, at midnight, he expired.-f- 

Such was the conclusion of this memorable expedi- 
tion against Scotland, which began with high hopes 

* Norse Account of the Expedition, p. 119. f Ibid. p. 131. 

1263. ALEXANDER III. 39 

and formidable preparations, but ended in the dis- 
appointment of its object, and the death of its royal 
leader. It was evidently a fatal mistake in Haco to 
delay so long in petty expeditions against the Western 
Islands. While it was still summer, and the weather 
fair, he ought at once to have attempted a descent 
upon the mainland ; and had he done so, Alexander 
might have been thrown into great difficulties. Delay 
and protracted negotiation was the policy of the Scots. 
They thus avoided any general battle ; and they knew 
that if they could detain the Norwegian fleet upon the 
coast till the setting in of the winter storms, its destruc- 
tion was almost inevitable. Boece, in his usual inven- 
tive vein, covers the field with 25,000 dead Norwegians, 
and allows only four ships to have been saved to carry 
the king to his grave in Orkney. But all this is 
fiction ; and the battle of Largs appears to have been 
nothing more than a succession of fortunate skirmishes, 
in which a formidable armament was effectually de- 
stroyed by the fury of the elements, judiciously 
seconded by the bravery of the Scots. 

The accounts of the death of Haco, and the news of 
the queen having been delivered of a son, were brought 
to King Alexander on the same day;* so that he was 
at once freed from a restless and powerful enemy, and 
could look forward to a successor of his own blood. 
Nor did he lose any time in following up the advantages 
already gained, by completing the reduction of the 
little kingdom of Man, and the whole of the Western 
Isles. For this purpose, he levied an army with the 
object of invading the Isle of Man, and compelled the 

* Winton, vol. i. pp. 389, 390. Mackenzie, in his Lives of Scottish 
Writers, vol. ii. p. 86', mentions a fragment of the records of Colm-kill, 
which was in possession of the Earl of Cromarty, as containing an account 
of the battle of Largs. 


petty chiefs of the Hebrides to furnish a fleet for the 
transport of his troops. But the King of Man, ter- 
rified at the impending vengeance, sent envoys with 
messages of submission ; and, fearful that these would 
be disregarded, set out himself, and met Alexander, 
who had advanced on his march as far as Dumfries.* 
At this place the Island Prince became the liegeman 
of the King of Scotland, and consented that, in future, 
he should hold his kingdom of the Scottish crown ; 
binding himself to furnish to his lord paramount, when 
required by him, ten galleys or ships of war, five with 
twenty-four oars and five with twelve. 

A military force, commanded by the Earl of Mar, 
was next sent against those unfortunate chiefs of the 
Western Isles, who, during the late expedition, had 
remained faithful to Haco.-f- Some were executed, all 
were reduced, and the disputes with Norway were 
finally settled by a treaty, in which that country 
agreed to yield to Scotland all right over Man, the 
^Ebudae, and the islands in the western seas. The 
islands in the south seas were also included, but those 
of Orkney and Shetland expressly excepted. The 
inhabitants of the Hebrides were permitted the option 
of either retiring with their property, or remaining to 
be governed in future by Scottish laws. On the part 
of the king and the Estates of Scotland, it was stipu- 
lated that they were to pay to Norway four thousand 
marks of the Roman standard, and a yearly quit-rent 
of a hundred marks sterling for ever. The King of 

* Fordun a Goodal, book x. chap, xviii. vol. ii. p. 101. In Ayloffe's 
Calendar of Ancient Charters, p. 328, we find the letter of the King of Man 
to the King of Scotland, quod tenebit terram Man de rtge Scotiae. It was 
one of the muniments taken out of Edinburgh castle, and carried to England 
by Edward the First. 

f- Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 101, 102. Excerpt, e RotuL Compot. 
Temp. Alex. III. p. 18. 

1263. ALEXANDER III. 41 

Man received investiture as a vassal of Alexander; 
and all parties engaged to fulfil their obligations, under 
a penalty of ten thousand marks, to be exacted by the 

Ottobon de Fieschi was at this time the papal legate 
in England, and to defray the expenses of his visita- 
tion, he thought proper to demand a contribution 
from each cathedral and parish church in Scotland. 
The king, however, acting by the advice of his clergy, 
peremptorily refused the demand ; appealed to Rome; 
and, when Ottobon requested admittance into Scotland, 
steadily declared that he should not set a foot over the 
Border. The legate next summoned the Scottish 
bishops to attend upon him in England whenever he 
should hold his council ; and he required the clergy to 
despatch two of their number to appear as their represen- 
tatives. This they agreed to; but the representatives 
were sent, not as the vassals of the papacy, but as the 
members of an independent church. Such, indeed, 
they soon showed themselves; for when the legate 
procured several canons to be enacted regarding Scot- 
land, the Scottish clergy resolutely disclaimed obedience 
to them. Incensed at this conduct, Clement the 
Fourth shifted his ground, and demanded from them 
a tenth of their benefices, to be paid to Henry of 
England, as an aid for an approaching crusade. The 
answer of Alexander and his clergy was here equally 
decided : Scotland itself, they said, was ready to equip 
for the crusade a body of knights suitable to the 
strength and resources of the kingdom, and they 

* The treaty will be found in Fordun by Heame, p. 1 353-5. It is dated 
20th July, 1366. In the account of the treaty, Lord Hailes has made a 
slight error, -when he says, that the patronage of the bishoprick of Sodor 
was reserved to the Archbishop of Drontheim. The patronage vas expressly 
ceded to Alexander, but the ecclesiastical jurisdiction was reserved ill favour 
of the Archbishop of Drontheim. 


therefore rejected the requisition. Accordingly, David 
earl of Athole, Adam earl of Carrick, and William 
lord Douglas, with many other barons and knights, 
assumed the cross, and sailed for Palestine.* 

In consequence, however, of the papal grant, Henry 
attempted to levy the tenth upon the benefices in 
Scotland. The Scottish clergy refused the contri- 
bution, appealed to Rome, and, in addition to this, 
adopted measures, which were singularly bold, and 
well calculated to secure the independence of the 
Scottish church. They assembled a provincial council 
at Perth, in which a bishop of their own was chosen to 
preside, and where canons for the regulation of their 
own church were enacted. This they contended they 
were entitled to do, by the bull of Pope Honorius the 
Fourth granted in the year 1 225 ; and, aware of the 
importance of making a vigorous stand at this moment, 
by their first canon it was appointed that an annual 
council should be held in Scotland; and by their 
second, that each of the bishops should assume, in 
rotation, the office of " Protector of the Statutes,' 1 or 
Conservator Statutorum. These canons remain to 
this day an interesting specimen of the ancient eccle- 
siastical code of Scotland.-f- 

About this time happened an incident of a romantic 
nature, with which important consequences were con- 
nected. A Scottish knight of high birth, Robert de 
Bruce, son of Robert de Bruce, lord of Annandale 
and Cleveland, w r as passing on horseback through the 
domains of Turnberry, which belonged to Marjory 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 109, book x. chap. xxiv. Holinshed, vol. 
i. p. 406, gives as the names of the crusading nobles, the Earls of Carrick 
and Athole, John Steward, Alexander Cumin, Robert Keith, George Dur- 
ward, John Quincy, and William Gordon. 

) These cannons "were printed by Wilkins in his Concilia, and in a small 
4to. by Lord Hailes. See Hailes' Hist. vol. i. p. 149. 

1274. ALEXANDER III. 43 

countess of Carrick.* The lady happened at the 
moment to be pursuing the diversion of the chase, 
surrounded by a retinue of her squires and damsels. 
They encountered Bruce. The young countess was 
struck by his noble figure, and courteously entreated 
him to remain and take the recreation of hunting. 
Bruce, who, in those feudal days, knew the danger of 
paying too much attention to a ward of the king, 
declined the invitation, when he found himself sud- 
denly surrounded by the attendants ; and the lady, 
riding up, seized his bridle, and led off the knight, t 
with gentle violence, to her castle of Turnberry. Here, 
after fifteen days' residence, the adventure concluded 
as might have been anticipated. Bruce married the 
countess without the knowledge of the relations of 
either party, and before obtaining the king^s consent; 
upon which Alexander seized her castle of Turnberry 
and her whole estates. The intercession of friends, 
however, and a heavy fine, conciliated the mind of the 
monarch. Bruce became, in right of his wife, Lord 
of Carrick ; and the son of this marriage of romantic 
love was the great Robert Bruce, the restorer of Scot- 
tish liberty.-f 

Two years previous to this (1272) died Henry the 
Third of England, J after a reign of nearly sixty years. 
His character possessed nothing that was great ; his 
genius was narrow; his temper wavering ; his courage, 
happily, seldom tried ; and he was addicted, like many 
weak princes, to favouritism. At times, however, he had 
permitted himself to be guided by able ministers ; and 

* Although all the historians call this lady Martha, yet she is named 
Marjory by ner son, King Rohert Bruce. Register of the Great Seal, p. 
108 ; and Marjory was the name of King Robert's daughter. 

f Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 114, book x. chap. xxix. 

$ On 16th Nov. 1272. 


the vigour, talents, and kingly endowments of his son 
Edward the First, shed a lustre over the last years of his 
reign, which the king himself could never have imparted 
to it. At the coronation of this great prince, who 
succeeded Henry, Alexander, and his queen the new 
king's sister, attended with a retinue of great pomp and 
splendour. He took care, however, to obtain a letter 
under the hand of the English monarch, declaring 
that the friendly visit should not be construed into 
any thing prejudicial to the independence of Scot- 
land,* a policy which the peculiarities of feudal 
tenure made frequent at this time ; for we find Edward 
himself, when some years afterwards he agreed to send 
twenty ships to the King of France, his feudal supe- 
rior for the duchy of Normandy, requiring from that 
prince an acknowledgment of the same description. 

The designs of Edward upon Scotland had not yet, 
in any degree, betrayed themselves, and the kingly 
brothers appear to have met on cordial terms. Both 
were in the prime of manhood; Alexander having 
entered, and Edward having just completed, his thirty- 
fourth year. Scotland, still unweakened by the fatal 
controversies between Bruce and Baliol, was in no 
state to invite ambitious aggression. The kingdom 
was peaceful, prosperous, and loyal, possessing a war- 
like and attached nobility, and a hardy peasantry, 
lately delivered, by the defeat of Haco and the wise 
acquisition of the Western Isles, from all disturbance 
in the only quarter where it might be dreaded ; and 
from the age of Alexander, and his queen, who had 
already born him three children, the nation could look 
with some certainty to a successor. Edward, on the 

* Ayloffe's Calendar of Ancient Charters, 328, 342. Leland's Collec- 
tanea, vol. ii. p. 471. 

1274. ALEXANDER HI. 45 

other hand, who had lately returned from Palestine, 
where he had greatly distinguished himself, received 
his brother-in-law with that courtesy and kindness 
which was likely to be increased by his long absence, 
and by the perils he had undergone. About this time 
the pope sent into Scotland an emissary named Bene- 
mund de Vicci, corrupted into Bagimont, to collect 
the tenth of all the ecclesiastical benefices, the estimate 
being made not according to the " ancient extent, but 
the true value." The tax appears to have been strictly 
exacted, and went by the name of Bagimonfs Roll.* 

All went prosperously on between Edward and 
Alexander for some time. A dispute which had 
occurred between the King of Scots and the Bishop 
of Durham, in which that prelate complained that 
an encroachment had been made upon the- English 
marches, was amicably settled; and Edward, occu- 
pied entirely with his conquest of Wales, and 
according to his custom, whenever engaged in war, 
concentrating his whole energies upon one point, 
nad little leisure to think of Scotland. The domi- 
neering disposition of the English king first showed 
itself regarding the feudal service of homage due to 
him by his Scottish brother, for the lands which he 
held in England ; and he seems early to have formed 
the scheme of entrapping Alexander into the perfor- 
mance of a homage so vague and unconditional, that 
it might hereafter be construed into the degrading 
acknowledgment that Scotland was a fief of England. 

In 1277 we find him writing to the Bishop of 
Wells, that his beloved brother, the King of Scot- 
land, had agreed to perform an unconditional homage, 
and that he was to receive it at the ensuing feast of 

* Fordun a Heame, p. 780. 


Michaelmas.* This, however, could scarcely be true; 
the event showed that Edward had either miscon- 
ceived or misstated the purpose of Alexander. He 
appeared before the English parliament at West- 
minster, and offered his homage in these words : 
" I, Alexander king of Scotland, do acknowledge 
myself the liegeman of my Lord Edward king of 
England, against all deadly." This Edward accepted, 
reserving his claim of homage for the kingdom of 
Scotland, when he should choose to prefer it. The 
King of Scots then requested that the oath should be 
taken for him by Robert de Bruce earl of Carrick, 
which being granted, that earl took the oath in these 
words : 

" I, Robert earl of Carrick, according to the authority 
given to me by my lord the King of Scotland, in 
presence of the King of England, and other prelates 
and barons, by which the power of swearing upon the 
soul of the King of Scotland was conferred upon me, 
have, in presence of the King of Scotland, and com- 
missioned thereto by his special precept, sworn fealty 
to Lord Edward king of England in these words : 
' I, Alexander king of Scotland, shall bear faith to my 
lord Edward king of England and his heirs, with my 
life and members, and worldly substance ; and I shall 
faithfully perform the services, used and wont, for 
the lands and tenements which I hold of the said king." 1 " 
Which fealty being sworn by the Earl of Carrick, the 
King of Scotland confirmed and ratified the same.-f- 
Such is an exact account of the homage performed by 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. p. 109. 

f Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. p. 126. Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 22, misled by 
Knighton, book iii. chap. i. erroneously says, that the homage was performed 
by Alexander at Edward's coronation, and adds, that historians do not say 
whether it was for Scotland, or for the earldom of Huntingdon. 

1278. ALEXANDER III. 47 

Alexander to Edward, as given in the solemn instru- 
ment by which the English monarch himself recorded 
the transaction. Alexander probably had not forgotten 
the snare in which Edward's father had attempted to 
entrap him, when still a boy ; and the reservation of 
an unfounded claim over Scotland might justly have 
incensed him. But he wished not to break with 
Edward : he held extensive territories in England, 
for which he was willing, as he was bound in duty, to 
pay homage ; yet he so guarded his attendance at 
Edward's coronation, and his subsequent oath of 
fealty, that the independence of Scotland as a kingdom, 
and his own independence as its sovereign, were not 
touched in the most distant manner ; and the King 
of England, baffled in his hope of procuring an uncon- 
ditional homage, was forced to accept it as it was 
given. It is material to notice, that in the instrument 
drawn up afterwards, recordingthe transaction, Edward 
appears to declare his understanding, that this homage 
was merely for the Scottish king's possessions in 
England, by again reserving his absurd claim of homage 
for Scotland, whenever he or his heirs should think 
proper to make it. 

This matter being concluded, Alexander, who had 
suffered a severe domestic affliction in the death of his 
queen,* began to seek alliances for his children. He 
married his daughter Margaret to Eric king of Nor- 
way, then a youth in his fourteenth year. Her 
portion was fourteen thousand marks, the option being 
left to her father to give one-half of the sum in lands, 
provided that the rents of the lands were a hundred 
marks yearly for every thousand retained. The price 
of land at this early period of our history seems, 

* Winton, vol. i. p. 391. 


therefore, to have been ten years' purchase.* The 
young princess, accompanied by Walter Bullock earl 
of Menteith, his countess, the Abbot of Balmerino, 
and Bernard de Monte-alto, with other knight sand 
barons, sailed for Norway; and on her arrival was 
honourably received and crowned as queen. The 
alliance was wise and politic. It promised to secure 
the wavering fealty of those proud and warlike island 
chiefs, who, whenever they wished to throw off their 
dependence on Scotland, pretended that they were 
bound by the ties of feudal vassalage to Norway, and 
whose power and ambition often required the presence 
of the king himself to quell. "f* 

This marriage was soon after followed by that of 
Alexander the Prince of Scotland, then in his nine- 
teenth year, to Margaret, a daughter of Guy earl 
of Flanders; the ceremony being performed at Rox- 
burgh, and accompanied with fifteen days' feasting. 
Such alliances, so far as human foresight could reach, 
promised happiness to Alexander, while they gave an 
almost certain hope of descendants. But a dark cloud 
began to gather round Scotland, and a train of calami- 
ties, which followed in sad and quick succession, spread 
despondency through the kingdom.^ The Prince of 
Scotland, who from infancy had been of a sickly 
constitution, died not long after his marriage, leaving 
no issue; and intelligence soon after came from Nor- 
way that his sister, Queen Margaret, was also dead, 

* The marriage-contract, which is very long and curious, is to be found 
in Rymer, vol. ii. p. 1079, dated 25th July, 1281. Fordun a Goodal, vol. 
ii. p. 125. 

f In 1275 Alexander led an armed force against Man. Johnstone, Anti- 
quit. Celto-Norm. pp. 41, 42. In 1282 Alexander Comyn, Earl of Buchan 
and Constable of Scotland, led an army to quell some island disturbances. 
Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. p. 205. 

Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 124. Winton, book vii. chap. x. vol. i. 
p. 391. 

1283. ALEXANDER III. 49 

having left an only child, Margaret, generally called 
the Maiden of Norway : David, the second son of 
Alexander, had died when ahoy;* and thus the King 
of Scotland, still in the flower of his age, found himself 
a widower, and bereft by death of all his children. 

To settle the succession was his first care; and for 
this purpose a meeting of the Estates of the realm was 
held at Scone, on the 5th of February, 1283-4. The 
prelates and barons of Scotland there bound themselves 
to acknowledge Margaret princess of Norway, as their 
sovereign, failing any children whom Alexander might 
have, and failing any issue of the Prince of Scotland 
deceased. *f* The parliament in which this transaction 
took place, having assembled immediately after the 
death of the prince, it was uncertain whether the 
princess might not yet present the kingdom with an 
heir to the crown. In the meantime, the king thought 
it prudent to make a second marriage, and chose for 
his bride a young and beautiful woman, Joleta, daughter 
of the Count de Dreux. The nuptials were celebrated 
wittt great pomp, and in presence of a splendid concourse 
of the French and Scottish nobility, at Jedburgh. In 
the midst of the rejoicings, and when music and 
pastime were at the highest, a strange masque was 
exhibited, in which a spectral creature like Death, 
glided with fearful gestures amongst the revellers, and 
at length suddenly vanished. The whole was no doubt 
intended as a mummery ; but it was too well acted, 
and struck such terror into the festive assembly,! 
that the chronicler, Fordun, considers it as a super- 
natural shadowing out of the future misfortunes of 

* Foedera, vol. ii. p. 266. 

f Winton, vol. i. p. 397. Foedera, vol. ii. pp. 582, 1091. 

Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 128, book x. chap. xL 

VOL. I. I 


the kingdom. These misfortunes too rapidly followed. 
Alexander, riding late, near Kinghorn, was counselled 
by his attendants, as the night was dark, and the road 
precipitous, not to pass Inverkeithing till the morning. 
Naturally courageous, however, he insisted on galloping 
forward, when his horse suddenly stumhled over a 
rocky cliff above the sea, fell with its rider, and killed 
him on the spot. * He died in the forty-fifth year of 
his age, and the thirty-seventh of his reign ; and his 
death, at this particular juncture, may be considered 
as one of the deepest amongst those national calamities 
which chequer the history of Scotland. 

Alexander's person was majestic ; and although his 
figure was too tall, and his bones large, yet his limbs 
were well formed, and strongly knit. His counte- 
nance was handsome, and beamed with a manly and 
sweet expression, which corresponded with the coura- 
geous openness and sincerity of his character. He 
was firm and constant in his purposes ; yet, guided by 
prudence and an excellent understanding, this quality 
never degenerated into a dangerous obstinacy. His 
inflexible love of justice, his patience in hearing 
disputes, his affability in discourse, and facility of 
access, endeared him to the whole body of his people ; 
whilst his piety, untinctured with any slavish dread, 
whilst he acknowledged the spiritual supremacy of 
the popedom, rendered him the steadfast friend of 
his own clergy, and their best defender against any 
civil encroachments of the see of Rome. In his time, 
therefore, to use the words of the honest and affec- 
tionate Fordun, "The church flourished, its ministers 
were treated with reverence, vice was openly dis- 

* Triveti Annales, p. 267. He died March 16, 1285-6. Fordun a 
Goodal, vol. ii. p. 128. 

1286. ALEXANDER III. 51 

couraged, cunning and treachery were trampled under 
foot, injury ceased, and the reign of virtue, truth, and 
justice, was maintained throughout the land." We 
need not wonder that such a monarch was long and 
affectionately remembered in Scotland. Attended by 
his justiciary, by his principal nobles, and a military 
force which awed the strong offenders, and gave con- 
fidence to the oppressed, it was his custom to make 
an annual progress through his kingdom, for the 
redress of wrong, and the punishment of delinquents. 
For this purpose, he divided the kingdom into four 
great districts ; and on his entering each county, the 
sheriff had orders to attend on the kingly judge, with 
the whole militia of the shire,* and to continue with 
the court till the king had heard all the appeals of 
that county, which were brought before him. He 
then continued his progress, accompanied by the sheriff 
and his troops ; nor were these dismissed till the 
monarch had entered a new county, where a new 
sheriff awaited him with the like honours and attend- 

In this manner the people were freed from the 
charge of supporting those overgrown bands of insolent 
retainers which swelled the train of the Scottish nobles, 
when they waited on the king in his progresses ; and 
as the dignified prelates and barons were interdicted 
by law from travelling with more than a certain num- 
ber of horse in their retinue, the poor commons had 
leisure to breathe, and to pursue their honest occupa- 
tions, "f* 

In Alexander's time, many vessels of different 
countries came to Scotland, freighted with various 

* Fordun a Goodal, book x. chap. xli. vol. ii. p. 129. 
f Ibid. voL ii. pp. 129, 130. 


kinds of merchandise, with the design of exchanging 
them for the commodities of our kingdom. The king's 
mind, however, was unenlightened on the subject of 
freedom of trade ; and the frequent loss of valuable 
cargoes by pirates, wrecks, and unforeseen arrestments, 
had induced him to pass some severe laws against the 
exportation of Scottish merchandise. Burgesses, 
however, were allowed to traffic with these foreign 
merchantmen ; and in a short time the kingdom 
became rich in every kind of wealth ; in the produc- 
tions of the arts and manufactures ; in money, in 
agricultural produce,* in flocks and herds ; so that 
many, says an ancient historian, came from the West 
and East to consider its power, and to study its polity. 
Amongst these strangers, there arrivedjn a great body, 
the richest of the Lombard merchants, who offered to 
establish manufacturing settlements in various parts 
of the country. They* specified among other places 
the mount above Queensferry, and an island near 
Cramond, and only asked of the king certain spiritual 
immunities. Unfortunately, the proposal of these rich 
and industrious men, for what cause we cannot tell, 
proved displeasing to some powerful members of the 
state, and was dismissed ; but from an expression of 
the historian we may gather, that the king himself 
was desirous to encourage them, and that favourable 

* Ynwmen, pewere Karl, or Knawe 
That wes of mycht an ox til hawe, 
He gert that man hawe part in pluche ; 
Swa wes corn in his land enwche ; 
Swa than hegouth, and efter lan 
Of land wes mesure, ane ox-gal^. 
Mychty men that had m5, 
Oxyn, he gert in pluchys ga. 
Be that vertu all his land 
Of corn he gerf be abownda^_ 

Winton, vol. i. p. 400. 

1286. ALEXANDER III. 53 

terms for a settlement would have been granted, had 
not death stept in and put an end to the negotiation.* 

The conduct pursued by this king, in his inter- 
course with England, was marked by a judicious union 
of the firmness and dignity which became an inde- 
pendent sovereign with the kindliness befitting his 
near connexion with Edward; but, warned by the 
attempts which had been first made by the father and 
followed up by the son, he took care, that when 
invited to the English court, it should be expressly 
acknowledged-^ that he came there as the free monarch 
of an independent country. 

To complete the character of this prince, he was 
temperate in his habits, his morals were pure, and in 
all his domestic relations, kindness arid affection were 
conspicuous.]: The oldest Scottish song, which has 
yet been discovered, is an affectionate little monody 
on the death of Alexander, preserved by Winton, one 
of the fathers of our authentic Scottish history. 

* Fordun, book x. chap. xli. xlii. vol. ii. pp. 129, 130. 
f- Ayloffe's Calendar of Ancient Charters, p. 328. 

J Towards the conclusion of this reign, it is said that an awful visitant 
for the first time appeared in Scotland the plague ; but we cannot depend 
on the fact, for it comes from Boece. Hailes, vol. i. p. 807. 
Quhen Alysandyr, oure kyng, wes dede, 
That Scotland led in luwe || and le, TJ 
Away wes sons of ale and brede, 
Of wyne and wax, of gamyn and gle. 
Oure gold wes changyd into lede. 
Christ, born in-to virgynyte, 
Succour Scotland, and remede, 
That stad ** is in perplexyte. 

Winton, voL i. p. 401. 

I Lore. H Le, tranquillity. ** Placed, or situated. 



MARGARET, the grand-daughter of Alexander, and 
grand-niece to Edward the First, who had been recog- 
nised as heir to the crown in 1284, was in Norway at 
the time of the king's death. A parliament, therefore, 
assembled at Scone on the llth of April, 1286; and 
a regency, consisting of six guardians of the realm, 
was, by common consent, appointed.* The administra- 
tion of the northern division of Scotland, beyond the 
Firth of Forth, was intrusted to Fraser bishop of St 
Andrews, Duncan earl of Fife, and Alexander earl of 
Buchan. The government of the country to the south 
of the Forth was committed to Wishart the Bishop of 
Glasgow, John Comyn lord of Badenoch, and James 
the High Steward of Scotland. } 

In this Parliament, a keen debate on the succession 
to the crown arose between the partisans of Bruce and 
Baliol. Nor were these the only claimants. Nothing 
but the precarious life of an infant now stood between 
the crown of Scotland and the pretensions of other 
powerful competitors, whose relationship to the royal 
family, as it raised their hopes, encouraged them to 
collect their strength, and gave a legal sanction to their 
ambition. Edward the First of England, whose near 
connexion with the young Queen of Scotland and the 
heretrix of Norway made him her natural protector, 
was at this time in France. On being informed of the 
state of confusion into which the death of Alexander 
was likely to plunge a kingdom which had been for 

* Winton, vol. ii. p. 10. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 138. 
f Fordun a Hearne, p. 951. 

1286. INTERREGNUM. 55 

gome time the object of his ambition, the project of a 
marriage between the young queen and his son the 
Prince of Wales was too apparent not to suggest itself. 
But this monarch, always as cautious of too suddenly 
unveiling his purposes as he was determined in pur- 
suing them, did not immediately declare his wishes. 
He contented himself with observing the turn which 
matters should take in Scotland, certain that his power 
and influence would in the end induce the different 
parties to appeal to him ; and confident that the longer 
time which he gave to these factions to quarrel among 
themselves and embroil the country, the more advan- 
tageously would this interference take place. The 
youth of the King of Norway, father to the young 
Princess of Scotland, was another favourable circum- 
stance for Edward. Eric was only eighteen. He 
naturally looked to Edward, the uncle of his late wife, 
for advice and support ; and, fearful of trusting his 
infant and only daughter, scarce three years old, to 
the doubtful allegiance of so fierce and ambitious a 
nobility as that of Scotland, he determined to keep 
her for the present under his own eye in Norway. 

Meanwhile a strong party was formed against her, 
amongst the most powerful of the Scottish barons. 
They met (Sept. 20, 1286) at Turnberry, the castle 
of Robert Bruce earl of Carrick, son of Robert Bruce 
lord of Annandale and Cleveland. Here they were 
joined by two powerful English barons, Thomas de 
Clare, brother of Gilbert earl of Gloucester, and Richard 
de Burgh earl of Ulster.* Thomas de Clare was 
nephew to Bruce's wife, and both he and his brother 
the Earl of Gloucester were naturally anxious to sup- 
port Brace's title to the crown, as the descendant of 

* Feedera, YO!. ii. p. 486. 


David earl of Huntingdon, brother of King William 
the Lion.* Nor was the scheme in any respect a 
desperate one, for Bruce already had great influence. 
There assembled at Turnberry, Patrick earl of Dunbar, 
with his three sons; Walter Stewart earl of Menteith; 
Bruce's own son the Earl of Carrick, and Bernard 
Bruce ; James, the High Steward of Scotland,f with 
John his brother ; Angus son of Donald the Lord of 
the Isles, and Alexander his son. These barons, whose 
influence could bring into the field the strength of 
almost the whole of the west and south of Scotland, 
now entered into a bond, or covenant, by which it was 
declared, that they would thenceforth adhere to and 
take part with one another, on all occasions, and against 
all persons, saving their allegiance to the King of 
England, and also their allegiance to him who should 
gain the kingdom of Scotland by right of descent from 
King Alexander, then lately deceased.]: Not long 
after this, the number of the Scottish regents was 
reduced to four, by the assassination of Duncan earl 
of Fife, and the death of the Earl of Buchan ; the 
Steward, another of the regents, pursuing an interest 
at variance with the title of the young queen, joined 
the party of Bruce, heart-burnings and jealousies arose 
between the nobility and the governors of the kin-- 
dom. These soon increased, and at length broke into 
an open war between the parties of Bruce and Baliol, 

* Gough, ^in his Additions to Camden's Britannia, vol. i. p. 265, men- 
tions, that Gilbert earl of Gloucester, brother of Robert de Brace's wife, 
having incurred the resentment of Edward the First, was dispossessed of all 
his lands ; but the king afterwards restored him, and gave him his daughter 
in marriage. The convention at Turnberry was perhaps the cause of Ed- 
ward's resentment. 

f James, the High Steward, married Cecilia, daughter of Patrick earl of 
Dunbar. Andrew Stewart's Hist, of the Stuarts, p. 16. 

t The original is alluded to by Dugdale, vol. i. p. 216. See also Rot. 
Compot. Temp. Custodum Regni, p. 62. 

1288. INTERREGNUM. 57 

which for two years after the death of the king con- 
tinued its ravages in the country.* 

The event which the sagacity of Edward had anti- 
cipated, now occurred. The States of Scotland were 
alarmed at the continuance of civil commotions; and, 
in a foolish imitation of other foreign powers who had 
applied to Edward to act as a peacemaker, sent the 
Bishop of Brechin, the Abbot of Jedburgh, and 
Geoffrey de Mowbray, as ambassadors to the King of 
England, requesting his advice and mediation towards 
composing the troubles of the kingdom.-f- At the 
same time, Eric king of Norway despatched plenipo- 
tentiaries to treat with Edward regarding the affairs 
of his daughter the queen, and her kingdom of Scot- 
land. The king readily accepted both offers; and 
finding his presence no longer necessary in France, 
returned to England, to superintend in person those 
measures of intrigue and ambition which now entirely 
occupied his mind. " Now, 1 ' said he, to the most 
confidential of his ministers, "the time is at last 
arrived when Scotland and its petty kings shall be 
reduced under my power." J But although his inten- 
tions were declared thus openly in his private council, 
he proceeded cautiously and covertly in the execution 
of his design. At his request, the Scottish regents 
appointed the Bishops of St Andrews and Glasgow, 
assisted by Robert Bruce lord of Annandale, and 
John Comyn, to treat in the presence of the King of 
England regarding certain matters proposed by the 

* This -war, hitherto unknown to our historians, is proved by documents 
of unquestionable authority. Exccrpta e Rotulo Compotorum. Tempore 
Custodum Regni, pp. 56, 62. 

t Fordun a Goodal, pp. 137, 138, vol. ii. places this embassy in 1286. It 
probably occurred later. Eric's letter to Edward, is dated April 1289. 
Rymer, vol. ii. p. 416. 

$ Fordun a Goodal, look xi. chap. iii. p. 139. 


Norwegian commissioners, and empowered them to 
ratify whatever was there agreed on, " saving always 
the liberty and honour of Scotland;" and provided 
that from such measures nothing should be likely to 
occur prejudicial to that kingdom and its subjects.* 
To this important conference the king, on the part of 
England, sent the Bishops of Worcester and Durham, 
with the Earls of Pembroke and Warrene. 

The place appointed was Salisbury; but previous to 
the meeting of the plenipotentiaries, Edward had 
secretly procured a dispensation from the pope for the 
marriage of his son, the Prince of Wales, to the 
young Princess of Norway, as the youthful pair were 
within the forbidden degrees. i" No hint, however, of 
this projected union, was yet suffered to transpire; 
and the commissioners met at Salisbury, where a 
treaty was drawn up, in which no direct allusion was 
made to the marriage, although it included provisions 
which evidently bore upon this projected union. 

It was there stipulated by the commissioners for 
Norway, that the young queen should be sent into the 
kingdom of Scotland or England, untrammelled by 
any matrimonial engagement, before the feast of All 
Saints in the next year ; and that on this first condi- 
tion being fulfilled, the King of England should send 
her into Scotland, also free from all matrimonial 
engagements, as soon as he was assured that this 
kingdom was in such a state of tranquillity as to 
afford her a quiet residence. This wide and convenient 
clause evidently gave Edward the power of detaining 
the heretrix of the crown for an almost indefinite 
period in England ; and its being inserted in thia 

* Rymer, vol. ii. p. 431. Date, Oct. 3, 1289. 
f Ibid. vol. ii. p. 450. 

1289. INTERREGNUM. 59 

treaty, proves, that although Bruce, by accepting the 
office of commissioner, appeared to have abandoned 
his son's claim to the crown, Edward was suspicious 
that the interest which looked to a male successor to 
the crown was still pretty high in Scotland. By the 
third article, the States of Scotland undertook, before 
receiving their queen, to find security to the King of 
England, that she should not marry without his 
counsel and consent, and that of the King of Norway. 
The Scottish commissioners next engaged for them- 
selves, that the quiet of the kingdom of Scotland 
should be established before the arrival of the queen, 
so that she might enter her dominions with safety, 
and continue therein at her pleasure. With regard 
to the removal of guardians, or public officers in Scot- 
land, it was determined, that should any of these be 
suspected persons, or troublesome to the King of 
Norway or the Queen of Scotland, they should be 
removed, and better persons appointed in their place, 
by the advice of the " good men" of Scotland and 
Norway, and of persons selected for this purpose by 
the King of England ; and it was stipulated that these 
English commissioners were ultimately to decide all 
disputes regarding public measures, which might occur 
between the ministers of Scotland and Norway, as well 
as all differences arising amongst the Scottish ministers 
themselves. It was finally agreed, that in the middle 
of the ensuing Lent, there should be a meeting of the 
Estates of Scotland at Roxburgh ; by which time the 
Scottish plenipotentiaries engaged, that every thing 
to which they had now consented should be fulfilled 
and ratified in the presence of the commissioners of 
England.* Of this convention three copies were made: 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. pp. 446, 447. 


one in Latin, which was transmitted to the King of 
Norway ; and two in French, retained for the use of 
the Scots and English. At this period, the majority 
of the nobility of both countries were of Norman- 
French extraction, and Norman-French was alike in 
England and Scotland the language in which state 
affairs were generally conducted. 

By this treaty, which gave so much power to 
Edward, and left so little to the Estates of Scotland, 
it is evident that some of the Scottish commissioners 
were in the interest of the English king. Bruce, 
Lord of Annandale, had either altered his ambitious 
views, or he trusted that a temporary concealment of 
them, and the dissatisfaction which such a convention 
must occasion in Scotland, might ultimately turn to 
his advantage. Edward, in the meantime, neglected 
nothing which could secure or increase the power 
which he had acquired. He addressed a letter to the 
Estates of Scotland, requiring them to be obedient to 
their regents, and informing them, that he meant to 
send into that country some of the members of his 
council, from whom he might receive correct informa- 
tion of its condition.* Although a dispensation from 
the pope was already obtained, no allusion to the 
intended marriage between Prince Edward and the 
young queen had been made throughout the whole 
treaty: Edward, with his usual calm foresight, seems 
privately to have directed the Scottish commis- 
sioners at Salisbury, three of whom were regents, 
to sound the nobility of Scotland on their return, 
and discover the feelings of the people regarding the 
projected union. 

Accordingly, as soon asthe important project became 

* Rymer, Foedera, voL ii. p. 445. 

1289. INTERREGNUM. 61 

generally known, a meeting of the Estates of Scotland 
assembled at Brigham, a village on the Tweed, near 
Roxburgh, and from thence directed a letter to Edward, 
which was signed by the dignified clergy, and by all 
the earls and barons, of the realm. It stated, that they 
were overjoyed to hear the good news which were now 
commonly spoken of, " that the Apostle had granted 
a dispensation for the marriage of Margaret, their 
dear lady and their queen, with Prince Edward." It 
requested King Edward to send them early intelligence 
regarding this important measure; and assured him 
of their full and ready concurrence, provided certain 
reasonable conditions were agreed to, which should be 
specified by delegates, who would wait upon him at his 
parliament, to be held next Easter at London.* 
A letter -f was at the same time despatched by this 

* Rymer, vol. ii. p. 471. 

+ This important letter is in Norman-French, and as follows : 

" A tres noble Prince, Sire Eyrik, par la grace de Deu, Roy de Norway, 
Guillam e Robert, par ineme cele grace, de Seint Andreu e de Glasgu 
Eveskes, Johan Comyn, & James Seneschal de Escoce, Gardains de 
Reaume de Escoce, e tote la commune de meyme cele Reaume, salut & 
totes honurs. 

" Come nus feumes certayns ke vous seez desirous del honur, & del pro- 
fist de nostre Dame, vostre fille, & de tute le Reaume de Escoce, par 
encheson de ly : e le Apostoylle ad grante, & fete dispensacion, solom coe 
ke communement est parle en diverses partys de Mound, ke le Fitz & le 
Heyr le Roy de Engletere pusse nostre dame, vostre fille, en femme prendre, 
iiin ostaunt procheynette de Saunk. 

" Nus, par commun assent de tut le Reaume de Escoce, e pur le grant 
profist del un & del autre Reaume, ke le mariage se face, si issint seit, 
avums uniement accorde, e communement assentu. 

" Pur la queu chose nus priums & requerums vostre hautesse, ke il vous 
pleyse issint ordiner, e ceste bosoyne adrescer endroit de vous ; ke meyme 
cele voustre fille Dame puysse en Engletere venir a plus tous ke estre 
purra ; 

" Issint ke, a plus tart, seit en meme la terre avaunt la tut Seynt pro- 
cheyn avenir, si com, de sa venue, est acorde, devaunt le vaunt dyt Roys de 
Engletere, entre nous & voz messages, ke iloekes vyndrunt de par vus. 

" Et taunt en facet, Sire, si vous plest, ke nous vous saums le plus tenu 
a tou Jurs ; ke, si il avenoyt ke vous ceste chose ne feisset, il nus coven- 
droit, en ceste chose, prendre le meillour conseyl ke Deus mis dorra pur le 
estat du Reaume, & la bone gent de la terre. 

" En temonage de les avauntdite choses nus, Gardeyns da Reaume, & la 


assembly of the States to Eric king of Norway, which 
informed him of their consent to the marriage ; and 
requested him to fulfil the terms of the treaty of 
Salisbury, by sending over the young queen, at the 
latest before the Feast of All Saints; and intimating 
to him, that if this were not done, they should be 
obliged to follow the best council which God might 
give them, for the good of the kingdom. The nobility 
of Scotland could not be more anxious than Edward 
for the arrival of the intended bride; but the king 
employed a more effectual way than entreaty, by de- 
spatching to Norway one of his ablest counsellors, 
Anthony Beck bishop of Durham, who, under the 
plausible name of pensions, distributed money among 
the Norwegian ministers, and obtained a promise, that 
she should immediately be sent to England.* So 
assured of this was Edward, that, on the arrival of the 
Scottish envoys to his parliament held in Easter, he 
came under an engagement to pay 3000 marks to 
Scotland if Margaret did not reach England, or her 
own country, before the Feast of All Saints. He 
next appointed the Bishop of Durham, and five other 
plenipotentiaries, to attend a meeting of the Scottish 
Estates, which was held at Brigham (July 1290,) 
intrusting them with full powers to conclude that 
treaty, on the basis of which the marriage was to take 
place, and, after due conference, to concur in those 
securities which the Scottish Estates demanded for 
the preservation of the independence of their country. 

commune avantdyt, en nom de nus le Seal commun, que nus usom en 
Escoce, en nom de nostre Dame avaundyt, avum fet mettre a ceste lettre. 

" Done a Brigham, le Vendredy procneyn a pres la Feste Seynt Gregorie, 
le An de nostre Seygnur 1289." Rymer, vol. ii. p. 472. 

See Illustrations, Letter E. 

* Rymer, voL ii. p. 479. 

1290. INTERREGNUM. 63 

The principal articles of this treaty of Brigham are 
of much importance, as illustrating the justice and the 
inveteracy of that long war, which afterwards desolated 
the kingdoms. It was agreed by the English plenipo- 
tentiaries, that the rights, laws, liberties, and customs 
of Scotland were to be inviolably observed in all time 
coming, throughout the whole kingdom and its marches, 
saving always the rights which the King of England, 
or any other person, has possessed, before the date of 
this treaty, in the marches or elsewhere ; or which may 
accrue to him in all time coming. It was stipulated 
also, that failing Margaret and Edward, or either of 
them, without issue, the kingdom should belong to the 
nearest heirs, to whom it ought of right to return, 
wholly, freely, absolutely, and without any subjection; 
so that nothing shall either be added to, or taken from, 
the rights of the King of England, of his heirs, or of 
any other person whatever. The queen, if she should 
survive her husband, was to be given up to the Scottish 
nation, free from all matrimonial engagement ; and, 
on the marriage, to be secured in a jointure befitting 
her rank. The kingdom of Scotland was for ever to 
remain separate and undivided from England, free in 
itself, and without subjection, according to its ancient 
boundaries and marches. With regard to the eccle- 
siastical privileges of the country, it was provided that 
the chapters of churches, which possessed the right of 
free election, were not to be compelled to travel forth of 
Scotland for leave to elect, or for the presentation of 
the bishop or dignitary, or for the performance of fealty 
to the sovereign. No crown-vassal, widow, orphan, 
or ward of the crown, was to be under the necessity 
of performing their homage or relief out of the king- 
dom, but a person was to be appointed in Scotland to 


receive the same, by the authority of the queen and 
her husband. From this clause was reserved the 
homage which ought to be performed in the presence 
of the king, and fealty having been once sworn, sasine, 
or legal possession of the land, was immediately to be 
given by a brief from Chancery. 

It was anxiously and wisely provided, that no native 
of Scotland was, in any case whatever, to be com- 
pelled to answer out of the kingdom regarding any 
civil covenant or criminal delinquency which had taken 
place in Scotland, as such compulsion was contrary tcr 
the ancient laws and usages of the realm ; and that no 
parliament was to be held without the boundaries of 
the kingdom, as to any matters affecting the condition 
of its subjects. Until the arrival of the queen, the 
great seal of Scotland was to be used in all matters 
relating to God, the church, and the nation, as it had 
been used during the life and after the death of the 
late king ; and on the queen's arrival in her dominions, 
a new seal, with the ancient arms of Scotland alone, 
and the single name of the queen engraven thereon, 
was to be made, and kept by the chancellor ; it being 
also provided, that the chancellors, justiciars, cham- 
berlains, clerks of the rolls, and other officers of the 
realm, were to be natives of Scotland, and resident 

All charters, grants, relics, and other muniments, 
touching the royal dignity of the kingdom of Scotland, 
were to be deposited in a safe place within that king- 
dom, and to be kept in sure custody under the seals 
of the nobility, and subject to their inspection until 
the queen should arrive, and have living issue ; and 
before this event took place, no alienation, encum- 
brance, or obligation, was to be created in any matters 

1290. INTERREGNUM. 65 

touching the royal dignity of the kingdom of Scotland; 
and no tallage, aids, levies of men, or extraordinary 
exactions to be demanded from Scotland, or imposed 
upon its inhabitants, except for the common affairs of 
the realm, or in the cases where the kings of Scotland 
have been wont to demand the same. It was pro- 
posed by the Scots that the castles and fortresses 
should not be fortified anew upon the marches ; but 
the English commissioners, pleading the defect of 
their instructions, cautiously waved the discussion of 
this point. 

To all the articles in the treaty, the guardians and 
community of Scotland gave their full consent, under 
the condition that they should be ratified within a 
certain time.* If not so confirmed, they were to be 
esteemed void ; but Edward was too well satisfied with 
the terms of the negotiation to postpone this condition, 
and accordingly, without delay, pronounced the oath 
which was required. His next was one of those bold 
and unwarrantable steps, which frequently marked the 
conduct of this ambitious and able monarch. He 
pretended that, without the presence of an English 
governor, he could not fulfil the terms of his oath to 
maintain the laws of Scotland ; and although no such 
authority was given him by the treaty, he appointed 
Anthony Beck bishop of Durham, to the office of 
Governor of Scotland, in the name of Margaret the 
queen, and his son Edward, and for the purpose of 
acting in concert with the regents, prelates, and nobles, 
in the administration of that kingdom, according to 
its ancient laws and usages.^ Edward had already 
gained to his interest two of the Scottish regents ; by 

* Before the Feast of the Virgin's Nativity, 
t Rymer, vol. ii. pp. 487, 488. 


this measure he trusted that he could overrule their 
deliberations ; and, grown confident in his power, he 
intimated to the Estates, "that certain rumours of 
danger and perils to the kingdom of Scotland having 
reached his ears, he judged it right that all castles 
and places of strength in that kingdom should be 
delivered up to him."* 

This demand effectually roused the Scots ; and Sir 
William Sinclair, Sir Patrick Graham, and Sir John 
Soulis,-f- with the other captains of the Scottish castles, 
peremptorily refused, in the name of the community 
of Scotland, to deliver its fortresses to any one but 
their queen and her intended husband, for whose 
behoof they were ready to bind themselves by oath to 
keep and defend them. With this firm reply Edward 
vras obliged to be satisfied ; and, sensible that he had 
overrated his influence, he patiently awaited the arrival 
of the young queen. 

It was now certain that she had sailed; the guardians 
of the realm, accompanied by commissioners from 
England, were preparing to receive her; and all eyes, 
in both countries, were turned towards the sea, anxious 
to welcome the child on whom so many fair hopes 
depended, when accounts were brought that she had 
been seized with a mortal disease on her passage, and 
had died at Orkney. She was only in her eighth 
year. This fatal event, which may justly be called a 
great national calamity, happened in September 1 290, 
and its first announcement struck sorrow and despair 
into the heart of the kingdom. In 1284, the crown 
had been solemnly settled on the descendants of 

* Rymer, vol. ii. p. 488. 

+ These three knights had been high in the confidence of Alexander the 
Third. Fordun a Hearne, p. 785. 

1290. INTERREGNUM. 67 

Alexander the Third; hut the parliament and the 
nation, confident in the vigorous manhood of the king, 
and the health of his progeny, had looked no farther. 
All was now overcast. The descendants of Alexander 
were extinct; and Bruce and Baliol, with other noble 
earls or barons who claimed kindred with the blood- 
royal, began, some secretly, some more boldly, to form 
their schemes of ambition, and gather strength to assert 

Previous to the report of the queen's death, a con- 
vention of the Scottish Estates had been held at Perth 
to receive Edward's answer to the refusal of deliver- 
ing their castles. To this meeting of the Estates, 
Robert Bruce lord of Annandale refused to come; 
and a great part of the nobility made no concealment 
of their disgust at the arrogant and unprecedented 
demands of the English king.* When the sad news 
was no longer doubtful, the miseries attendant on a 
contested throne soon began to show themselves. 
Bruce assembled a large force, and suddenly came to 
Perth. Many of the nobility declared themselves of 
his party, and the Earls of Mar and Athole joined 
him with all their followers. If the nation and its 
governors had been true to themselves, all might yet 
have gone well ; but the money and power of England 
had introduced other councils. One of the guardians, 
William Fraser bishop of St Andrews, who had 
embraced the interests of Baliol, addressed a letter to 
Edward upon the first rumour of the queen's death, 
informing him of the troubled state of the country, 
and the necessity of his interposition to prevent the 
nation from being involved in blood. " Should John 
de Baliol," says he, " present himself before you, my 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. p. 1090. 


counsel is, that you confer with him, so that, at all 
events, your honour and interest may be preserved. 
Should the queen be dead, which heaven forefend, I 
entreat thafr your highness may approach our borders, 
to give consolation to the people of Scotland, to pre- 
vent the effusion of blood, and to enable the faithful 
men of the realm to preserve their oath inviolable, 
by choosing him for their king who by right ought 
to be so."* 

Edward's mind was not slow to take full advantage 
of this unwise application ;-f* and the death of the young 
queen, the divisions amongst the Scottish nobility, 
and the divided state of the national mind as to the 
succession, presented a union of circumstances, too 
favourable for his ambition to resist. The treaty 
of Brigham, although apparently well calculated to 
secure the independence of Scotland, contained a 
clause which was evidently intended to leave room for 
the pretended claim of the feudal superiority of Eng- 
land over this country ; and even before the death of 
the Maid of Norway, Edward, in writs which he took 
care should be addressed only to persons in his own 
interest, had assumed the title of lord superior of the 
kingdom of Scotland. J Fully aware of the favourable 
conjuncture in which he was placed, and with that 
union of sagacity, boldness, and unscrupulous ambition 
which characterized his mind, he at once formed his 
plan, and determined, in his pretended character of 
lord superior, to claim the office of supreme judge in 
deciding the competition for the crown. His inter- 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii.p. 1090. 

f* I have here availed myself of the criticisms of an acute writer in the 
Edinburgh Review, to modify my former censure of this prelate. " Edin- 
burgh Review," No. 133. Palgrave's " Illustrations of Scottish History." 

J Prynne, Ed. I. p. 430-450. 


ference, indeed, had already been solicited by the 
Bishop of St Andrews ; there is reason also to suspect, 
from some mutilated and undated documents recently 
discovered, that Bruce and his adherents had not only 
claimed his protection at this moment, but secretly 
offered to acknowledge his right of superiority ;* but 
there is no authority for believing, that any national 
proposal was, at this time, made by the Scottish Par- 
liament, requesting his decision as arbiter, in a question 
upon which they only were entitled to pronounce 
judgment. The motives of Edward^ conduct, and the 
true history of his interference, are broadly and hon- 
estly stated, in these words of an old English historian : 
" The King of England, having assembled his privy 
council and chief nobility, told them, that he had it in 
his mind to bring under his dominion the king and 
the realm of Scotland, in the same manner that he had 
subdued the kingdom of Wales."-f- 

For this purpose, he deemed it necessary to collect 
his army, and issued writs to his barons and military 
tenants, commanding them to meet at Norham on the 
3d June, 1291. j The sheriffs of the counties of York, 
Lancaster, Westmoreland, Cumberland, and Northum- 
berland, were also directed to summon all within their 
jurisdiction who owed the king service, to repair to the 

* I say " 8uspect," because I cannot agree with the discoverer of these 
muniments, Sir Francis Palgrave, or with his revie-wer, that the appeal of 
Bruce and the Earl of Mar to Edward, amounts to an absolute acknowledg- 
ment of his right as lord superior. As to Sir Francis Palgrave's fanciful 
theory, that there existed in the ancient kingdom of Scotland a consti- 
tutional body called, " The Seven Earls," possessing high privileges as a 
distinct estate, it is certainly singular that, if such a body did exist, there 
should not be found the slightest traces of its acts, or its appearance, from 
the dawn to the close of Scottish history. See on this point the critique on 
Palgrave's " Illustrations of Scottish History," in the Edinburgh Review, 
No. 133. 

f Annales "Waverleenses, p. 242. Script. Brit, a Gale, vol. ii. 

J Rymer, vol. ii. p. 525. 


rendezvous with their full powers ; and, in the mean- 
time, Edward requested the clergy and nobility of 
Scotland to hold a conference with him at Norham on 
the 10th of May, to which they consented. 

The English king opened the deliberations in a 
speech delivered by his Justiciary, Roger Brabazon, 
in which, after an introductory eulogium upon the 
godlike and regal attribute of justice, and the blessings 
attendant on the preservation of tranquillity, he 
observed, that the sight of the great disturbances, 
which on the death of Alexander the Third had arisen 
in the kingdom of Scotland, was highly displeasing to 
him; on this account, and for the purpose of satisfying 
those who had claims upon the crown, and for the 
confirmation of peace in the land, he had requested its 
nobility to meet him, and had himself travelled from 
remote parts, that he might do justice to all, in his 
character of Lord Paramount, and without encroaching 
upon the rights of any man. " Wherefore," concluded 
the Justiciary, " our lord the king, for the due accom- 
plishment of this design, doth require your hearty 
recognition of his title of Lord Paramount of the 
kingdom of Scotland."* 

This unexpected demand struck dismay and embar- 
rassment into the hearts of the Scottish assembly. 
They declared their entire ignorance that such a right 
of superiority belonged to the King of England ; and 
added, that at the present conjuncture, when the coun- 
try was without its king, in whose presence such a 
challenge ought to be made, they could give no 
answer.-f- "By Holy Edward!' 1 cried the King of 
England, " whose crown I wear, I will either have my 
rights recognised, or die in the vindication of them ! " 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 33. } Walsingham, p. 56. 

1290. INTERREGNUM. 7l 

"And to make this speech good," says Hemingford, 
" he had issued writs for the convocation of his army ; 
so that, in case of his demand being resisted, he might 
conquer all opposition, were it to the death."* 

The representatives of the Estates of Scotland, who 
were well aware of this, now found themselves placed 
in trying circumstances, and requested time to consult 
and deliberate with their absent members. Edward 
at first would give them only one day ; but on their 
insisting that a longer interval was absolutely neces- 
sary, the king granted them three weeks, to prepare 
all that they could allege against his pretensions. 
This delay the king well knew would be productive of 
some good consequences towards his great scheme, and, 
at any rate, could not possibly injure his ambitious 
views. Before these three weeks elapsed, his army 
would meet him at Norham. He had already ensured 
the services of Fraser the regent ;-f- and the money 
and promises which he judiciously distributed, had 
induced no less than ten competitors to come forward 
and claim the Scottish crown. In this way, by the 
brilliant prize which he held out to the most powerful 
of the nobility of Scotland, he placed their private 
ambition and their public virtue in fatal opposition to 
each other. All hoped that if they resigned to Edward 
this right of superiority, they might receive a kingdom 
in return; and all felt, that to rise up as the defenders 
of the independency of a country, which was then torn 
by mutual distrust and civil disorder; which was with- 
out a king, without an army, and with the most 
powerful of its nobility leagued against it, would be a 

Hemingford, p. 33. 

t On August 13, 1291, Edward made a pilgrimage from Berwick to St 

Andrews, probably to consult -with the lifbop. 


desperate undertaking against so able a general, so 
profound a politician, and so implacable an enemy, as 
Edward. I do not say this to palliate the disgraceful 
scene which followed, nor to insinuate that any circum- 
stances can occur which entitle the subject of a free 
country to sacrifice its independence; but to prove 
that the transaction, which was truly a deep stain 
upon our history, was the act not of the Scottish 
nation, or of the assembled states of the nation, but of 
a corrupted part of the Scottish nobility. 

To return to the story. On the 2d of June, eight 
of the competitors for the crown assembled, along with 
many of the prelates, nobles, and barons of Scotland, 
on a green plain called Holywell Haugh, opposite to 
Norham Castle. These competitors were, Robert 
Bruce, Florence earl of Holland, John Hastings, 
Patrick Dunbar earl of March, William de Ross, 
William de Vescy, Walter Huntercombe, Robert de 
Pynkeny, and Nicholis de Soulis. The Bishop of 
Bath and Wells, then Chancellor of England, spoke 
for the king. He told them, that his master having 
on a former occasion granted them three weeks to 
prepare their objections to his claim of superiority, and 
they having brought forward no answer to invalidate 
his right, it was the intention of the King of England, 
in virtue of this acknowledged right, to examine and 
determine the dispute regarding the succession. The 
chancellor then turned to Robert Bruce, and demanded 
whether he was content to acknowledge Edward as 
Lord Paramount of Scotland, and willing to receive 
judgment from him in that character; upon which 
this baron expressly answered, that he recognised him 
as such, and would abide by his decision. The same 
question was then put to the other competitors, all of 

1291. INTERREGNUM. 73 

whom returned the same answer. Sir Thomas Ran- 
dolph then stood up, and declared that John Baliol 
lord of Galloway, had mistaken the day, but would 
appear on the morrow; which he did, and then solemnly- 
acknowledged the superiority of the English king. At 
this fourth assembly, the chancellor protested in the 
name of the king, that although with the view of giving 
judgment to the competitors, he now asserted his right 
of superiority, yet he had no intention of excluding his 
hereditary right of property in the kingdom of Scot- 
land, but reserved to himself the power of prosecuting 
such right at whatever time, and in whatever way, he 
judged expedient.* 

The king in person next addressed the assembly. 
He spoke in Norman-French ; recapitulated the pro- 
ceedings; and, with many professions of affection for 
the people of Scotland, declared his intention not only 
to pronounce a speedy decision in the controversy, 
but to maintain the laws and re-establish the tran- 
quillity of the country. John Comyn lord of Badenoch, 
called the Black Comyn, who had married a sister of 
Baliol, now came forward as a competitor for the 
crown, and acknowledged the superiority of Edward; 
after which, the claimants affixed their signatures to 
two important instruments. The first declared, that, 
" Forasmuch as the King of England has evidently 
shown to us that the sovereign seignory of Scotland, 
and the right of hearing, trying, and terminating our 
respective claims, belongs to him we agree to receive 
judgment from him, as our Lord Paramount. We 
are willing to abide by his decision ; and consent that 
he shall possess the kingdom to whom he awards it."-f' 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. p. 551. 

f Hemingford, vol. i. p. 34. Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. p. 529. 


By the second deed, possession of the whole land and 
castles of Scotland was delivered into the hands of 
Edward, under the pretence, that the subject in dis- 
pute ought always to be placed in the hands of the 
judge ; but on condition that Edward should find 
security to make a full restitution within two months 
after the date of his award, and that the revenues of 
the kingdom should be preserved for the future sove- 
reign. It was next determined, after grave consulta- 
tion with the prelates and earls, that, in order to 
prepare the point in dispute for an ultimate decision, 
Baliol and Comyn for themselves, and the competitors 
who approved of their list, should choose forty " dis- 
creet and faithful men 1 " as commissioners ; that Bruce, 
for himself, and the competitors who abided by his 
nomination, should choose other forty; and that 
Edward, the king, should select twenty-four commis- 
sioners, or, as he thought fit, a greater or lesser 
number. These commissioners were to meet in a 
body, to consider the claims of the competitors, and 
to make their report to the king. 

On the llth of June, the four regents of Scotland 
delivered the kingdom into the hands of Edward ; and 
the captains and governors of its castles, finding that 
the guardians of the realm, and the most powerful of 
its nobility, had abandoned it to its fate, gave up its 
fortresses to his disposal. And here, in the midst of 
this scene of national humiliation, one Scottish baron 
stood forward, and behaved worthy of his country. 
The Earl of Angus, Gilbert de Umfraville, who com- 
manded the important castles of Dundee and Forfar, 
declared, that having received these, not from England, 
but from the Estates of Scotland, he would not sur- 
render them to Edward. A formal letter of indemnity 

1291. INTERREGNUM. 75 

was then drawn up, which guaranteed the Earl of 
Angus from all blame ; and, in name of the claimants 
of the crown, and of the guardians of the realm, 
enjoined him" to deliver the fortresses of which he held 
the keys. This removed the objection of Umfraville, 
and Dundee and Forfar were placed in the hands of 
Edward. The King of England, satisfied with this 
express acknowledgment of his rights as Lord Para- 
mount, immediately redelivered the custody of the 
kingdom into the hands of the regents, enjoining them 
to appoint Alan bishop of Caithness, an Englishman, 
and one of his dependants, to the important office of 
chancellor; and to nominate Walter Agmondesham, 
another agent of England, as his assistant. To the 
four guardians, or regents, Edward next added a fifth, 
Bryan Fitz-Alan, an English baron; and having 
thus secured an effectual influence over the Scottish 
councils, he proceeded to assume a generous and con- 
ciliating tone. He promised to do justice to the 
competitors within the kingdom of Scotland,* and to 
deliver immediate possession of the kingdom to the 
successful claimant ; upon the death of any king of 
Scotland who left an heir, he engaged to wave his 
claim to those feudal services, which, upon such an 
occasion, were rigidly exacted by lords superior in 
smaller fiefs, with the exception of the homage due to 
him as Lord Paramount; but he stipulated, that, in 
the event of a disputed succession occurring, the king- 
dom and its castles were to be again delivered into his 
hands. -f 

The first act of this extraordinary drama now drew 
to a conclusion. The great seal, which had been 
brought from Scotland for the occasion, was delivered 

* Rymer, vol. ii. p. 532. f Ibid. vol. ii. p. 601. 


to the joint chancellors, the Bishop of Caithness and 
Walter Agmondesham. The four guardians, in the 
presence of a large concourse of English and Scottish 
nobility, swore fealty to Edward as lord superior; 
while Bruce lord of Annandale, with his son the Earl 
of Carrick, John de Baliol, the Earls of March, Mar, 
Buchan, Athole, Angus, Lennox, and Menteith,'the 
Black Corny n lord of Badenoch, and many other 
barons and knights, followed them in taking the oaths 
of homage. A herald then proclaimed the peace of 
King Edward as Lord Paramount ; and the monarch 
added a protestation, that his consent to do justice in 
this great cause within Scotland, should not preclude 
him from his right of deciding in any similar emer- 
gency within his kingdom of England. The assembly 
then broke up, after an agreement that its next meet- 
ing should be at Berwick on the 2d of August, on 
which day the King of England promised to deliver 
his final judgment upon the succession to the crown 
of Scotland.* 

It was now only the 13th of July, and Edward 
determined to employ the interval till the 2d of August 
in a progress through Scotland, for the purpose of 
receiving the homage of its inhabitants, and examining 
in person the disposition of the people, and the strength 
of the country. He proceeded, by Edinburgh and 
Stirling, as far as Perth, visiting Dunfermline, St 
Andrews, Kinghorn, and Linlithgow; and at these 
places peremptorily called upon persons of all ranks, 
earls, barons, and burgesses, to sign the rolls of homage, 
as vassals of the King of England.-f* In the more 
remote districts, which he could not visit, officers were 
appointed to receive the caths, and enforce them by 

* RYiner, voL ii. p. 558. f Prynne, Edw. I. p. 509-512. 

1291. INTERREGNUM. 77 

imprisonment upon the refractory;* and having thus 
examined and felt the temper of the country, which 
he had determined to reduce under his dominion, he 
returned to Berwick ; where, in the presence of the 
competitors, with the prelates, earls, and barons of 
both countries, assembled in the chapel of the castle, 
he, on the 3d of August, opened the proceedings. 

First of all, he commanded the hundred and four 
commissioners or delegates, to assemble in the church 
of the Dominicans, adjoining to the castle, and there 
receive the claims to the crown. Upon this, twelve 
competitors came forward. These were 

I. Florence count of Holland, descended from Ada, 
the sister of King William the Lion. 

II. Patrick Dunbar earl of March, descended from 
Ilda, or Ada, daughter of William the Lion. 

III. William de Vescy, who claimed as grandson 
of Marjory, daughter of William the Lion.-f- 

IV. William de Ross, descended from Isabella, 
daughter of William the Lion. 

V. Robert de Pynkeny, descended from Marjory, 
daughter of Henry prince of Scotland, and sister of 
William the Lion. 

VI. Nicholas de Soulis, descended from Marjory, 
a daughter of Alexander the Second, and wife of Alan 

VII. Patrick Galythly, claimed as the son of Henry 
Galythly, who, he contended, was the lawful son of 
William the Lion. 

VIII. Roger de Mandeville, descended from Au- 
frica, whom he affirmed to be a daughter of William 
the Lion 

* Rymer, vol. ii. p. 573. 

f The Chronicle of Melrose, p. 100, ad annum 1193, calls her Margaret. 


IX. John Corny n lord of Badenoch, who claimed 
as a descendant of Donald, formerly King of Scotland. 

X. John de Hastings, who was the son of Ada, the 
third daughter of David earl of Huntingdon, brother 
to King William the Lion. 

XI. Robert de Bruce, who was the son of Isabel, 
second daughter of David earl of Huntingdon ; and 

XII. John de Baliol, who claimed the crown as the 
grandson of Margaret, the eldest daughter of David 
earl of Huntingdon.* 

The petitions of these various claimants having been 
read, Edward recommended the commissioners to con- 
sider them with attention, and to give in their report 
at his next parliament, to be held at Berwick on the 
2d of June, in the following year. This was an artful 
delay. Its apparent purpose was to give the commis- 
sioners an interval of nine or ten months to institute 
their inquiries ; yet it served the more important 
object of accustoming the nobility and people of Scot- 
land to look to Edward as their Lord Paramount. 
When the parliament assembled at Berwick on the 
appointed day, and when Eric king of Norway appeared 
by his ambassadors, and insisted on his right to the 
crown of Scotland as the heir of his daughter Margaret, 
his petition and the claims of the first nine competi- 
tors were easily disposed of. They were liable to 
insuperable objections : some on account of the noto- 
rious illegitimacy of the branches from which they 
sprung, which was the case with the Earl of March, 
along with the barons William de Ross and De Vescy; 
others were rejected because they affirmed that they 
were descendants of a sister of the Earl of Huntingdon, 

* Bymer, Fcedera, vol. ii. pp. 578, 579. 

1292. INTERREGNUM. 79 

when the direct representatives of a brother of the 
same prince were in the field. 

Indeed, before the final judgment was pronounced, 
these frivolous competitors voluntarily retired. They 
had been set up by Edward, with the design of 
removing the powerful opposition which might have 
arisen to his schemes, had they declared themselves 
against him ; and to excuse his delay in giving judg- 
ment, by throwing an air of intricacy over the case. 
This object being gained, the king commanded the 
commissioners to consider, in the first place, the claims 
of Bruce and Baliol ; thus quietly overlooking the 
other competitors, whose rights were reserved, never 
to be again brought forward ; and virtually deciding 
that the crown must be given to a descendant of David 
earl of Huntingdon. The scene which followed was 
nothing more than a premeditated piece of acting, 
planned by Edward, and not ill performed by the 
Scottish commissioners, who were completely under 
his influence. The king first required them to make 
oath, that they would faithfully advise him by what 
laws and usages the question should be determined : 
they answered, that they differed in opinion as to the 
laws and usages of Scotland, and its application to the 
question before them; and therefore required the 
assistance of the English commissioners, as if from 
them was to proceed more certain or accurate advice 
upon the law of Scotland. A conference with the 
commissioners of the two nations having taken place, 
it was found that the differences in opinion were not 
removed. The English commissioners modestly re- 
fused to decide until they were enlightened by the 
advice of an English parliament ; and the king, ap- 
proving of their scruples, declared his resolution to 


consult the learned in foreign parts ; and recommended 
all persons of both kingdoms to revolve the case in 
their minds, and consider what ought to be done. He 
then appointed a parliament to assemble at Berwick 
on the 15th of October; at which meeting of the Estates 
he intimated he would pronounce his final decision. 

On the meeting of this parliament at the time ap- 
pointed, Edward required the commissioners to give 
an answer to these two questions : 1st, By what laws 
and customs they ought to regulate their judgment I 
or, in the event of there being either no laws for the 
determination of such a point, or if the laws of Eng- 
land and Scotland happened to be at variance, what 
was to be done? And, 2d, Was the kingdom of 
Scotland to be regarded as a common fief, and the 
succession to the crown to be regulated by the same 
principles which were applicable to earldoms and 
baronies? The commissioners replied, that the laws 
and usages of the two kingdoms must rule the ques- 
tion ; but if none existed to regulate the case, the king 
must make a new law for a new emergency ; and that 
the succession to the Scottish crown must be decided 
in the same manner as the succession to earldoms, 
baronies, and other indivisible inheritances. The king 
then addressed himself to Bruce and Baliol, and re- 
quired them to allege any further arguments in explana- 
tion of their right ; upon which they entered at great 
length into their respective pleadings upon the ques- 

Bruce insisted, that being the son of Isabella, second 
daughter of David earl of Huntingdon, he was next 
heir to the crown ; that Alexander the Second had so 
declared to persons yet alive, when the king despaired 
of having heirs of his own body ; and that an oath had 

1292. INTERREGNUM. 81 

been taken by the people of Scotland tc maintain the 
succession of the nearest in blood to Alexander the 
Third, failing the Maid of Norway and her issue. He 
maintained, that a succession to a kingdom ought to 
be decided by the law of nature, rather than by the 
principles which regulated the succession of vassals 
and subjects ; by which law, he, as nearest to the royal 
blood, ought to be preferred ; and that the custom of 
succession to the Scottish crown by which the brother, 
as nearest in degree, excluded the son of the deceased 
monarch supported his title. He contended that a 
woman, being naturally incapable of government, ought 
not to reign ; and, therefore, as Devorguilla, the 
mother of Baliol, was alive at the death of Alexander 
the Third, and could not reign, the kingdom devolved 
upon him, as the nearest male of the blood-royal. 

To all this Baliol replied, that as Alexander the 
Second had left heirs of his body, no conclusion could 
be drawn from his declaration ; that the claimants 
were in the court of the Lord Paramount, of whose 
ancestors, from time immemorial, the realm of Scot- 
land was held by homage ; and that the King of 
England must give judgment in this case as in the 
case of other tenements held of the crown, looking to 
the law and established usages of his kingdom ; that, 
upon these principles, the eldest female heir is pre- 
ferred in the succession to all inheritance, indivisible 
as well as divisible, so that the issue of a younger 
sister, although nearer in degree, did not exclude the 
issue of the elder, though in a degree more remote, the 
succession continuing in the direct line. He main- 
tained, that the argument of Bruce, as to the ancient 
laws of succession in the kingdom of Scotland, truly 
militated against himself ; for the son was nearer in 

VOL. L a 


degree than the brother, yet the brother was preferred. 
He observed, that Bruce's argument, that a woman 
ought not to reign, was inconsistent with his own 
claim ; for if Isabella, the mother of Bruce, had no 
right to reign, she could transmit to him no claim to 
the crown ; and besides all this, he had, by his own 
deliberate act, confuted the argument which he now 
maintained, having been one of those nobles who swore 
allegiance to Margaret, the Maiden of Norway. 

The competitors, Bruce and Baliol, having thus 
advanced their claims, King Edward required of his 
great council a final answer to the following question, 
exhorting the bishops, prelates, earls, barons, and com- 
missioners, to advise well upon the point : " By the 
laws and customs of both kingdoms, ought the issue 
of an elder sister, but more remote by one degree, to 
exclude the issue of the younger sister, although one 
degree nearer!" To this the whole council unani- 
mously answered, that the issue of the elder sister 
must be preferred; upon which Edward, after affectedly 
entreating his council to reconsider the whole cause, 
adjourned the assembly for three weeks, and appointed 
it to meet again on Thursday the 6th of November. 

On this day, in a full meeting of all the competitors, 
the commissioners, and the assembled nobility of both 
countries, the king declared: that, after weighing 
Bruce's petition, with its circumstances, and deeply 
considering the arguments on both sides, it was his 
final judgment, that the pretensions of that noble 
person to the Scottish crown must be set aside, and 
that he could take nothing in the competition with 
Baliol. The great drama, however, was not yet con- 
cluded; for the king having ordered the claims of 
Baliol, and the other competitors which were only 

1292. INTERREGNUM. 83 

postponed, to be further heard, Bruce declared, that 
he meant to prosecute his right, and to present a claim 
for the whole or a part of the kingdom of Scotland, 
under a different form from what he had already fol- 
lowed. Upon this, John de Hastings, the descendant 
of the third daughter of David earl of Huntingdon, 
stood up, and affirmed that the kingdom of Scotland 
was partible ; and ought, according to the established 
laws of England as to partible fiefs, to be divided equally 
amongst the descendants of the three daughters. This 
plea was founded upon an opinion of one of the French 
lawyers, whom Edward had consulted ; and Hastings 
had no sooner concluded, than Bruce again presented 
himself, and, adopting the argument of Hastings, 
claimed a third part of Scotland, reserving always to 
Baliol, as descended from the eldest sister, the name 
of king, and the royal dignity. Edward then put the 
question to his council, " Is the kingdom of Scotland 
divisible ; or, if not, are its escheats or its revenues 
divisible?" The council answered, " That neither 
could be divided." Upon which the king, after having 
taken a few days more to re-examine diligently, with 
the assistance of his council, the whole of the petitions, 
appointed the last meeting for the hearing of the cause 
to be held in the castle of Berwick, on the 17th of 

On that great and important day, the council and 
parliament of England, with the nobility of both coun- 
tries, being met, the various competitors were sum- 
moned to attend ; upon which Eric king of Norway, 
Florence earl of Holland, and William de Vescy, 
withdrew their claims. After this, Patrick earl of 
March, William de Ross, Robert de Pynkeny, Nicho- 
las de Soulis, and Patrick Galythly, came forward in 


person, and followed the same course. John Comyn 
and Roger de Mandeville, who did not appear, were 
presumed to have abandoned their right; and the 
ground being thus cleared for Edward's final judg- 
ment, he solemnly decreed: That the kingdom of 
Scotland being indivisible, and the King of England 
being bound to judge of the rights of his subjects 
according to the laws and usages of the people over 
whom he reigns, by which laws the more remote in 
degree of the first line of descent is preferable to the 
nearer in degree of the second ; therefore, John Baliol 
ought to have seisin of the kingdom of Scotland, with 
reservation always of the right of the King of Eng- 
land and of his heirs, when they shall think proper to 
assert it. After having delivered judgment, Edward 
exhorted Baliol to be careful in the government of his 
people, lest by giving to any one a just cause of com- 
plaint, he should call down upon himself an interfer- 
ence of his Lord Paramount. He commanded the five 
regents to give him seisin of his kingdom, and directed 
orders to the governors of the castles throughout 
Scotland, to deliver them into the hands of Baliol.* 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. p. 590. Rotuli Scotise, vol. i. p. 11. The forts 
of Scotland, with their English governors, -were these : 

Forts. Governors. 

Stryvelin .................................. Norman de Arcy. 

Aberdeen ) ... .John de Gildeford. 

Kmcardyn ) 

Inverness ) . .William de Braytoft. 

Dmgwall ) 

Invernairn \ 

Crumbarthyn V ........................ Thomas de Braytoft. 

i. e. Cromarty ) 

Forres and Elgin ........................ Henry de Rye. 

Banff and ] ( Robert de Grey. 

Aboyne J ........................... I Richard de Swethop. 

Forfar ^ 

....................... Brian FiU-Alan. 


1292. INTERREGNUM. 85 

A humiliating ceremony now took place. The great 
seal of Scotland, which had been used by the regents 
since the death of Alexander the Third, was, in the 
presence of Edward, Baliol, Bruce, and a concourse of 
the nobility of both kingdoms, broken into four parts, 
and the pieces deposited in the treasury of the King 
of England, to be preserved as an evidence of the 
pretended sovereignty and dominion of that kingdom 
over Scotland.* Next day Baliol, in the castle of 
Norham, swore fealty to Edward, who gave a commis- 
sion to John de St John to perform the ceremony of 
his coronation, by placing the new monarch upon the 
ancient stone seat of Scone. This ought to have been 
done by Duncan earl of Fife, but he was then a minor. 
Baliol was accordingly crowned upon St Andrew's day, 
and soon after passed into England, where he concluded 
the last act of this degrading history, by paying his 
homage to Edward at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on the 
day after Christmas.-f 

Forts. Governors. 

Cluny Hugh de Erth. 

Are and Dumbrettan Nicholas de Segrave. 

Dumfries \ 

Wigton and \ Richard Seward. 

Kirkcudbright ) 

Edinburgh Ralph Basset. 

Berwick. Peter Burder. 

* Rjmer, voL ii. p. 591. -fr Fordun a Hearne, p. 967. 





King of England. \ King of France. 

Edward I. Philip IV. 


Celestinus V. 
Boniface VIII. 

EDWARD'S scheme for the subjugation of Scotland was 
not yet completed ; but all had hitherto succeeded to 
his wishes. He had procured the acknowledgment of 
a claim of superiority over that kingdom, which, if 
Baliol should refuse to become the creature of his 
ambition, gave him a specious title to compel obedience 
as Lord Paramount. By holding out the prospect of 
a crown to the various competitors, and by many rich 
grants of estates and salaries to the prelates and the 
nobility, he had succeeded in securing them to his 
interest ;* and if any feelings of indignation, any spirit 

* This appears from the Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. p. 24, et passim. He 
gave the Bishop of Glasgow an obligation to bestow on him lands to the 
annual value of 100. To James the Steward, lands of the same annual 

Annual value. 

To Patrick, earl of Dunbar, Lands of 100. 

To John de Soulis, Lands of 100 marks. 

To William Sinclair, Lands of 100 marks. 

To Patrick de Graham, Lands of 100 marks. 

To William de Soulis, Lands of 100, annual value. 

All these persons were to have lands of the subjoined value, " Si contingat 
Regnum Regi et heredibus suia remanere." Edward afterwards changed 

1292. JOHN BALIOL. 87 

of ancient freedom and resistance, remained the 
apparent hopelessness of fighting for a country which 
seemed to have deserted itself, and against a prince of 
so great a military genius as Edward, effectually stifled 
it for the present. 

Baliol had scarce taken possession of his kingdom 
when an event occurred which recalled him to a sense 
of his miserable subjection, and brought out the char- 
acter of Edward in all its severity. It had been a 
special provision of the treaty of Brigham, that no 
Scottish subject was to be compelled to answer in any 
criminal or civil suit, without the bounds of the king- 
dom ; but, in the face of this, Roger Bartholomew, a 
citizen of Berwick, entered an appeal to the King of 
England, from a judgment of those regents whom he 
had appointed in Scotland during the interregnum. 
Baliol was not slow to remind Edward of his solemn 
promise, to observe the laws and usages of Scotland ; 
and he earnestly protested against withdrawing any 
pleas from that kingdom to the courts of England.* 
To this Edward replied, that he had in every article 
religiously observed his promise ; but that when com- 
plaints were brought against his own ministers, who 
held their commissions from him as Sovereign Lord 
of Scotland, it was he alone who could have cognizance 
of them, nor had his subjects therein any right to 
interpose. He then, with that air of apparent impar- 
tiality which he often threw over his aggressions, 

his plan, and gave these harons and prelates gratifications in money, or 
other value. But to John Comyn, the King of England gave the large sum 
of 1563 14s. 64d. Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. p. 17, b'th January, 1292. Ha 
took care, however, to reimburse himself by keeping the wards, marriages, 
and other items of the revenue, which had fallen to the Scottish crown dur- 
ing the interregnum, as may be seen from many places in the Rotuli 
* Rymer, vol. ii. p. 696. 


required the opinion of some of the ablest Scottish 
prelates and judges, with regard to the law and custom 
of their kingdom in one of the cases brought before 
him ; and commanded his council to decide according 
to the judgment which they delivered.* Irritated, 
however, by being reminded of the treaty of Brigham, 
he openly declared, by his justiciary Brabazon, that 
although, during the vacancy of the kingdom of Scot- 
land, he had been induced to make promises which 
suited the time now when the nation was ruled by a 
king, he did not intend to be bound by them, to the 
effect of excluding complaints brought before him from 
that kingdom, or of preventing him from dispensing 
justice and exercising the rights of his sovereign domi- 
nion, according to his power and pleasure. To give 
the greater weight to this -imperious announcement, 
the King of England summoned Baliol and his prin- 
cipal prelates and nobles into his privy chamber at 
Newcastle, and there made Brabazon repeat his reso- 
lutions upon the matter in question ; after which, 
Edward himself rose up, and, in the French language, 
spoke to the same tenor. " These are my firm deter- 
' minations," said he, " with regard to all complaints 
or appeals brought before me from Scotland ; nor will 
I be bound by any former promises or concessions 
made to the contrary. I am little careful by what 
deeds or instruments they may be ratified ; I shall 
exercise that superiority and direct dominion which I 
hold over the kingdom of Scotland, when and where I 
please ; nor will I hesitate, if necessary, to summon 
the King of Scotland himself into my presence within 
the kingdom of England.'"^ 

* Ryley's Placita, p. 145. 

t Rymer, Feed. vol. ii. p. 597. Tyrrers England, vol. iii. p. 74. 

1292. JOHN BALIOL. 89 

BalioFs spirit sunk under this declaration ; and he, 
and the Scottish nobility then in his train, pusillani- 
mously consented to buy their peace with Edward by 
a renunciation of all stipulations regarding the laws 
and liberties of Scotland, which had been made in the 
treaty of Brigham, and which, so long as they continued 
in force, convicted the King of England of a flagrant 
disregard of his oath, formerly so solemnly pledged. 
On this being agreed to, Edward ordered the public 
records and ancient historical muniments of the king- 
dom, which had formerly been transmitted from Edin- 
burgh to Roxburgh, to be delivered to the King of 
Scotland. He also, out of special favour, commanded 
possession of the Isle of Man to be given to him ;* 
and, softened by these concessions, Baliol returned to 
his kingdom. But it was only to experience fresh 
mortification, and to feel all the miseries of subjection. 

The policy of Edward towards Scotland and its new 
king, was at once artful and insulting. He treated 
every assumption of independent sovereignity with 
rigour and contempt, and lost no opportunity of sum- 
moning Baliol to answer before him to the complaints 
brought against his government ; he encouraged his 
subjects to offer these complaints by scrupulously 
administering justice according to the laws and customs 
of Scotland ; and he distributed lands, pensions, and 
presents, with well-judged munificence, amongst the 
prelates and the nobility. The King of Scotland pos- 
sessed large estates both in England and Normandy; 
and in all the rights and privileges connected with 
them, he found Edward certainly not a severe, almost 

* Edward, in 1290, when Margaret was alive, had taken under Iris pro- 
tection her kingdom of Man, at the request of its inhabitants. Rymer, 
vol. ii. p. 492. 


an indulgent, superior. To Baliol the vassal, he was 
uniformly lenient and just:* to Baliol the king, he 
was proud and unbending to the last degree. An 
example of this soon occurred. 

The Earl of Fife died, leaving his son, Duncan, a 
minor, and the earldom to the protection of the Bishop 
of St Andrews. Macduff, the grand-uncle of Duncan, 
then seized it ; hut being ejected by the bishop, on 
complaining to Edward, was, at the king's command, 
restored to his estates by the sentence of the Scottish 
regents. When Baliol held his first parliament at 
Scone,^ Macduff was summoned to answer for his 
having taken forcible possession of lands, which, since 
the death of the last earl of Fife, were in the custody 
of the king. He attempted a defence ; but being found 
guilty, suffered a short imprisonment. On his release, 
he was not slow to carry his appeal to the King of 
England ; and Edward immediately summoned Baliol 
to answer in person before him, to the allegations of 
Macduff.]: To this order Baliol paid no regard, and 
Edward again commanded him to appear. This was 
not all. He procured his parliament to pass some 
regulations regarding the attendance of the King of 
Scots, which, from their extreme severity, seem to have 
been expressly intended to exasperate this monarch, 
who found that, in every case of appeal, he was not 
only to be dragged in as a party, but that his personal 
attendance was to be rigidly exacted. The first was a 
grievous, the last an intolerable burden, to which no 
one with even the name of a king could long submit. 

Meanwhile, dissembling his chagrin, he appeared in 

* Rymer, vol. ii. p. 635. f Winton, vol. ii. p. 73. 

i Rymer, Foadera, vol. ii. p. 606. Fordun a Hearne, p. 968. 
Ryley's Placita, p. 151. Hailes' Annals, voL i. p. 227. 

1293. JOHN BALIOL. 91 

the English parliament held after Michaelmas, where 
Macduff was also present. When the cause of this 
haron noble came on, Baliol was asked what defence 
he had to offer. "I am," said he, "the King of 
Scotland. To the complaint of Macduff, or to any 
matters respecting my kingdom, I dare not make an 
answer without the advice of my people. 1 ' " What 
means this refusal !" cried Edward. " Are you not 
my liegeman, have you not done homage to me, 
is it not my summons that brings you here ?" To 
this impetuous interrogation the Scottish monarch 
firmly answered, " Where the business respects my 
kingdom, I neither dare, nor can answer, in this place, 
without the advice of my people. 11 * An artful pro- 
posal was then made by Edward, that in order to 
consult with his people, he should adjourn giving his 
final reply to a future day; but this he peremptorily 
declined, declaring that he would neither name a day, 
nor consent to an adjournment. Under these cir- 
cumstances, the English parliament proceeded to pro- 
nounce judgment. They declared that the King of 
Scotland was guilty of open contempt and disobedience. 
He had, they said, offered no defence, but made a 
reply which went to elude and weaken the jurisdiction 
of his liege lord, in whose court as a vassal he had 
claimed the crown of Scotland. In consequence of 
which they advised the King of England, not only 
to do full justice to Macduff, and to award damages 
against Baliol; but, as a punishment for his feudal 
delinquency, to seize three of his principal castles in 
Scotland, to remain in the hands of the English 
monarch until he should make satisfaction for the 
injury offered to his lord superior.-f- Before this 

* Ryley's Placita, p. 168. f Prynne's Edward I., pp. 537, 554. 


judgment of the parliament was publicly made known, 
Baliol presented himself to Edward, and thus addressed 
him : " My lord, I am your liegeman for the kingdom 
of Scotland ; and I entreat you, that as the matters 
wherewith you now are occupied concern the people 
of my kingdom no less than myself, you will delay 
their consideration until I have consulted with them, 
lest I be surprised from want of advice ; and this the 
more especially, as those now with me neither will, 
nor dare, give me their opinion, without consulting 
with the Estates of the kingdom. After having 
advised with them, I will, in your first parliament 
after Easter, report the result, and perform what is 
my duty." 

It was evident that the resolutions of the parliament 
were unnecessarily violent, and could not have been 
carried into effect without the presence of an army in 
Scotland. The King of England, aware of this, and 
dreading to excite a rebellion, for which he was not 
then prepared, listened to the demand of Baliol, and 
delayed all proceedings until the day after the Feast 
of the Trinity, in 1294.* 

Not long after this, Edward, who was a vassal of 
the King of France for the duchy of Aquitaine, 
became involved with his lord superior, in a quarrel 
similar to that between himself and Baliol. A 
fleet of English vessels belonging to the Cinque 
Ports, had encountered and plundered some French 
merchant ships ; and Philip demanded immediate and 
ample satisfaction for the aggression. As he dreaded 
a war with France, Edward proposed to investigate, 
by commissioners, the causes of quarrel; but this 
seemed too slow a process to the irritated feelings of 

* Eyley's Placita, pp. 152, 160. Prynne's Edward I., p. 554. 

1293. JOHN BALIOL. 93 

the French king; and, exerting his rights as lord 
superior, he summoned Edward to appear in his court 
at Paris, and there answer, as his vassal, for the 
injuries which he had committed. This order was, of 
course, little heeded ; upon which Philip, sitting on 
his throne, gave sentence against the English king; 
pronounced him contumacious, and directed his terri- 
tories in France to be seized, as forfeited to the crown.* 
Edward soon after renounced his allegiance as a vassal 
of Philip ; and, with the advice of his parliament, de- 
clared war against France. 

To assist him in this war, he summoned Baliol, and 
others of the most powerful of the Scottish nobles, to 
attend him in person with their armed vassals ; but 
his insolent and overbearing conduct had entirely dis- 
gusted the Scots. They treated his summons with 
ecorn; and, instead of arming their vassals for his 
assistance, they assembled a parliament at Scone.^ 
Its first step was, under the pretence of diminishing 
the public charges, to dismiss all Englishmen from 
BalioFs court ; and having thus got rid of such trouble- 
some spies upon their measures, they engaged in a 
treaty of alliance with France,]: and determined upon 
war with Edward. Many estates in Scotland were 
at this time held by English barons, and many also 
of the most powerful of the Scottish nobility possessed 
lands in England. Anxious for a general union against 
the common enemy, the Scottish estates in the hands 
of English barons were forfeited, and their proprietors 
banished; while those Scottish nobles who remained 
faithful to Edward had their lands seized and forfeited. 

* Tvrrel's England, vol. iii. p. 79. Prynne's Edward I., pp. 583, 584. 
fr Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 153. J Rymer, vol. ii. p. 695. 
Hemingford, p. 83, vol. L Hailes, vol. i. p. 240. 


In this way Robert Bruce lost his rich lordship of 
Annandale. It was given to John Comyn earl of 
Buchan, who instantly assumed the rights of a pro- 
prietor, and took possession of its castle of Lochmahen 
an injury which, in that fierce age, could never be 

Edward, although enraged at the conduct of the 
Scottish parliament, and meditating a deep revenge, 
was at this time harrassed by a rebellion of the Welsh, 
and a war with France. Dissimulation and policy 
were the weapons to which he had recourse, whilst he 
employed the interval which he gained in sowing 
dissension among the Scottish nobles, and collecting 
an army for the punishment of their rebellion. To 
Bruce, the son of the competitor for the crown, whose 
mind was irritated by the recent forfeiture of his estates, 
he affected uncommon friendship; regretted his decision 
in favour of the now rebellious Baliol ; declared his 
determination to place him on the throne, of which 
the present king had shown himself unworthy ; and 
directed him to inform his numerous and powerful 
friends in Scotland of this resolution.* Bruce either 
trusted to the promises, or was intimidated by the 
power of Edward. Besides this, Comyn earl of Buchan, 
who now mainly directed the Scottish councils, was 
his enemy, and held violent possession of his lordship 
of Annandale. To join with him was impossible ; and 
accordingly this powerful baron and his son, afterwards 
king, with Dunbar earl of March, and Umfraville earl 
of Angus, repaired to Edward, and renewed to him 
their oaths of homage. -f* The undecided character of 
Baliol was ill calculated to remove this disunion amongst 
the Scottish nobles ; and the party who then ruled in 

* Fordun a Hearne, p. 971. "h Hemingford, vol. i. p. 102. 

1295. JOHN BALIOL. 95 

the Scottish parliament, dreading a submission upon 
the part of their king, secluded him from all power, 
confined him in a mountain fortress, and placed the 
management of affairs in the hands of twelve of the 
leading nobles.* 

The measures adopted by these guardians were de- 
cided and spirited. They, in the name of the King of 
Scots, drew up an instrument, renouncing all fealty 
and allegiance to Edward, on account of the many and 
grievous injuries committed upon his rights and pro- 
perty as King of Scotland.*^ They despatched ambas- 
sadors to France, who concluded a treaty of marriage 
and alliance, by which the niece of Philip, daughter of 
Charles count of Valois, was to be united to the eldest 
son of Baliol j the French king engaging to assist the 
Scots with troops kept at his own charges ; and they 
assembled an army under the command of Comyn ear 1 
of Buchan, which invaded Cumberland. This expedi- 
tion, however, returned without honour, having been 
repulsed in an attempt to storm Carlisle. 

Nothing could be more favourable for Edward than 
the miserably disunited state of Scotland. He knew 
that three powerful factions divided the country, and 
hindered that firm political union, without which, 
against such an enemy, no successful opposition could 
be made. Bruce, and his numerous and powerful 
followers, adhered to England. The friends of Baliol, 
and that part of the nation which recognised him for 
their sovereign, beheld him a captive in one of his own 
fortresses, and refused to join the rebels who had im- 
prisoned him ; and the party of Comyn, which had 
invaded England, were either so destitute of military 

* Math. Westminst. p. 425. f Fordun a Hearne, p. 969. 

J Foedera, vol. ii. p. 696. Hemingford, p. 87. Trivet, p. 288. 


talent, or so divided amongst themselves, that a hand- 
ful of the citizens of Carlisle compelled them to retreat 
with loss into their own country. These advantages, 
the result of his own able and artful policy, were easily 
perceived by the King of England. It was now his 
time for action, and for inflicting that vengeance upon 
his enemies, which, with this monarch, the longer it 
was delayed, was generally the more sure and terrible. 
He assembled a numerous and well appointed army. 
It consisted of thirty thousand foot, and four thousand 
heavy-armed horse. He was joined by Beck, the war- 
like Bishop of Durham, at the head of a thousand foot 
and five hundred horse ; and with this combined force, 
and the two sacred banners of St John of Beverley and 
St Cuthbert of Durham carried before the army,* he 
marched towards Scotland. It appears, that some 
time before this, Edward had thought proper to grant 
a prolongation of the term agreed on for the decision 
of the question of Macduff, and had required Baliol to 
attend him as his vassal at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.^f 
On arriving there, he summoned the King of Scot- 
land ; and after waiting a few days for his appearance, 
advanced to the eastern border, and crossed the Tweed 
with his main army below the Nunnery of Coldstream. 
On the same day the Bishop of Durham forded the 
river at Norham, and the whole army, marching along 
the Scottish side, came before the town of Berwick, 
then in the hands of the Scots. J 

Edward was determined, at all sacrifices, to make 
himself master of this city. It was celebrated for the 

* Rymer, vol. ii. p. 732. Prynne's Edward I., p. 667. Anthony Beck 
was a prelate, -whose state and magnificence were exceeded only by his 
sovereign. His ordinary personal suite consisted of a hundred and forty 
knights. Hutchinson's History of the County Palatine of Durham, p, 239. 

f Prynae's Edward I., p. 537. J Hemingford, p. 89. 

1296. JOHN BALIOL. 97 

riches and the power of its merchants ; and the extent 
of its foreign commerce, in the opinion of a contem- 
porary English historian, entitled it to the name of 
another Alexandria.* It was protected only by a strong 
dike, but its adjacent castle was of great strength, and 
its garrison had made themselves obnoxious to the 
king, by plundering some English merchant ships 
which had unsuspiciously entered the port. The king 
summoned it to surrender, and offered it terms of accom- 
modation, which, after two days' consideration, were 
refused. Edward, upon this, did not immediately 
proceed to storm, but drew back his army to a field 
near a nunnery, about a mile from the town, and where, 
from the nature of the ground, he could more easily 
conceal his dispositions for the attack. He then de- 
spatched a large division, with orders to assault the 
town choosing a line of march which concealed them 
from the citizens ; and he commanded his fleet to enter 
the river at the same moment that the great body of 
the army, led by himself, were ready to storm. -f- The 
Scottish garrison fiercely assaulted the ships, burnt 
three of them, and compelled the rest to retire ; J but 
they, in their turn, were driven back by the fury of 
the land attack. Edward himself, mounted on horse- 
back^ was the first who leaped the dike; and the 
soldiers, animated by the example and presence of 
their king, carried everything before them. All the 
horrors of a rich and populous city sacked by an in- 
flamed soldiery, and a commander thirsting for ven- 

* Torfseus, book i. chap, xxxii. Chron. of Lanercost, a Stevenson, pp. 
162, 185. 

t Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 159. Hemingford, vol. i. p. 90. 

Hemingford, p. 90. 

Langtoft's Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 272. His horse's name, we learn from 
this Chronicle, was Bayard. 

VOL. I. H 


geance, now succeeded. Seventeen thousand persons ,* 
without distinction of age or sex, were put to the 
sword ; and for two days the city ran with blood like 
a river. The churches, to which the miserable inhabi- 
tants had fled for sanctuary, were violated and defiled 
with blood, spoiled of their sacred ornaments, and turned 
into stables for the English cavalry .-f- 

In the midst of this massacre a fine trait of fidelity 
occurred. The Flemings at this period carried on a 
lucrative and extensive trade with Scotland, and their 
principal factory was established in Berwick. It was 
a strong building, called the Red-hall, which, by their 
charter, they were bound to defend to the last extre- 
mity against the English. True to their engagements, 
thirty of these brave merchants held out the place 
against the whole English army. Night came, and 
still it was not taken. Irritated by this obstinate 
courage, the English set it on fire, and buried its faith- 
ful defenders in the burning ruins.J The massacre of 
Berwick, which took place on Good Friday, was a 
terrible example of the vengeance which Edward was 
ready to inflict upon his enemies. Its plunder enriched 
his army, and it never recovered its commercial impor- 
tance and prosperity. Sir William Douglas, who 
commanded the castle, after a short defence surren- 
dered, and swore fealty to the King of England ; and 
its garrison, after taking an oath not to bear arms 
against that country, were allowed to march out with 
military honours. 

Whilst Edward remained at Berwick, engaged in 
throwing up new fortifications against future attacks, 

* Knighton, apud Twysden, p. 2480. *f- Fordun, book xi. chap. liv. lv. 
J Hemingford, vol. i. p. 91. Hailes' Annals, voL i. p. 236. 
Hemingford, vol. i. p. 91. 

1296. JOHN BALIOL. 99 

Henry abbot of Arbroath, attended by three of his 
monks, appeared at his court, and delivered to him 
the instrument containing Baliol's renunciation of his 
homage. " You have," said the Scottish king, " wan- 
tonly summoned me to your courts ; you have com- 
mitted grievous outrages and robberies upon my 
subjects, both by sea and land ; you have seized my 
castles and estates in England, killed and imprisoned 
my subjects, and the merchants of my realm ; and 
when I demanded a redress of these injuries, you have 
invaded my dominions at the head of a vast army, with 
the purpose of depriving me of my crown ; and have 
cruelly ravaged the land. Wherefore, I renounce that 
fealty and homage, which have been extorted from me ; 
and do resolve openly to oppose myself, in defence of 
my kingdom, against Edward of England."* 

Edward received this letter with angry contempt. 
" The senseless traitor !" said he ; " of what folly is 
he guilty ! But since he will not come to us, we will 
go to him !"} 

Enraged at the dreadful vengeance inflicted on Ber- 
wick, the Scottish army, under the Earls of Ross, 
Menteith, and Athole, made a second inroad into 
England ; and, imitating the example of Edward, with 
merciless severity ravaged Redesdale and Tynedale, 
carrying away a great booty, and sparing neither sex 
nor age.J The flames of towns and villages, and the 
ashes of the ancient monasteries of Lanercost and 
Hexham, marked their destructive progress ; but the 
vengeance of the Scots was short-lived, and their plans 
unconnected. That of their enemy was the very oppo- 

* Fcedera, vol. ii. p. 707. Fordun a Hearne, p. 969. 
f- Ha ce fol felon, tel folie fet ! sil ne voult venir a nous, nous viendrons 
a lui. Fordun a Hearne, p. 969. 
J Rymer, voL ii. p. 887. Trivet, p. 291 . Peter Langtoft, vol. ii. p. 273. 


site : it was deep-laid in its plans, simultaneous in its 
movements, and remorseless in its contemplation of 

The castle of Dunbar was at this time one of the 
strongest, and, by its situation, most important in 
Scotland. Its lord, Patrick earl of Dunbar, served in 
the army of Edward ; but his wife, the countess, who 
held the castle, and hated the English, entered into a 
secret negotiation with the Scottish leaders, for its 
delivery into the hands of her countrymen. The Earls 
of Ross, Athole, and Menteith, the barons John Comyn, 
William St Clair, Richard Seward, and John de Mow- 
bray, with thirty-one knights, and a strong force, threw 
themselves into the place ; and, assisted by the coun- 
tess, easily expelled the few soldiers who remained 
faithful to England.* On being informed of this loss, 
Edward determined upon recovering it at all hazards ; 
and for this purpose despatched the Earl of Surrey 
with ten thousand foot, and a thousand heavy-armed 
horse. When summoned by Warrene, the garrison 
agreed to surrender, unless relieved within three days ; 
and the Scots, anxious to retain so important a place, 
led on the whole of their army, and possessed them- 
selves of a strong and excellent position on the high 
ground above Dunbar. Forty thousand foot, and 
fifteen hundred horse, encamped on the heights, near 
Spot ; and, confident of rescue, the garrison of the 
castle insulted the English from the walls, as if already 
beaten. *f 

On the first appearance of the Scottish army, Surrey 
steadily advanced to attack it. On approaching the 
high ground, it was necessary to deploy through a 

* Walsingham, p. 67. This happened on St Martin's day. 
f Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 165. Hemingford, vol. i. p. 95. 

1296. JOHN BALIOL. 101 

valley; and the Scots imagined they observed some 
confusion in the English ranks, when executing this 
movement. Mistaking this for flight, they precipi- 
tately abandoned their strong position on the hills, 
and rushed down with shouts upon the enemy. Mean- 
while, before the lines could meet, the English earl 
had extricated himself from the valley, and formed 
into compact order. The Scots, ruined, as they had 
often been, by their temerity, perceived their fatal 
error when it was too late. Instead of an enemy in 
flight, they found an army under perfect discipline, 
advancing upon their broken and disordered columns ; 
and having in vain endeavoured to regain their ranks, 
after a short resistance they were completely routed. 
Three hundred and fifty years after this, Cromwell, 
on the same ground, defeated the army of the Scottish 
Covenanters, which occupied the same admirable posi- 
tion, and with equal folly and precipitancy deserted 
it. Surrey's victory was complete, and for the time 
decided the fate of Scotland. Ten thousand men fell 
on the field, or in the pursuit. Sir Patrick de Graham, 
one of the noblest and wisest of the Scottish barons, 
disdained to ask for quarter, and was slain in circum- 
stances which extorted the praise of the enemy.* A 
great multitude, including the principal of the Scottish 
nobility, were taken prisoners; and, next day, the 
King of England coming in person with the rest of 
his army before Dunbar, the castle surrendered at 
discretion. The Earls of Athole, Ross, and Menteith, 
with four barons, seventy knights, and many other 
brave men, submitted to the mercy of the conqueror.-?- 
All the prisoners of rank were immediately sent in 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 96. Fordun a Hearne, p. 974. 
t Scala Chronicle, p. 123. 


chains to England, where they were for the present 
committed to close confinement in different Welsh 
and English castles.* After some time, the king 
compelled them to attend him in his wars in France; 
but even this partial liberty was not allowed them, till 
their sons were delivered into his hands as hostages. -f" 
Edward was not slow to follow up the advantages 
which this important success had given him. Return- 
ing from Lothian, he sat down before the castle of 


Roxburgh, which was surrendered to him by James, 
the Steward of Scotland, who not only swore fealty 
and abjured the French alliance,^ but prevailed upon 
many others of the Scottish nobility to forsake a 
struggle which was deemed desperate, and to submit 
to England. It was at his instigation that Ingeram 
de Umfraville surrendered the castle of Dumbarton, 
and gave up to Edward his daughters, Eva and Isobel, 
as hostages. Soon after, the strong fortress of Jed- 
burgh was yielded to his mercy ; || and his victorious 
army being reinforced by a body of fifteen thousand 
men from Wales, he was enabled to send home that 
part of his English force, which had suffered most 
from fatigue in this expedition. 

With these fresh levies he advanced to Edinburgh, 
made himself master of the castle after a siege of eight 
days;1F passed rapidly to Stirling, which he found 
abandoned ; and while there, the Earl of Ulster, with 
a new army of thirty thousand foot and four hundred 
horse, came to join the king, and complete the triumph 
of the English arms. The monarch continued his 

* Peter Langtoft, Chron. p. 278. 

f" Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. sub Ed. I. 25, p. 44 ; where a great many of the 
names of the prisoners will be found. J Prynne's Edward I., p. 649. 
Rotuli Scotise, 22 Ed. I., memb. 8 dorso. 
U Bymer, Feed. vol. ii. pp. 714, 716. 1 Hemingford, vol. i. p. 98. 

1296. JOHN BALIOL. 103 

progress without opposition to Perth, where he halted 
to keep the feast of the nativity of John the Baptist, 
with circumstances of high feudal solemnity, regaling 
his friends, creating new knights, and solacing him- 
self and his barons. In the midst of these rejoicings, 
messengers arrived from the unhappy Baliol, announ- 
cing his submission, and imploring peace.* Edward 
disdained to treat with him in person, but informed 
him, that he intended, within fifteen days, to advance 
to Brechin; and that on BalioFs repairing to the castle 
there, the Bishop of Durham would announce the 
decision of his lord superior. This was none other 
than that of an absolute resignation of himself and his 
kingdom to the mercy of his conqueror; to which 
Baliol, now the mere shadow of a king, without a 
crown, an army, or a nobility, dejectedly submitted. 
2n presence of the Bishop of Durham, and the Barons 
of England, he was first stript of his royal robes; 
after which they spoiled him of his crown and sceptre, 
and compelled him, standing as a criminal, with a 
white rod in his hand, to perform a humiliating feudal 
penance. *J* He confessed, that, misled by evil counsel 
and his own weakness, he had grievously offended his 
liege lord; he recapitulated his various transgressions, 
his league with France, and his hostilities against 
England ; he acknowledged the justice of the invasion 
of his kingdom by Edward, in vindication of his 
violated rights; and three days after this, in the castle 
of Brechin, he resigned his kingdom of Scotland, its 
people and their homage, into the hands of his liege 
lord Edward, of his own free will and consent.]: After 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 98. 

t Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 167. Winton, vol. ii. p. 88. 

t Prymie's Edward I., pp. 650,651. See Notes and Illustrations, letter F. 


this humiliating ceremony, Baliol delivered his eldest 
son, Edward, to the King of England, as a hostage 
for his future fidelity; and this youth, along with his 
discrowned father, were soon after sent by sea to 
London, where they remained for three years in con- 
finement in the Tower.* 

Thus ended the miserable and inglorious reign of 
John Baliol, a prince whose good dispositions might 
have ensured him a happier fate, had he been opposed 
to a less terrible and ambitious enemy than Edward 
the First ; or had the courage and spirit, in which he 
was not deficient, been seconded by the efforts of a 
united nobility. But Edward, with a policy not dis- 
similar to that which we have adopted in our Eastern 
dominions, had succeeded in preventing all union 
amongst the most powerful Scottish barons, by arraying 
their private and selfish ambition against the love of 
their country; by sowing dissension in their councils, 
richly rewarding their treachery, and treating with 
unmitigated severity those who dared to love and defend 
the liberty of Scotland ; and Baliol's character was not 
of that high stamp, which could unite such base and 
discordant materials, or baffle a policy so deep, and a 
power so overwhelming. 


THE spirit of the Scottish people was for the time 
completely broken ; and Edward, as he continued his 

* Langtoft, Chron. vol. ii. p. 280. Speaking of Baliol, 
First he was king, now is he soudioure, 
And is at other spendyng bonden in the Toure. 

1296. INTERREGNUM. 105 

expedition from Perth to Aberdeen, and from thence 
to Elgin in Moray, did not experience a single check 
in his progress ; while most of the Scottish barons, who 
had escaped death or imprisonment, crowded in to 
renounce the French alliance, and renew their oaths 
of fealty. On his return from the north to hold his 
parliament at Berwick, in passing the ancient Abbey 
of Scone, he took with him the famous and fatal stone 
upon which, for many ages, the Scottish kings had 
been crowned and anointed. This, considered by the 
Scots as their national palladium, along with the 
Scottish sceptre and crown, the English monarch placed 
in the cathedral of Westminster, as an offering to 
Edward the Confessor, and a memorial of what he 
deemed his absolute conquest of Scotland;* a con- 
quest, however, which, before a single year had elapsed, 
was entirely wrested from his hands. 

Edward was desirous of annihilating everything 
which could preserve the patriotic feeling of the country 
which he had overrun. With this object, when at 
Scone, he mutilated the ancient chartulary of that 
abbey, the historical notices in which were perhaps 
fatal to his pretended claim of superiority, carrying off 
some of its charters, and tearing the seals.j- Our 
historians affirm, that in his progress he industriously 
sought out and destroyed every monument connected 
with the antiquity and independence of the nation. 
The character of Edward, and his conduct at Scone, 
give great probability to the assertion. J 

On the 28th of August, the king held his parliament 

* Fordun a Goodal, book xi. chap. xxv. vol. ii. p. 166. Hemingford, 
vol. i.pp. 37, 100. 

t Chart. Scon. f. 26, quoted by Hailes, vol. i. p. 243. 

Innes's Critical Essay on the Ancient Inhabitants of Scotland, pp. 554, 
555. See Notes and Illustrations, letter Q-. 


at Berwick, for the purpose of receiving the fealty of 
the clergy and laity of Scotland. Multitudes of 
Scotsmen of all ranks resorted to him earls, harons, 
knights, and esquires. The terror of his arms ; the 
well-known severity of his temper, which made impri- 
sonment and the immediate confiscation of their estates 
the consequence of their refusal ; the example of their 
nobility, who now felt, too late for remedy, the sad 
effect of their dissensions, all combined to render this 
submission to Edward a measure as unanimous as it 
was humiliating ; and the oaths of homage, the renun- 
ciation of the French alliance, and the names of the 
vassals, which fill thirty-five skins of parchment, are 
still preserved amongst the English archives.* 

After the battle of Dunbar, Bruce earl of Carrick, 
who was then in the service of England, reminded 
Edward of his promise to place him on the throne. 
" Have I nothing to do," said the haughty monarch, 
" but to conquer kingdoms for you?" Judging it 
probably a more befitting occupation, the King of 
England empowered the Earl of Carrick, and his son 
the younger Bruce, to receive to his peace the inhabi- 
tants of their own lands of Carrick and Annandale.^f* 
How little did he then think, that the youthful baron, 
employed under his royal commission in this degrading 
office, was destined to wrest from him his conquest, and 
to become the restorer of the freedom of his country ! 

Edward next directed his attention to the settlement 
of his new dominions ; and the measures which he 
adopted for this purpose were equally politic and just. 
He commanded the sheriffs of the several counties in 
Scotland, to restore to the clergy their forfeited lands ; 

* Ragman Rolls, printed by Bannatyne Club, 1834. 
t Rymer, Fcedera, voL ii. p. 714 

1296. INTERREGNUM. 107 

and he granted to the Scottish bishops for ever, the 
privilege of bequeathing their effects by will, as fully 
as the right was enjoyed by the prelates of England. 
The widows of those barons whose husbands had died 
before the French alliance, and who had not since then 
been married to the king's enemies, were faithfully 
restored to their estates ; but, effectually to secure 
their allegiance, the English Guardian of Scotland 
was permitted, at his option, to take possession of the 
castles and strengths upon their lands. He even 
assigned pensions to the wives of many of his Scottish 
prisoners ; and few of those who held office under the 
unfortunate Baliol were dispossessed. The jurisdic- 
tions of Scotland were suffered to remain with those 
who possessed them, under ancient and hereditary 
titles ; no wanton or unnecessary act of rigour was 
^ommitted, no capricious changes introduced, yet all 
means were adopted to give security to his conquest. 
John Warrene earl of Surrey, was made Guardian 
of Scotland ; Hugh de Cressingham, Treasurer ; and 
William Ormesby, Justiciary. Henry de Percy, 
nephew of Warrene, was appointed keeper of the 
county of Galloway, and the sheriffdom of Ayr ; the 
castles of Roxburgh, Berwick, Jedburgh, and Edin- 
burgh, were committed to English captains ; a new 
seal, in place of the ancient Great Seal of Scotland, 
surrendered by Baliol and broken into pieces at 
Brechin, was placed in the hands of Walter de Ag- 
mondesham, an English chancellor ; and an Exchequer 
for receiving the king's rents and taxes was instituted 
at Berwick, on the model of that at Westminster.* 

* Madox, Hist, of Exchequer, p. 550. Botuli Scotise, vol. i. pp. 29, 35. 



EDWARD had scarcely made this settlement of Scot- 
land, and set out for his own dominions, when he 
found, that instead of the acclamations due to a 
conqueror, he was to be received at home with the 
lowering countenances of discontent and rebellion. He 
had incurred a heavy expense in his Scottish expedition, 
and he was now anxious to carry on with vigour his 
war with France ; but the clergy of England, headed 
by a proud and firm prelate, Winchelsea archbishop 
of Canterbury, demurred as to the supplies which he 
demanded; and a powerful party of the barons, led by 
the Constable and the Marshal of England, refusing 
to pass over into France, indignantly retired from 
parliament, with a great body of their armed re- 

These discontents in England encouraged the people 
of Scotland to rise against their English oppressors. 
Although deserted by their nobility, a spirit of deter- 
mined hatred against England was strongly manifested 
by the great body of the nation. Throughout the 
whole country, numerous bands of armed peasants 
infested the highways, and in contempt of government 
plundered the English, and laid waste their lands. 
Their numbers increased, and their successes soon 
became alarming. They besieged the castles garrisoned 
by the English, took prisoners, committed all kinds 
of rapine and homicide; and the impression made 
upon the mind of Edward may be judged of by a letter 
still remaining, addressed to his treasurer Cressingham, 
commanding him not to scruple to spend the whole 


money in his exchequer to put down these violent 

The patriotic principle which seems at this time to 
have entirely deserted the highest ranks of the Scottish 
nobles, whose selfish dissensions had brought ruin and 
bondage upon their country, still burned pure in the 
breasts of these broken men and rebels, as they are 
termed by Edward. The lesser barons, being less 
contaminated by the money and intrigues of England, 
preserved also the healthy and honest feelings of 
national independence ; and it happened, that at this 
time,,?v.d out of this middle class of the lesser barons, 
arose an extraordinary individual, who, at first driven 
into the field by a desire to avenge his individual 
injuries, within a short period of time, in the recon- 
quest of his native country, developed a character 
which may, without exaggeration, be termed heroic. 
This was William Wallace, or Walays, the second 
son of Sir Malcolm Wallace of Ellerslie, near Paisley, 
a knight, whose family was ancient, but neither rich 
nor noble.'f In those days bodily strength and 
knightly prowess were of the highest consequence in 
commanding respect and ensuring success. Wallace 
had an iron frame. His make, as he grew up to man- 
hood, approached almost to the gigantic; and his 
personal strength was superior to the common run of 
even the strongest men. His passions were hasty and 
violent; a strong hatred to the English, who now 
insolently lorded it over Scotland, began to show itself 
at a very early period of his life; and this aversion was 
fostered in the youth by an uncle, a priest, who, 

* Rotuli Scotiae, 25 Ed. I., vol. i. p. 42. 

+ Winton's Chron. vol. ii. p. 91, book viii. chap. xiii. Fordun a Goodal, 
voL ii. p. 169. 


deploring the calamities of his country, was never 
weary of extolling the sweets of liberty, and lamenting 
the miseries of dependence.* 

The state of national feeling in Scotland, at this 
time, has been already described ; and it is evident, 
that the repressing of a rising spirit of resistance, 
which began so strongly to show itself, required a judi- 
cious union of firmness, gentleness, and moderation. 
Upon the part of the English all this was wanting. 
Warrene, the governor, had, on account of ill health, 
retired to the north of England. Cressingham, the 
treasurer, was a proud, ignorant ecclesiastic. Edward, 
before he departed, had left orders that all who had 
not yet taken the oath of fealty, including not only 
the lesser barons but the burghers and inferior gentry, 
should be compelled to do so under severe penalties, 
exacted by military force; and Ormesby, the justiciary, 
had excited deep and general odium, by the intolerable 
rigour with which these penalties were extorted. 

The intrepid temper of Wallace appears first to 
have shown itself in a quarrel, in the town of Lanark, 
with some of the English officers who insulted him. 
This led to bloodshed ; and he would have been over- 
powered and slain in the streets, had it not been for 
the interference of his mistress, to whose house he 
fled, and by whose assistance he escaped to the neigh- 
bouring woods. In a spirit of cruel and unmanly 
revenge, Hislop, the English sheriff, attacked the 
house, and put her to death ; for which he was him- 
self assaulted and slain by Wallace.^ The consequence 
of this was to him the same as to many others, who 
at this time preferred a life of dangerous freedom to 

* Fordun a Goodal, book xii. chap. iii. vol. ii. p. 223. 

f Winton, vo*. ii. p. 95, book viii, chap. xiii. Fordun a Hearne, p. 975. 


the indulgence and security of submission.* He was 
proclaimed a traitor, banished his home, and driven 
to seek his safety in the wilds and fastnesses of his 
country. It was here that he collected by degrees a 
little band, composed at first of a few brave men of 
desperate fortunes, who had forsworn their vassalage 
to their lords, and refused submission to Edward, and 
who at first carried on that predatory warfare against 
the English, to which they were impelled as well by 
the desire of plunder, and the necessity of subsistence, 
as by the love of liberty. These men chose Wallace 
for their chief. Superior rank for as yet none of the 
nobility or barons had joined them his uncommon 
courage and personal strength, and his unconquerable 
thirst of vengeance against the English, naturally 
influenced their choice, and the result proved how well 
it had fallen. His plans were laid with so much 
judgment, that in his first attacks against straggling 
parties of the English, he was generally successful ; 
and if surprised by unexpected numbers, his superior 
strength and bravery, and the ardour with which he 
inspired his followers, enabled them to overpower every 
effort which was made against them. 

To him these early and desultory excursions against 
the enemy were highly useful, as he became acquainted 
with the strongest passes of his country, and acquired 
habits of command over men of fierce and turbulent 
spirits. To them the advantage was reciprocal, for 
they began gradually to feel an undoubting confidence 
in their leader; they were accustomed to rapid marches, 
to endure fatigue and privation, to be on their guard 
against surprise, to feel the effects of discipline and 

* Triveti Annales, p. 299. 


obedience, and by the successes which these ensured, to 
regard with contempt the nation by whom they had 
allowed themselves to be overcome. 

The consequences of these partial advantages over 
the enemy were soon seen. At first few had dared to 
unite themselves to so desperate a band. But confi- 
dence came with success, and numbers flocked to the 
standard of revolt. The continued oppressions of the 
English, the desire of revenge, and even the romantic 
and perilous nature of the undertaking, recruited the 
ranks of Wallace, and he was soon at the head of a 
great body of Scottish exiles.* 

When it was known that this brave man had raised 
open banner against the English, Sir William Douglas,-f- 
who had been taken by Edward at the siege of Ber- 
wick, and restored to his liberty, upon swearing fealty, 
disregarding his oath, joined the Scottish force with 
his numerous vassals. Ormesby, the English justi- 
ciary, was at this time holding his court at Scone ; 
and Surrey, the guardian, had gone to attend the 
English parliament. Wallace, by a rapid march, 
surprised the justiciary, dispersed his followers, and, 
whilst he himself escaped with the greatest difficulty, 
took a rich booty and many prisoners. J This exploit 
giving new confidence to their little army, they more 
openly and boldly ravaged the country, and put all 
Englishmen to the sword. As circumstances allowed, 
they either acted together, or engaged in separate 
expeditions. Whilst Wallace marched into Lennox, 
the castles of Disdeir and Sanquhar were taken by 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 118. Triveti Annales, p. 299. 

( This William Douglas was, according to Hume of Godscroft, tl seventh 
Lord Douglas. He was called William the Hardy, or Longleg. Hume's 
Hist, of House of Douglas and Angus, voL i. p. 32. 

J Triveti Annales, 299. 


Douglas ; and when their united strength afterwards 
broke in upon the west of Scotland, they were joined 
by some of the most powerful of the Scottish nobility. 
The Steward of Scotland, and his brother, Sir Andrew 
Moray of Bothwell, Alexander de Lindesay, and Sir 
Richard Lundin, with a spirited prelate, Wishart 
bishop of Glasgow, were amongst the number.* 

Their united forces, led by the military skill and 
animated by the personal intrepidity of Wallace, con- 
tinued to be successful in repeated attacks upon the 
English ; and these successes were frequently followed, 
as was to be expected, by many circumstances of cruelty 
and violence. Their revenge seems especially to have 
been directed against the English ecclesiastics who 
were possessed of Scottish livings. A public edict, 
passed by the Scottish Estates in 1296, had banished 
these intruders from Scotland; and this edict Wallace, 
it is said, improved upon with a refinement in cruelty. 
Some aged priests, and it is even asserted, although 
almost too horrid to believe, some helpless women, had 
their hands tied behind their backs, and in this help- 
less state were thrown from high bridges into rivers, 
their dying agonies affording sport to their merciless 
captors. [ 

The conduct of the younger Bruce, afterwards the 
heroic Robert the First, was at this period vacillating 
and inconsistent. His large possessions in Carrick 
and Annandale made him master of an immense tract 
of country, extending from the Firth of Clyde to the 
Solway ; and the number of armed vassals which his 
summons could call into the field, would have formed 

* Hailes, vol. i. p. 246. 

f Hen. Knighton, p. 2514, apud Twysden, vol. i. Raynaldi, Conk Baronii, 
vol. iv. p. 66. 

VOL. I. I 


an invaluable accession to the insurgents. His power 
caused him to be narrowly watched by England ; and 
as his inconstant character became suspected by the 
Wardens of the Western Marches, they summoned him 
to treat on the affairs of his master the king at Carlisle. 
Bruce, not daring to disobey, resorted thither with a 
numerous attendance of his friends, and was compelled 
to make oath on the consecrated host, and the sword 
of Thomas-a-Becket, that he would continue faithful 
to the cause of Edward. To give a proof of his fidelity, 
he ravaged the estates of Sir William Douglas, then 
with Wallace, seized his wife and children, and carried 
them into Annandale. Having thus defeated suspicion, 
and saved his lands, he privately assembled his father's 
retainers ; talked lightly of an extorted oath, from 
which the pope would absolve him ; and urged them 
So follow him, and join the brave men who had taken 
arms against the English. This, however, they refused, 
probably because their master and overlord, the elder 
Bruce, was then with Edward. Robert, however, 
nothing moved by the disappointment, collected his 
own tenants, marched to join Wallace, and openly 
took arms against the English.* 

The news of this rebellion reached the King of Eng- 
land, as he was preparing to sail for Flanders. He at 
first disregarded it ; and as many of the most powerful 
of the Scottish nobles were then either prisoners in 
England, or in attendance upon himself, and ready to 
embark for the continent, he was easily persuaded that 
it would be instantly put down by the authority of 
the governor. Anthony Beck, however, the martial 
Bishop of Durham, was despatched in great haste into 
Scotland ; and Edward, finding from his account, that 

* H<smingford, voL L p. 120. Knighton, p. 2514. 


the revolt was of a serious nature, commanded the Earl 
of Surrey to call forth the military force on the north 
of the Trent, and, without delay, to reduce the insur- 

This, however, was no easy matter. Surrey sent 
his nephew, Henry Percy, before him into Scotland, 
at the head of an army of forty thousand foot, and 
three hundred armed horse. Percy marched through 
Annandale to Lochmaben, where, during the night, 
his encampment was suddenly attacked by the Scots 
with great fury. It was very dark, and Percy's men 
knew not where to rally. In this emergency they set 
fire to the wooden houses where they lay, and, guided 
to their banners by the blaze, repulsed the enemy, and 
marched towards Ayr,^ for the purpose of receiving 
the men of Galloway to the peace of the king. It was 
here told them that the Scottish army was not four 
miles distant ; and Percy, having struck his tents, 
advanced at the first break of the morning to Irvine, 
and soon discovered their squadrons drawn up nearly 
opposite to him, on the border of a small lake. This 
force, which equalled the English in foot, although 
inferior in horse, was sufficient, under able conduct, to 
have given battle to Percy, but it was enfeebled by 
dissension amongst its leaders ; and although Wallace 
was there to direct them, the pride of these feudal 
barons would not submit to be commanded by him. 
Accordingly, most of these chiefs became anxious to 
negotiate terms for themselves, and to save their lands. 
Sir Richard Lundin, a Scottish knight, who had till 
now refused allegiance to Edward, went over with his 
followers to the army of Percy, declaring it to be folly 

* Hemingford, p. 122. Tyrrel, Hist. Eng. p. 112, vol. iii. T* 
t Hen. Knighton, p. 2515. 


to remain longer with a party at variance with itself. 
At the same time, Bruce, the Steward of Scotland, and 
his brother Alexander de Lindesay, Sir William Dou- 
glas, and the Bishop of Glasgow, made submission to 
Edward, and entreated his forgiveness for the robberies 
and slaughters which they had committed. An instru- 
ment, commemorating this desertion of their country, 
to which their seals were appended, was drawn up in 
Norman French ;* but this brave man treated all pro- 
posals of submission with high disdain. Although the 
greater nobles had deserted the cause, he knew that 
many of their vassals were enthusiastically attached 
to his person and fortunes.-}- He could muster also a 
large body of his own tried and veteran followers ; and 
putting himself at the head of these, he retired indig- 
nantly to the north. Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell 
was the only baron who accompanied him. 

The conduct of the Scottish nobility, who had capi- 
tulated to Percy, was irresolute and contradictory. 
Edward had accepted their offers of submission ; but 
although they would not act in concert with Wallace, 
whose successes had now effectually raised the spirit 
of the nation, they drew back from their agreement 
with Percy, and delayed the delivery of their hostages, 
until security should be given them for the preserva- 
tion of the rights and liberties of their country. Sir 
William Douglas and the Bishop of Glasgow, however, 
considered that they were bound to abide by the capi- 
tulation signed at Irvine ; and finding themselves 
unable to perform their articles of agreement, they 

* Rymer, Fcedera, dated 9th July, 1297, vol. ii. p. 774. Rymer has read 
the concluding sentence of this deed erroneously, as has been shown by Sir 
F. Palgrave. The words which he prints as " Escrit a Sire Willaume," are 
M Escrit a Irwine." 

t Hemingford, vol. i. p. 125. 


voluntarily surrendered to the English.* It was the 
fate of this last mentioned prelate to be trusted by 
neither party. Wallace, whose passions were fiery and 
impetuous, loudly accused him of treachery, attacked 
his castle, ravaged his lands, and led his servants and 
family captive ; whilst the King of England declared 
that, under this surrender of himself at the castle of 
Roxburgh, a purpose was concealed of betraying that 
important fortress to the Scots.^ Notwithstanding 
the capitulation of Irvine, the spirit of resistance 
became soon very general throughout the northern 
counties. In Aberdeenshire, especially, the revolt 
was serious; and Edward directed his writs to the 
bishop and sheriffs of the county, commanding them 
to punish the rebels for the murders and robberies 
which they had been committing, and to be on their 
guard against an intended attack upon the castle of 
Urquhart, then held by William de Warrene.J 

What were the particular successes of Wallace and 
his brethren in arms, during the summer months, which 
elapsed between the treaty at Irvine and the battle of 
Stirling, we have no authentic memorials to determine. 
That they had the effect of recruiting his army, and 
giving him the confidence of the body of the people of 
Scotland, is certain ; for Knighton, an old English 
historian, informs us, " that the whole followers of the 
nobility had attached themselves to him; and that 
although the persons of their lords were with the King 
of England, their heart was with Wallace, who found 
his army reinforced by so immense a multitude of the 
Scots, that the community of the land obeyed him as 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 124. Tyrrel, Hist. Eng. vol. iii. p. 112. 
f- Hailes' Annals, vol. i. p. 250. 
~ Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. pp. 41, 42. 
From 9th July to 3d September. 


their leader and their prince."* Edward, in the mean- 
time, dissatisfied with the dilatory conduct of Surrey, 
in not sooner putting down a revolt, which the king's 
energetic and confident spirit caused him to treat too 
lightly, superseded him, and appointed Brian Fitz- 
Alan governor of Scotland. At the same time he 
liberated from their imprisonment in various castles 
through England, the Scottish nobles and barons taken 
at the battle of Dunbar, and carried them along with 
him to Flanders. Their forfeited lands were restored ; 
but to secure their fidelity, the king compelled their 
eldest sons to remain in England as hostages. -f Others 
of the Scottish nobles, whose fidelity was less suspected, 
were permitted to return home, under a promise of 
assisting in the reduction and pacification of the coun- 
try ; and as many of the most powerful and warlike 
English barons as he could spare from his expedition 
to Flanders, were directed to repair to Scotland, with 
all the horse and foot which they could muster, and to 
co-operate with Fitz-Alan and Surrey.^ Having taken 
these precautions, King Edward passed over to Flan- 
ders on the twenty-second of August. 

It was fortunate for the Scots, that Warrene the 
Earl of Surrey, evinced great remissness in insisting 
on the fulfilment of the treaty of Irvine. He was on 
bad terms with Cressingham the treasurer, a proud 
and violent churchman, who preferred the cuirass to 
the cassock ; || and it is probable, that his being super- 
seded in his government of Scotland, and yet com- 
manded to remain with the army, was an indignity 

* Knighton, apud Twysden, p. 2516. 
f Rotuli Scotia, pp. 44, 45. Trivet, p. 301. 

J Rot. Scot. pp. 47, 48. Surrey, although superseded in the command, 
remained with the army. 
Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 120. || Hemingford, p. 130. 


which so high a baron could ill brook.* The conse- 
quences of this inactivity were soon apparent. The 
Scottish barons still delayed the delivery of their 
hostages, and cautiously awaited the event of the war; 
whilst Wallace, at the head of a powerful army, having 
succeeded in expelling the English from the castles of 
Forfar, Brechin, Montrose, and nearly all their strong- 
holds on the north of the Forth, had just begun the 
siege of the castle of Dundee, when he received intelli- 
gence that the English army, under the command of 
the Earl of Surrey, and Cressingham the treasurer, 
was on its march to Stirling. Well acquainted with 
the country there, his military skill taught him of 
what importance it would be to secure the high ground 
on the river Forth, above Cambuskenneth, before 
Surrey had passed the bridge at Stirling ; and having 
commanded the citizens of Dundee, on pain of death, 
to continue the siege of the castle, he marched with 
great expedition, and found, to his satisfaction, that he 
had anticipated the English, so as to give him time to 
choose the most favourable position for his army, before 
the columns of Cressingham and Surrey had reached 
the other side of the river. 

The nature of the ground concealed the Scottish 
army, which amounted to forty thousand foot, and one 
hundred and eighty horse. Wallace's intention was 
to induce the main body of the English to pass the 
bridge, and to attack them before they had time to 
form. Surrey was superior in numbers. He com- 
manded a force of fifty thousand foot soldiers, and one 
thousand armed horse. Lord Henry Percy had marched 
from Carlisle towards Stirling, with a reinforcement 
of eight thousand foot and three hundred horse ; but 

* Bymer, voL ii. p. 794. 


Cressingham the treasurer, dreading the expense of 
supporting so great a force, had, with an ill-judged 
economy, given orders for the disbanding these succours, 
as he considered the army in the field to be sufficient 
for the emergency.* 

The Steward of Scotland, the Earl of Lennox, and 
others of the Scottish barons, were at this time with 
the English army; and on coming to Stirling, requested 
Surrey to delay an attack till they had attempted to 
bring Wallace to terms. They soon returned, and 
declared that they had failed in their hopes of pacifi- 
cation, but that they themselves would join the English 
force with sixty armed horse. It was now evening, 
and the Scottish barons, in leaving the army, met a 
troop of English soldiers returning from forage. 
Whether from accident or design, a skirmish took 
place between these two bodies, and the Earl of Lennox 
stabbed an English soldier in the throat. This, of 
course, raised a tumult in the camp; a cry arose that 
they were betrayed by the Scots ; and there seems to 
be little doubt that Lennox and his friends were 
secretly negotiating with Wallace, and only waited 
for a favourable opportunity of joining him. Crying 
out for vengeance, the English soldiers carried their 
wounded comrade before their general, and reproached 
him with having trusted those who had broken their 
faith, and would betray them to the enemy. " Stay 
this one night," said he, " and if to-morrow they do 
not keep their promise, you shall have ample revenge.' 1 
He then commanded his soldiers to be ready to pass 
the bridge next day: and thus, with a carelessness 
little worthy of an experienced commander, who had 
the fate of a great army dependent on his activity 

* Hemingford, p. 127. 


and foresight, he permitted Wallace to tamper with 
his countrymen in the English service; to become 
acquainted with the numbers and array of the English 
force ; and to adopt, at his leisure, his own measures 
for their discomfiture. 

Early next day, five thousand foot and a large body 
of the Welsh passed the bridge by sunrise, and soon 
after repassed it, on finding that they were not followed 
by the rest of the army, and that the Earl of Surrey 
was still asleep in the camp. After an hour the earl 
awoke, the army was drawn up, and as was then usual 
before any great battle, many new knights were 
created, some of whom were fated to die in their first 
field. It was now the time when the Scottish barons 
ought to have joined with their sixty horse ; and 
Surrey, having looked for them in vain, commanded 
the infantry to cross the bridge. This order was 
scarcely given when it was again recalled, as the 
Steward of Scotland and the Earl of Lennox were 
seen approaching, and it was hoped, brought offers of 
pacification. But the contrary was the case. They 
had failed, they said, in all their efforts to prevail on 
the Scottish army to listen to any proposals, and had 
not been able to persuade a single soldier to desert. 
As a last resource, Surrey, who seems to have been 
aware of the strong position occupied by the Scots, 
and of the danger of crossing the river, despatched 
two friars to propose terms to Wallace, who made this 
memorable reply : " Return to your friends, and tell 
them that we came here with no peaceful intent, but 
ready for battle, and determined to avenge our own 
wrongs and set our country free. Let your masters 
come and attack us : we are ready to meet them beard 


to beard."* Incensed at this cool defiance, the Eng- 
lish presumptuously and eagerly demanded to be led 
on; upon which, Sir Richard Lundin, a Scottish 
knight, who had gone over to the enemy at Irvine, 
anxiously implored them to be still: " If," said he, 
" you once attempt to pass the bridge, you are despe- 
rately throwing away your lives. The men can only 
cross two by two. Our enemies command our flank, 
and in an instant will be upon us. I know a ford not 
far from hence where you may pass by sixty at a time. 
Give me but five hundred horse, and a small body of 
foot, I shall turn the enemy's flank, whilst you, lord 
earl, and the rest of the army, may pass over in secu- 
rity." This was the sound advice of a veteran soldier 
who knew the country; but although it convinced 
some, it only irritated others, and among these last, 
Hugh Cressingham the treasurer. " Why, my lord," 
cried he to Surrey, who was prudently hesitating, 
" why do we protract the war, and spend the king's 
money ? Let us pass on as becomes us, and do our 

Stung with this reproach, Surrey weakly submitted 
his better judgment to the rashness of this churchman, 
and commanded the army to defile over the bridge. 
Sir Marmaduke Twenge, a knight of great experience 
and courage, along with Cressingham himself, led the 
van ; and when nearly the half of the army had passed 
the bridge, perceiving that the Scots kept their strong 
ground on the heights, Twenge, with chivalrous impe- 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 126. 

( " Mirum dictu," exclaims Hemingford, in an animated reflection on 
the madness of Surrey's conduct, " sed terribile, quid in eventu, quod tot et 
tanti discreti viri dum scirent hostes impromptu, strictum pontem ascen- 
derint, quod bin! equestres, vix et cum dilliculUte simul transire potuerunt." 
Hemingford, vol. i. p. 128. 


tuosity, gave orders for a charge, and made the heavy- 
armed cavalry spur their horses up the hill. The 
consequence of this precipitate movement was fatal to 
the English. A part of the Scottish army had by 
this time made a circuit and possessed themselves of 
the foot of the bridge ; * and Wallace, the moment that 
he saw the communication between the van and the 
rear of the English force thus cut off, and all retreat 
impossible, rushed rapidly down from the high ground, 
and attacking Twenge and Cressingham, before they 
had time to form, threw them into inextricable dis- 
order. In an instant all was tumult and confusion. 
Many were slain, multitudes of the heavy-armed horse 
plunged into the river, and were drowned in making 
a vain effort to rejoin Surrey, who kept on the other 
side, a spectator of the discomfiture of the flower of 
his army. In the meantime, the standard-bearers of 
the king, and of the earl, with another part of the 
army, passed over, and shared the fate of their com- 
panions, being instantly cut to pieces. A spirited 
scene now took place. Sir Marmaduke Twenge, on 
looking round, perceived that the Scots had seized the 
bridge, and that he and his soldiers were cut off from 
the rest of the army. A knight advised, in this 
perilous crisis, that they should throw themselves into 
the river, and swim their horses to the opposite bank. 
" What," cried Twenge, " volunteer to drown myself, 
when I can cut my way through the midst of them, 
back to the bridge ? Never let such foul slander fall 
on us !" So saying he put spurs to his horse, and 
driving him into the midst of the enemy, hewed a 

* Hemingford, 128. " Descenderunt de monte, et missis viris lanceariis 
occupaverunt pedem pontis, ita quod extunc nulli patebat transitus vel ro- 
gressus." See also Walsingham, p. 73. 


passage for himself through the thickest of the Scottish 
columns, and rejoined his friends, with his nephew and 
his armour-bearer, in perfect safety. 

Mean while the Scots committed a dreadful slaughter. 
It is the remark of the historian Hemingford, who 
describes this victory of Stirling from the information 
of eye-witnesses, that in all Scotland there could not 
be found a place better fitted for the defeat of a power- 
ful army by a handful of men, than the ground which 
Wallace had chosen.* Multitudes perished in the 
river ; and as the confusion and slaughter increased, 
and the entire defeat of the English became inevitable, 
the Earl of Lennox and the Steward of Scotland, who, 
although allies of the King of England, were secretly 
in treaty with Wallace, threw off the mask, and led a 
body of their followers to destroy and plunder the 
flying English. Surrey, on being joined by Sir Mar- 
maduke Twenge, remained no longer on the field ; but 
having hastily ordered him to occupy the castle of 
Stirling, which he promised to relieve in ten days, he 
rode, without drawing bridle, to Berwick: a clear 
proof of the total defeat of the powerful army which 
he had led into Scotland. From Berwick he proceeded 
to join the Prince of Wales in the south, and left the 
country which had been intrusted to him, exposed to 
ravage and desolation. Although the English his- 
torians restrict the loss of soldiers in this fatal and 
important battle to five thousand foot, and a hundred 
heavy-armed horse,~f* it is probable that nearly one 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 128. 

f 1 So say Hemingford and Knighton. But Trivet, p. 307, and Walsing- 
ham, p. 73, assert, that before the half of the English army had passed, the 
Scots attacked and put almost all of them to the sword. Now the English 
army consisted of fifty thousand foot and one thousand horse: Hemingford, 
p. 127. See Notes and Illustrations, letter H. 


half of the English army was cut to pieces, and Cres- 
singham the treasurer was amongst the first who fell. 
Hemingford allows, that the plunder which fell into 
the hands of the Scots was very great, and that waggons 
were filled with the spoils. Smarting under the 
cruelty and rapacity with which they had been treated 
by the English, the Scots were not slow now to take 
their revenge, nor was Wallace of a temper to restrain 
his soldiers. Few prisoners seem to have fallen into 
their hands, and the slaughter was general and indis- 
criminate. So deep was the detestation in which the 
character of Cressingham was regarded, that his dead 
body was mangled, the skin torn from the limbs, and 
in savage triumph cut into pieces.* 

The decisive nature of the defeat is, perhaps, most 
apparent, from the important consequences which 
attended it. To use the words of Knighton, " this 
awful beginning of hostilities roused the spirit of Scot- 
land, and sunk the hearts of the English."^ Dundee 
immediately surrendered to Wallace, and rewarded 
his army by a rich booty of arms and money. In a 
short time not a fortress or castle in Scotland remained 
in the hands of Edward. The castles of Edinburgh 
and Roxburgh were dismantled ; and Berwick, upon 
the advance of the Scottish army, having been hastily 
abandoned, Wallace sent Henry de Haliburton, a 
Scottish knight, to occupy this important frontier 
town.;}: Thus, by the efforts of a single man, not only 
unassisted, but actually thwarted and opposed by the 

* Triveti Ann. p. 307. Hemingford, p. 130. The Chron. Lanercost, 
p. 190, says, that Wallace ordered as much of his skin to be taken off as 
would make a sword belt. This is the origin of the stories of Abercromby, 
vol. i. p. 531, that the Scots made girths of his skin, and of others that they 
made saddles of it. Hailes, vol. i. p. 252. 

f Hen. Knighton, p. 2519. 

I Scalu Chronicoa, a Stevenson, p. 124. 


nobility of the country, was the iron power of Edward 
completely broken, and Scotland once more able to 
lift her head among free nations. 

A dreadful dearth and famine, no unfrequent accom- 
paniment of the ravages of war, now fell severely upon 
the country; and Wallace, profiting by the panic 
inspired by his victory at Stirling, resolved upon an 
immediate expedition into England.* To enable his 
own people to lay in, against the time of scarcity, the 
provisions which would otherwise be consumed by his 
numerous army, and to support his soldiers during 
the winter months in an enemy's country, were wise 
objects. Previous, however, to his marching into 
England, he commanded, that from every county, 
barony, town, and village, a certain proportion of the 
fighting men, between sixteen and sixty, should be 
levied. These levies, however, even after so decisive 
a victory as that of Stirling, were tardily made. The 
vassals of Scotland, tied up by the rigid fetters of the 
feudal law, could not join Wallace without the autho- 
rity of their overlords ; and as most of the Scottish 
nobility had left hostages for their fidelity in the 
hands of Edward, and many of them possessed great 
estates in England, which, upon joining Wallace, would 
have immediately been forfeited, they did not yet dare 
to take the field against the English. A jealousy, 
too, of the high military renown and great popularity 
of Wallace, prevented all cordial co-operation; and 
the contempt with which this deliverer of his country 
must have regarded the nobility, who yet sheltered 
themselves under the protection of Edward, was not 
calculated to allay this feeling. The battle of Stirling 
was fought on the eleventh of September ; and on the 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 172. 


twenty-fifth of that month the English government, 
alarmed at the success of Wallace, sent letters to the 
principal Scottish nobility, praising them for their 
fidelity to the king ; informing them that they were 
aware the Earl of Surrey was on his way to England, 
(a delicate way of noticing the flight of Warrene from 
Stirling;) and directing them to join Brian Fitz-Alan, 
the governor of Scotland, with all their horse and foot, 
in order to put down the rebellion of the Scots. The 
only nobles with whom the English government did 
not communicate, were the Earls of Caithness, Ross, 
Mar, Athole, Fife, and Carrick. Fife, however, was a 
minor; the others, we may presume, had by this time 
joined the party of Wallace.* 

The great majority of the nobles being still against 
him, this intrepid leader found it difficult to procure 
new levies, and was constrained to adopt severe 
measures against all who were refractory. Gibbets 
were erected in each barony and county town ; and 
some burgesses of Aberdeen, who had disobeyed the 
summons, were hanged.-f- After this example he soon 
found himself at the head of a numerous army; and 
having taken with him, as his partner in command, 
Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, then a young soldier 
of great promise, and afterwards regent of the king- 
dom, he marched towards the north of England, and 
threatened Northumberland.]: Such was the terror 
inspired by the approach of the Scots, that the whole 
population of this county, with their wives and chil- 

* John Comyn of Badenoch ; Patrick earl of Dunbar ; Umfraville earl 
of Angus ; Alexander earl of Menteith ; Malise earl of Strathera ; James 
the Steward of Scotland ; John Comyn earl of Buchan ; Malcolm earl of 
Lennox ; and William earl of Sutherland ; Nicholas de la Haye ; Ingelram 
de Umfraville ; Richard Fraser, and Alexander de Lindesaye ; were the 
nobles written to by the English government. Rotuli Scot. vol. i. p. 49. 

+ Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 172. ^ Hemingford, vol. i. p. 131. 


dren, their cattle and household goods, deserted their 
dwellings, and took refuge in Newcastle. The Scots, 
to whom plunder was a principal object, delayed their 
advance ; and the Northumbrians, imagining the 
danger to be over, returned home; but Wallace, 
informed of this by his scouts, made a rapid march 
across the border, and dreadfully ravaged the two 
counties of Cumberland and Northumberland, carrying 
off an immense booty, and having the head-quarters 
of his army in the forest of Rothebury. " At this 
time," says Hemingford, " the praise of God was 
unheard in any church and monastery through the 
whole country, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to the 
gates of Carlisle ; for the monks, canons regular, and 
other priests, who were ministers of the Lord, fled, 
with the whole people, from the face of the enemy; 
nor was there any to oppose them, except that now 
and then a few English, who belonged to the castle of 
Alnwick, and other strengths, ventured from their 
safe-holds, and slew some stragglers. But these were 
slight successes ; and the Scots roved over the country 
from the Feast of St Luke to St Martin's day,* 
inflicting upon it all the miseries of unrestrained rapine 
and bloodshed."'!' 

After this, Wallace assembled his whole army, and 
proceeded in his destructive march to Carlisle. He 
did not deem it prudent, however, to attack this city, 
which was strongly garrisoned ; and contented himself 
with laying waste Cumberland and Annandale, from 
Inglewood forest to Derwentwater and Cockermouth.J 
It was next determined to invade the county of Dur- 
ham, which would have been easily accomplished, as 

* From 18th Oct. to llth Nov. f Hemingford, vol. i. p. 132. 

J Forduu a Hearne, p. 980. 


three thousand foot and a hundred armed horse were 
all that could be mustered for its defence. But the win- 
ter now set in with great severity. The frost was so 
intense, and the scarcity of provisions so grievous, that 
multitudes of the Scots perished hy cold or famine, 
and Wallace commanded a retreat. On returning to 
Hexham, where there was a rich monastery, which had 
already been plundered and deserted on the advance, 
a striking scene occurred. Three monks were seen in 
the solitary monastery. Thinking that the tide of 
war had passed over, they had crept back, to repair 
the ravages it had left, when suddenly they saw the 
army returning, and fled in terror into a little chapel. 
In a moment the Scottish soldiers with their long 
lances were upon them, calling, on peril of their lives, 
to show them the treasures of their monastery. "Alas," 
said one of the monks, " it is but a short time since 
you yourselves have seized our whole property, and 
you know best where it now is." At this moment 
Wallace himself came into the chapel, and, command- 
ing his soldiers to be silent, requested one of the canons 
to celebrate mass. The monk obeyed, and Wallace, 
all armed as he was, and surrounded by his soldiers, 
reverently attended ; when it came to the elevation of 
the host, he stepped out of the chapel to cast off his 
helmet and lay aside his arms, but in this short absence 
the fury and avarice of his soldiers broke out. They 
pressed on the priest, snatched the chalice from the 
altar, tore away its ornaments and the sacred vest- 
ments, and even stole the missal in which the service 
had been begun. When their master returned, he 
found the priest in horror and dismay, and gave orders 
that the sacrilegious wretches who had committed 
the outrage, should be sought for and put to death. 


Meanwhile he took the canons under his protec- 
tion. " Remain with me," said he, " it is that alone 
which can secure you. My soldiers are evil disposed. 
I cannot justify, and I dare not punish them." * 
This sacrilegious attack was the more unpardonable, 
as the monastery of Hexham was dedicated to the 
Patron Saint of Scotland, and enjoyed a perpetual 
protection from King David. Wallace, to atone for 
the outrage, granted a charter of protection to the 
priory and convent, by which its lands, men, and 
moveables, were admitted under the peace of the king, 
and all persons interdicted from doing them injury. -f- 
The Scots now advanced to Newcastle, but finding the 
garrison prepared to stand a siege, they contented 
themselves with ravaging the adjacent country ; and 
having collected the booty, they allotted their part to 
the Galwegians who were with the army, and marched 
homewards. J 

In revenge for this terrible visitation, Lord Robert 
Clifford collected the strength of Carlisle and Cumber- 
land, and twice invaded Annandale with an army of 
twenty thousand foot and a hundred horse. On pass- 
ing the Solway, it was proclaimed by sound of trumpet, 
that every soldier should plunder for himself, and keep 
his own booty ; on hearing which, the infantry with 
undisciplined rapacity dispersed, and the horse alone 
remained together. In consequence of this, nothing 
was effected worthy of so powerful an army. Three 

* Hemingford, vol. i. pp. 133, 134. Knighton, p. 2521. 

f This famous instrument is granted in name of " Andrew de Moray, 
and William Wallace, leaders of the army of Scotland, in the name of the 
illustrious prince, John, hy the Grace of God, King of Scotland, and with 
consent of the Estates of the Kingdom." It is dated at Hexham, on the 
8th of November, 1297. Hemingford, p. 135. 

+ " Dividentes inter se spolia quaesita, tradiderunt Galivalensibus partea 
suas, et abierunt in loca sua." Hemingford, p. 136. 


hundred and eight Scots were slain, ten villages or 
hamlets burnt, and a few prisoners taken. This 
happened at Christmas. In his second inroad, the 
town of Annan, and the church of Gysborne, were 
burnt and plundered.* Annandale belonged to Robert 
Bruce; and the destruction of his lands and villages 
determined him once more to desert the English, and 
join the party of the patriots. 

Soon after his return from his expedition into 
England, Wallace, in an assembly held at the Forest 
Kirk in Selkirkshire, which was attended by the 
Earl of Lennox, William Douglas, and others of the 
principal nobility, was elected Governor of Scotland, 
in name of King John, and with consent of the 
community of Scotland.-f- Strengthened by this 
high title, which he had so well deserved, and which 
the common people believed was ratified by the express 
approval of St Andrew, who presented to the hero a 
sacred sword, to be used in his battles against the 
English ; J he proceeded to reward his friends and 
fellow-soldiers, to punish his enemies ; and, despising 
the jealousy and desertion of a great majority of the 
nobility, to adopt and enforce those public measures 
which he considered necessary for securing the liberty 
of the country. He conferred the office of Constable 
of Dundee upon Alexander Skirmishur, or Scrimgeour, 
and his heirs, for his services in bearing the royal 
banner of Scotland. By a strict severity, he re- 
strained the licentiousness of his soldiers, and endea- 

* Knighton.p. 2522. 

f" Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 174. Crawford, Hist, of House of Dou- 
glas, p. 22, MS., quoted in Sir R. Sibkild's Commentary on the Relationes 
Arnaldi Blair. 

J Fordun a Goodal, p. 170. 

This famous grant is dated at Torphichen, March 29, 1298; apud 
Anderson, Diplomata Scotiae. 


voured to introduce discipline into his army.* In 
order to secure a certain proportion of new levies, at 
any time when the danger or exigency of the state 
required it, he divided the kingdom into military dis- 
tricts. In each shire, barony, lordship, town, and 
burgh, he appointed a muster-book to be made, of the 
number of fighting men which they contained, between 
the age of sixteen and sixty ;-f- and from these he drew 
at pleasure, and in case of refusal under pain of life 
and limb, as many recruits as he thought requisite. 
In a short time, such were the effects of his firm and 
courageous dealing in the government, that the most 
powerful of the nobility were compelled, by the fears 
of imprisonment, to submit to his authority, although 
they envied him his high elevation, and whenever an 
opportunity presented itself, took part with the King 
of England.:}: But although few of the earls had 
joined him, the lesser barons and gentry repaired in 
great numbers to the banner of the governor, and 
willingly supported him with all their forces. 

The general revolt of the Scots, and that rapid 
success with which it was attended, determined the 
English Regency to summon a parliament at London, 
on the 10th of October. To this assembly came the 
Earl of Norfolk and the Earl of Hereford, the one 
Marshal and the other Constable of England, with so 
powerful a body of their retainers, that they overawed 

* He appointed an officer or sergeant over every four men, another of 
higher power over every nine, another of still higher authority over every 
nineteen men, and thus, in an ascending scale of disciplined authority, up 
to the officer, or chiliarch, who commanded a thousand men. Fordun a 
Goodal, vol. ii. p. 171. 

+ Fordun a Goodal, voL ii. p. 170. 

" Et si quis de magnatibus gratis suis non ohediret mandatis, hunc 
tenuit et coercuit, et custodise mancipavit, donee suis bene placitis penitus 
obtemperaret." Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 170. 

Hemingford, vol. i. p. 138. 


its proceedings ; and aware of the trying emergency 
in which the rebellion of the Scots had placed the 
king, they declared, that no aids or levies should be 
granted against the Scots, unless the Great Charter, 
and the Charter of the Forests, were ratified, along 
with an additional clause, which prohibited any aid or 
tallage from being exacted, without the consent of the 
prelates, nobles, knights, and other freemen. Edward 
was startled when informed of these demands. His 
affairs detained him in Flanders, where accounts had 
reached him of the whole of Scotland having been 
wrested from his hand by Wallace ; he was still en- 
gaged in a war with France ; and, thus surrounded by 
difficulties, it was absolutely necessary for him to make 
every sacrifice to remain on good terms with his barons.* 
He accordingly, after three days' deliberation, con- 
sented to confirm all the charters which had been sent 
over to him ; and having wisely secured the affections 
of his nobility, he directed letters to the earls and 
barons of England, commanding them, as they valued 
his honour, and that of the whole kingdom, to meet 
at York on the 14th January, and thence, under the 
orders of the Earl of Surrey, to proceed into Scotland, 
and put down the rebellion of that nation .-f- At the 
same time he sent letters to the great men of Scotland, 
requiring them on their fealty to attend the muster at 
York, and denouncing them as public enemies if they 

These seasonable favours granted to the nobility, 
and the good grace with which Edward bestowed them, 
although, in truth, they were extorted from him much 

* Tyrrel, Hist. Eng. vol. iii. p. 124. Hemingford, vol. i. p. 138. Triveti 
Annales, p. 309. 

f- The confirmation of Magna Charta and the Charta de Foresta, is dated 
at Ghent, Nov. 5, 1297. Rymer, new edit. vol. i. part ii. p. 880. 


against his inclination, rendered the king highly popu- 
lar ; so that at York, on the day appointed, there was 
a great muster of the military force of the kingdom. 
There came the Earl Marshal and the Great Consta- 
ble of England, the Earl of Surrey the king's lieu- 
tenant against the Scots, the Earls of Gloucester and 
Arundel, Lord Henry Percy, John de Wake, John 
de Segrave, Guido son of the Earl of Warwick, and 
many other powerful earls and barons.* Having 
waited in vain for the Scottish nobles whom Edward 
had summoned to attend an order which, as the result 
showed, the dread of Wallace rather than the love of 
their country compelled them to disobey the English 
nobles appointed a general muster of their forces to be 
held eight days after, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, pur- 
posing from thence to march against the enemy. Here 
they accordingly met, and the army, both in numbers 
and equipment, was truly formidable. There were two 
thousand heavy cavalry, armed both horse and man at 
all points, along with two thousand light horse, and a 
hundred thousand foot, including the Welsh. With 
this force they marched across the border, and ad- 
vanced to Roxburgh. This important fortress was 
then invested by Wallace ; and the garrison, worn out 
by a long siege, were in a state of great distress, when 
the army of Surrey made its appearance, and the Scots 
thought it prudent to retire. After relieving " their 
wounded countrymen," the English skirmished as far 
as Kelso, and returned to occupy Berwick, which had 
been in the hands of the Scots since the battle of 
Stirling. They found it deserted, and brought a joyful 
relief to the castle, the garrison of which had stoutly 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 144. 


held out, whilst the rest of the town was in possession 
of the enemy.* 

Edward, in the meantime, having learnt in Flanders 
the strength of the army which awaited his orders, 
was restless and impatient till he had joined them in 
person. His anger against the Scots, and his deter- 
mination to inflict a signal vengeance upon their 
perfidy on again daring to defend their liberties, had 
induced him to make every sacrifice, that he might 
proceed with an overwhelming force against this coun- 
try. For this purpose, he hastened to conclude a 
truce with the King of France, and to refer their 
disputes to the judgment of Boniface the pope.~f* He 
wrote to the Earl of Surrey not to march into Scot- 
land till he had joined the army in person ; and having 
rapidly concluded his affairs in Flanders, he took ship- 
ping, and landed at Sandwich, where he was received 
with much rejoicing and acclamation. J Surrey, on 
receiving letters from the king to delay his expedition, 
had retained with him a small proportion of his troops 
and dismissed the rest ; but the moment Edward set 
his foot in England, he directed his writs, by which 
he summoned the whole military power of the kingdom 
to meet him at York, on the Feast of Pentecost, with 
horse and arms, to proceed against the Scots. He 
also commanded all the earls and barons, with two 
knights of every shire, and the representatives from 
the towns and burghs, to attend his parliament to be 
held in that city; and summoned the nobility of Scot- 

* Knighton, 2525. Triveti Annales, p. 311. 

+ Rymer's Foedera, new edit. vol. i. part ii. p. 887. J Ibid. p. 889. 

Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 129. Rymer, vol. i. part ii. p. 890. Palgrave's 
Parliamentary Writs, Chron. Abstract, p. 38. The names of the leaders to 
whom writs are directed, occupy the whole Rotulus Scotise 26 and 27 Edward 
First. They are a hundred and fifty-four in number. 


land, unless they chose to be treated as vassals who 
had renounced their allegiance, to be there also on the 
day appointed.* To this summons they paid no 
regard. Those who had accompanied him in his expe- 
dition to Flanders, on his embarkation for England, 
forsook him, and resorted to the French king ; and 
the rest of the Scottish barons, although jealous of 
Wallace, dreaded the vengeance which his power and 
high authority as governor entitled him to inflict on 
them. Meanwhile Edward, having commanded his 
army to rendezvous at Roxburgh on the 24th of June, 
with misplaced devotion, made a pilgrimage to the 
shrine of St John of Beverley. The sacred standard 
of this saint, held in deep reverence by the king and 
the army, had been carried with the host in the former 
war; and it is probable Edward would not lose the 
opportunity of taking it along with him in this expe- 

On coming to Roxburgh, he found himself at the 
head of an army more formidable in their number, 
and more splendid in their equipment, than even that 
which had been collected by the Earl of Surrey six 
months before. He had seven thousand horse, three 
thousand heavy-armed, both men and horse, and four 
thousand light cavalry. His infantry consisted at 
first of eighty thousand men, mostly Welsh and Irish; 
but these were soon strengthened by the arrival of a 
powerful reinforcement from Gascony, amongst whom 
were five hundred horse, splendidly armed, and admir- 
ably mounted. On reviewing his troops, Edward 
found that the Constable and Marshal, with the barons 
of their party, refused to advance a step until the 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 158. 


confirmation of the Great Charter, and the Charter of 
the Forests, had been ratified by the king in person : 
so jealous were they of their new rights, and so sus- 
picious lest he should plead, that his former consent, 
given when in foreign parts, did not bind him within 
his own dominions.* Edward dissembled his resent- 
ment, and evaded their demand, by bringing forward 
the Bishop of Durham, and the Earls of Surrey, 
Norfolk, and Lincoln, who solemnly swore, on the soul 
of their lord the king, that on his return, if he obtained 
the victory, he would accede to their request. "j* Com- 
pelled to rest satisfied with this wary promise, which 
he afterwards tried in every way to elude, the refrac- 
tory barons consented to advance into Scotland. 

Meanwhile that country, notwithstanding the late 
expulsion of its enemies, was little able to contend with 
the superior numbers and discipline of the army now 
led against it. It was cruelly weakened by the con- 
tinued dissensions and jealousy of its nobility. Ever 
since the elevation of Wallace to the rank of Governor 
of Scotland, the greater barons had envied his assump- 
tion of power ; and, looking upon him as a person of 
ignoble birth, had seized all opportunities to despise 
and resist his authority. J These selfish jealousies 
were increased by the terror of Edward's military 
renown, and in many by the fear of losing their English 
estates ; BO that at the very time when an honest love 
of liberty, and a simultaneous spirit of resistance, could 
alone have saved Scotland, its nobility deserted their 
country, and refused to act with the only man whose 

* Hemingford, p. 159. 

f " Quod in reditu," suo, obtenta victoria, " omnia perimpleret ad votum." 
Hemingford, p. 159. 

J " Licet apud comites regni et proceres ignobilis putaretur." Fordun a 
Hearne, p. 978. See also Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 174. 


success and military talents were equal to the emerg- 
ency. The governor, however, still endeavoured to 
collect the strength of the land. John Comyn of 
Badenoch, the younger, Sir John Stewart of Bonkill, 
Sir John Graham of Abercorn, and Macduff the grand- 
uncle of the Earl of Fife, consented to act along with 
him ; whilst Robert Bruce, maintaining a suspicious 
neutrality, remained with a strong body of his vassals 
in the castle of Ayr. 

The plan adopted by Wallace for the defence of 
Scotland, was the same as that which was afterwards 
so successfully executed by Bruce. It was to avoid a 
general battle, which, with an army far inferior to the 
English, must have been fought at a disadvantage ; to 
fall back slowly before the enemy, leaving some garri- 
sons in the most important castles, driving off all 
supplies, wasting the country through which the Eng- 
lish were to march, and waiting till the scarcity of 
provisions compelled them to retreat, and give him a 
favourable opportunity of breaking down upon them 
with full effect. Edward had determined to penetrate 
into the west of Scotland, and there he purposed to 
conclude the war. He directed a fleet with supplies 
for his army, to sail round from Berwick to the Firth 
of Forth; and having left Roxburgh, he proceeded by 
moderate marches into Scotland, laying waste the 
country, and anxious for a sight of his enemies. No 
one, however, was to be found, who could give him 
information regarding the Scottish army; and he pro- 
ceeded through Berwickshire to Lauder,* and without 
a check to Templeliston, now Kirkliston, a small town 
between Edinburgh and Linlithgow. Here, as provi- 
sions began already to be scarce, he determined to 

* Prynne, Edward I., p. 788. 


remain, in order to receive the earliest intelligence of 
his fleet ; and, in case of accidents, to secure his retreat. 
At this time he learnt that frequent attacks were made 
against the foraging parties of his rear division, by the 
Scottish garrison in the strong castle of Dirleton: and 
that two other fortalices, which he had passed on his 
march, were likely to give him annoyance.* Upon this 
he despatched his favourite martial bishop, Anthony 
Beck, who sat down before the castle ; but, on account 
of the want of proper battering machines, found it too 
strong for him. He then attempted to carry it by 
assault, but was driven back with loss; and as his 
division began to be in extreme want, the bishop sent 
Sir John Marmaduke to require the king's pleasure. 
" Go back," said Edward, " and tell Anthony that he 
is right to be pacific, when he is acting the bishop, 
but that in his present business he must forget his 
calling. As for you," continued the king, addressing 
Marmaduke, " you are a relentless soldier, and I have 
often had to reprove you for too cruel an exultation 
over the death of your enemies ; but return now whence 
you came, and be as relentless as you choose. You 
will have my thanks, not my censure ; and look you, 
do not see my face again, till these three castles are 
razed to the ground."*f* 

In the meantime, the besiegers were relieved from 
the extremities of want, by the arrival of three ships 
with provisions; and the bishop, on receiving the king's 
message, took advantage of the renewed strength and 
spirits of his soldiers, to order an assault, which was 
successful ; the garrison having stipulated, before sur- 
render, that their lives should be spared.J Edward, 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 160. ) Ibid. 

+ Ibid. p. 161. Walsmgham, p. 75. 


when at Kirkliston, had raised some of the young 
squires in his army to the rank of knighthood ; and 
these new knights were sent to gain their spurs, by 
taking the other two fortalices. On coming before 
them, however, they found that the Scots had aban- 
doned them to the enemy; and having destroyed them, 
they rejoined the main army.* 

These transactions occupied a month, and the army 
began again to suffer severely from the scarcity of 
provisions. The fleet from Berwick was anxiously 
looked for, and Edward foresaw, that in the event of 
its arrival being protracted a few days longer, he should 
be compelled to retreat. At last a few ships were seen 
off the coast, which brought a small supply ; but the 
great body of the fleet was still detained by contrary 
winds, and a dangerous mutiny broke out in the camp. 
The Welsh troops had suffered much from famine ; 
and a present of wine having been sent to them by 
the king, their soldiers, in a paroxysm of intoxication 
and national antipathy, attacked the English quarters 
in the night, and inhumanly murdered eighteen priests. 
Upon this the English cavalry hastily ran to their 
weapons, and breaking in upon the Welsh, slew eighty 
men. In the morning the Welsh, of whom there were 
forty thousand in the army, exasperated at the death 
of their companions, threatened to join the Scots. " Let 
them do so," said Edward, with his usual cool courage ; 
" let them go over to my enemies : I hope soon to see 
the day when I shall chastise them both."" This day, 
however, was, to all appearance, distant. The distress 
for provisions now amounted to an absolute famine. 
No intelligence had been received of the Scottish army. 
As the English advanced, the country had been wasted 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 161. 


by an invisible foe ; and Edward, wearied out, was at 
length compelled to issue orders for a retreat to Edin- 
burgh, hoping to meet with his fleet at Leith, and 
thereafter to recommence operations against the enemy. 
At this critical juncture, when the military skill 
and wisdom of the dispositions made by Wallace be- 
came apparent, and when the moment to harass and 
destroy the invading army in its retreat had arrived ; 
the treachery of her nobles again betrayed Scotland. 
Two Scottish lords, Patrick earl of Dunbar, and the 
Earl of Angus, privately, at day-break, sought the 
quarters of the Bishop of Durham, and informed him 
that the Scots were encamped not far off in the forest 
of Falkirk. The Scottish earls, who dreaded the re- 
sentment of Edward, on account of their late renunci- 
ation of allegiance,* did not venture to seek the king 
in person. They sent their intelligence by a page, 
and added, that having heard of his projected retreat, 
it was the intention of Wallace to surprise him by a 
night attack, and to hang upon and harass his rear. 
Edward, on hearing this welcome news, could not 
conceal his joy. " Thanks be to God," he exclaimed, 
" who hitherto hath extricated me from every danger ! 
They shall not need to follow me, since I shall forth- 
with go and meet them." Without a moment's delay, 
orders were issued for the soldiers to arm, and hold 
themselves ready to march. The king was the first 
to put on his armour ; and, mounting his horse, rode 
through the camp, hastening the preparations, and 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 162. Lord Hailes has omitted to notice the fact, 
that the intelligence regarding the position of the army was brought by two 
Scottish earls. It is difficult to understand how he should have overlooked 
it, as he quotes the very page of Hemingford where it is stated. He has 
attempted to disprove what appears to me completely established by the 
authority of Hemingford, " that the defeat at Falkirk was brought about by 
the dissensions amongst the Scottish leaders." 


giving orders in person, to the merchants and sutlers 
who attended the army to pack up their wares, and be 
ready to follow him. At length all was prepared, and 
at three o'clock the whole army was on its advance 
from Kirkliston to Falkirk, astonished at the sudden 
change in the plan of operations, and at the slow and 
deliberate pace with which they were led on. It was 
late before they reached a heath near Linlithgow, on 
which they encamped for the night. They were not 
allowed the refreshment of disarming themselves ; but, 

O ' 

to use the striking words of Hemingford, "each soldier 
slept on the ground, using his shield for his pillow; 
each horseman had his horse beside him, and the 
horses themselves tasted nothing but cold iron, champ- 
ing their bridles." In the middle of the night a cry 
was heard. King Edward, who slept on the heath, 
whilst a page held his horse, was awakened by a sudden 
stroke on his side. The boy had been careless, and the 
horse, in changing his position, had put his foot on the 
king as he slept. Those around him cried out that 
their prince was wounded; and this, in the confusion of 
the night, was soon raised into a shout that the enemy 
were upon them, so that they hastily armed them- 
selves, and prepared for their defence. But the mistake 
was soon explained. Edward had been only slightly 
hurt ; and as the morning was near, he mounted his 
horse, and gave orders to march. They passed through 
Linlithgow a little before sunrise ; and on looking up 
to a rising ground, at some distance in their front, 
observed the ridge of the hill lined with lances. Not 
a moment was lost. Their columns marched up the 
hill, but on reaching it, the enemy had disappeared ; 
and as it was the feast of St Mary Magdalene, the 
king ordered a tent to be raised, where he and the 


Bishop of Durham heard mass. These lances had 
been the advanced guard of the enemy ; for while mass 
was saying, and the day became brighter, the English 
soldiers could distinctly see the Scots in the distance 
arranging their lines, and preparing for battle. 

The Scottish army did not amount to the third 
part of the force of the English; and Wallace, who 
dreaded this great disparity, and knew how much 
Edward was likely to suffer by the protraction of the 
war and the want of provisions, at first thought of a 
retreat, and hastened to lead off his soldiers; but he 
soon found that the English were too near to admit 
of this being accomplished without certain destruction ; 
and he therefore proceeded to draw up his army, so as 
best to avail himself of the nature of the ground, and 
to sustain the attack of the English. He divided his 
infantry into four compact divisions, called Schiltrons,* 
composed of his lancers. In the first line the men 
knelt, with their lances turned obliquely outwards, 
so as to present a serried front to the enemy on every 
side. In this infantry consisted the chief strength of 
the Scottish army, for the soldiers stood so close, and 
were so linked or chained together, that to break the 
line was extremely difficult. { In the spaces between 
these divisions were placed the archers, and in the 
rear was drawn up the Scottish cavalry, consisting of 
about a thousand heavy-armed horse. J 

After hearing mass, the King of England, being 

* See Notes and Illustrations, letter I. 

f* " Ther formost courey ther bakkis togidere sette, 
There speres poynt over poynt, so sare, and so thikke 
And fast togidere joynt, to se it was werlike, 
Als a castelle thei stode, that were walled with stone, 

Thei wende no man of blode thorgh tham suld haf gone." 

Langtoffs Chronicle, hook ii. 1. 304, 305. 

Hemingford, vol. i. p. 163. 


informed of the Scottish disposition of battle, hesitated 
to lead his army forward to the attack, and proposed 
that they should pitch their tents, and allow the sol- 
diers and the horses time for rest and refreshment. 
This was opposed by his officers as unsafe, on account 
of there being nothing but a small rivulet between the 
two armies. " What then would you advise f asked 
Edward. " An immediate advance," said they ; " the 
field and the victory will be ours." " In God's name, 
then, let it be so," replied the king ; and without delay, 
the barons who commanded the first division, the 
Marshal of England, and the Earls of Hereford and 
Lincoln, led their soldiers in a direct line against the 
enemy. They were not aware, however, of an exten- 
sive moss which stretched along the front of the Scot- 
tish position, and on reaching it, were obliged to make 
a circuit to the west to get rid of the obstacle. This 
retarded their attack; meanwhile the second line, under 
the command of the Bishop of Durham, being better 
informed of the nature of the ground, in advancing 
inclined to the east with the same object. The bishop's 
cavalry were fiery and impetuous. Thirty-six banners 
floated above the mass of spears, and showed how many 
leaders of distinction were in the field ; but Anthony 
Beck, who had seen enough of war to know the danger 
of too precipitate an attack, commanded them to hold 
back, till the third line, under the king, came up to 
support them. " Stick to thy mass, bishop," cried 
Ralph Basset of Drayton, " and teach not us what we 
ought to do in the face of an enemy," " On then, 
replied the bishop " set on in your own way. We 
are all soldiers to-day, and bound to do our duty." So 
saying, they hastened forward, and in a few minutes 
engaged with the first column of the Scots : whilst the 


first line, which had extricated itself from the morass, 
commenced its attack upon the other flank. Wallace's 
anxiety to avoid a battle had, in all probability arisen 
from his having little dependence on the fidelity of 
the heavy-armed cavalry, commanded by those nobles 
who hated and feared him ; and the event showed how 
just were his suspicions: for the moment the lines 
met, the whole body of the Scottish horse shamelessly 
retired without striking a blow.* 

The columns of infantry, however, with the inter- 
mediate companies of archers, kept their ground, and 
a few of the armed knights remained beside them. 
Amongst these, Sir John Stewart of Bonkill, in mar- 
shalling the ranks of the archers from the forest of 
Selkirk, was thrown from his horse. The faithful 
bowmen tried to rescue him, but in vain. He was 
slain, and the tall and athletic figures of those who 
fell round him drew forth the praise of the enemy .} 
On the death of this leader, the archers gave way; 
but the columns of the Scottish infantry stood firm, 
and their oblique lances, pointing every way, presented 
a thick wood, through which no attacks of the cavalry 
could penetrate. Edward now brought up his reserve 
of archers and slingers, who showered their arrows 
upon them, with volleys of large round stones, which 
covered the ground where they stood. This continued 
and galling attack, along with the reiterated charges 
of the cavalry, at last broke the first line, and the 
heavy-armed horse, pouring in at the gap which was 

* Fordun a Hearne, p. 981. " Nam propter conceptam maliciam, ex 
fontc invidia; generatam, quam erga dictum Willelmum Cuminenses habe- 
bant, cum suis complicibus campum deserentes, illaesi evaserunt." See also 
Hemingford, p. 164 " Fugerunt Scottorum equestres absque ullo gladii 
ictu." And Winton, vol. ii. p. 101, book viii. chap. 15, 1. 47. Also Chron. 
de Lanercost, p. 191. 

f Hemingford, voL L p. 165. 
VOL. I. L 


thus made, threw all into confusion, and carried indis- 
criminate slaughter through their ranks. Macduff, 
along with his vassals from Fife, was slain;* and 
Wallace, with the remains of his army, having gained 
the neighbouring wood, made good his retreat, leaving 
nearly fifteen thousand men dead upon the field.-}- On 
the English side, only two men of note fell ; one of 
them was Sir Bryan de Jaye, Master of the Scottish 
Templars, who, when pressing before his men in the 
ardour of the pursuit, was entangled in a moss in 
Calendar wood, and slain by some of the Scottish fugi- 
tives. The other was a companion of the same order, 
and of high rank.J 

The remains of the Scottish army immediately re- 
treated from Falkirk to Stirling. Unable to maintain 
the town against the English army, they set it on fire; 
and Edward, on entering it on the fourth day after the 
battle, found it reduced to ashes. The convent of 
the Dominicans, however, escaped the flames; and here 
the king, who still suffered from the wound given him 
by his horse, remained for fifteen days, to recover his 
health. Meantime he sent a division of his army 
across the Forth into Clackmannanshire and Menteith, 
which, after ravaging the country, and plundering the 
villages, advanced in its destructive march through 
Fife. The whole of this rich and populous district 
was now regarded with great severity, on account of 
the resistance made by Macduff and the men of Fife 
at Falkirk. It was accordingly delivered up to com- 

* Winton, vol. ii. p. 101, book viii. chap. 15, 1. 45. 

f Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 130, who quotes, as his authority, the Norwich 
Chronicle and the Chronicle of John Eversden both English authorities. 
The older Scottish historians, Fordun and Winton, make no mention of the 
loss of the Scots. 

$ Notes and Illustrations, letter K. 

Prynne, Edward I., p. 791. Edward was at Stirling, 26th July. 


plete military execution ; and, to use the words of an 
ancient chronicle, "clene brent."* The city of St 
Andrews was found deserted by its inhabitants, and 
delivered to the flames. Beginning to be in distress 
for provisions, the English pushed on to Perth, which 
they found already burnt by the Scots themselves ; so 
that, defeated in the hope of procuring supplies, and 
unable longer to support themselves in a country so 
utterly laid waste, they returned to Stirling, the castle 
of which Edward had commanded to be repaired. 
Having left a garrison there, he proceeded to Aber- 
corn,-f- near Queensferry, where he had hopes to find 
his long-expected fleet, with supplies from Berwick ; 
but his ships were still detained. He then marched 
to Glasgow, and through the district of Clydesdale, by 
Bothwell, to Lanark, from which he proceeded towards 
the strong castle of Ayr, then in the hands of the 
younger Bruce earl of Carrick. Bruce fled at the 
approach of the king, after having set fire to the castle ; 
and Edward marched into Galloway with the intention 
of punishing this refractory baron, by laying waste his 
country, j The army however, began again to be 
grievously in want of provisions ; and the king, after 
having for fifteen days struggled against famine, was 
constrained to return through the middle of Annan- 
dale, and to be contented with the capture of Bruce's 
castle of Lochmaben, from which he proceeded to 
Carlisle. Thus were the fruits of the bloody and 
decisive battle of Falkirk plucked from the hands of 

* Hardynge's Chronicle, 8vo, London, 1543, p. 165. See Notes and 
Illustrations, letter L. 

} Trivet, p. 313, calls this place " Abourtoun juxta Queenesferrie ;" and 
Hearne, the editor, in a note, observes it may mean Aberdour. Prvnne, 
Edward I., p. 791, quotes a letter of presentation by Edward, of John Boush 
of London, to the vacant church of Kinkell, dated at Abercorn, Aug. 15, 1298. 

J Hemingford, vol. i. p. 166. Ibid. 


Edward, by famine and distress, at the moment he 
expected to secure them; and after leading against 
Scotland the most numerous and best appointed army 
which had perhaps ever invaded it, and defeating his 
enemies with great slaughter, he was compelled to 
retreat while still nearly the whole of the country 
beyond the Forth was unsubdued, and even when that 
part which he had wasted and overrun, was only wait- 
ing for his absence, to rise into a new revolt against 
him.* At Carlisle the Earls of Norfolk and Hereford 
left the army to return home, under the pretence that 
their men and horses were worn out with the expedi- 
tion, but in reality because they were incensed at the 
king for a breach of faith. Edward, when at Loch- 
maben, had, without consulting them or their brother 
nobles, disposed of the Island of Arran to Thomas 
Bisset, a Scottish adventurer, who, having invaded 
and seized it, about the time of the battle of Falkirk, 
pretended that he had undertaken the enterprise for 
the King of England. This was done in violation of 
a solemn promise, that, without advice of his council, 
he would adopt no new measures ; and to atone for so 
irregular a proceeding, a parliament was held at Car- 
lisle, in which the king, who as yet was master of but 
a very small part of Scotland, assigned to his earls 
and barons the estates of the Scottish nobles. These, 
however, as an old historian remarks, were grants 
given in hope, not in possession ; and even the frail 

* Lord Hailes, 4to edit. vol. i.'p. 263, ascribes the successes of Edward 
in this campaign, to the precipitancy of the Scots. Yet the Scots were any 
thing but precipitate. They wasted the country, and purposely retired from 
Edward ; nor did they fight, till the Earl of Dunbar and the Earl of Angus 
treacherously brought information where the Scottish army lay, and enabled 
Edward, by a rapid night-march, to surprise them. Edward owed his suc- 
cess to the fatal dissensions amongst the Scots, and to the superior numbers 
and equipment of his army. 


tenure of hope by which they were held, was soon 
threatened: for on reaching Durham, messengers 
arrived with the intelligence that the Scots were again 
in arms, and the king hastily returned to Tynemouth, 
and from thence to Coldingham, near Beverley. His 
army was now much reduced by the desertion of Nor- 
folk and Hereford; and the soldiers who remained were 
weakened with famine and the fatigues of war. To 
commence another campaign at this late season was 
impossible ; but he instantly issued his writs for the 
assembling of a new army, to chastise, as he said, the 
obstinate and reiterated rebellions of the Scots ; and he 
appointed his barons to meet him at Carlisle, on the 
eve of the day of Pentecost.* He also commanded 
the speedy collection of the money granted by the 
clergy of the province of York, to assist him in his 
war with Scotland ; and despatched letters to the nobles 
of England, ordering their attendance in the army 
destined against Scotland. Patrick earl of Dunbar 
and March, and his son Gilbert de Umfraville earl of 
Angus, Alexander de Baliol, and Simon Fraser, all 
of them Scottish barons, were at this time friends to 
Edward, and resident at his court, and to them were 
the same commands directed.-f- 

Wallace, soon after the defeat of Falkirk, voluntarily 
resigned the office of Governor of Scotland. The 
Comyns had threatened to impeach him of treason for 
his conduct during the war ; and the Bruces, next in 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 166. " Juxta octavas beatse Virginia." 8th Sept. 
The king was at Carlisle till the 12th Sept. Prynne, Edward I., p. 789. 
Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 131, on the authority of the Chron. Abingdon, p. 171, 
says the Parliament was held at Durham. Rymer, Foedera, new edit, part 
ii. p. 899. Prynne's Edward I., p. 789. The day of assembling was after- 
wards prorogated to the 2d of August. Rymer, new edit, part ii. 908. 

t Madox's Hist, of Exchequer, chap. xvi. 5, p. 445. Ex. Rotul. de ad- 
ventu vicecomitum. 


power to the Comyns, appear to have forgot their per- 
sonal animosity, and united with their rivals to put 
him down. To these accusations the disaster at Fal- 
kirk gave some colour, and he chose rather to return 
to the station of a private knight, than to retain an 
elevation, which, owing to the jealousy of the nobility, 
brought ruin and distress upon the people.* One 
ancient manuscript of Fordun-f- asserts, that he passed 
over into France, where he was honourably welcomed 
and entertained by Philip, and increased his high 
character for personal prowess, by his successes against 
the pirates who then infested the seas ; so that his 
exploits were celebrated in the French songs and ballads 
of the day. An examination of the valuable historical 
materials which exist in the public libraries of France, 
might perhaps throw some light on this dark portion 
of his story. It is certain that his great name does 
not again recur in any authentic record, as bearing even 
a secondary command in the wars against Edward ; nor 
indeed do we meet with him in any public transaction, 
until eight years after this, when he fell a victim to 
the unrelenting vengeance of that prince. 

On the demission of Wallace, the Scottish barons 
chose John Comyn of Badenoch, the younger, and John 
de Soulis, to be governors of Scotland,:}: and after some 
time, Bruce earl of Carrick, and William Lamberton 
bishop of St Andrews, were associated in the command. 

* " Eligens magis subesse cum plebe quam cum ejus ruina et gravi 
populi praesse dispendio, non diu post bellum variae capellae apud aquam 
de Forth officium custodis et curam quam gerebat sponte resignavit." 
Fordun a Hearne, p. 982. Winton, book viii. chap. xv. vol. ii. p. 102. Lord 
Hailes has omitted to notice this important fact, so positively stated by 
Fordun and Winton. 

+ Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 176. 

%. Fordun a Hearne, p. 982. Winton, book vii. chap. xv. vol. ii. p. 103. 

Rymer, Foedera, p. 915, new edit, part ii. The first notice of Robert 
Bruce and Bishop Lamberton, as Guardians of Scotland, is on Nov. 13, 1299. 


It is now necessary to allude to an attempt at a 
pacification between Edward and the Scots, which 
some time previous to this had been made by Philip 
of France ; as the negotiations which then took place 
conduct us to the termination of BalioFs career, and 
throw a strong light on the character of the King of 

John Baliol, whom the Scots still acknowledged as 
their rightful monarch, had remained a prisoner in 
England since 1296. On the conclusion of a truce 
between the Kings of France and England in 1297,* 
the articles of which afterwards formed the basis of 
the negotiations at Montreuil,^ and of the important 
peace of Paris. J Philip demanded the liberation of 
Baliol, as his ally, from the tower. He required, also, 
that the prelates, barons, knights, and other nobles, 
along with the towns and communities, and all the 
inhabitants of Scotland, of what rank and condition 
soever, should be included in the truce, and that not 
only Baliol, but all the other Scottish prisoners, should 
be liberated, on the delivery of hostages. These de- 
mands were made by special messengers, sent for this 
purpose by Philip to the King of England ; and it is 
probable that John Comyn the younger, the Earl of 
Athole, and other Scottish barons, who had left Edward 
on his embarkation at Hardenburgh in Flanders, || and 
repaired to the Court of France, prevailed upon Philip 
to be thus urgent in his endeavours to include them 
and their country in the articles of pacification. Ed- 
ward, however, had not the slightest intention of allow- 
ing the truce to be extended to the Scots. He was 

* Rymer, p. 878, new edit, part ii. Oct. 9, 1297. 

t Ibid. p. 906, June 19, 1299. J Ibid. p. 952, May 20, 1302. 

Trivet, p. 311. Rymer, Foedera, new edit, part ii. 861. 

(I Walsingham, p. 75. Trivet, p. 311. 


highly exasperated against them, and was then busy 
in collecting and organizing an army for the purpose 
of reducing their country. He did not, at first, how- 
ever, give a direct refusal, but observed, that the 
request touching the king, the realm, and nobles of 
Scotland, was so new and foreign to the other articles 
of truce, that it would require his most serious deli- 
beration before he could reply.* Immediately after 
this, he marched, as we have seen, at the head of an 
overwhelming army into Scotland ; and, after the 
battle of Falkirk, found leisure to send his answer to 
Philip, refusing peremptorily to deliver up Baliol, or 
to include the Scottish nobles in the truce, on the 
ground, that at the time when the articles of truce 
were drawn up, Philip did not consider the Scots as 
his allies, nor was there any mention of Baliol or his 
subjects at that time.^f " If," said Edward, " an;y 
alliance ever existed between Baliol and the French 
king, it had been deliberately and freely renounced." 
To this Philip replied, " That as far as the King of 
Scots, and the other Scottish nobles who were Edward's 
prisoners, were concerned, the renunciation of the 
French alliance had been made through the influence 
of force and fear, on which account it ought to be con- 
sidered of no avail ; that it was they alone whom he 
considered as included in the truce ; and if any Scottish 
nobles had afterwards, of their own free will, submitted 
to Edward, and sworn homage to him, as had been 
done by Patrick earl of Dunbar, Gilbert earl of Angus, 
and their sons, the King of France would not interfere 
in that matter .""J 

* Rymer, Feed, new edit, part ii. April 1298. + Ibid. p. 898. 

J The important public instrument from which these facts regarding the 
negotiations between Edward and Philip are taken, has been printed, for 


Edward, however, who, at the time he made this 
reply, had defeated Wallace at Falkirk, and dispersed 
the only army which stood between him and his am- 
bition, continued firm, notwithstanding the earnest 
remonstrances of Philip. The mediation of the pope 
was next employed; and at the earnest request of 
Boniface, the king consented to deliver Baliol from 
his imprisonment, and to place him in the hands of 
the papal legate, the Bishop of Vicenza. " I will 
send him to the pope," said Edward, " as a false 
seducer of the people, and a perjured man." * Accord- 
ingly, Sir Robert Burghersh, the Constable of Dover, 
conveyed the dethroned king, with his goods and 
private property, to Whitsand, near Calais. Before 
embarking, his trunks were searched, and a crown of 
gold, the Great Seal of Scotland, many vessels of gold 
and silver, with a considerable sum of money, were 
found in them. The crown was seized by Edward, 
and hung up in the shrine of St Thomas the Martyr , 
the Great Seal was also retained, but the money was 
permitted to remain in his coffers. On meeting the 
legate at Whitsand, Burghersh formally delivered to 
this prelate the person of the ex-king, to be at the sole 
disposal of his Holiness ; but a material condition was 
added, in the proviso " that the pope should not or- 
dain or direct anything in the kingdom of Scotland 
concerning the people or inhabitants, or anything 
appertaining to the same kingdom, in behalf of John 
Baliol or his heirs." Edward's obsequiousness to the 
Roman See even went farther, for he conferred on the 
pope the power of disposing of BalioFs English estates. 

the first time, in the new edition of Rymer's Foedera, vol. 5. part ii. p. 898. 
See also Du Chesne, Hist. p. 600. 

* Walsingham, pp. 76, 77. Prynne's Edward I., pp. 797, 798. Trivet, 
p. 315. 


These estates were many and extensive. They were 
situated in nine different counties, and gave a com- 
manding feudal influence to their possessor. But the 
king had not the slightest intention of paying any- 
thing more than an empty compliment to Boniface ; 
for he retained the whole of Salicl's lands and manors 
in his own hand, and, some years afterwards, bestowed 
them upon his nephew, John of Bretagne.* 

The dethroned King of Scotland was conveyed by 
the messengers of the pope to his lands and castle of 
Bailleul, in France, where he passed the remaining 
years of his life in quiet obscurity.^ 

The restless activity of Edward's mind, and the 
unshaken determination with which he pursued the 
objects of his ambition, are strikingly marked by his 
conduct at this time. He was embroiled in serious 
disputes with his barons ; some of the most valuable 
prerogatives of his crown were being wrested from his 
hands ; he was deeply engaged with his negotiations 
with France ; he was on the eve of his marriage ; but 
nothing could divert him from the meditated war. He 
held a council of his nobility at Westminster, con- 
cerning the Scottish expedition. At midsummer he 
took a journey to St Albans, for the purpose of im- 
ploring the assistance of that saint. J In September 
he was married at Canterbury, to the sister of the 
King of France ; and on the seventh day after his 
marriage, he directed his letters to Edmund earl of 
Cornwall, to meet him with horse and arms at York, 
on the 10th of November. He commanded public 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. p. 1029. The grant to John of Bretagne was 
made on Nov. 10, 1306. 

f Walsingham, p. 77. See Notes and Illustrations, letter M. 

Chronicon S u Albani, quoted in Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 134. 

Rymer, Feed. vol. i. part ii. p. 913, new edition. Palgrave's Parlia- 
mentary Writs, p. 42, Chron. Abstract. 


prayers to be made for the success of his arms in all 
the churches of the kingdom, and enjoined the Friars 
Predicant to employ themselves in the same pious office. 
Aware of these great preparations, the Scottish 
Regents, whose army was encamped in the Torwood, 
near Stirling, directed a letter to Edward, acquainting 
him that information of the late truce had been sent 
them by Philip king of France ; and that they were 
willing to desist from all aggression, during the period 
which was stipulated, provided the King of England 
would follow their example.* Edward did not deign 
to reply to this communication ; but having assembled 
his parliament at York, in the beginning of November, 
he communicated to them his intentions as to the 
continuance of the war ; and in the face of the ap- 
proaching severity of the winter, marched with his 
army to Berwick-on-Tweed, where he had appointed 
a body of fifteen thousand foot soldiers, with a 
large reinforcement from the diocese of York,-f and 
the whole military strength of his greater barons, to 
meet him. So intent was he on assembling the bravest 
knights and most hardy soldiers to accompany him, 
that he forbade, by public proclamation, all tourna- 
ments and plays of arms, so long as war lasted between 
him and his enemies ; and interdicted every knight, 
esquire, or soldier, from attending such exhibitions, 
or going in search of adventures, without his special 
permission. | The object of the king was to march 

* Rymer, vol. i. p. 915, new edition. The date of the letter is, Foresta 
dell' Torre, 13th Nov. 1299. 

f Rymer, Feed. vol. i. pp. 915, 916, new edition. 

t Rymer, ibid. p. 916, new edition. This is one of the instruments added 
by the editors to the new edition of this great work. Its terms are, " Ne 
quis miles, armiger, vel alius quicunque, sub forisfactura vitae et membrorum, 
et omnium que tenet in dicto regno, torneare, bordeare, seu justas facere, 
aventuras quajrere, aut alias ad anna ire presumat, quoquo modo sine nostra 
licencia speciali." 


immediately into Scotland, to raise the siege of Stir- 
ling, then invested by the regents, and to reduce that 
great division of Scotland beyond the Firth of Forth, 
which, along with the powerful district of Galloway, 
still remained independent. But after all his great 
preparations, his hopes were cruelly disappointed. 
His barons, with their military vassals, refused to go 
farther than Berwick. They alleged that the early 
severity of the winter, the impassable and marshy 
ground through which they would be compelled to 
march, with the scarcity of forage and provisions, ren- 
dered any military expedition against Scotland imprac- 
ticable and desperate.* The nobles, besides this, had 
other and deeper causes of discontent. The great 
charter, and the perambulation of the forests, had not 
been duly observed, according to promise ; and with- 
out waiting remonstrance, they withdrew to their 
estates. Edward, in extreme anger, marched forward, 
with a small force, and seemed determined to risk a 
battle ; but being informed of the strong position of 
the Scottish army, and of the resolute spirit with which 
they awaited his advance, the king submitted to the 
necessity of the case, and retreated to England. "f* 
Meanwhile the English, who were beleaguered in 
Stirling, after making a brave and obstinate defence, 
had begun to suffer the extremities of famine ; upon 
which the king, finding it impossible to raise the siege, 
commanded them to capitulate ; J and the castle was 
delivered to Sir John de Soulis, one of the regents. The 
Scots garrisoned it, and committed it to the keeping 
of Sir William Olifant. 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 170. Trivet, p. 316. 
+ Langtoft's Chronicle, p. 308. 

J Math. Westminst. p. 445. He mistakes the date of the surrender, which 
was 1299, not 1303. 

1300. INTERREGNUM. 157 

In the course of the following year, Edward, inde- 
fatigable in the prosecution of his great object, again 
invaded Scotland, and found that the enemy, profiting 
by experience, had adopted that protracted warfare, 
which was their best security avoiding a battle, and 
cutting off his supplies.* Encamping in Annandale, 
he besieged and took Lochmaben, and afterwards sat 
down before the castle of Caerlaverock, strongly situ- 
ated on the coast of the Solway Firth. After some 
resistance, this castle was likewise taken and garri- 
soned,^ and the king marched into Galloway, where 
he had an interview with the bishop of that diocese, 
who, having in vain attempted to mediate a peace, the 
Earl of Buchan and John Comyn of Badenoch repaired 
personally to Edward, and had a violent interview 
with the king. They demanded that Baliol, their 
lawful king, should be permitted peaceably to reign 
over them; and that their estates, which had been 
unjustly bestowed upon his English nobles, should be 
restored to their lords. Edward treated these propo- 
sitions, which he considered as coming from rebels, 
with an unceremonious refusal; and after declaring 
that they would defend themselves to the uttermost, 
the king and the Scottish barons parted in wrath. 

After this the king marched to Irvine, a seaport 
town situated on a river of the same name, and remained 
there encamped for eight days, until provisions were 
brought up from the ships which lay on the coast. 

* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. i. part ii. new edit. p. 920. "Walsingham, p. 78, 
and Chron. I de Eversden apud Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 139. 

f" See a curious and interesting historical poem, in vol. iv. of Antiquarian 
Repertory, p. 469, published from a MS. in the British Museum : since 
published with valuable historical and heraldic additions, by Sir Harris 
Nicolas. The garrison was only sixty strong, yet for some time defied the 
whole English army. 


During this time the Scottish army showed itself on 
the opposite side of the river; but on being successively 
attacked by the Earl of Surrey, the Prince of Wales, 
and the king himself, they rapidly retreated to their 
morasses and mountains. Through this rough and 
difficult ground, the heavy-armed English soldiers 
could not penetrate ; and the Welsh, whose familiarity 
with rocky passes rendered them well fitted for a war- 
fare of this kind, obstinately refused to act. Thus 
baffled in his attempts at pursuit, Edward stationed 
his head-quarters at Dumfries, and employed himself 
in taking possession of the different towns and castles 
of Galloway, and in receiving the submission of the 
inhabitants of that district.* Here he remained till 
the end of October ; and having spent five months on 
an expedition which led to no important success, he 
was at last compelled, by the approach of winter, to 
delay till another season all his hopes of the entire 
subjugation of Scotland. Affecting, therefore, now 
when it suited his convenience, to be moved by the 
representations of the plenipotentiaries sent from the 
King of France, he granted a truce to the Scots, and 
artfully gave to a measure of necessity the appearance 
of an act of mercy. Edward, however, cautiously 
added, that he acceded to the wishes of Philip, out of 
favour to him as his friend and relative, not as the ally 
of Scotland; nor would he give his consent to the 
cessation of arms, until the ambassadors of France 
agreed to consider it in this light : so careful was he 
lest any too hasty concession should interrupt his medi- 
tated vengeance, when a less refractory army and a 

* Rymer, vol. i. new edition, p. 921. Walsingham, p. 78, makes Irvine, 

1300. INTERREGNUM. 159 

milder season should allow him to proceed against his 

The king was induced, by another important event, 
to grant this truce to the Scots. This was no less 
than an extraordinary interposition upon the part of 
the pope, commanding him, as he reverenced his sacred 
authority, to desist from all hostilities; and asserting 
that the kingdom of Scotland now belonged to the Holy 
See, and from the most remote antiquity had done so. 
The arguments by which the Roman church supported 
this singular claim, were, no doubt, suggested by cer- 
tain Scottish Commissioners whom Soulis the regent, 
in a former part of this year, had sent on a mission to 
Rome, to complain of the grievous injuries inflicted by 
Edward upon Scotland, and to request the pope's inter- 
position in behalf of their afflicted country.-f- 

Boniface, accordingly, influenced, as is asserted, by 
Scottish gold,J directed an admonitory bull to Edward, 
and commanded Winchelsea archbishop of Canterbury 
to deliver it to the king, who was then with his army 
in the wilds of Galloway. This prelate, with much 
personal risk, owing to the unlicensed state of the 
country, and the danger of being seized by the bands 
of Scottish robbers, who roamed about, thirsting, as he 
tells us, for the blood of the English, travelled with his 
suite of clerks and learned dignitaries as far as Kirk- 
cudbright ; and having passed the dangerous sands of 
the Solway with his chariots and horses, found the 
king encamped near the castle of Caerlaverock, and 
delivered to him the papal bull. Its arguments, as 

* Fordun a Hearne, p. 983. Winton, vol. ii. p. 104. Rymer, vol. i. p. 921. 
t Fordun a Hearne, p. 983. Winton, vol. ii. p. 105. 
i Walsingham, quoted in Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 140. 

Prynne, Hist. Ed. I., p. 882, where there is a curious letter from the 
archbishop, giving an account of his journey. 


far as concerned the right of the King of England to 
the feudal superiority of Scotland, were sufficiently 
sound and judicious; but, as was to be expected, the 
grounds on which he could rest his own claim far less 
satisfactory. " Your royal highness,' 1 he observed, 
" may have heard, and we doubt not but the truth is 
locked in the book of your memory, that of old the 
kingdom of Scotland did and doth still belong in full 
right to the Church of Rome, and that neither your 
ancestors, kings of England, nor yourself, enjoyed 
over it any feudal superiority. Your father Henry, 
king of England, of glorious memory, when, in the 
wars between him and Simon de Montfort, he requested 
the assistance of Alexander III. king of Scotland, did, 
by his letters-patent, acknowledge that he received 
such assistance, not as due to him, but as a special 
favour. When you yourself requested the presence of 
the same King Alexander at the solemnity of your 
coronation, you, in like manner, by your letters-patent, 
entreated it as a matter of favour and not of right. 
Moreover, when the King of Scotland did homage to 
you for his lands in Tynedale and Penrith, he publicly 
protested that his homage was paid, not for his king- 
dom of Scotland, but for his lands in England ; that 
as King of Scotland he was independent, and owed no 
fealty; which homage, so restricted, you did accord- 
ingly receive. Again, when Alexander III. died, 
leaving as heiress to the crown a grand-daughter in 
her minority, the wardship of this infant was not con- 
ferred upon you, '.which it would have been had 'you 
been lord superior, but was given to certain nobles of 
the kingdom chosen for that office." The bull pro- 
ceeded to notice the projected marriage between the 
Prince of Wales and the Maiden of Norway; the 

1300. INTERREGNUM. 161 

acknowledgment of the freedom and independence of 
Scotland contained in the preliminary negotiations; 
the confusions which followed the death of the young 
queen; the fatal choice of Edward as arbiter in the 
contest for the crown ; the express declaration of the 
King of England to the Scottish nobility, who repaired 
to his court during the controversy, that he received 
this attendance as a matter of favour, not as having 
any right to command it; and, lastly, it asserted, that 
if, after all this, any innovations had been made upon 
the ancient rights and liberties of Scotland, with 
consent of a divided nobility, who wanted their kingly 
head; or of that person to whom' Edward had com- 
mitted the charge of the kingdom, these ought not in 
justice to subsist, as having been violently extorted by 
force and fear. 

After such arguments, the pope went on to exhort 
the king in the name of God, to discharge out of prison 
and restore to their former liberty all bishops, clerks, 
and other ecclesiastical persons whom he had incar- 
cerated, and to remove all officers, whom by force and 
fear he had appointed to govern the nation under him ; 
and he concluded by directing him, if he still pretended 
any right to the kingdom of Scotland, or to any part 
thereof, not to omit the sending commissioners to him 
fully instructed, and that within six months after the 
receipt of these letters, he being ever ready to do him 
justice as his beloved son, and inviolably to preserve 
his right.* 

In presenting this dignified and imperious mandate, 

* Rymer, Foedera, new edition, vol. i. part ii. p. 907. Knighton, 2529, 
The date of this monitory bull is 5th July, 1299. The letter of the arch- 
bishop describing his journey to Edward, then at or near Caerlaverock, and 
his delivery of the bull, is dated at Otteford, 8th October, 1300. Prynne, 
Edward I., p. 883. 



the archbishop, in presence of the English nobles and 
the Prince of Wales, added his own admonitions on 
the duty of a reverent obedience to so sacred an au- 
thority, observing that Jerusalem would not fail to 
protect her citizens, and to cherish, like Mount Sion, 
those who trusted in the Lord. Edward, on hearing 
this, broke into a paroxysm of wrath, and swearing 
a great oath, cried out " I will not be silent or at 
rest, either for Mount Sion or for Jerusalem; but, as 
long as there is breath in my nostrils, will defend what 
all the world knows to be my right."* But the papal 
interference was in those days, even to so powerful a 
monarch as Edward, no matter of slight importance; 
and, returning to his calmer mind, he requested the 
archbishop to retire until he had consulted with his 
nobility. On Winchelsea's readmission, the king, in 
a milder and more dignified mood, thus addressed 
him : " My Lord Archbishop, you have delivered 
me, on the part of my superior, and reverend father, 
the pope, a certain admonition touching the state and 
realm of Scotland. Since, however, it is the custom 
of England, that in such matters as relate to the state 
of that kingdom, advice should be had with all whom 
they may concern, and since the present business 
not only affects the state of Scotland, but the rights 
of England; and since many prelates, earls, barons, 
and great men, are now absent from my army, without 
whose advice I am unwilling, finally, to reply to my 
Holy Father, it is my purpose, as soon as possible, to 
hold a council with my nobility, and by their joint 
advice and determination, to transmit an answer to 
his Holiness by messengers of my own."-f- 

* Walsingham, p. 78. f Prynne, Edward I., p. 883. 

1301. INTERREGNUM. 163 

It was particularly dangerous for Edward to quarrel 
with the pope at this moment; for the peace with 
France was unconcluded, and Gascony still remained 
in the hands of the Holy See, which had not yet de- 
cided to whom it should rightly belong. The King 
of England, therefore, assumed the appearance of 
solemn deliberation in the preparation of his answer. 
He disbanded his army; he summoned a parliament 
to meet at Lincoln; he wrote to the chancellors of 
both universities, commanding them to send to this 
parliament some of their most learned and expert 
civilians, to declare their opinion as to the right of the 
King of England to be Lord Paramount of Scotland ; 
and he gave directions to the abbots, priors, and deans 
of the religious houses in England, that they should 
diligently examine the ancient chronicles and archives 
of their monastery, and collect and transmit to him by 
some one of their number, not only all matters illus- 
trative of the rights competent to the King of England 
in the realm of Scotland, but everything which in any 
way related to that kingdom.* 

On the meeting of the parliament at Lincoln, the 
king, after having conciliated the good-will of his 
nobility, by the confirmation of the great charters of 
liberties, and of the forests, the last of which he had 
evaded till now, ordered the pope's bull to be read to 
the earls and barons assembled in parliament ; and, 
after great debates amongst the lawyers who were 
present, the nobility of England directed a spirited 
letter to the pope, with a hundred and four seals ap- 
pended to it.-f In this epistle, after complimenting 
the Holy Roman Church upon the judgment and cau- 

* Rymer, Foedera, new edit. vol. i. p. 92? 
f Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 146. 


tion with which she respected and inviolably preserved 
the rights of every individual, they remarked, that a 
letter from the Holy See had been shown to them by 
their lord, King Edward, relating to certain matters 
touching the state and realm of Scotland, which con- 
tained divers wonderful and hitherto unheard-of propo- 
sitions. It was notorious, they observed, in these parts 
of the world, that from the very first original of the 
kingdom of England, the kings thereof, as well in the 
times of the Britons as of the Saxons, enjoyed the 
superiority and direct dominion of the kingdom of 
Scotland, and continued either in actual or in virtual 
possession of the same through successive ages. They 
declared, that in temporals, the kingdom of Scotland 
did never, by any colour of right, belong to the Church 
of Rome ; that it was an ancient fief of the crown and 
kings of England ; and that the kings of Scotland, with 
their kingdom, had been subject only to the kings of 
England, and to no other. That with regard to their 
rights, or other temporalities in that kingdom, the 
kings of England have never answered, nor ought they 
to answer, before any ecclesiastical or secular judge, 
and this on account of the freedom and pre-eminence 
of their royal dignity, and the custom to this effect 
observed through all ages. Wherefore, they con- 
cluded "having diligently considered the letters of his 
Holiness, it is now, and for the future shall be, the 
unanimous and unshaken resolution of all and every 
one of us, that our lord the king, concerning his rights 
in Scotland, or other temporal rights, must in nowise 
answer judicially before the pope, or submit them to 
his judgment, or draw them into question by such 
submission; and that he must not send proxies or 
commissioners to his Holiness, more especially when 

1301. INTERREGNUM. 165 

it would manifestly tend to the disinheritance of the 
crown and royal dignity of England, to the notorious 
subversion of the state of the kingdom, and to the 
prejudice of our liberties, customs, and laws, delivered 
to them by their fathers ; which, by their oaths, they 
were bound to observe and defend, and which, by the 
help of God, they would maintain with their whole 
force and power." And they added, " that they would 
not permit the king to do, or even to attempt, such 
strange and unheard-of things, even if he were willing 
so far to forget his royal rights. Wherefore they 
reverently and humbly entreated his Holiness to per- 
mit the king to possess his rights in peace, without 
diminution or disturbance/'* 

Having in this bold and spirited manner refused to 
submit his pretended rights in Scotland to the juris- 
diction of the See of Rome, the monarch, about two 
months after the meeting of his parliament at Lincoln, 
directed a private letter to the pope,"f* which he ex- 
pressly declared was not a memorial to a judge, but 
altogether of a different description, and solely intended 
to quiet and satisfy the conscience of his Holy Father, 
and in which, at great length, and by arguments too 
trifling to require confutation, he explained to him the 
grounds upon which he rested his claim of superiority, 
and the reasons for his violent invasion of Scotland.^ 

More intent than ever upon the reduction of this 
country, Edward once more summoned his barons to 
meet him in arms at Berwick on the day of St John 
the Baptist, and directed letters to the different sea- 

Rymer, vol. ii. p. 875. " Nee etiam pennittimus, aul aliquatenus 
permittemus, sicut nee possumus, nee debemus, prsemissa tarn insolita, pne- 
libatum dominum nostrum Regem etiam si vellet facere." 

f Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 147. Rymer, voL i. part ii. new edit. p. 932. 

? Fordun a Hearne, p. 984. 


ports of England and Ireland, for the assembling of a 
fleet of seventy ships to rendezvous at the same place.* 
He determined to separate his force into two divisions, 
and to intrust the command of one to his son, the 
Prince of Wales. A pilgrimage to the shrine of 
St Thomas-a-Becket, and other holy places, was un- 
dertaken by the king previous to his putting himself at 
the head of his army; and this being concluded, he 
passed the borders, and besieged and took the castle of 
Bonkill in the Merse. The Scots contented themselves 
with laying waste the country; and aware of the 
hazard of risking a battle, they attacked the straggling 
parties of the English, and distressed their cavalry, by 
carrying off the forage.-}- The campaign, however, 
which had been great in its preparations, passed in 
unaccountable inactivity. An early winter set in with 
extreme severity, and many of the large war-horses of 
the English knights died from cold and hunger ; but 
Edward, who knew that the Scots only waited for his 
absence, to rise into rebellion, determined to pass the 
winter at Linlithgow. Here, accordingly, he estab- 
lished the head-quarters of his army, sent orders to 
England for supplies to be forwarded to his troops, 
employed his warlike leisure in building a castle, and 
kept his Christmas with his son and his nobles. 

The treaty of peace between Edward and Philip of 
France was still unconcluded ; and as Philip continued 
a warm advocate for Baliol and the Scots, Edward, 
moved by his remonstrances, gave authority to his 
envoys at the French court to agree to a truce with 

* Ryley, p. 483. The summons is dated 12th March, 1301. Rymer, 
Fcedera, vol. i. p. 928. 

f Chron. Abin^. quoted in Tyrrel, voL iii. p. 148. Trivet, pp. 331, 332. 
Hemingford, vol. i. p. 196. Langtoft, vol. ii. pp. 315, 316. 

I Fordun a Hearne, p. 984. Palgrave's Parl. Writs, Chron. Abstract, 
vol. i. p. 54. 

1301-2. INTERREGNUM. 167 

Scotland.* The envoys, however, were sharply re- 
proved by the king and his nobles, for giving the title 
of king to Baliol, and permitting, as the basis of the 
negotiation, the alliance between France and his ene- 
mies.-f- Edward was well aware, that if he admitted 
this, any conclusion of peace with Philip would preclude 
him from continuing the war which he had so much at 
heart ; and on ratifying the truce, he subjoined his 
protestation, that although he agreed to a cessation, 
he did not recognise John Baliol as the King of Scot- 
land, nor the Scots as the allies of the King of France. 
Having brought these matters to a close at Linlithgow, 
the king proceeded to Roxburgh, and from this, by 
Morpeth and Durham, returned to London.^ 

The perseverance and courage of the Scots were ill 
supported by their allies. Boniface soon deserted 
them, and with extreme inconsistence, forgetting his 
former declarations, addressed a letter of admonition to 
Wishart, the Bishop of Glasgow, commanding him to 
desist from all opposition to Edward. Wishart had 
been delivered from an English prison some time before, 
and, on taking the oath of fealty, had been received 
into favour ; but unable to quench his love of liberty, 
or perhaps of intrigue, he had recommenced his oppo- 
sition to the English ; and the pope now addressed 
him as the " prime mover and instigator of all the 
tumult and dissension which has arisen between his 
dearest son in Christ, Edward king of England, and 

* Rymer, Foedera, new edit. vol. i. pp. 936, 937. Langtoft, p. 316. 

f- In Prynne, Edward I., p. 876, we find that Edward protested against 
this truce at Devizes, 30th April, 1302. How are we to reconcile this pro- 
testation with the power granted to the English envoys, hy an instrument 
signed at Dunipace, 14th Oct. 1301, Rymer, p. 936? and with the express 
ratification of the truce in Rymer, Feed, vol. i. new edit. p. 938, signed at 
Linlithgow, 26th Jan. 1302? The truce was to continue till St Andrew's 
day, the 30th Nov. 1302. 

J Rymer, Foedera, new edit. vol. i. p. S36. Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 149. 


the Scots."* At the same time his Holiness addressed 
a bull to the body of the Scottish bishops, commanding 
them to be at peace with Edward, and threatening 
them, in case of disobedience, with a severer remedy ."f* 

Deserted by Boniface, the Scots still looked to Philip 
for support ; and aware that the negotiations for peace 
between France and England were in the course of 
being concluded, they sent the Earl of Buchan, James 
the Steward of Scotland, John Soulis oneof the regents,]: 
and Ingelram de Umfraville, to watch over their inte- 
rests at the French court. But Philip, having been 
defeated in Flanders, became anxious at all risks to 
conclude a peace with England, and to concentrate his 
efforts for the reduction of the revolted Flemings. 
Edward, who had hitherto supported the Flemings, 
entertained the same wish to direct his undivided 
strength against the Scots, and a mutual sacrifice of 
allies was the consequence. The English king paved 
the way for this, by omitting the Earl of Flanders in 
the enumeration of his allies, in the former truce ratified 
at Linlithgow ; and Philip, in return, not only left 
out the Scots in the new truce concluded at Amiens, 
but entirely excluded them in the subsequent and final 
treaty of peace not long afterwards signed at Paris. || 
Previous, however, to the conclusion of this treaty, so 
fatal to the Scots, the army of Edward experienced a 
signal defeat near Edinburgh. 

John de Segrave had been appointed Governor of 
Scotland; and Edward, much incensed at the continued 
resistance of the Scots, who, on the expiration of the 

* Rymer, vol. i. new edit. p. 942. f Ibid. 

J Maitland, vol. i. p. 461. Rymer, vol. i. new edit. p. 955. 
Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 152. 
y Rvmer, Feed, new edit voL i. p. 946-952. 

1302. INTERREGNUM. 169 

truce, had recommenced the war with great vigour, 
directed letters to Ralph Fitz- William, and twenty- 
six of his principal barons. By these he informed 
them, that he had received intelligence from Segrave 
of the success of his enemies, who, after ravaging the 
country, and burning and seizing his towns and castles, 
threatened, unless put down with a strong hand, to 
invade and lay waste England : " For which reason," 
adds the king, "we request, by the fealty and love 
which bind you to us, that you will instantly repair 
to John de Segrave, with your whole assembled power 
of horse and foot." He then informs them of his reso- 
lution to be with his army in Scotland sooner than he 
at first intended ; and that, in the meantime, he had 
despatched thither Ralph de Manton, his clerk of the 
wardrobe, who would pay them their allowances, and 
act as his treasurer as long as they continued on the 

Segrave marched from Berwick towards Edinburgh, 
about the beginning of Lent, with an army of twenty 
thousand men,-j- chiefly consisting of cavalry, com- 
manded by some of Edward's best leaders. Amongst 
these were Segrave's brothers,]: and Robert de Neville, 
a noble baron, who had been engaged with Edward in 
his Welsh wars. In approaching Roslin, Segrave 
had separated his army into three divisions ; and not 
meeting with an enemy, each division encamped on its 
own ground, without having established any communi- 
cation with the others. The first division was led by 

* Rymer, Feed. vol. i. new edit, part ii. p. 947. This document is pub- 
lished for the first time in the new edition of Rymer. 

f Winton, vol. ii. p. 111. 

J Hemingford, p. 197. " Cum Johanne de Segrave et fratrihus suis, erant 
enim milites strenuissimi." 

Rymer, vol. i. new edit. p. 608. Trivet, p. 336. 


Segrave himself; the second probably by Ralph de 
Manton, called, from his office, Ralph the Cofferer; 
the third by Neville. Early in the morning of the 
24th February, Segrave and his soldiers were slumber- 
ing in their tents, in careless security, when a boy 
rushed in, and called out that the enemy were upon 
them. The news proved true. Sir John Comyn the 
governor, and Sir Simon Fraser, hearing of the advance 
of the English, had collected a force of eight thousand 
horse, and inarching in the night from Biggar to 

* o o OO 

Roslin, surprised the enemy in their encampment. 
Segrave's division was entirely routed; he himself, 
after a severe wound, was made prisoner, along with 
sixteen knights, and thirty esquires; his brother and 
son were seized in bed, and the Scots had begun to 
collect the booty, and calculate on the ransom, when 
the second division of the English army appeared. A 
cruel but necessary order was given to slay the prisoners; 
and this having been done, the Scots immediately 
attacked the enemy, who, after an obstinate defence, 
were put to flight with much slaughter. The capture 
of Ralph the Cofferer, a rich booty, and many prisoners, 
were the fruits of this second attack, which had scarcely 
concluded, when the third division, led by Sir Robert 
Neville, was seen in the distance. Worn out by their 
night-march, and fatigued by two successive attacks, 
the little army of the Scots thought of an immediate 
retreat. But this, probably, the proximity of Neville's 
division rendered impossible; and after again resorting 
to the same horrid policy of putting to death their 
prisoners, an obstinate conflict began, which terminated 
in the death of Neville, and the total defeat of his 
division.* There occurred in this battle a striking 

* See Notes and Illustrations, letter N. 

1302. INTERREGNUM. 171 

but cruel trait of national animosity. Ralph the 
Cofferer had been taken prisoner by Sir Simon Eraser ; 
and this paymaster of Edward, though a priest, like 
many of the ecclesiastics and bishops of those fierce 
times, preferred the coat of mail to the surplice. On 
the order being given to slay the prisoners, Sir Ralph 
begged his life might be spared, and promised a large 
ransom. " This laced hauberk is no priestly habit," 
observed Fraser; "where is thine albe, or thy hood? 
Often have you robbed us of our lawful wages, and 
done us grievous harm. It is now our turn to sum up 
the account, and exact its payment. 11 Saying this, he 
first struck off the hands of the unhappy priest, and 
then severed his head with one blow from his body.* 
The remains of the English army fled to Edward, 
in England; and the Scots, after resting from their 
fatigues, collected and divided their booty, and returned 

This persevering bravery of the Scots in defence of 
their country, was unfortunately united to a credulity 
which made them the dupes of the policy of Philip. 
Although not included in the treaty of Amiens, the 
French monarch had the address to persuade the 
Scottish deputies then at Paris, that having concluded 
his own affairs with Edward, he would devote his whole 
efforts to mediate a peace between them and England ; 
and he entreated them, in the meantime, to remain 
with him at the French court, until they could carry 
back to Scotland intelligence of his having completed 
the negotiation with Edward on behalf of themselves 
and their countrymen. The object of Philip, in all 
this, was to prevent the return of the deputies, amongst 

* Langtoft, vol. ii. p. 319. H" Winton, vol. ii. p. 117. 


whom were some of the most warlike and influential 
of the Scottish nobles, previous to the expedition which 
Edward was about to lead against their country. Unsus- 
picious of any false dealing, they consented to remain ; 
and in the meantime addressed a letter to the governor 
and nobility of Scotland, in which they exhorted them 
to be of good courage, and to persevere in vindicating 
the liberties of their country. " You would greatly 
rejoice," they say in this letter, " if you were aware 
what a weight of honour this last conflict with the 
English has conferred upon you throughout the world. 

Wherefore, we beseech you earnestly, that you 

continue to be of good courage. And if the King of 
England consent to a truce, as we firmly expect he 
will, do you likewise agree to the same, according to 
the form which the ambassadors of the King of France 
shall propose by one of our number, who will be sent 
to you. But if the King of England, like Pharaoh, 
shall grow hardened, and continue the war, we beseech 
you, by the mercy of Christ, that you quit yourselves 
like men, so that by the assistance of God, and your 
own courage, you may gain the victory."* 

To gain the victory, however, over the determined 
perseverance and overwhelming military strength of 
the English king, was no easy task. The distress of 
Scotland, from its exposure to the continued ravages 
of war, had reached a pitch which the people of the 
land could endure no longer. They became heart- 
broken for a time, under a load of misery and suffer- 
ing, from which they could see no relief but in abso- 
lute submission ; the governor Comyn, the lateguardian 
Wallace, and the few patriotic nobles who were still 

* Rymer, Feed. vol. i. new edit. p. 955, June 8, 1303. 

1303. INTERREGNUM. 173 

in the field, found it impossible to keep an army to- 
gether; and all men felt assured that the entire sub- 
jugation of the country was an event which no human 
power could possibly prevent or delay. If Edward, at 
this crisis, again resumed the war, it was evident that 
nothing could oppose him. We may judge, then, of 
the desolating feelings of this unhappy country, when 
word was brought that the King of England had once 
more collected the whole armed force of his dominions, 
and, leading his army in person, had passed the Border. 
The recent defeat at Roslin had chafed and inflamed 
his passions to the utmost; and he declared that it 
was his determined purpose either to reduce the nation 
to entire subjection, or to raze the land utterly with 
fire and sword, and turn it to a desert, fit only for the 
beasts of the field. In recording the history of this 
last miserable campaign, the historian has to tell a tale 
of sullen submission, and pitiless ravage ; he has little 
to do but to follow in dejection the chariot wheels of 
the conqueror, and to hear them crushing under their 
iron weight all that was free, and brave, in a devoted 

Edward separated his army into two divisions. He 
gave the command of one to his eldest son, the Prince 
of Wales, who directed his march westward into Scot- 
land,* whilst the king himself, at the head of the 
second division, proceeded eastward by Morpeth and 
Roxburgh, and reached the capital without challenge 
or interruption in the beginning of June, 1303. The 
whole course of the king, as well as that of the prince, 
was marked by smoke and devastation, by the plunder 
of towns and villages, the robbery of granges and 

* Hemingford, 205. Langtoft, 321. 


garners, the flames of woods, and the destruction of 
the small tracts of cultivated lands which yet remained. 
Wherever he turned his arms, the inhabitants sub- 
mitted to a power which it was impossible for them to 
resist; and the governor Comyn, Sir Simon Fraser, 
and the late guardian William Wallace, were driven 
into the wilds and fastnesses, where they still continued 
the war by irregular predatory expeditions against the 
convoys of the English. 

From Edinburgh, Edward continued his victorious 
progress by Linlithgow and Clackmannan to Perth, 
and afterwards by Dundee and Brechin proceeded to 
Aberdeen. From this city, pursuing his march north- 
ward, he reached Banff, and from thence he pushed on 
to Kinloss in Moray. Leaving this, he struck into 
the heart of Moray, and for some time established his 
quarters at Lochendorb, a castle strongly situated upon 
an island in a lake.* Here he received the oaths and 
homage of the northern parts of the kingdom, -f- and, it 
is probable, added to the fortifications of the castle. 
It is curious to find that, after a lapse of near five 
hundred years, the memory of this great king is still 
preserved in the tradition of the neighbourhood; and 
that the peasant, when he points out to the traveller 
the still massy and noble remains of Lochendorb, men- 
tions the name of Edward I. as connected in some 
mysterious way with their history. 

From this remote strength, the king, penetrating 
into Aberdeenshire, reached the strong castle of Kil- 
drummie in Garvyach,]: from whence he retraced his 

* See Notes and Illustrations, letter 0. 

f- Fordun a Hearne, p. 989. 

j He was at Kildrummie on the 8th of Octoher, 1303, and at Dundee on 
the 20th of the same month. Prynne, 1015, 1017. See Notes and Illus- 
trations, letter P v 

1303. INTERREGNUM. 175 

route back to Dundee. Thence, probably by Perth, 
he marched to Stirling and Cambuskenneth, visited 
Kinross, and finally proceeded to take up his winter 
quarters at Dunfermline early in the month of Decem- 
ber, where he was joined by his queen.* In this 
progress, the castle of Brechin shut its gates against 
him. It was commanded by Sir Thomas Maule, a 
Scottish knight of great intrepidity ; and such was the 
impregnable nature of the walls, that the battering 
engines of the king could not, for many days, make 
the least impression. So confident was Maule of this, 
that he stood on the ramparts, and, in derision of the 
English soldiers below, wiped off with a towel the dust 
and rubbish raised by the stones thrown from the 
English engines.^ At last this brave man was struck 
down by one of the missiles he affected to despise, and 
the wound proved mortal. When he lay dying on the 
ground, some of his soldiers asked him if now they 
might surrender the castle. Though life was ebbing, 
the spirit of the soldier indignantly revived at this 
proposal, and pronouncing maledictions on their cow- 
ardice, he expired.]: The castle immediately opened 
its gates to the English, after having stood a siege of 
twenty days. 

The English king was chiefly employed at Dun- 
fermline in receiving the submission of those Scottish 
barons and great men who had not made their peace 
during his late progress through the kingdom. But 
he engaged in other occupations little calculated to 
conciliate the Scots ; for when at this place, his sol- 
diers, by orders of their master, with savage barbarity 

* Langtoft, p. 322. 

f" " Stetit ille Thomas cum manutergio et extrueit Caesuram de Muro in 
subsannationem et derisum totius exercitus Anglican!." M. West. p. 416 
I Liber Garderobs Edw. I., fol. 15. M. West. p. 446. 


destroyed a Benedictine monastery, of such noble 
dimensions that, an English historian informs us, three 
kings, with their united retinues, might have lodged 
within its walls. On account of its ample size, the 
Scottish nobles had often held their parliaments within 
its great hall a sufficient crime, it would appear, in 
the eyes of the king. The church of the monastery, 
with a few cells for the monks, were spared ; the rest 
was razed to the ground. 

Meanwhile Comyn the governor, along with Sir 
Simon Fraser, and a few barons, still kept up a show 
of resistance ; and Wallace, who, since his abdication 
of the supreme power, had continued his determined 
opposition to Edward, lurked with a small band in the 
woods and mountains. The castle of Stirling, also, still 
held out ; and as it was certain that the king would 
besiege it, Comyn, with the faint hope of defending the 
passage of the Forth, collected as many soldiers as he 
could muster, and encamped on the ground where 
Wallace had gained his victory over Cressingham and 
Surrey. But the days of victory were past. The 
king, the moment he heard of this, forded the river in 
person, at the head of his cavalry, and routed and dis- 
persed the last remnant of an army on which the hopes 
of Scotland depended. He had intended to pass the 
river by the bridge, but on coming forward he found it- 
had been broken down and burnt by the Scots. Had 
the leaders profited by the lesson taught them by 
Wallace, they would have kept up the bridge, and 
attacked the English when defiling over it ; but their 
rashness in destroying it compelled the king to find a 
ford, and enabled him to cross in safety.* 

Soon after this expiring effort, the governor, with all 

* Notes and Illustrations, letter Q. 

1303-4. INTERREGNUM. 177 

his adherents, submitted to Edward. The Earls of 
Pembroke and Ulster, with Sir Henry Percy, met 
Comyn at Strathorde in Fife,* on the 9th of February; 
and a negotiation took place, in which the late regent 
and his followers, after stipulating for the preservation 
of their lives, liberties, and lands, delivered themselves 
up, and agreed to the infliction of any pecuniary fine 
which the conqueror should think right. The castles 
and strengths of Scotland were to remain in the hands 
of Edward, and the government of the country to be 
modelled and administered at his pleasure. From this 
negotiation those were specially excepted, for whom, 
as more obstinate in their rebellion, the King of Eng- 
land reserved a more signal punishment. In this 
honourable roll we find Wishart bishop of Glasgow, 
James the Steward of Scotland, Sir John Soulis the 
late associate of Comyii in the government of the king- 
dom, David de Graham, Alexander de Lindesay, Simon 
Fraser, Thomas Bois, and William Wallace.-f To all 
these persons, except Wallace, certain terms, more or 
less rigorous, were held out, on accepting which, Edward 
guaranteed to them their lives and their liberty ; and 
we know that sooner or later they accepted the condi- 
tions. But of this great man a rigorous exclusion was 
made. " As for William Wallace," I quote the words 
of the deed, " it is covenanted, that if he thinks proper 
to surrender himself, it must be unconditionally to the 
will and mercy of our lord the king." Such a surren- 
der, it is well known, gave Edward the unquestionable 
right of ordering his victim to immediate execution. 

An English parliament was soon after appointed to 
meet at St Andrews, to which the king summoned the 

* Strathurd, or Strathord, on the Ord water in Fife, perhaps now Struthers. 
f Prynne, Hist. Edward I., pp. 1120, 1121. 

VOL. I. ff 


Scottish barons who had again come under his alle- 
giance. This summons was obeyed by all except Sir 
Simon Fraser and Wallace ; and these two brave men, 
along with the garrison of Stirling, which still defied 
the efforts of the English, were declared outlaws by the 
vote, not only of the English barons, but with the 
extorted consent of their broken and dispirited coun- 

At length Fraser, despairing of being able again to 
rouse the spirit of the nation, consented to accept the 
hard conditions of fine and banishment offered him by 
the conqueror ; and Wallace found himself standing 
alone against Edward, excepted from all amnesty, and 
inexorably marked for death. ( Surrounded by his 
enemies, he came from the fastnesses where he had 
taken refuge to the forest of Dunfermline, and, by the 
mediation of his friends, proposed on certain conditions 
to surrender himself. These terms, however, partook 
more of the bold character of the mind which had never 
bowed to Edward, than of the spirit of a suppliant suing 
for pardon. When reported to Edward he broke out 
into ungovernable rage, cursed him by the fiend as a 
traitor, pronounced his malediction on all who sustained 
or supported him, and set a reward of three hundred 
marks upon his head. On hearing this, Wallace betook 
himself again to the wilds and mountains, and sub- 
sisted on plunder.! 

* Trivet, p. 338. "t* See Notes and Illustrations, letter R. 

J It is singular that this last circumstance should have escaped Lord 

Hailes and our other historians. It is expressly and minutely stated by 

Langtoft. Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 324. 

" Turn -we now other weyes, unto our owen geste, 
And speke of the Waleys that lies in the foreste ; 
In the forest he lendes of Dounfermelyn, 
He praied all his frendes, and other of his kyn, 
After that Yole, thei wilde heseke Edward, 
That he might yelde till him, in a forward 

1304. INTERREGNUM. 179 

The castle of Stirling was now the only fortress 
which had not opened its gates to Edward. It had been 
intrusted by its governor, John de Soulis, who was 
still in France, to the care of Sir William Olifant, an 
experienced soldier, who, on seeing the great prepara- 
tions made by Edward against his comparatively feeble 
garrison, sent a message to the king, informing him 
that it was impossible for him to surrender the castle 
without forfeiting his oaths and honour as a knight, 
pledged to his master, Sir John Soulis ; but that if 
a cessation of hostilities were granted for a short time, 
he would instantly repair to France, inquire the will 
of his master, and return again to deliver up the castle, 
if permitted to do so.* This was a proposal perfectly 
in the spirit of the age, and Edward, who loved chi- 
valry, would at another time probably have agreed to 
it ; but he was now, to use the expressive words of 
Langtoft, " full grim," and roused to a pitch of exces- 
sive fury against the obstinate resistance of the Scots. 
" I will agree to no such terms," said he ; " if he will 
not surrender the castle, let him keep it against us at 
his peril." And Olifant, accordingly, with the assis- 
tance of Sir William Dupplin, and other knights, who 
had shut themselves up therein, proceeded to fortify 
the walls, to direct his engines of defence, and to pre- 

That were honorable to kepe wod or beste, 
And with his scrite full stable, and seled at the least, 
To him and all his to haf in heritage ; 
And none otherwise, als terme tyme and stage 
Bot als a propre thing that -were conquest till him. 
Whan thei brouht that tething Edward was fulle grim, 
And bilauht him the fende, als his traytoure in Lond, 
And ever-ilkon his frende that him susteyn'd or fond. 
Three hundreth marke he hette unto his warisoun, 
That with him so mette, or bring his hede to toun. 
Now flies William Waleis, of pres nouht he spedis, 
In mores and mareis with robberie him fedis." 
Prynne, Edward I., p. 1051. 


pare the castle for the last extremities of a siege. 
Thirteen warlike engines were brought by the besiegers 
to bear upon the fortress.* The missiles which they 
threw consisted of leaden balls of great size, with huge 
stones and javelins, and the leaden roof of the refec- 
tory of St Andrews was torn away to supply materials 
for these deadly machines ;*f- but for a long time the 
efforts of the assailants produced no breach in the walls, 
whilst the sallies of the besieged, and the dexterity 
with which their engines were directed and served, 
made great havoc in the English army. During all 
this, Edward, although his advanced age might have 
afforded him an excuse for caution, exposed his person 
with an almost youthful rashness. Mounted on horse- 
back, he rode beneath the walls to make his observa- 
tions, and was more than once struck by the stones 
and javelins thrown from the engines on the ramparts. 
One day, when riding so near that he could distinguish 
the soldiers who worked the balistae, a javelin struck 
him on the breast, and lodged itself in the steel plates 
of his armour. The king with his own hand plucked 
out the dart, which had not pierced the skin, and 
shaking it in the air, called out aloud that he would 
hang the villain who had hit him.J On another oc- 
casion, when riding within the range of the engines, a 
stone of great size and weight struck so near, and with 
such noise and force, that the king^s horse backed and 
fell with his master ; upon which some of the soldiers, 
seeing his danger, ran in and forced Edward down the 
hill towards the tents. Whilst these engines within 

* " Threttene great engynes, of all the reame the best, 
Brouht thei to Strivelyne. the kastelle down to kest." 

Langtoft, p. 326. 

f Fordun a Hearne, p. 990. J Walsingham, p. 89. 

| Math. Westminster, p. 449. 

1304. INTERREGNUM. 181 

the castle did so much execution, those of Edward, 
being of small dimensions in comparison with the 
height of the walls, had little effect ; and when fagots 
and branches were thrown into the fosse, to facilitate 
the assault, a sally from the castle succeeded in setting 
the whole in flames, and carried confusion and slaughter 
into the English lines. 

The siege had now continued from the twenty- 
second of April to the twentieth of May, without much 
impression having been made. But determination was 
a marked feature in the powerful character of the 
king. He wrote to the sheriffs of York, Lincoln, and 
London, commanding them to purchase and send in- 
stantly to him, at Stirling, all the balistse, quarrells, 
bows and arrows, which they could collect within their 
counties ; and he despatched a letter to the Governor 
of the Tower, requiring him to send down, with all 
haste, the balistaa and small quarrells which were under 
his charge in that fortress.* Anxious, also, for the 
assistance and presence of all his best soldiers, he 
published, at Stirling, an inhibition, proclaiming that 
no knight, esquire, or other person whatsoever, should 
frequent jousts or tournaments, or go in search of 
adventures and deeds of arms, without his special 
license ;-f- and aware that the Scottish garrison must 
soon be in want of provisions, he cut off all communi- 
cation with the surrounding country, and gave orders 
for the employment of a new and dreadful instrument 
of destruction, the Greek fire, with which he had pro- 
bably become acquainted in the East.J The mode in 
which this destructive combustible was used, seems to 
have been by shooting from the balistse, large arrows, 

Rymer, new edit. vol. i. p. 963. t Ibid. p. 964. 

J Wardrobe Book of Edward L, p. 52. 


to whose heads were fastened balls of ignited cotton, 
which stuck in the roofs and walls of the buildings 
they struck, and set them on fire. In addition to this, 
he commanded his engineers to construct two immense 
machines, which, unlike those employed at first, over- 
topped the walls, and were capable of throwing stones 
and leaden balls of three hundred pounds weight. 
The first of these was a complicated machine, which, 
although much pains was bestowed on its construction, 
did no great execution ; but the second, which the 
soldiers called the wolf, was more simple in its form, 
and, from its size and strength, most murderous in its 

These great efforts succeeded: a large breach was 
made in the two inner walls of the castle ; and the 
outer ditch having been filled up with heaps of stones 
and fagots thrown into it, Edward ordered a general 
assault. The brave little garrison, which for three 
months had successfully resisted the whole strength 
of the English army, were now dreadfully reduced by 
the siege. Their provisions were exhausted. Thirteen 
women, the wives and sisters of the knights and barons 
who defended the place, were shut up along with the 
soldiers, and their distress and misery became extreme. 
In these circumstances their walls cast down, the 
engines carrying the troops wheeled up to the breach, 
and the scaling ladders fixed on the parapet a depu- 
tation was sent to Edward, with an offer to capitulate, 
on security of life and limb. This proposal the king 
met with contempt and scorn ; but he agreed to treat 
on the terms of an unconditional surrender, and ap- 
pointed four of his barons, the Earls of Gloucester and 

* Liber Grarderobae Edw. I., fol. 52. I owe these curious particulars to 
the research of Mr Macgregor Stirling. 

1304. INTERREGNUM. 183 

Ulster, with Sir Eustace le Poor, and Sir John de 
Mowbray, to receive the last resolution of the besieged. 

Sir John and Sir Eustace accordingly proceeded to 
the castle gate, and summoned the governor ; upon 
which Sir William Olifant, his kinsman Sir William 
de Dupplin, and their squire Thomas Lillay, met the 
English knights, and proceeded with them to an 
interview with the two earls. At this meeting they 
consented, for themselves and their companions, to 
surrender unconditionally to the King of England; 
and they earnestly requested that he would permit 
them to make this surrender in his own presence, and 
himself witness their contrition.* 

To this Edward agreed, and forthwith appointed Sir 
John Lovel to fill the place of governor. A melancholy 
pageant of feudal submission now succeeded. Sir 
William Olifant, and, along with him, twenty-five of 
the knights and gentlemen, his companions in the siege, 
presented themselves before the king, who received them 
in princely state, surrounded by his nobles and warriors. 
In order to save their lives, these brave men were com- 
pelled to appear in a garb and posture, against which 
every generous feeling revolts. Their persons were 
stript to their shirts and drawers ; their heads and feet 
were bare ; they wore ropes around their necks ; and 
thus, with clasped hands and bended knee, they im- 
plored the clemency of the king. Upon this, Edward, 
of his royal mercy, exempted them from the ignominy 

* It is asserted, both by Fordun a Hearne, p. 991, and by Winton, vol. ii. 
p. 119, that the castle was delivered up to the English on a written agreement 
signed by Edward, that the garrison should be quit and free of all harm ; 
which agreement Edward perfidiously broke. The only thing mentioned in 
Rymer, new edit. p. 996, which gives some countenance to this accusation, 
is the fact, that Olifant and Dupplin agreed to surrender according to the 
terms which had been offered by the Earl of Lincoln, and the record some- 
what suspiciously conceals what these terms were. They may have amounted 
to a promise that the garrison should be quit of all harm. 


of being chained ; but Olifant was sent to the Tower, 
and the rest were imprisoned in different castles through- 
out England.* The garrison was found to consist of no 
more than a hundred and forty soldiers ; an incredibly 
small number, if we consider that for three months they 
had resisted the efforts of the army of England, led by 
the king in person.-f 

Having thus secured his conquest, by the reduction 
of the last castle which had resisted his authority; and 
having appointed English captains to the other strengths 
in Scotland, Edward left the temporary government of 
that country to John de Segrave ; and, accompanied 
by the chief of the Scottish nobility, proceeded by Sel- 
kirk and Jedburgh to Yetholm, upon the Borders, and 
from thence to Lincoln, where he kept his Christmas 
with great solemnity and rejoicing.^ 

The only man in Scotland who had steadily refused 
submission was Wallace; and the king, with that in- 
veterate enmity and unshaken perseverance which 
marked his conduct to his enemies, now used every 
possible means to hunt him down, and become master 
of his person. He had already set a large sum upon 
his head; he gave strict orders to his captains and 
governors in Scotland to be constantly on the alert; 
and he now carefully sought out those Scotsmen who 
were enemies to Wallace, and bribed them to discover 
and betray him. For this purpose he commanded 
Sir John de Mowbray, a Scottish knight then at his 
court, and who seems at this time to have risen into 
great trust and favour with Edward, to carry with him 
into Scotland Ralph de Haliburton,one of the prisoners 

* Rymer, new edit. p. 966. Math. "West. p. 449-450. 

) Hemingford, vol. i. p. 206. See Notes and Illustrations, letter S. 

j Math. West. p. 450. Hemingford, vol. i. p. 206. 

Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 223. 

1305. INTERREGNUM. 185 

lately taken at Stirling. Haliburton was ordered to 
co-operate with the other Scotsmen who were then 
engaged in the attempt to seize Wallace, and Mowbray 
was to watch how this base person conducted himself.* 
What were the particular measures adopted by Hali- 
burton, or with whom he co-operated, it is now impos- 
sible to determine ; but it is certain that, soon after 
this, Wallace was betrayed and taken by Sir John 
Menteith, a Scottish baron of high rank. Perhaps 
we are to trace this infamous transaction to a family 
feud. At the battle of Falkirk, Wallace, who, on 
account of his overbearing conduct, had never been 
popular with the Scottish nobility, opposed the pre- 
tensions of Sir John Stewart of Bonkill, when this 
baron contended for the chief command. In that dis- 
astrous defeat, Sir John Stewart, with the flower of 
his followers, was surrounded and slain ; and it is said 
that Sir John Menteith, his uncle, never forgave Wal- 
lace for making good his own retreat, without attempt- 
ing a rescue. { By whatever motive he was actuated, 
Menteith succeeded in discovering his retreat, through 
the treacherous information of a servant who waited 
on him;J and having invaded the house by night, 
seized him in bed, and instantly delivered him to 

His fate, as was to be expected, was soon decided ; 
but the circumstances of refined cruelty and torment 
which attended his execution, reflect an indelible stain 
upon the character of Edward; and, were they not 
stated by the English historians themselves, could 

* Ryley, Placita, p. 279. Leland, Collect, vol. i. p. 541. shows that 
Wallace employed in his service a knight named Henry Haliburton. 

+ Fordun a Hearne, p. 981. Duncan Stewart, Hist, of Royal Family of 
Scotland, p. 149-209. 

J Langtoft, Chron. p. 329. 


scarcely be believed. Having been carried to London, 
he was brought with much pomp to Westminster Hall, 
and there arraigned of treason. A crown of laurel, in 
mockery placed, was on his head, because Wallace had 
been heard to boast that he deserved to wear a crown 
in that hall. Sir Peter Mallorie, the king's justice, 
then impeached him as a traitor to the King of Eng- 
land,* as having burnt the villages and abbeys, stormed 
the castles, and slain and tortured the liege subjects 
of his master the king. Wallace indignantly and 
truly repelled the charge of treason, as he never had 
sworn fealty to Edward; but to the other articles of 
accusation he pleaded no defence : they were notorious, 
and he was condemned to death. The sentence was 
executed on the twenty-third of August. Discrowned 
and chained, he was now dragged at the tails of horses 
through the streets, to the foot of a high gallows, 
placed at the elms in Smithfield.^ After being hanged, 
but not to death, he was cut down yet breathing, his 
bowels taken out, and burnt before his face.J His head 
was then struck off, and his body divided into four 
quarters. The head was placed on a pole on London 
Bridge, his right arm above the bridge at Newcastle, 
his left arm was sent to Berwick, his right foot and 
limb to Perth, and his left quarter to Aberdeen. 
" These," says an old English historian, " were the 
trophies of their favourite hero, which the Scots had 
now to contemplate, instead of his banners and gon- 
fanons, which they had once proudly followed. 11 But 
he might have added, that they were trophies more 

* Stow, Chron. p. 209. 

f Winton, vol. li. Notes, p. 502. Wallace was executed at Smithfield, 
on the site occupied now by Cow Lane. 
Math. Westminster, p. 451. 
MS. Chronicle of Lanercost, p. 203. Notes and Illustrations, letter T. 

1305. INTERREGNUM. 187 

glorious than the richest banner that had ever been 
borne before him; and if Wallace already had been, 
for his daring and romantic character, the idol of the 
people, if they had long regarded him as the only 
man who had asserted, throughout every change of 
circumstances, the independence of his country, now 
that the mutilated limbs of this martyr to liberty 
were brought amongst them, it may well be conceived 
how deep and inextinguishable were their feelings of 
pity and revenge. Tyranny is proverbially short- 
sighted: and Edward, assuredly, could have adopted 
no more certain way of canonizing the memory of his 
enemy, and increasing the unforgiving animosity of 
his countrymen. 

The course of events which soon followed this cruel 
sentence, demonstrates the truth of these remarks. 
For fifteen years had Edward been employed in the 
reduction of Scotland, Wallace was put to death, 
the rest of the nobility had sworn fealty, the for- 
tresses of the land were in the hands of English gover- 
nors, who acted under an English guardian, a par- 
liament was held at London, where the Scottish nation 
was represented by ten commissioners, and these per- 
sons, in concert with twenty English commissioners, 
organised an entirely new system of government for 
Scotland. The English king, indeed, affected to dis- 
claim all violent or capricious innovations; and it 
was pretended, that the new regulations which were 
introduced, were dictated by the advice of the Scottish 
nobles, and with a respect to the ancient laws of the 
land ; but he took care that all that really marked an 
independent kingdom should be destroyed; and that, 
whilst the name of authority was given to the Scottish 
commissioners who were to sit in parliament, the reality 


of power belonged solely to himself. Scotland, there- 
fore, might be said to be entirely reduced ; and Edward 
flattered himself that he was now in quiet to enjoy 
that sovereignty which had been purchased by a war 
of fifteen years, and at an incredible expense of blood 
and treasure. But how idle are the dreams of ambi- 
tion ! In less than six months from the execution of 
Wallace,* this new system of government was entirely 
overthrown, and Scotland was once more free. 

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

1305. ROBERT BRUCE. 189 



Kings of England. 
Edward I. 
Edward II. 


King of France. 
Philip IV. 

Clement V. 

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

This eminent person was the grandson of that 
Robert Bruce, Lord of Annandale, who was compe- 
titor for the crown with John Baliol. He was lineally 
descended from Isabella, second daughter of David 
earl of Huntingdon, brother of William the Lion. 
John Baliol, the late King of Scotland, had, as we 
have already seen, renounced for ever all claim to the 
throne ; and his son Edward was at that time a minor 
and a captive. Marjory Baliol, the sister of this 
unfortunate monarch, married John Comyn lord of 
Badenoch. Their son, John Comyn, commonly called 
the Red Comyn, the opponent of Wallace, and, till 
the fatal year 1303, the Regent of the kingdom, pos- 
sessed, as the son of Marjory, Baliol's sister, a right 


to the throne, after the resignation of Baliol and his 
son, which, according to the principles on which Ed- 
ward pronounced his decision, was unquestionable. 
He was also connected by marriage with the royal 
family of England,* and was undoubtedly one of the 
most powerful, if not the most powerful, subject in 
Scotland. Bruce and Comyn were thus the heads of 
two rival parties in the state, whose animosity was 
excited by their mutual claims to the same crown, and 
whose interests were irreconcileable. Accordingly, 
when Edward gave his famous award in favour of 
Baliol, Bruce, the competitor, refused to take the oath 
of homage ;^ and although he acquiesced in the deci- 
sion, gave up his lands in the vale of Annandale, which 
he must have held as a vassal under Baliol, to his son, 
the Earl of Carrick ; again, in 1293, the Earl of Car- 
rick resigned his lands and earldom of Carrick to his 
son Robert, then a young man in the service of the 
King of England.} In the years 1295 and 1296, 
Edward invaded Scotland, and reduced Baliol, and 
the party of the Comyns, to submission. During this 
contest, Bruce the Earl of Carrick, and son of the 
competitor, possessed of large estates in England, con- 
tinued faithful to Edward. He thus preserved his 
estates, and hoped to see the destruction of the only 
rivals who stood between him and his claim to the 
throne. Nor was this a vain expectation ; for Edward, 
on hearing of the revolt of Baliol and the Comyns, 
undoubtedly held out the prospect of the throne to 
Bruce : and these circumstances afford us a complete 
explanation of the inactivity of that baron and his son 

* His wife Johanna was daughter of William de Valence earl of Pemhroke. 
This Earl of Pembroke was son of Hugh de Brienne, who married Isabella, 
widow of John king of England, grandfather of Edward the First. 

f Leland, Collect, vol. i. p. 540. Ibid. See supra, p. 94. 

1305. ROBERT BRUCE. 191 

at this period. Meanwhile Baliol and the Comyns 
issued a hasty order, confiscating the estates of all who 
preserved their allegiance to Edward. In consequence 
of this resolution, the lordship of Annandale, the 
paternal inheritance of the Earl of Carrick, was de- 
clared forfeited, and given by Baliol to John Comyn 
earl of Buchan, who immediately seized and occupied 
Bruce's castle of Lochmaben, an insult which there is 
reason to think the proud baron never forgave. Com- 
pelled to submit to Edward, the Comyns, and the 
principal nobles who supported them, were now carried 
prisoners into England ; and, when restored to liberty, 
it was only on condition that they should join his army 
in Flanders, and assist him in his foreign wars. 

During the brief but noble stand made by Wallace 
for the national liberty, Robert Bruce, then a young 
man of three-and-twenty, was placed in difficult and 
critical circumstances. It was in his favour that his 
rivals, the Comyns, were no longer in the field, but 
kept in durance by Edward. His father remained in 
England, where he possessed large estates, and con- 
tinued faithful in his allegiance to the king. At this 
time it is important to remark what Walter Heming- 
ford, a contemporary English historian, has said of 
young Bruce : After mentioning the revolt which was 
headed by Wallace, he informs us, " that the Bishop 
of Carlisle, and other barons, to whom the peace of 
that district was committed, became suspicious of the 
fidelity of Robert Bruce the younger, Earl of Carrick, 
and sent for him to come and treat upon the affairs 
of Edward, if he intended to remain faithful to that 
monarch." Bruce, he continues, did not dare to dis- 
obey, but came on the day appointed, with his vassals 
of Galloway, and took an oath on the sacred host, and 


upon the sword of St Thomas, that he would assist the 
king against the Scots, and all his enemies, both by 
word and deed. Having taken this oath, he returned 
to his country ; and, to give a colour of truth to his 
fidelity, collected his vassals, and ravaged the lauds of 
William Douglas, carrying the wife and infant chil- 
dren of this knight into Annandale. Soon after this, 
however, as he returned from a meeting of the Scottish 
conspirators to his own country, having assembled his 
father's men of Annandale, (for his father himself then 
resided in the south of England, and was ignorant of 
his son's treachery,) he told them, " that it was true 
he had lately taken a foolish oath at Carlisle, of which 
they had heard." He assured them that it was ex- 
torted by force, and that he not only deeply repented 
what he had done, but hoped soon to get absolution. 
Meanwhile he added, " that he was resolved to go with 
his own vassals and join the nation from which he 
sprung ; and he earnestly entreated them to do the 
same, and come along with him as his dear friends and 
counsellors. The men of Annandale, however, disliking 
the peril of this undertaking, whilst their master, the 
elder Bruce, was in England, decamped in the night ; 
and the young Bruce, aspiring to the crown, as was 
generally reported, joined himself to the rebels, and 
entered into the conspiracy with the Bishop of Glas- 
gow, and the Steward of Scotland, who were at the 
bottom of the plot."* Such is an almost literal trans- 
lation from the words of Walter Heiningford, whose 
information as to Scottish affairs at this period, seems 
to have been minute and accurate. 

At this time the ambition or the patriotic feelings 
of Bruce were certainly short-lived; for, not many 

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

1305. ROBERl BRUCE. 193 

months after, he made his peace at the capitulation at 
Irvine, and gave his infant daughter, Marjory, as a 
hostage for his fidelity.* Subsequent to the success- 
ful battle of Stirling, the Comyns, no longer in the 
power of the English king, joined Wallace ; and young 
Bruce, once more seeing his rivals for the throne op- 
posed to Edward, kept aloof from public affairs, anxious, 
no doubt, that they should destroy themselves by such 
opposition. He did not, as has been erroneously stated, 
accede to the Scottish party, -f- but, on the contrary, 
shut himself up in the castle of Ayr, and refused to 
join the army which fought at Falkirk. As little, 
however, did he cordially co-operate with the English 
king, although his father, the elder Bruce, and his 
brother, Bernard Bruce, were both in his service, and, 
as there is strong reason to believe, in the English 
army which fought at Falkirk. Young Bruce's con- 
duct, in short, at this juncture, was that of a cautious 
neutral ; but Edward, who approved of no such luke- 
warmness in those who had sworn homage to him, 
immediately after the battle of Falkirk advanced into 
the west. Bruce, on his approach, fled ; and Edward 
afterwards led his army into Annandale, and seized 
his strong castle of Lochmaben.J 

In a parliament held not long subsequent to this, 
the king gave to his nobles some of the estates of the 
chief men in Scotland ; but the great estates of the 
Bruce family, embracing Annandale and Carrick, were 
not alienated. The fidelity of the elder Bruce to Eng- 

* Rymer, Feed. vol. 5. new edit. p. 868. Robert Bruce earl of Carrick, 
James the Steward of Scotland, John his brother, Alexander de Lindesay, 
and William de Douglas, submitted themselves to Edward. On 30th July, 
1297, John Comyn son of John lord of Badenoch, John earl of Athole, and 
Richard Suvard, were liberated from prison, and accompanied Edward to. 

t Hailes' Annals, vol. i. 4to, p. 256-263. J Hemingford, p. 1C6, 

VOL. I. O 


land, in all probability preserved them. On the 13th 
of November, 1299, we find Robert Bruce the younger, 
Earl of Carrick, associated, as one of the regents of 
the kingdom, with John Comyn, that powerful rival, 
with whom he had hitherto never acted in concert.* 
It seems, however, to have been an unnatural coalition, 
arising more out of Bruce's having lost the confidence 
of Edward, than indicative of any new cordiality be- 
tween him and Comyn ; and there can be little doubt 
also, that they \vere brought to act together, by a 
mutual desire to humble and destroy the power of 
Wallace, in which they succeeded. But to punish 
this union, Edward, in his short campaign of 1300, 
wasted Annan dale, took Lochmaben castle, and marched 
into Galloway, ravaging Bruce's country. Thus ex- 
posed to, and suffering under, the vengeance of the 
King of England, it might be expected that he should 
have warmly joined with his brother regents in the 
war. But this seems not to have been the case. He 
did not take an active share in public affairs ; and 
previous to the battle of Roslin, he returned, as we 
have seen, to the English party. During the fatal 
and victorious progress of Edward through Scotland 
in 1303, he remained faithful to that monarch, while 
his rivals, the Comyns, continued in arms against 
him. On the death of his father, which took place 
in 1304, Bruce was permitted by the King of England 
to take possession of his whole English and Scottish 
estates ; and so high does he appear to have risen in 
the esteem of Edward, that he acted a principal part 
in the settlement of the kingdom in 1304; whilst his 
rival Comyn, was subjected to a heavy fine, and seems 
to have wholly lost the confidence of the king.-f- 

* Rymer, vol. ii. p. 859. t Trivet, p. 334. 

1305. ROBERT BRUCE. 195 

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

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

* Hemingford, p. 219, says this expressly : " Cumque mutuo loquerentur 
ad inviceui verbis ut videbatur paciticis, statim convertens faciem et verba 
pervertens coepit improperare ei." 


and to use their utmost endeavour to prevent them.* 
This league was of course sedulously concealed from 
Edward, but it seems to have become known to Comyn, 
and a conference between him and Bruce on the sub- 
ject of their rival claims actually took place. At this 
meeting, Bruce described in strong expressions the 
miserable servitude into which their mutual dissensions, 
and their pretensions to the crown, had plunged the 
country ; and we are informed by one of the most 
ancient and accurate of the contemporary historians, 
that he proposed as an alternative to Comyn, either that 
this baron should make over his great estate to Bruce, 
on condition of receiving from him in return his assist- 
ance in asserting his claim to the throne, or should 
agree to accept Bruce's lands, and assist him in the 
recovery of his hereditary kingdom. " Support my 
title to the crown," said Bruce, " and I will give you 
my estate ; or give me your estate, and 1 will support 
yours."-j- Comyn agreed to wave his right, and accept 
the lands ; and, in the course of these confidential 
meetings, became acquainted with Bruce's secret asso- 
ciations, and even possessed of papers which contained 
evidence of his designs for the recovery of his rights. 
These designs, however, were as yet quite immature, 
and Bruce, who was still unsuspected, and in high 
confidence with Edward, repaired to the English court. 
Whilst there, Comyn betrayed him,^ and despatched 
letters to the king, informing him of the ambitious 

* See Ayloffe's Calendar of Ancient Charters, p. 295. The deed is tran- 
scribed in Lord Hailes' Annals, vol. i. p. 280. 

"I" Fordun a Hearne, p. 992, vol. iv. Winton, vol. ii. p. 122, says this 
conference took place when the two barons were " ryding fra Strevylyn." 
See also Langtoft, vol. ii. p. 330. Harbour's Bruce, Jamieson's edit. p. 18. 

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

1305. ROBERT BRUCE. 197 

projects of Bruce. Edward, anxious to unravel the 
whole conspiracy, had recourse to dissimulation, and 
the Earl of Carrick continued in apparent favour. 
But the king had inadvertently dropped some hint of 
an intention to seize him ; and Bruce, having received 
from his kinsman, the Earl of Gloucester,* an inti- 
mation of his danger, took horse, and, accompanied by 
a few friends, precipitately fled to Scotland. On the 
Borders they encountered a messenger hastening to 
England. His deportment was suspicious, and Bruce 
ordered him to be questioned and searched. He proved 
to be an emissary of Comyn's, whom that baron had 
sent to communicate with Edward. He was instantly 
slain, his letters were seized, and Bruce, in possession 
of documents which disclosed the treachery of Comyn, 
pressed forward to his castle of Lochmaben,-f which he 
reached on the fifth day after his sudden flight. Here 
he met his brother, Edward Bruce, and informed him 
of the perilous circumstances in which he was placed.! 
It was now the month of February, the time when 
the English justiciars appointed by Edward were ac- 
customed to hold their courts at Dumfries ; and Bruce, 
as a freeholder of Annandale, was bound to be present. 
Comyn was also a freeholder in Dumfriesshire, and 
obliged to attend on the justiciars ; so that in this way 
those two proud rivals were brought into contact, under 
circumstances peculiarly irritating. They met at 
Dumfries, and Bruce, burning with ill-dissembled in- 
dignation, requested a private interview with the rival 
who had betrayed him, in the Convent of the Minorite 

* The Earl of Gloucester Is ridiculously enough denominated by Mait- 
land, vol. i. p. 469, Earl Gomer, by Boece called Glomer, which is as absurdly 
supposed to be a corruption of Montgomery. 

T Winton, voL ii. p. 127. 

j Harbour, vol. i. p. 23. Hailes' Annals, vol. i. p. 355. 


Friars. Comyn agreed, and, entering the convent, 
they had not reached the high altar, before words grew 
high and warm, and the young baron, losing command 
of temper, openly arraigned Comyn of treachery. 
" You lie !" said Comyn ; upon which Bruce instantly 
stabbed him with his dagger, and hurrying from the 
sanctuary which he had defiled with blood, rushed into 
the street, and called, " To horse !" Lindsay and 
Kirkpatrick, two of his followers, seeing him pale and 
agitated, demanded the cause. " I doubt," said Bruce, 
as he threw himself on his horse, " I have slain 
Comyn." " Do you doubt?" cried Kirkpatrick, fiercely, 
" I'll make sure !" and instantly entered the convent, 
where he found the unhappy man still alive, but 
bleeding, and lying on the steps of the high altar. By 
this time the noise of the scuffle had alarmed his 
friends ; and his uncle, Sir Robert Comyn,* rushing 
into the convent, attempted to save him. But Kirk- 
patrick slew this new opponent, and having despatched 
his dying victim, who could offer no resistance, rejoined 
his master. Bruce now assembled his followers, and 
took possession of the castle of Dumfries, whilst the 
English justiciars, who held their court in a hall in 
the castle, believing their lives to be in danger, barri- 
caded the doors. But the building was immediately 
set fire to, upon which the judges capitulated, and were 
permitted to depart from Scotland without further 
molestation. -f- 

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

"I" Hemingford, vol. i. p. 220. This historian tells us, that after Bruce 
had with his followers seized the castle of Dumfries, and expelled the justi- 
ciars, word was brought him that Comyn was still alive, and had been 

1305. ROBERT BRUCE. 199 

This murder had been perpetrated by Bruce and his 
companions in the heat of passion, and was entirely 
unpremeditated ; but its consequences were important 
and momentous. Bruce's former varying and uncer- 
tain line of policy, which had arisen out of the hope 
of preserving, by fidelity to Edward, his great estates, 
and of seeing his rival crushed by his opposition to 
England, was at once changed by the murder of which 
he had been guilty. His whole schemes upon the 
crown had been laid open to Edward. This was ruin 
of itself ; but, in addition to this, he had, with his own 
hand, assassinated the first noble in the realm, and in 
a place of tremendous sanctity. He had stained the 
high altar with blood, and had directed against him- 
self, besides the resentment of the powerful friends 
and vassals of the murdered earl, all the terrors of 
religion, and the strongest prejudices of the people. 
The die, however, was cast, and he had no alternative 
left to him, but either to become a fugitive and an 
outlaw, or to raise open banner against Edward ; and, 
although the disclosure of his plans was premature, 
to proclaim his title to the crown. Having determined 
on this last, he repaired immediately to Lochmaben 
castle, and despatched letters to his friends and ad- 
herents. It was fortunate for him at this trying crisis, 
that he had secured the friendship and assistance of 
the Archbishop of St Andrews, William de Lamber- 
ton, by one of those bands or covenants, which, in this 
age, it was considered an unheard-of outrage to break 
or disregard. Lamberton's friendship, disarmed of its 
dreadful consequences that sentence of excommunica- 

carried by the friars within the high altar, to confess his sins. Upon which 
Bruce ordered him to be dragged out, and slain on the steps of the altar, 
go that the altar itself was stained with his blood. This is improbable. 


tion which was soon thundered against him, and his 
powerful influence necessarily interested in his behalf 
the whole body of the Scottish clergy. 

The desperate nature of Bruce's undertaking ap- 
peared very manifest, from the small number of adhe- 
rents who joined his fortunes. The enumeration will 
not occupy much space. It embraced the Earls of 
Lennox and of Athole ; Lamberton the Bishop of St 
Andrews ; Robert Wishart bishop of Glasgow ; David 
bishop of Moray ; the Abbot of Scone; his four brothers, 
Edward, Nigel, Thomas, and Alexander ; his nephew, 
Thomas Randolph; his brother-in-law, Christopher 
Seton ; Gilbert de la Haye of Errol, with his brother, 
Hugh de la Haye ; David Barclay of Cairns ; Alexan- 
der Fraser, brother of Simon Fraser, of Oliver castle ; 
Walter de Somerville, of Linton and Carnwath ; David 
of Inchmartin ; Robert Boyd ; and Robert Fleming. 
Such was the handful of brave men, comprising two 
earls and only fourteen barons, with whose assistance 
Bruce determined to take the field against the over- 
whelming power of England, directed by one of the 
most experienced statesmen, and certainly by the most 
successful military commander, of the age. " With 
these," says the authentic and affectionate Fordun, 
"he had the courage to raise his hand, not only against 
the King of England and his allies, but against the 
whole accumulated power of Scotland, with the excep- 
tion of an extremely small number who adhered to him, 
and who seemed like a drop of water when compared 
to the ocean."* 

* " There is no living man," continues the historian, " who is able to 
narrate the story of those complicated misfortunes which befell him in the 
commencement of this war, his frequent perils, his retrea'ts, the care and 
weariness, the hunger and thirst, the watching and fasting, the cold and 
nakedness to which he exposed 'tis person, the exile into which he was 

1305. ROBERT BRUCE. 201 

Bruce's first step was bold and decisive. He deter- 
mined immediately to be crowned at Scone, and for 
this purpose repaired from his castle of Lochmaben to 
Glasgow, where he was joined by some of the friends 
who supported his enterprise. On the road from Loch- 
maben, a young knight, well armed and horsed, 
encountered his retinue, who, the moment Bruce 
approached, threw himself from his horse, and kneel- 
ing, did homage to him as his sovereign. He was 
immediately recognised as Sir James Douglas, the son 
of William, the fourth Lord Douglas, whose estate 
had been given by Edward to the Lord Clifford, and 
was affectionately welcomed ; for his father had fought 
with Wallace, and the son had already shown some 
indications of his future greatness. Douglas imme- 
diately joined the little band who rode with Bruce ; 
and thus commenced a friendship, which, after a series 
of as noble services as ever subject paid to sovereign, 
was not dissolved even by death : for it was to this 
tried follower that in after years his dying master 
committed his heart to be carried to Jerusalem.* 

From Glasgow, Bruce rode to Scone, and there was 
solemnly crowned, on Friday, the 27th of March. 
Edward had carried off the ancient regalia of the king- 
dom, and the famous stone-chair, in which, according 

driven, the snares and ambushes which he escaped, the seizure, imprison- 
ment, the execution, and utter destruction of his dearest friends and rela- 
tives. . . . And if in addition to these almost innumerable and untoward 
events, which he ever bore with a cheerful and unconquered spirit, any man 
should undertake to describe his individual conflicts and personal successes, 
those courageous and single-handed combats, in which, by the favour of 
God, and his own great strength and courage ; he would often penetrate 
into the thickest of the enemy, now becoming the assailant, and cutting 
down all who opposed him ; at another time acting on the defensive, and 
evincing equal talents in escaping from what seemed inevitable death ; if 
any writer shall do this, he will prove, if I am not mistaken, that he had 
no equal in his own time, either in knightly prowess, or in strength ani 
vigour of body." Fordun a Hearne, vol. v. p. 998. 
* Barbour, by Jamieson, p. 27. 


to ancient custom, the Scottish kings were inaugurated. 
But the ready care of Wishart bishop of Glasgow, 
supplied from his own wardrobe the robes in which 
Robert appeared at his coronation ; and a slight coro- 
net of gold,* probably borrowed by the abbot of Scone 
from some of the saints or kings which adorned his 
abbey, was employed instead of the hereditary crown. 
A banner, wrought with the arms of Baliol, was de- 
livered by the Bishop of Glasgow to the new king ; 
and Robert received beneath it the homage of the 
prelates and earls who attended the ceremony. On 
the second day after the coronation, and before Bruce 
and his friends had left Scone, they were surprised by 
the sudden arrival of Isabella countess of Buchan, sister 
of the Earl of Fife, who immediately claimed the privi- 
lege of placing the king upon the throne. It was a 
right which had undoubtedly belonged to the earls of 
Fife from the days of Malcolm Canmore ; and as the 
Earl of Fife was at this time of the English party, the 
countess, a high-spirited woman, leaving her home, 
joined Bruce at Scone, bringing with her the war- 
horses of her husband. -f* The new king was not in a 
condition to think lightly of anything of this nature. 
To have refused Isabella's request, might give to his 
enemies some colour for alleging, that an essential 
part of the ancient solemnity had been omitted in his 
coronation. The English historians would have us 
believe that the lady was influenced by tenderer feelings 
than ambition or policy ; but this is doubtful. It is 

* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. ii. p. 1048. This coronella aurea came into the 
hands of Geffrey de Coigners, who seems to have incurred the resentment 
of Edward the First, for concealing and preserving it. Langtoft, Chronicle, 
vol. ii. p. 331. Maitland has no authority for asserting, vol. i. p. 474, that. 
the crown was made expressly for Robert's coronation, by Geffrey de Coigners. 

J" Hemingford, vol. i. p. 220. Robertson's Index, p. 17, No. 41. 

1306. ROBERT BRUCE. 203 

certain, that on the 20th of March, the king was a 
second time installed in the regal chair by the hands 
of the countess,* who afterwards suffered severely for 
her alleged presumption. 

Bruce next made a progress through various parts 
of Scotland, strengthening his party by the accession of 
new partisans ; seizing some of the castles and towns 
which were in the possession of the enemy; committing 
to prison the sheriffs and officers of Edward ;-f and 
creating so great a panic, that many of the English 
fled precipitately from the country. His party, never- 
theless, was small ; the Comyns possessed the greatest 
power in Scotland, and they and their followers opposed 
him, not only from motives of policy, but with the 
deepest feelings of feudal enmity and revenge ; while 
many earls and barons, who had suffered in the late 
wars, preferred the quiet of submission, to the repeated 
hazards of insurrection and revolt. 

Edward had returned to Winchester, from a plea- 
sure tour through the counties of Dorset and Hamp- 
shire, when he received the intelligence of the murder 
of Comyn and the revolt of Bruce. Although not an 
aged man, he had reached the mature period of sixty- 
five; and a constant exposure to the fatigues of war, 
had begun to make an impression upon a constitution 
of great natural strength. He was become unwieldy, 
and so infirm that he could not mount on horseback 
or lead his armies; and after twenty years of ambi- 
tious intrigue, and almost uninterrupted war, now that 
he was in the decline of his strength and years, he 
found his Scottish conquests about to be wrested from 
him by a rival, in whom he had placed the greatest 

* Trivet, p. 342. See Notes and Illustrations, letter V. 
t Rymer, Feed. voL ii. p. 988. 


confidence. But although broken in body, this great 
king was in his mind and spirit yet vigorous and 
unimpaired, as was soon evinced by the rapidity and 
decision of his orders, and the subsequent magnitude 
of his preparations. He instantly sent to strengthen 
the frontier garrisons of Berwick and Carlisle, with 
the intention of securing the English Borders on that 
side from invasion; and he appointed the Earl of 
Pembroke, with Lord Robert Clifford and Henry 
Percy, to march into Scotland, directing them to pro- 
ceed against his rebels in that kingdom.* This was 
in an eminent degree the age of chivalry; and Edward, 
who had himself gained renown in Palestine, availed 
himself of that imposing system to give greater spirit 
to his intended expedition. He published a manifesto, 
declaring his intention of bestowing knighthood upon 
his son, the Prince of Wales ; and he caused it to be 
proclaimed over England, that as many young esquires 
as had a right to claim knighthood, should appear at 
Westminster on the Feast of Pentecost, and receive 
that honour along with the son of their sovereign, after 
which they should accompany him in his Scottish war. 
On the day appointed, three hundred young gentle- 
men, the flower of the English youth, with a brilliant 
assemblage of pa^es and attendants, crowded before 
the king's palace ; which being too small for so great 
a concourse, orders were given to cut down the trees 
in the orchard of the New Temple. In this ample 
space the novices pitched their pavilions; and the 

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

]306. ROBERT BRUCE. 205 

king, with a splendid munificence, distributed to them 
from his royal wardrobe, the scarlet cloth, fine linen, 
and embroidered belts, made use of on such occasions. 
Habited in these, they kept their vigil and watched 
their arms in the Chapel of the Temple, whilst the 
young prince performed the same ceremony in the 
abbey church at Westminster. Next morning Ed- 
ward, with great pomp, knighted his son in the palace; 
and the prince, after having received the belt and 
spurs, came to the abbey church to confer the same 
honour upon the young esquires who were there wait- 
ing for him, with an immense concourse of spectators. 
This crowd was the cause of giving additional solem- 
nity to the spectacle, for the prince was obliged, from 
the press, to mount the steps of the high altai ; and 
on this sacred spot, amid the assembled chivalry of 
England, he conferred the rank of knighthood upon 
his three hundred companions. He and his com- 
panions then proceeded to the banquet, at which two 
swans, ornamented with golden net-work, emblems in 
those days of constancy and truth, were brought in. 
Upon their being placed on the table, the king rose 
and made a solemn vow to God and to the Swans, that 
he would set out for Scotland, there avenge the death 
of John Comyn, punish the treachery of the Scots, 
and afterwards embark for the holy war, with the re- 
solution to die in Palestine.* After this strange and 
irreverent adjuration, he next addressed his son, and 
made him promise, that if he died before he took this 
journey, he should carry his body with the army into 
Scotland, and not commit it to the earth until he had 
obtained the victory over his enemies. The clergy 
and laity then agreed to contribute a thirtieth, and 

* Hailes, vol. ii. p. 4. 


the merchants a tenth, towards defraying the expenses 
of the war. The prince and the barons promised faith- 
fully to perform these commands of their sovereign ; 
and having agreed to meet at Carlisle fifteen days 
after Midsummer, they returned home to make pre- 
parations for war.* The Earl of Pembroke, with 
Clifford and Henry Percy, soon hastened into Scot- 
land ; and the Prince of Wales, with his knights 
companions, followed in the rear of their army ; whilst 
Edward himself, unable from violent fatigue, proceeded 
towards Carlisle by slow journeys. It was an ill com- 
mencement of the young prince's chivalry, that his 
excessive cruelty in ravaging the country, and sparing 
neither age nor sex, incurred the censure of his father 
the king, who was himself little wont to be scrupulous 
on these occasions.-f- 

Bruce was unfortunate in the early part of his 
career; and his military talents, which afterwards 
conducted him through a course of unexampled victory, 
were nursed amid scenes of incessant hardship and 
defeat. After having ravaged Galloway,J he marched 
towards Perth, at that time a town walled and strongly 
fortified, where the Earl of Pembroke lay with a small 
army of soldiers. Bruce, on arriving at Perth, and 
finding the earl shut up within the walls, sent a chal- 
lenge, requesting him, in the chivalrous style of the 
age, to come out and try his fortune in an open field. 
Pembroke answered that the day was too far spent, 
but that he would fight with him next morning ; upon 
which the king retired, and encamped about a mile 
from Perth, in the wood of Methven. Towards even- 

* Math. Westminst. p. 455. Langtoft, p. 333. 
+ Ypodigma Neustriae, p. 498. 
J Chron. Lanercost, p. 204. 

1306. ROBERT BRUCE. 207 

iiig, whilst his soldiers were busy cooking their supper,* 
and many were dispersed in foraging parties, a cry 
was heard that the enemy were upon them; and 
Pembroke, with his whole army, which outnumbered 
the Scots by fifteen hundred men, broke in upon the 
camp.-f The surprise was so complete, that it can 
only be accounted for by the belief, that the king had 
implicitly relied upon the promise of the English earl. 
He and his friends had scarcely time to arm them- 
selves. They made, however, a stout resistance, and 
at the first onset Bruce attacked the Earl of Pem- 
broke, and slew his horse; but no efforts of individual 
courage could restore order, or long delay defeat ; and 
the battle of Methven was from the first nearly a rout. 
The king was thrice unhorsed, and once so nearly 
taken, that the captor, Sir Philip de Mowbray, called 
aloud that he had the new-made king, when Sir Chris- 
topher Seton felled Mowbray to the earth, and rescued 
his master.! The king's brother, Edward Bruce, 
Bruce himself, the Earl of Athole, Sir James Douglas, 
Sir Gilbert de la Haye, Sir Nigel Campbell, and Sir 
William de Barondoun, with about five hundred 
men, kept the field, and at last effected their retreat 
into the fastnesses, of Athole; but some of his best 
and bravest friends fell into the hands of the enemy. 
Sir David de Berklay, Sir Hugh de la Haye, Sir 
Alexander Fraser, Sir John de Somerville, Sir 
David Inchmartin, and Thomas Randolph, then a 
young esquire, were all taken, along with Hugh, a chap- 

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

f- Harbour, by Jamieson, p. 37. 

J Barbour, pp. 35, 36. Math. Westminst. p. 455, asserts that the king 
was thrice unhorsed, and thrice rescued by Sir Simon Fraser. 

This knight is a witness to a charter of Haig of Bemersid* to the Abbey 
of Melrose, along with Thomas Rymer of Ercildoun and others. Chartulary 
of Melrose, Bib. HarL 3960, f. 109, a. 


lain.* On being informed of the victory, Edward gave 
orders for the instant execution of the prisoners, but the 
Earl of Pembroke, with more humanity, did not carry 
these orders into immediate execution. Randolph, on 
being pardoned, deserted his uncle ; others were ran- 
somed; whilst the chaplain, with other knights who 
had been taken, were hanged and quartered.^ 

Bruce and his friends now began to feel the miseries 
of outlaws. A high price was set on his head, and 
he was compelled to harbour in the hills, deprived of 
the common comforts of life. He and his followers 
presented a ragged and wretched appearance. Their 
shoes were worn off their feet by constant toil in a 
mountainous country ; and hunting, in better days a 
joyful pastime, became a necessitous occupation. At 
length want and distress drove him and his little band 
into the low country ; and at Aberdeen, his brother, 
Sir Nigel Bruce, met him with his queen and other 
ladies, determined to share the pains of war and 
banishment with their husbands and their fathers.^ 
Here, after enjoying a short season of solace and re- 
spite, a report was brought of the near advance of the 
English ; and the king and his friends, accompanied 
by their faithful women, retreated into Breadalbane. 
And now, if already they had experienced distress, it 
was, we may believe, greatly aggravated by the presence 

* Prynne's Edward I., p. 1123. Barbour, by Jamieson, p. 35. The 
battle, according to Hume's History of the House of Douglas, p. 44, was 
fought on the 19th June. A ballad in MS., Harleian, No. 2253, f. 60, a, 
says, that the battle was fought before St Bartholomew's mass, f. e. 24th 

t Barbour, p. 37. Prynne, Edward, I., p 1123-4. 

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

Barbour, p. 4*. 

1306. ROBERT BRUCE. 209 

of those whose constitutions were little able to struggle 
against cold and hunger, and whose love, as it was of 
that sterling kind which was ready to share in every 
privation, only made the hearts of their husbands and 
fathers more keenly alive to their sufferings. An 
ancient author has given a striking account of their 
mode of life. The roots and berries of the woods, the 
venison caught in the chase, the fish which abounded 
in the mountain rivers, supplied them with food the 
warm skins of deer and roe with bedding and all 
laboured to promote their comfort, but none with such 
success as the brave and gallant Sir James Douglas. 
This young soldier, after the imprisonment and death 
of his father, had been educated at the polished court 
of France ;* and whilst his indefatigable perseverance 
in the chase afforded them innumerable comforts, his 
sprightly temper and constant gaiety, comforted the 
king, and amused his forlorn companions.^ 

They had now reached the head of Tay, and deeper 
distresses seemed gathering round them, for the season 
was fast approaching when it was impossible for wo- 
men to exist in that remote and wild region ; and they 
were on the borders of the Lord of Lorn's country, a 
determined enemy of Bruce, who had married the aunt 
of the murdered Comyn.l Lorn immediately collected 
a thousand men, and, with the Barons of Argyle, be- 
setting the passes, hemmed in the king, and attacked 
him in a narrow defile, where Bruce and his small band 
of knights could not manage their horses. The High- 
landers were on foot; and, armed with that dreadful 
weapon, the Lochaber axe, did great execution. Sir 
James Douglas, with Gilbert de la Haye, were botb 

* Hume's Hist, of House of Douglas and Angus, p. 37. 

f- Barbour, vol. i. p. 40. Barbour, p. 4 1 . 



wounded, and many of the horses severely cut ana 
gashed ; so that the king, dreading the total destruc- 
tion of his little band, managed to get them together, 
and having placed himself in the rear, between them 
and the men of Lorn, commenced his retreat, halting 
at intervals, and driving back the enemy, when they 
pressed too hard upon them, It was in one of these 
skirmishes that Bruce, who, in the use of his weapons, 
was esteemed inferior to no knight of his time, with 
his own hand killed three soldiers, who attacked him 
at the same time and at a disadvantage* a feat 
which is said to have extorted even from his enemies the 
praise of superior chivalry. Having thus again escaped, 
a council was held, and it was resolved that the queen 
and her ladies should be conducted to the strong castle 
of Kildrummie, in Mar, under an escort, commanded 
by young Nigel Bruce, the king's brother, and John 
earl of Athole. The king, with only two hundred 
men, and beset on all sides by his enemies, was left to 
make his way through Lennox to Kentire, a district 
which, from the influence of Sir Neil Campbell, who 
was then with him, he expected would be somewhat 
more friendly. He now gave up all the horses to 
those who were to escort the women, and having de- 
termined to pursue his way on foot, took a melancholy 
farewell of his queen.-f- It was the last time he ever 
saw his brother, who soon after was taken, and fell a 
victim to the implacable revenge of Edward. Bruce, 
meanwhile, pressed on through Perthshire to Loch 

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

f* Barbour, voL i. p. 51. 

1S06. ROBERT BRUCE. 211 

Lomond. On the banks of this lake his progress was 
suddenly arrested. To have travelled round it, would 
have been accomplished at great risk, when every hour, 
which could convey him beyond the pursuit of his 
enemies, was of value. After some time, they suc- 
ceeded in discovering a little boat, which, from its 
crazy and leaky state, could hold but three persons, 
and that not without danger of sinking. In it, the 
king, Sir James Douglas, and another, who rowed 
them, first passed over. They then despatched it in 
return for the rest, so that the whole band at length 
succeeded in reaching the other side. Amid these 
complicated dangers and distresses, the spirit of their 
royal master wonderfully supported his followers. His 
memory was stored with the tales of romance, so po- 
pular in that chivalrous age ; and in recounting the 
sufferings of their fabled heroes, he is said to have 
diverted the minds of his friends from brooding too 
deeply on their own.* They began now to feel the 
misery of hunger, and in traversing the woods in search 
of food, they encountered the Earl of Lennox, who, 
since the unfortunate defeat at Methven, had heard 
nothing of the fate of his sovereign. Lennox fell on 
his master's neck, and the king wept in embracing 
him. But even this natural burst of grief proved 
dangerous, by occupying too much time ; for the 
enemy were now pressing on their track, and every 
thing depended on Brace's gaining the coast, where 
he expected to meet Sir Neil Campbell, whom he had 
sent in advance. This he fortunately accomplished ; 
and Campbell, with a few boats which he had collected, 
conveyed the monarch and his followers to the coast 
of Kentire, where they were hospitably received by 

* Barbour, vol. i. pp. 53, 54. 


Angus of Isla, Lord of Kentire. From thence, deem- 
ing himself still insecure, he passed over with three 
hundred in his company, to the little island of Rach- 
rin, situated on the northern coast of Ireland, amid 
whose rude but friendly inhabitants he buried himself 
from the pursuit of his enemies.* 

Edward, on hearing of the escape of Bruce, proceeded 
with his usual severity against his enemies. He pub- 
lished at Lanercost, where he then lay, on his road to 
Scotland, an ordinance, by which all who were guilty 
of the death of John Comyn, were sentenced to be 
drawn and hanged; and he decreed, that the same 
extremity of punishment should be inflicted on such 
as either advised or assented, or, after the fact, know- 
ingly received them. It was added, that any persons 
who were in arms against the king, either before or 
since the battle of Methven, as well as all who were 
willingly of the party of Robert Bruce, or who assisted 
the people in rising contrary to law, were, on convic- 
tion, to be imprisoned ; and it was commanded, that 
every subject of the king should levy hue and cry upon 
all who had been in arms against England, and under 
the penalty of imprisonment, and loss of their estates, 
apprehend such offenders dead or alive. Finally, as 
to the common people of Scotland, who, contrary to 
their inclination, might by their lords have been com- 
pelled to rise in arms, the guardian was permitted to 
fine and ransom them according to their offences. -f- 

These orders were rigorously carried into execution, 
and the terror of the king's vengeance induced some 
of the Scottish barons to act with meanness. Bruce's 

* Barbour, p. 62. 

f- Tyrrel, Hist, of England, vol. iii. p. 174j and Rymer, Feed. vol. i. 
part ii. p. 995, new edit. 

1306. ROBERT BRUCE. 213 

queen,* and his daughter Marjory, thinking them- 
selves insecure in the castle of Kildrummie, which was 
threatened by the English army, had taken refuge in 
the sanctuary of St Duthac, at Tain, in Ross-shire, 
and were treacherously given up to the English by the 
Earl of Ross, who violated the sanctuary, and made 
them, and the knights who escorted them, prisoners. 
These brave men were immediately put to death, and 
the queen, with her daughter, committed to close con- 
finement in England;^ where, in different prisons and 
castles, they endured an eight-years' captivity. A 
more severe fate awaited the Countess of Buchan, who 
had dared to place the king upon the throne, and who 
was soon after taken. In one of the outer turrets of 
the castle of Berwick, was constructed a cage, latticed 
and cross-barred with wood, and secured with iron, in 
which this unfortunate lady was immured. No person 
was permitted to speak with her except the women 
who brought her food, and it was carefully stipulated 
that these should be of English extraction. Confined 
in this rigorous manner, and yet subjected to the gaze 
of every passer by, she remained for four years shut 
up, till she was released from her misery, and sub- 
jected to a milder imprisonment]: in the monastery of 
Mount Carmel, in Berwick. Mary and Christina, 
both sisters to the Scottish king, were soon after made 
prisoners. Mary was confined in a cage similar to 
that of the Countess of Buchan, built for her in one 

* A daughter of the Earl of Ulster. 

t Feeders, voL ii. pp. 1013, 1014. Harbour's Brace, p. 66. Major, 

?. 181, erroneously says the queen was delivered up by William Comyn. 
Q Rymer, Fcedera, vol. i. part ii. new edit. p. 767, we find William earl 
of Ross. 

J Rotuli Scotias, vol. i.p. 85. Trivet, p. 342. Math. West. p. 455. Note* 
and Illustrations, letter W. 


of the turrets of Roxburgh castle;* and Christina was 
delivered to Henry Percy, who shut her up in a con- 

Immediately after the battle of Methven, the troops 
of the Earl of Pembroke, in scouring the country, 
took prisoners, Lamberton bishop of St Andrews, and 
the Abbot of Scone, who were found clad in armour, 
and conveyed them in fetters to England.^ Soon 
after this, Robert Wishart bishop of Glasgow, who 
had escaped to the castle of Cupar in Fife, was there 
taken, and sent fettered, and in his mail coat, to the 
castle of Nottingham. | These clerical champions 
were saved from the gallows solely by their sacred 
function. They had strenuously supported Bruce by 
their great influence, as well as by their money and 
their armed vassals ; and Edward, after commanding 
them to be imprisoned in irons, within different castles, 
wrote to the pope, requesting that, in consequence of 
their treason against him, William Comyn, brother to 
the Earl of Buchan, and Geoffrey de Mowbray, should 
be appointed to the vacant sees of St Andrews and 
Glasgow a proposal with which his Holiness does not 
appear to have complied. 

The next victim excited deeper commiseration. 
Bruce's youthful brother, Nigel, had shut himself up 
in the castle of Kildrummie, and there defied the 
English army, commanded by the Earls of Lancaster 
and Hereford. After a brave defence, the treachery 

* Foedera, vol. ii. p. 1014. She -was confined in the cage till 1310, when 
she was exchanged for nine English prisoners of note in the hands of the 
Scots. Rot. Scotiae, vol. i. p. 86. 

f Math. Westminster, p. 455. 

TRymer, Feed. vol. i. part ii. new edit. p. 996. 

Prynne, Edward I., p. 1156. The Bishop of St Andrews was confined 
in the castle of Winchester, the Bishop of Glasgow in the castle of Porches- 
ter. Eymer, Feed. p. 996, ut supra. 

1306. EGBERT BRUCE. 215 

of one of the garrison, who set fire to the magazine of 
corn, and destroyed their supplies, compelled them to 
surrender. The beautiful person and engaging man- 
ners of Nigel Bruce,* rendered his fate a subject of 
horror and indignation to the Scots, and excited senti- 
ments of pity in every bosom but that of Edward. 
He was sent to Berwick, there condemned by a special 
commission, hanged, and afterwards beheaded.*}- Along 
with him divers other knights and soldiers suffered the 
same fate.| Christopher de Seton, who had married 
a sister of Bruce, and had rendered essential service 
to the king, took refuge in his castle of Loch Don, in 
Ayrshire, which is said to have been pusillanimously 
given up to the English by Sir Gilbert de Carrick. 
Seton, who was a great favourite with the people, was 
especially obnoxious to Edward, as he had been per- 
sonally present at the death of Comyn. He was im- 
mediately hurried to Dumfries, and condemned and 
hanged as a traitor. So dear to King Robert was the 
memory of this faithful friend and fellow warrior, that 
he afterwards erected on the spot where he was exe- 
cuted a little chapel, where mass was said for his soul.|| 
Sir Christopher's brother, John de Seton, was taken 
about the same time, and put to death at Newcastle. 
The Earl of Athole, who was allied to the King of 
England, had been present at the coronation of Bruce, 
and had fought for him at the battle of Methven. In 
attempting to escape beyond seas, he was driven back 

* Math. Westminster, p. 456, designates him, " miles pulcherrimae juven- 

f Barbour, p. 70. Math. "Westminster, p. 455. 

j Scala Chronica, p. 131. 

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

|| Stat. Account, vol. v. pp. 141, 14'2. Leland, Coll. vol. i. part ii. p. 543, 
in other words the Scala Chronicle is in an error in describing Seton as 
taken prisoner in Kildrummie castle. 


by a tempest, and fell into the hands of the enemy. 
Edward, on hearing of his being taken, although he 
then lay dangerously sick, expressed great exultation ; 
and while some interceded for Athole, on account of 
the royal blood which flowed in his veins, swore, that 
his only distinction should be a higher gallows than 
his fellow traitors. Nor was this an empty threat. 
He was carried to London, tried and condemned in 
Westminster Hall, and hanged upon a gallows fifty 
feet high. He was then cut down half dead, his 
bowels taken out and burnt before his face, and at last 
beheaded, his head being afterwards placed, amongst 
those of other Scottish patriots, upon London Bridge.* 
Sir Simon Fraser was still free; and the other 
knights and nobles who had fallen into the hands of 
Edward, are said to have boasted, that it would require 
all the efforts of the king to apprehend him. Fraser 
was a veteran soldier; his life had been spent in war 
both at home and on the continent, and he enjoyed a 
high reputation. With a small force which he had 
collected, he made a last effort for the national liberty 
at Kirkencliff, near Stirling, but was entirely routed, 
and forced to surrender himself prisoner to Sir Thomas 
de Multon. Many knights and squires were taken 
along with him, whilst others fell on the field, or were 
drowned in the river.-}- This warrior enjoyed great 
popularity in Scotland, as the last friend and follower 
of Wallace, and the severity, and studied indignity, 
with which he was treated by Edward, remind us of 
the trial and execution of that heroic person. He was 

* Math. Westminster, p. 456. 

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

1306. ROBERT BRUCE. 217 

carried to London heavily ironed, with his legs tied 
under his horsed belly, and, as he passed through the 
city, a garland of periwinkle was in mockery placed 
upon his head. He was then lodged in the Tower, 
along with his squire, Thomas de Boys, and Sir Her- 
bert de Morham, a Scottish knight of French extrac- 
tion, whose courage and manly deportment are com- 
memorated in a contemporary English ballad. Fraser 
was tried and condemned, after which he suffered the 
death of a traitor, with all its circumstances of refined 
cruelty. He was hanged, cut down when still living, 
and beheaded ; his bowels were then torn out and 
burned, and his head fixed beside that of Wallace 
upon London bridge.* The trunk was hung in chains, 
and strictly guarded, lest his friends should remove it. 
Herbert de Morham, who had been imprisoned and 
forfeited in 1297, and liberated under the promise of 
serving Edward in his Flemish war,-}- next suffered 
death, and with him Thomas Boys. To these vic- 
tims of Edward's resentment we may add the names 
of Sir David Inchmartin, Sir John de Somerville, 
Sir Walter Logan, and many others of inferior note. 
After the disgusting details of these executions, the 
reader will be disposed to smile at the remark of a 
late acute historian, that the execution of the Scottish 
prisoners is insufficient to load Edward's memory with 

* Math. Westminster, p. 456.' 

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


the charge of cruelty.* To complete the ruin of 
Bruce, it only remained to dispose of his great estates, 
and to excommunicate him, as guilty of murder and 
sacrilege. His lordship of Annandale was bestowed 
on the Earl of Hereford, his maternal estate of Car- 
rick given to Henry Percy, and the Lord Robert 
Clifford, with others of Edward's nobles, shared the 
rich English estates, which had long been hereditary 
in this powerful family .-f- 

In the end of February, the Cardinal St Sabinus, 
the legate of the pope in England, with great pomp 
repaired to Carlisle, in which city Edward then kept 
his head-quarters, and with all those circumstances of 
terror which such a sentence involved, the Scottish 
king and his adherents were excommunicated by book, 
bell, and candle.J 

Meanwhile, out of the reach of the papal thunder, 
and ignorant of the miserable fate of his friends, Bruce, 
during the winter, remained in the little isle of Rach- 
rin. On the approach of spring, having received some 
assistance from Christina of the Isles, he began to 
meditate a descent upon Scotland, and first despatched 
Sir James Douglas _and Sir Robert Boyd on an ad- 
venture to the island of Arran. Douglas found it 
occupied by Sir John Hastings, an English knight, 
who held the castle of Brodick with a strong garrison; 
and having laid an ambuscade, he had the good fortune 
to surprise the under-warden of the castle, and, after 
killing forty of his soldiers, to make himself master of 
a valuable cargo of provisions, arms, and clothing. 
This proved a seasonable supply to the king, who soon 
after arrived from Rachrin with a fleet of thirty-three 

* See Notes and Illustrations, letter Y. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 236. 
t Hemingford, p. 224. J Ibid. p. 226. 

1306-7. ROBERT BRUCE. 239 

galleys, and in his company about three hundred men. 
Ignorant of the situation of the enemy, he first de- 
spatched a messenger from Arran into his own country 
of Carrick, with instructions, if he found the people 
well affected, to light a fire, at a day appointed, upon 
an eminence near Turnberry castle. When the day 
arrived, Bruce, who watched in extreme anxiety for 
the signal, about noon perceived a light in the expected 
direction, and instantly embarked, steering, as night 
came on, by the light of the friendly beacon.* Mean- 
while, his messenger had also seen the fire, and dread- 
ing that his master might embark, hastened to the 
beach, where, on meeting his friends, he informed 
them that Lord Percy, with a strong garrison, held 
the castle of Turnberry, that parties of the enemy 
were quartered in the town, and there was no hope of 
success. " Traitor," said the king, " why did you 
light the fire ?" - " I lighted no fire," he replied; " but 
observing it at nightfall, I dreaded you might embark, 
and hastened to meet you." Placed in this dilemma, 
Bruce questioned his friends what were best to be 
done; and his brother, Sir Edward, declared loudly, 
that he would follow up his adventure, and that no 
power or peril should induce him to re-embark. This 
was said in the true spirit of a knight errant ; but his 
royal brother, who was playing a game of which the 
stake was a kingdom, might be allowed to hesitate. 
His naturally fearless and sanguine temper, however, 
got the better; and dismissing caution, he determined 
to remain, and, as it was still night, to attack the 
English quarters. The plan succeeded. The enemy, 
cantoned in careless security, in the houses and 
hamlets round the castle of Turnberry, were easily sur- 

* Barbour, pp. 83, 84. 


prised and put to the sword; while Percy, hearing the 
tumult, and ignorant of the small number of the Scots, 
did not dare to attempt a rescue, but shutting himself 
up in the castle, left a rich booty to the assailants, 
amongst which were his war-horses and his household 

There was a romantic interest about Bruee's for- 
tunes, which had a powerful effect upon the female 
mind, and the hero himself seems to have been will- 
ing to avail himself of this influence.^ He had already 
received assistance from the Countess of Buchan and 
Christina of the Isles ; and now, on hearing of his 
success in Carrick, he was joined by a lady, nearly 
related to him, but whose name has been lost. She 
brought him, however, a seasonable supply of money 
and provisions, and a reinforcement of forty men. 
From her, too, he first learnt the miserable fate of 
Seton, Athole, and the garrison of Kildrummie; and, 
during the recital, is said to have vowed deeply that 
their deaths should not go unrevenged. 

Meanwhile his success spread a panic among the 
English; for although Ayr castle was in the hands of 
Edward, neither its 'garrison nor that of Turnberry, 
under Percy, dared to make head against him. At 
length, Sir Roger St John marched from Northum- 
berland with a body of a thousand men ; covered by 
this force, Henry Percy, with the remains of his garri- 
son, evacuated Turnberry, and hurried into England;]; 
whilst Bruce, unable to oppose St John, retired into 
the mountainous parts of Carrick. Here the adven- 
turous spirit of James Douglas could not long remain 
inactive. He knew that Lord Clifford, on whom 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 225. 

t Harbour, p. 105, line 541. J Ibid. voL i. p. 95. Trivet, p. 344. 

1306-7. ROBERT BRUCE. 221 

Edward had bestowed his hereditary domain, held his 
castle of Douglas with a strong garrison; and having 
obtained the king's permission, he travelled in disguise 
into Douglasdale, and, after carefully observing the 
strength and position of the enemy, discovered him- 
self to Dickson, a faithful servant, in whose house he 
lay concealed. Here, night after night, did his prin- 
cipal vassals assemble, rejoiced again to find the son 
of their old lord ; and thus, unknown to the English, 
a little band of determined foes was nursed amongst 
them, who watched every step they took, and were 
ready to fall upon them the first moment that pro- 
mised an advantage. This soon presented itself. The 
garrison, on Palm Sunday, marched out to the neigh- 
bouring church of St Bride, leaving the castle unde- 
fended. Some of Douglas's followers, with concealed 
arms, entered the church along with them, and in a 
moment when they least suspected, the English heard 
the cry of " Douglas !" and found themselves attacked 
both from without and within. After a stout resist- 
ance, and much bloodshed, the church was won and 
many prisoners taken. Having thus cut off the gar- 
rison, Douglas first plundered the castle of the arms 
and valuables which could be carried off. This done, 
he raised a huge pile of the malt and corn which he 
found in the stores, staved the casks of wine and other 
liquors, and threw them on the heap, after which he 
slew his prisoners, and cast their dead bodies on the 
pile. He then set fire to this savage hecatomb, and 
consumed it and the halls of his fathers in the blaze.* 

* Hume's House of Douglas and Angus, vol. 5. pp. 50, 51. Barbour, pp. 
100, 101. Lord Hailes, vol. ii. p. 20, makes Barbour say, that "about ten 
persons -were made prisoners in the chapel, -whom Douglas put to death." I 
tear, from the expressions of this historian, many more than ten persona 
were slain in the Dotu/las 1 Larder. 


This cruel transaction, which is said to have been 
intended as a sacrifice to the manes of his faithful 
servant Dickson, who was slain in the church, is still 
remembered in the tradition of the country by the 
name of the Douglas 1 Larder. 

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

* Math. Westminster, pp. 457, 458. Hemingford, p. 225. Langtoft, 
with less probability, asserts, that Macdowall surprised the two Bruces and 
their soldiers, on Ash Wednesday, when returning from church, vol. ii. p. 
337. The Macdowalls were anciently the most powerful family in Galloway. 
In Dugdale's Monasticon, vol. ii. p. 1057, we find Roland Macdowall, in 
1190, styled " Princeps Gallovidue." 

1307. ROBERT BRUCE. 223 

Deprived of this reinforcement, the king began to 
be in great difficulties. The English hotly pursued 
him, and even had the meanness to lay plots for his 
assassination, whilst the Galwegians endeavoured to 
hunt him down with bloodhounds.* On one of these 
occasions, when only sixty soldiers were in his com- 
pany, he made a narrow escape. It was near night- 
fall, when his scouts informed him that a force of two 
hundred soldiers were on the way to attack them. He 
instantly crossed a mountain river hard by, of which 
the banks were steep and wooded, and drew up his 
men in a swampy level about two bowshots off. He 
then commanded them to lie still, while he and Sir 
Gilbert de la Haye went forward to reconnoitre. The 
ground was well fitted for defence. A steep path led 
up from the brink of the river to the summit of the 
bank, and Bruce took his stand at the gorge, where it 
was so narrow that the superior numbers of the enemy 
gave them little advantage. Here he listened for some 
time, till at length the baying of a hound told him of 
the approach of the Galwegians ; and by the light of 
the moon he could see their band crossing the river, 
and pressing up the path. He instantly despatched 
De la Haye to rouse and bring up his little force, 
whilst he remained alone to defend the pass. The 
fierce mountaineers were soon upon him ; but, although 
mounted and armed after their own fashion, they stood 
little chance against so powerful an adversary as Bruce, 
clothed in steel, and havingthe advantage of the ground. 
One only could attack him at a time ; and as he pressed 
boldly, but blindly forward, he was transfixed in a 
m oment by the spear ; whilst his horse, borne down 
to the earth, and instantly stabbed, blocked up the 

* Barbour, pp. 108, 111 


path in such a way that the next soldier must charge 
over his body. He, too, with many of his companions, 
successively, but vainly, endeavoured to carry the pass. 
They were met by the dreadful sword of the king, 
which swept round on every side. Numbers now fell, 
and formed a ghastly barrier around him ; so that, on the 
approach of his men, the Galwegians drew off, and gave 
up the pursuit. When the soldiers came up, they 
found Bruce wearied, but unwounded, and sitting: on a 

9 ' O 

bank, where he had cast off his helmet to wipe his brow, 
and cool himself in the night air. In this manner, 
partly by his own valour, and partly from the private 
information which he received from those kindly dis- 
posed to him, he escaped the various toils with which 
he was beset ; and as he still counted amongst his 
party some of the bravest and most adventurous sol- 
diers in Scotland, it often happened, that when his 
fortunes seemed sinking to the lowest ebb, some auspi- 
cious adventure occurred, which reanimated the hopes 
of the party, and encouraged them to persevere. The 
castle of Douglas had been rebuilt by the English. 
It was again attacked by its terrible master, the "Good 
Sir James ;" and although he failed in getting it into 
his hands, its captain was slain and a great part of its 
garrison put to the sword ;* after which, having heard 
that the Earl of Pembroke, with a large force, was 
marching against the king, who still lay in the moun- 
tainous parts of Carrick, Douglas joined his sovereign, 
and awaited their advance. 

Bruce had now been well trained. He was fami- 
liarly acquainted with this partisan kind of warfare ; 
and it was his custom, when keenly pursued, to make 
his soldiers disperse in small companies, first appoint- 
* Barbour, p. 122. 

1307. ROBERT BRUCE. 225 

ing a place of rendezvous, where they should reassem- 
ble when the danger was over. Trusting to this plan, 
and to his own personal courage and skill, he did not 
hesitate, with only four hundred men, to await the 
attack of Pembroke's army, which had been reinforced, 
by John of Lorn, with eight hundred Highlanders, 
familiar with war in a mountainous country, and well 
trained to act in the moors and morasses of this wild 
region. Lorn is, moreover, reported to have taken 
along with him a large bloodhound, which had once 
belonged to the king, and whose instinctive attach- 
ment was thus meanly employed against its old master.* 
The Highland chief contrived so successfully to con- 
ceal his men, that Bruce, whose attention was fixed 
chiefly on Pembroke's force, found his position unex- 
pectedly attacked by Lorn in the rear, and by the 
English, with whom was his own nephew, Randolph, 
in the front. His brother, Edward Bruce, and Sir 
James Douglas, were now with him ; and, after making 
head for a short time, they divided their little force 
into three companies, and dispersed amongst the moun- 
tains. He trusted that he might thus have a fairer 
chance of escape ; but the bloodhound instantly fell 
upon the tract of the king ; and the treacherous Lorn 
with his mountaineers had almost run him down, when 
the animal was transfixed by an arrow from one of the 
fugitives, and Bruce with great difficulty escaped.-f- 
In this pursuit, it is said, that with his own hand he 
slew five of the enemy ; which, as the men of Lorn 
were probably half naked and ill-armed mountaineers, 
who had to measure weapons with an adversary fully 
accoutred, and of uncommon personal strength, is in 
no respect unlikely to be true. Bruce, however, had 

* Barbour, p. 124. f Ibid. pp. 129, 132. 



the misfortune to lose his banner, which was taken by 
Randolph, then fighting in the ranks of the English.* 
It was an age of chivalrous adventure ; the circum- 
stances in which the king was placed, when related 
even in the simplest manner, are marked by a deep 
and romantic interest; and, renouncing everything 
in the narrative of his almost contemporary biographer, 
which looks like poetical embellishment, the historian 
must be careful to omit no event which is consistent 
with the testimony of authentic writers, with the 
acknowledged prowess of this great man, and the 
character of the times in which he lived. 

Not long after this adventure, Bruce attacked and 
put to the sword a party of two hundred English 
soldiers, carelessly cantoned at a small distance from 
the main army ; and the Earl of Pembroke, after an 
unsuccessful skirmish in Glentruel, where the wooded 
and marshy nature of the country incapacitated his 
cavalry from acting with effect, became disgusted with 
his ill success, and retreated to Carlisle.-f- The king 
instantly came down upon the plains of Ayrshire 
made himself master of the strengths of the country 
and reduced the whole of Kyle, Carrick, and Cun- 
ningham, to his obedience ; while Sir James Douglas, 
ever on the alert, attacked and discomfited Sir Philip 
Mowbray,| who, with a thousand men, was marching 
from Bothwell into Kyle, and with difficulty escaped 
to the castle of Innerkip, then held by an English 
garrison. By these fortunate events, the followers of 
Bruce were inspired with that happy confidence in his 
skill and courage, which, even in the very different 

* Barbour, pp. 129, 132. t Ibid. p. 149. 

J Ibid. vol. i. p. 153. Major, with more probability, I think, calls him 
John Moubray. In Rymer, we. meet with a John, but not with a Philip 
Moubray, amongst Edward's barons. Rymer, vol. i. p. 2, new edit. p. 966. 

1307- ROBERT BRUCE. 227 

warfare of our own days, is one principal cause of 
success ; and he soon found his little army reinforced 
by such numbers, that he determined, on the first 
opportunity, to try his strength against the English 
in an open field. 

Nor was this opportunity long of presenting itself. 
The Earl of Pembroke, in the beginning of May, and 
soon after the defeat of Mowbray, advanced, with a 
body of men-at-arms into Ayrshire, and came up with 
the enemy at Loudon Hill. It is said, that, in the 
spirit of the times, Pembroke challenged the Scottish 
king to give him battle ; and that, having sent word 
that he intended to march by Loudon Hill, Bruce, who 
was then with his little army at Galston, conceiving 
the ground to be as favourable as could be chosen, 
agreed to meet him at Loudon Hill on the 10th of 
May. The road, at that part of Loudon Hill where 
he determined to wait the advance of the English, led 
through a piece of dry level ground about five hundred 
yards in breadth, which was bounded on both sides by 
extensive morasses ; but, deeming that this open space 
would give the English cavalry too much room to act, 
he took the precaution to secure his flanks by three 
parallel lines of deep trenches, which he drew on either 
hand from the morasses to the road, leaving an interval 
sufficient for the movements of a battalion of six hun- 
dred spearmen, the whole available force which Bruce 
could then bring into the field. A rabble of ill-armed 
countrymen and camp-followers were stationed, with 
his baggage, in the rear.* Early in the morning, the 
king, who was on the watch, descried the advance of 

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


Pembroke, whose force he knew amounted to three 
thousand cavalry. Their appearance, with the sun 
gleaming upon the coat armour of the knights, the steel 
harness of the horses, and the pennons and banners, 
of various colours, waving above the wood of spears, 
was splendid and imposing, contrasted with Bruce's 
small force.* Yet, confident in the strength of his 
position, he calmly awaited their attack. The result 
entirely justified his expectations, and proved how 
dreadful a weapon the long Scottish spear might be 
made, when skilfully directed and used against cavalry. 
Pembroke had divided his force into two lines ; and, 
by his orders, the first line put their spears in rest, 
and charged the battalion of the Scots at full gallop. 
But they made no impression. The Scottish soldiers 
stood perfectly firm ; many of the English were un- 
horsed and slain ; and, in a short time, the first divi- 
sion, thrown into disorder, fell back upon the second, 
which in its turn, as the Scots steadily advanced with 
their extended spears, began to waver, to break, and 
at last to fly. Bruce was not slow to follow up his 
advantage, and completely dispersed the enemy, but 
without much slaughter or many prisoners, the Scots 
having no force in cavalry. The victory, however, 
had the best effect. Pembroke retired to the castle of 
Ayr. The Scottish army acquired additional confi- 
dence : its ranks were every day recruited ; and, 
awaking from their foolish dreams of confidence and 
superiority, the English began to feel and to dread the 
great military talents which the king had acquired 
during the constant perils to which he had been ex- 
posed. Only three days after the retreat of Pembroke, 
he attacked, and with great slaughter defeated, Ralph 

* Barbour, p. 157. 

1307. ROBERT BRUCE. 229 

Monthermer earl of Gloucester, another of Edward's 
captains, whom he so hotly pursued, that he compelled 
him to shut himself up in the castle of Ayr, to which 
he immediately laid siege.* These repeated successes 
greatly incensed Edward ; and, although much debi- 
litated by illness, he summoned his whole military 
vassals to meet him at Carlisle, three weeks after the 
Feast of John the Baptist, and determined to march 
in person against his enemies. Persuading himself 
that the virulence of his disease was abated, he offered 
up the litter, in which hitherto he had been carried, 
in the cathedral at Carlisle, and mounting on horse- 
back, proceeded with his army towards Scotland. But 
his strength rapidly sunk. In four days he pro- 
ceeded only six miles ; and, after reaching the 
small village of Burgh-upon-Sands, he expired on the 
7th of July, 1307, "f leaving the mighty projects of 
his ambition, and the uneasy task of opposing Bruce, 
to a successor whose character was in every way the 
opposite of his father's. The last request of the dying 
monarch was characteristic. He commanded that his 
heart should be conveyed to Jerusalem, and that his 
body, after having been reduced to a skeleton, by a 
process which, if we may credit Froissart, the king 
himself described,^ should be carried along with the 
army into Scotland, there to remain unburied till that 
devoted country was entirely subdued. 

* Scala Chronica, p. 132. Math. Westminster, p. 458. Trivet, p. 346. 
Hemingford, vol. i. p. 237. 

t Rymer, Feed. p. 1018, vol. i. part ii. new edit. Prynne's Ed. I., p. 1202. 

j Froissart, vol. i. chap, xxvii. When dying he made his eldest son be 
called, and caused him, in the presence of his barons, and invoking all the 
saints, to swear that, as soon as he was dead, he would boil his body in a 
caldron, till the flesh was separated from the bones, after which, he should 
bury the flesh, but keep the bones ; and as often as the Scots rose in rebellion 
against him, he should assemble his army, and carry with him the bones of 
his father. 


Edward the Second, who succeeded to the crown of 
England in his twenty-fourth year, was little calcu- 
lated to carry into effect the mighty designs of his 
predecessor. His character was weak, irresolute and 
headstrong ; and the first steps which he took evinced 
a total want of respect for the dying injunctions of his 
father. He committed his body to the royal sepulchre 
at Westminster he recalled from banishment Piers 
Gaveston, his profligate favourite ; and after receiving 
at Roxburgh the homage of some of the Scottish 
barons in the interes|y^ngland, he pushed forward 
as far as Cumnock, (Hhc borders of Ayrshire ap- 
pointed the Earl of Pembroke Guardian of Scotland 
and, without striking a blow, speedily returned into 
his own dominies.* 

Upon the retrpat of the English, the king, and his 
brother Sir Edward Bruce, at the head of a powerful 
army, broke in upon Galloway, and commanded the 
inhabitants to rise and join his banner. Where this 
order was disobeyed, the lands were given up to mili- 
tary execution ; and Bruce, who had not forgotten 
the defeat and death of his two brothers by the men 
of this wild district, laid waste the country with fire 
and sword, and permitted every species of plunder, } 
in a spirit of cruel, but, according to the sentiments 
of that age, not unnatural retaliation. 

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

f Chron. Lanercost. pp. 210, 212. Rymer, Fcedera, vol. iii. p. 14. 

1307. ROBERT BRUCE. 231 

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

At the head of this army, the Earl of Richmond 
attacked Bruce, and compelled him to retreat to the 
north of Scotland.]: His brother, Edward Bruce, the 
Earl of Lennox, Sir Gilbert de la Haye, and Sir Robert 
Boyd, accompanied the king, but Sir James Douglas 
remained in the south, for the purpose of reducing the 
forest of Selkirk, and Jedburgh. On reaching the 

* Foedera, vol. iii. p. 10. t Ibid. pp. 14, 16. 

J An anonymous MS. Chronicle, quoted by Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 225, asserts, 
that John of Bretagne, with an army, attacked King Robert about Martinmas, 
put his forces to flight, and compelled him to retreat to the bogs and moun- 
tains. No other English historian, however, records this defeat, and 
neither Barbour nor Fordun say a word of the matter. Ker plausibly con- 
jectures, that Robert only retreated before an army greatly superior to his 
own ; and Barbour represents the king's expedition into the north, not as 
the consequence of any defeat, but as- the result of a plan for the reduction 
of the northern parts of Scotland. 

Barbour, p. 162. 


Mounth, the name anciently given to that part of the 
Grampian chain which extends from the borders of the 
district called the Mearns to Loch Rannach, Bruce 
was joined by Sir Alexander Fraser, along with his 
brother, with all their power ; and from them he learnt, 
that Comyn, the Earl of Buchan, with his own nephew, 
Sir David de Brechin, and Sir John Mowbray, were 
assembling their vassals, and had determined to attack 
him. This news was the more unwelcome, as a griev- 
ous distemper began at this time to prey upon the 
king, depriving him of his strength and appetite, and 
for a time leaving little hopes of his recovery. As the 
soldiers of Bruce were greatly dispirited at the sickness 
of the king, Edward, his brother, deemed it prudent to 
avoid a battle, and entrenched himself in a strong posi- 
tion near Slaines, on the north coast of Aberdeenshire. 
After some slight skirmishes between the archers of 
both armies, which ended in nothing decisive, provi- 
sions began to fail ; and as the troops of Buchan daily 
increased, the Scots retired to Strabogy, carrying their 
king, who was still too weak to mount his horse, in a 
litter.* From this last station, as their royal charge 
began slowly to recover his strength, the Scots returned 
to Inverury; while the Earl of Buchan, with a body 
of about a thousand men, advanced to Old Meldrum, 
and Sir David de Brechin pushed on with a small 
party, and suddenly attacked and put to flight, some 
of Robert's soldiers, carelessly cantoned in the out- 
skirts of the town.-f* Bruce took this as a military 
affront, and instantly rising from his litter, called for 
his horse and arms. His friends remonstrated, but 

* Harbour, pp. 170, 171. 

T Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1004. Barbour, p. 172. It is said that 
the town of Inverury, received its charter as a royal burgh from the king 
after this victory, atat. Ace. vol. vii. p. 331. 

1308. ROBERT BRUCE. 233 

the king mounted on horseback, and although so weak 
as to be supported by two men on each side, he led on 
his soldiers in person, and instantly attacking the Earl 
of Buchan with great fury,* routed and dispersed his 
army, pursuing them as far as Fivy, on the borders of 
Buchan. Brechin fled to Angus, and shut himself up 
in his own castle of Brechin, which was soon after 
besieged and taken by the Earl of Athole, whose father 
had been executed in England. Into Buchan, the 
territory of Comyn, his mortal enemy, Bruce now 
marched, and took ample revenge for all the injuries 
he had sustained, wasting it with fire, and delivering 
it over to unbridled military execution. Barbour in- 
forms us, that for fifty years after, men spoke with 
terror of the harrying of Buchan; and it is singular 
that, at this day, the oaks which are turned up in the 
mosses, bear upon their trunks the blackened marks 
of being scathed with fire.^ 

The army of the king now rapidly increased, as his 
character for success and military talent became daily 
more conspicuous. His nephew, Sir David de Brechin, 
having been pardoned and admitted to favour, joined 
him about this time with his whole force, and pursuing 
his advantage, he laid siege to the castle of Aberdeen. \ 
Edward was now at Windsor, and, alarmed at such 
progress, he despatched an expedition to raise the siege 
of Aberdeen, and commanded the different seaports to 
fit out a fleet, which should co-operate with his land- 
forces. But these preparations were too late; for the 
citizens of Aberdeen, who had early distinguished 

* Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. ut supra. Barbour, p. 174. 

f- Statistical Account, vol. xi. p. 420. 

j The battle of Inverury was fougbt on the 22d May, 1308, and Edward's 
letter for the relief of Aberdeen is dated the 10th July, 1308. Rotuli Scotise, 
vol. i. p. 55. 


themselves in the war of liberty, and were warmly 
attached to the cause, encouraged by the presence of 
the royal army, and assisted by some of its best 
leaders, assaulted and carried the castle by storm, 
expelled the English, and levelled the fortifications 
with the ground. 

From Aberdeen the king held his victorious progress 
into Angus ; and here new success awaited him, in the 
capture of the castle of Forfar, at this time strongly 
garrisoned by the English. It was taken by escalade 
during the night, by a soldier named Philip the forester 
of Platane, who put all the English to the sword ; and 
the king, according to his usual policy, instantly com- 
manded the fortifications to be destroyed.* 

The vicinity of Bruce's army now threatened the 
important statipn of Perth, and the English king, in 
undissembled alarm, wrote to the citizens, extolling 
their steady attachment to his interest, and command- 
ing them to fortify their town against his enemies. } 
Ever varying in his councils, Edward soon after this 
dismissed the Earl of Richmond from his office of 
Governor of Scotland, and appointed in his place, as 
joint guardians, Robert de Umfraville earl of Angus, 
William de Ross of Hamlake, and Henry de Beau- 
mont.j John Comyn earl of Buchan, and various 
other Scottish barons, still attached to the English 
interest, were commanded to retain the charge of the 
various districts already intrusted to their care, and 

* Barbour, p. 175. This is the same as the forest of Plater. It was not 
far from Finhaven ; and the office of forester proves Philip to have been a 
man of some consequence, as, by a charter of Kobert II., we find a grant of 
the lands of Fothnevyn (Finhaven) to Alexander de Lindesay, with the 
office of forester of the forest of Plater, which David de Annand resigned. 
Alexander de Lindesay was a baron of a noble family. Jamieson's Notes 
to the Bruce, p. 446. 

t Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. p. 56. J Ibid. 

1301 ROBERT BRUCE. 235 

in orc?er to encourage them in their attachment, the 
king intimated his intention of leading an army into 
Scotland in the month of August, and directed his 
chamberlain Cotesbache to lay in provisions for the 
troops ; but the intended expedition never proceeded 
farther. The orders to Cotesbache, which are con- 
tained in the Foadera, acquaint us with an early source 
of Scottish wealth. Three thousand salted salmon 
were to be furnished to the army.* 

Satisfied for the present with his northern successes, 
Bruce despatched his brother Edward into Galloway. 
This district continued obstinately to resist his autho- 
rity, and was at present occupied by the English troops 
under the command of Sir Ingram de Umfraville, a 
Scottish baron, who, in 1305, had embraced the Eng- 
lish interest,^ and Sir John de St John. Umfraville 
and St John, assisted by Donegal, or Dougal,^ pro- 
bably the same powerful chieftain, who, in a former 
year, had defeated Bruce's brothers, collected a force 
of twelve hundred men, and encountered Edward Bruce 
at the Water of Crie. The English and the Gal- 
wegians, however, were unable to withstand the attack 
of the Scots. Their ranks were immediately thrown 
into confusion, two hundred were left dead on the field, 

* Foedera, vol. iii. p. 95. -f Rotuli Scotia?, vol. i. p. 56. 

$ It seems probable that Donegal, DongalJ, Donald, and Dougal, are all 
the same name. These Macdowalls were probably descended from the 
Lords of the Isles, who were Lords of Galloway ; and the bitter hatred 
which they seem to have entertained against Bruce, originated in all pro- 
bability from the circumstance, that David the youngest son of Malcom III, 
when he possessed Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and the 
whole of Scotland south of the Forth and the Clyde, except the earldom of 
Dunbar, bestowed the heiress of Ananderdale, in Galloway, upon Robert de 
Bras, a Norman baron, and the ancestor of the royal family. The kingdom 
of Galloway contained Ananderdale and Carrick ; and hence these proud 
Galwegian princes considered the Braces from the first as strangers and 
intruders, who had wrested from them part of their hereditary dominions. 
See Macpherson's Geographical Illustrations of Scottish History, sub voce 


and the rest dispersed amongst the mountains; while 
Umfraville, with his companion St John, with difficulty 
escaped to Butel, a castle on the sea-coast of Galloway.* 
After this successful commencement, Edward Bruce 
overran the country, compelled the inhabitants to 
swear allegiance to his brother, levied heavy contribu- 
tions, and had already taken and destroyed many of 
the castles of that wild district, when he received 
intelligence that John de St John was again in Gal- 
loway, at the head of fifteen hundred men. Upon his 
near approach, Bruce discovered, by his scouts, that 
it was the design of the English to make a forced 
march, and attack him by surprise. The courage of 
this brave soldier, bordering on temerity, now impelled 
him to an attempt, which many would have pronounced 
desperate. He stationed his foot soldiers in a straight 
valley, strongly fortified by nature,-f- and, early in the 
morning, under the cover of a thick mist, with fifty 
knights and gentlemen, well armed and mounted, he 
made a retrograde movement, and gained the rear of 
the English, without being perceived by them. Fol- 
lowing their line of march about a bow-shot off, his 
intention seems to have been, to have allowed St John 
to attack his infantry, and then to have charged them 
in the rear ; but before this could be effected, the mist 
suddenly cleared away, and Bruce^s little party were 
discovered when retreat was impossible. In this des- 

* Ker's Bruce, vol. i. p. 345. 

f His small folk gait he ilk deil, 
Withdraw thaim till a strait tharby, 
And he raid forth with his fifty." Harbour, p. 183. 

" Withdraw thaim till a strait tharhy." Lord Hailes, and Ker, p. 346, from 
this expression, conclude that Bruce made his infantry cast up intrench- 
ments. But for this there is no authority. He ordered his men merely to 
withdraw into a strait, or, in other words, made them take up a position 
in narrow ground. 

1308. ROBERT BRUCE. 237 

perate situation, Edward hesitated not to charge the 
English, which he did with so much fury, that their 
ranks were shaken, and many of their cavalry unhorsed. 
Before they could recover so far as to discern the in- 
significant numbers of their enemy, he made a second, 
and soon after a third charge, so sharp and well sus- 
tained, that the confusion became general and irre- 
trievable ; and believing, probably, that the Scottish 
troop was only the advance of a greater force, the 
English broke away in a panic, and were entirely 
routed. Sir Alan de Cathcart, one of Edward Bruce's 
companions in this spirited enterprise, recounted the 
particulars to Barbour, the affectionate biographer of 
Bruce, who characterizes it in simple but energetic 
language as a right fair point of chivalry.* This, 
however, was not the only success. Donald of the Isles 
collecting a large force of his Galwegian infantry, and, 
assisted by Sir Roland of Galloway,^ and other fierce 
chiefs of that district, made head against the royalists ; 
but Edward Bruce, flushed with his recent victories, 
encountered them on the banks of the Dee, dispersed 
their army, with the slaughter of Roland and many 
of the chiefs, and in the pursuit took prisoner the 
Prince of the Isles.J This defeat, which happened 
on the 29th of June 1 308, led to the entire expulsion 
of the English. It is said, that in a single year, this 
ardent and indefatigable captain besieged and took 
thirteen castles and inferior strengths in Galloway, 
and completely reduced the country under the domi- 
nion of the king. 

* Barbour, p. 183. 

+ " Quendam militem noirmu Rolandum." In Rymer, vol. i. new edition, 
part ii. p. 772, we find mention made of Rolandus Galwalensis Dominus. 
This Roland may have been the grandson of Roland prince of Galloway. 

Fordun a Hearne, p. 1005. Barbour, p. 186. 


During these repeated victories of his brother, Bruce 
received intelligence, that his indefatigable partisan, 
Sir James Douglas, having cut off the garrison of 
Douglas castle, which he had decoyed into an ambus- 
cade, had slain the governor, Sir John de Webeton, com- 
pelled the castle to surrender, and entirely destroyed 
the fortifications.* Douglas soon after reduced to 
obedience the forests of Selkirk and Jedburgh ; and, 
during his warfare in those parts, had the good fortune 
to surprise and take prisoners, Thomas Randolph the 
king's nephew, and Alexander Stewart of Bonkill, 
both of whom were still attached to the English 
interest.-f- Douglas, to whom Stewart was nearly 
related, treated his noble prisoners with kindness, 
and soon after conducted Randolph to the king. 
" Nephew," said Bruce, "you have for a while forgotten 
your allegiance, but now you must be reconciled." 
" I have been guilty of nothing whereof I need be 
ashamed," answered Randolph. " You arraign my 
conduct ; it is yourself who ought to be arraigned. 
Since you have chosen to defy the King of England, 
why is it that you debate not the matter like a true 
knight in a pitched field f " That," said Bruce, with 
great calmness. " may come hereafter, and it may be 
ere long. Meantime, since thou art so rude of speech, 
it is fitting thy proud words meet their due punish- 
ment, till thou knowest better my right and thine own 
duty." Having thus spoken, he ordered Randolph 
into close confinement. J It is pleasing to know that 
this lesson had its effect ; for, after a short imprison- 
ment, the young baron joined the party of the king, 

* Barbour, pp. 163, 164. I conjecture that the baron, whom Barbour 
calls Sir John of Webeton, was Johannes de Wanton, one of Edward's 
barons, mentioned in Rymer, vol. i. p. 630, new edition. 

t Barbour, pp. 187, 188. J Ibid. p. 189. 

1308. ROBERT BRUCE. 239 

who created him Earl of Moray. Nor had he any 
reason to repent his forgiveness or generosity. Ran- 
dolph soon displayed high talents for war ; he became 
one of the most illustrious of Bruce's assistants in the 
liberation of his country, and ever after served his 
royal master with unshaken fidelity. 

The king had never forgotten the attack made upon 
him by the Lord of Lorn, soon after the defeat at 
Methven, and he was now able to requite that fierce 
chief for the extremities to which he had then reduced 
him. Accordingly, after the junction of Douglas with 
his veteran soldiers, he invaded the territory of Lorn, 
and arrived at a narrow and dangerous pass, which 
runs along the bottom of Cruachin Ben, a high and 
rugged mountain, between Loch Awe and Loch Etive. 
The common people of Scotland were now, without 
much exception, on the side of Bruce ; and although, 
in many districts, when kept down by their lords, they 
dared not join him openly, yet in conveying intelli- 
gence of the motions and intentions of his enemies, 
they were of essential service to the cause. In this 
manner he seems to have been informed, that an am- 
buscade had been laid for him by the men of Lorn, in 
the Pass of Cruachin Ben, through which he intended 
to march. The Lord of Lorn himself remained with 
his galleys, in Loch Etive, and waited the result. 
The nature of the ground was highly favourable for 
this design of Lorn ; but it was entirely defeated by 
the dispositions of Bruce. Having divided his army 
into two parts, he ordered Douglas, along with one 
division, consisting entirely of archers, who were 
lightly armed, to make a circuit round the mountain, 
and to take possession of the rugged high ground 
above the Highlanders. Along with Douglas, were 


Sir Andrew Gray, Sir Alexander Fraser, and Sir 
William Wiseman. This manoeuvre was executed 
with complete success; and the king, having entered 
the pass, was, in its narrow gorge, immediately at- 
tacked by the men of Lorn, who, with loud shouts, 
hurled down stones upon him, and after discharging 
their missiles, rushed on to a nearer attack. But 
their opponent, whose soldiers were light-armed, and 
prepared for what occurred, met his enemies more than 
half-way; and, not content with receiving their charge, 
assaulted them with great fury. Meanwhile Douglas 
had gained the high ground, and discharging a shower 
of arrows, attacked the Highlanders in the rear, and 
threw them into complete disorder. After a stout 
resistance, the men of Lorn were defeated with great 
slaughter ; and their chief, the Lord of Lorn, had the 
mortification, from his galleys, to be an eye-witness of 
the utter rout of his army.* 

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

Whilst everything went thus successfully in the 
field, the Scottish king derived great advantage from 
the fluctuating and capricious line of policy which was 

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

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

1308. ROBERT BRUCE. 241 

pursued by his opponent. In less than a year Edward 
appointed six different governors in Scotland;* and 
to none of these persons, however high their talents, 
was there afforded sufficient time to organize, or carry 
into effect, any regular plan of military operations. 
His enemy, on the other hand, betrayed no want of 
activity, and about this time laid siege to Rutherglen, 
in Clydesdale a castle considered of such importance 
by Edward, that he despatched Gilbert de Clare earl 
of Gloucester, with a strong force, to raise the siege ; 
but either the expedition never departed, or it was too 
late in its arrival; for Rutherglen, in the beginning 
of the next year, appears to have been one of the 
castles in the hands of the Scots. "f* Indeed, Edward's 
measures seem to have mostly evaporated in orders 
and preparations, whilst he himself, occupied with the 
pleasures of the court, and engrossed by his infatuated 
fondness for his favourite Piers Gaveston, dreamt 
little of taking the field. Alarmed at last by the near 
approach of the Scottish army to the English border, 
he consented to accept the mediation of Philip king 
of France, who despatched Oliver de Roches to treat 
with Bruce, and Lamberton bishop of St Andrews, 
upon measures preparatory to a reconciliation. This 
able and intriguing prelate, on renewing his homage 
to the English king, had been liberated from his im- 
prisonment, and permitted to return to Scotland ; but 
his fellow prisoner, Wishart the bishop of Glasgow, 
considered too devoted to his country, was still kept 
in close confinement. De Roches 1 negotiation was 
soon followed by the arrival of the king's brother, 

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

f Rotuli Scotia, m. 12, p. 60. See Notes and Illustrations, letter Z. 

VOL. I. 


Lewis count of Evreux, and Guy bishop of Soissons, 
as ambassadors, earnestly persuading to peace; com- 
missioners from both countries were in consequence 
appointed, and a truce was concluded, which, if we 
may believe Edward, was ill observed by the Scots.* 
A trifling discovery of an intercepted letter clearly 
showed that the King of France secretly favoured 
the Scottish king. The Sieur de Varrennes, Philip's 
ambassador at the English court, openly sent a letter 
to Bruce under the title of the Earl of Carrick ; but 
he intrusted to the same bearer secret despatches, 
which were addressed to the King of Scots. Edward 
dissembled his indignation, and contented himself with 
a complaint against the duplicity of such conduct. -f- 

Nearly a whole year after this appears to have been 
spent by this monarch in a vacillating and contradic- 
tory policy with regard to Scotland, which was calcu- 
lated to give every advantage to so able an adversary 
as Bruce. Orders for the muster of his army, which 
were disobeyed by some of his most powerful barons 
commissions to his generals to proceed against his 
enemies, which were countermanded, or never acted 
upon promises to take the field in person, which 
were broken almost as soon as made directions, at 
one time, to his lieutenant in Scotland, to prosecute 
the war with the greatest vigour, and these in a few 
days succeeded by a command to conclude, and even, 
if required, to purchase a truce ;| such is the picture 

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

+ Rymer, vol. iii. p. 150. The King of France himself, in -writing to 
Edward, speaks of the " King of Scots and his subjects," Fcedera, voL iii. 
p. 215. 

J Hemingford, voL L p. 246. Kotuli Scotiae, voL i. p. 71. 

1309-10. ROBERT BRUCE.' 243 

of the imbecility of the English king, as presented by 
the public records of the time. 

To this everything in Scotland offered a striking 
contrast. Towards the end of the year 1 309, on the 
24th February, the prelates and clergy of Scotland 
held a general council at Dundee, and declared, that 
Robert lord of Annandale, the competitor, ought, by 
the ancient laws and customs of that country, to have 
been preferred to Baliol in the competition for the 
crown ; for which reason, they unanimously recognised 
Robert Bruce, then reigning, as their lawful sovereign. 
They engaged to defend his right, with the liberties 
and independence of Scotland, against all opponents ; 
and they declared all who should contravene the same 
to be guilty of treason against the king and the 
nation.* It seems probable that these resolutions of 
the clergy were connected with the deliberations of a 
parliament which assembled at the same time, and 
in which an instrument of similar import was drawn 
up and signed by the two remaining Estates, although 
no record of such proceedings remains. These solemn 
transactions gave strength to the title of Bruce, and 
increased a popularity which was already great. The 
spirit of the king had infused itself into the nobility, 
and pervaded the lowest ranks of the people that 
feeling of superiority, which a great military com- 
mander invariably communicates to his soldiers, evinced 
itself in constant and destructive aggressions upon 
the English marches ; and upon the recall of the Earl 
of Hereford and Lord Robert Clifford from the in- 
terior of Scotland, they were necessitated to advance 
a sum of money before their enemies would consent to 

* Instrument in the General Register House, Edinburgh. 


a truce.* On the resumption of hostilities, Bruce 
advanced upon Perth, and threatened it with a siege. 
This town had been strongly fortified by the English, 
and was intrusted to John Fitz-Marmaduke and a 
powerful garrison. Edward was at last roused into 
personal activity. He ordered a fleet to sail to the 
Tay he issued writs for levies of troops for its instant 
relief, "f* and he commanded his whole military vassals 
to assemble at Berwick on the 8th of September, to 
proceed immediately against his enemies. Disgusted 
with the presence of his favourite, Gaveston, some of 
the great barons refused to repair in person to the 
royal standard; yet a powerful army assembled, and 
the Earls of Gloucester and Warrene, Lord Henry 
Percy, Lord James Clifford, and many other nobles 
and barons, were in the field.J With this great force, 
Edward, in the end of autumn, invaded Scotland; and 
Bruce, profiting by the lessons of former years, and 
recollecting the disastrous defeats of Falkirk and 
Dunbar, avoided a battle. It happened that Scotland 
was this year visited by a famine unprecedentedly 
severe; and the king, after driving away the herds 
and flocks into the narrow straits and valleys, retired, 
on the approach of the English, to the woods, and 
patiently awaited the distress which he knew the 
scarcity of forage and provisions must entail upon the 
enemy. The English king marched on from Rox- 
burgh, through the forests of Selkirk and Jedburgh, 
to Biggar, looking in vain for an opponent. From 
this he penetrated to Renfrew, and, with a weak and 

* Hemingford, ut supra. Rotuli Scotia, vol. i. p. 80. The truce was to 
last till Christmas, and was afterwards prolonged till Midsummer. Tyrrel, 
vol. iii. p. 235. 

f Rotuli Scotise, vol. i. pp. 83, 84. 

+ Hemingford, vol. i. p. 247. 

Ker is in an error in asserting that there is no evidence of Edward's 

1310. ROBERT BRUCE. 245 

injudicious vengeance, burnt and laid waste the coun- 
try, so that the heavy-armed cavalry, which formed 
the strength of his army, soon began to be in grievous 
distress ; and, without a single occurrence of moment, 
he was compelled to order a retreat, and return to 
Berwick, where he spent the winter. Upon the re- 
treat of the English, Bruce and his soldiers, leaving 
their fastnesses, broke down upon Lothian;* and 
Edward, hearing of the reappearance of his enemies, 
with a great part of his forces again entered Scotland; 
but this second expedition concluded in the same un- 
satisfactory manner; whilst a third army, equally 
formidable in its numbers and equipment, which was 
intrusted to his favourite, the Earl of Cornwall, pene- 
trated across the Firth of Forth, advanced to Perth, 
and for some time anxiously endeavoured to find an 
enemy ;} but the Scots pursued their usual policy, and 
Gaveston returned with the barren glory of having 
marched over a country where there was no one to 
oppose him.J A fourth expedition, conducted by the 
Earls of Gloucester and Surrey, penetrated into Scot- 
land by a different route, marched into the forest of 
Selkirk, and again reduced that province under a short- 
lived obedience to England. 

On the return of the English king to London, 
Robert collected an army, and gratified his soldiers, 
who had so long smarted under oppression, by an in- 
vasion of that country on the side of the Solway, in 
which he burnt and plundered the district round Gills- 
land, ravaged Tynedale, and, after eight days' havoc, 

having penetrated to Renfrew. The proof is in the Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. 
p. 103. 

* Chron. Lanercost, p. 214. f Ibid, ut supra. 

J Hemingford, vol. i. p. 248. 

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


returned with much booty into Scotland. Edward, 
in a letter to the pope, complained in bitter terms of 
the merciless spirit evinced by the Scottish army dur- 
ing this invasion;* but we must recollect that this 
cruel species of warfare was characteristic of the age; 
and in Robert, whose personal injuries were so deep 
and grievous, who had seen the captivity of his queen 
and only child, and the death and torture of his dearest 
relatives and friends, we are not to be surprised if, in 
those dark days, revenge became a pleasure, and reta- 
liation a duty. Not satisfied with this, and aware 
that the English king was exclusively engaged in 
contentions with his barons, Bruce and his army, in 
the beginning of September, again entered England 
by the district of Redesdale, carried fire and sword 
through that country as far as Corbridge, then broke 
with much fierceness and rapacity into Tynedale,^ 
ravaged the bishoprick of Durham, and, after levying 
contributions for fifteen days, and enriching themselves 
with spoils and captives, marched back without oppo- 
sition into Scotland.]; The miseries suffered from 
these invasions, and the defenceless state of the fron- 
tier, induced the people of Northumberland and the 
lord marchers to purchase a short truce from the Scot- 
tish king ; a circumstance strongly 'indicative of the 
increasing imbecility of the English government. 

On his return, Bruce determined to besiege Perth, 
and sat down before it ; but, owing to the strength of 
the fortifications, it defied for six weeks all the efforts 
of his army. It had been intrusted to the command 

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

t Edward, in his epistle to the pope, compares them to foxes. Rymer's 
Foedera, rol. iii. p. 283. " Ad instar vulpium." 

J Foedera, vol. iii. p. 283. Fordun a Hearne, voL iv. p. 1006. 

Chron. Lanercost, pp. 216, 217. 


of William Olifant, an Anglicised Scot, to whom Ed- 
ward, in alarm for so important a post, Lad promised 
to send speedy succour;* but a stratagem of the king's, 
well planned, and daringly executed, gave Perth into 
the hands of the Scots before such assistance could 
arrive. The care of Edward the First had made Perth 
a place of great strength. It was fortified by a high 
wall, defended at intervals by stone towers, and sur- 
rounded by a broad deep moat, full of water. Bruce, 
having carefully observed the place where the fosse 
was shallowest, provided scaling ladders, struck his 
tents, and raised the siege. He then marched to a 
considerable distance, and having cheated the garrison 
into security by an absence of eight days, he suddenly 
returned during the night, and reached the walls un- 
discovered by the enemy. The king in person led his 
soldiers across the moat, bearing a ladder in his hand, 
and armed at all points. The water reached his 
throat, but he felt his way with his spear, waded 
through in safety, and was the second person who 
fixed his ladder and mounted the wall. A little inci- 
dent, related by Barbour, evinces the spirit which the 
example communicated to his companions, and the 
comparative poverty of the Scottish towns in those 
times. A French knight was present in the Scottish 
army, and observing the intrepidity with which Bruce 
led his soldiers, he exclaimed, " What shall we say of 
our French lords, who live at ease, in the midst of 
feasting, wassail, and jollity, when so brave a knight 
is here putting his life in hazard to win a miserable 
hamlet !"*f* So saying, he threw himself into the 
water with the gay valour of his nation, and having 

* Rotuli Scotia, voL 5. p. 105. 9th Oct. 1311. 
t Barbour, voL i. p. 177, 


passed the ditch, scaled the walls along with the king 
and his soldiers. So complete was the surprise, that 
the town was almost instantly taken. Every Scots- 
man who had joined the English interest was put to 
the sword, but the English garrison were spared,* 
and the king contented himself with the plunder of 
the place, and the total demolition of its fortifications. 
In the midst of these continued successes of Bruce, 
the measures of the English king presented a striking 
contrast to the energetic administration of his father. 
They were entirely on the defensive. He gave orders, 
indeed, for the assembling of an army, and made pro- 
mises and preparations for an invasion of Scotland. 
But the orders were recalled, and Edward, engrossed 
by disputes with his barons, took no decided part 
against the enemy. He wrote, however, to the diffe- 
rent English governors of the few remaining castles in 
Scotland, who had represented their incapacity of 
standing out against the attacks of the Scots, without 
a reinforcement of men, money, and provisions;^ he 
directed flattering letters to John of Argyle, the island 
prince, praising him for the annoyance which his fleet 
had occasioned to Bruce, and exhorting him to continue 
his services during the winter; and he entreated the 
pope to retain Wishart bishop of Glasgow, as a false 
traitor, and an enemy to his liege lord of England, in 
an honourable imprisonment at Rome,! fearful of the 
influence in favour of Bruce, which the return of this 
able prelate to Scotland might occasion. These feeble 
efforts were followed up by an attempt to conclude a 

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

t Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. p. 105. J Fosdera, vol. iii. p. 245. 

1311-12. ROBERT BRUCE. 249 

truce ; but the King of Scotland, eager to pursue his 
career of success, refused to accede* to the proposal, 
and a third time invaded England, with a greater force, 
and a more desolating fury than hefore. The towns 
of Hexham and Corbridge were burnt ; and his army, 
by a forced march, surprised the opulent city of Dur- 
ham during the night,^ slew all who resisted him, and 
reduced a great part of it to ashes. The castle, and 
the precincts of its noble cathedral withstood the efforts 
of the Scots, but the rest of the city was entirely 
sacked ; and so great was the spoil, that the inhabi- 
tants of the bishoprick, dreading the repetition of such 
a visit, offered two thousand pounds to purchase a 
truce. The terms upon which Robert agreed to this, 
strongly evinced the change which had taken place in 
the relative position of the two countries. It was 
stipulated by the Scots, that they should have free 
ingress and egress through the county of Durham, 
whenever they chose to invade England; and with 
such terror did this proviso affect the inhabitants of 
the neighbouring country, that the counties of Nor- 
thumberland, Cumberland, and Westmoreland, con- 
tributed each a sum of two thousand pounds to be 
included in the same truce, j During this invasion, 
Bruce established his head-quarters at Chester, while 
Sir James Douglas, with his veteran soldiers, who 
were well practised in such expeditions, pushed on, and 
having sacked Hartlepool, and the country round it, 
returned with many burgesses and their wives, whom 
he had made prisoners, to the main army. Thus 

* Foedera, vol. iii. p. 301. 

f Hemingford, vol. i. p. 262. Chron. Lanercost, p. 220. 
J Chron. Lanercost, p. 220. 

Hemingford, vol. i. p. 262. " Bruce was here only making a reprisal 
on his own English property. He had at Hartlepool, market and fair, assize 


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

On his return to Scotland, King Robert was repaid 
for this partial discomfiture, by the recovery of some 
important castles. Dalswinton, in Galloway, the chief 
residence of his enemies the Comyns, and soon after 
the castles of Butel and of Dumfries, which last had 
been committed to the care of Henry de Beaumont, 
were taken by assault, and, according to the constant 
practice of Bruce, immediately razed, and rendered 
untenable by any military force. J Edwardnow trembled 
for his strong castle of Caerlaverock, which had cost 
his father so long a siege; and he wrote with great 
anxiety to its constable, Eustace de Maxwell, exhort- 
ing him to adopt every means in his power for its 
defence. In the winter of the same year, this monarch 
was driven to some mean compromises of his honour. 

of bread and victual, also a seaport where he takes keel dues." Hutchinson's 
History of Durham, pp. 234, 246. 

* Hemingford, vol. i. p. 262. 

j- Chron. Lanercost, p. 221. Lord Hailes, vol. ii. p. 36, and Ker, vol. i. 
p. 404, have fallen into an error in describing Bruce as having only 
"threatened to besiege Berwick." Nor have either of these historians 
taken notice of his attempt upon Carlisle. Berwick was assaulted in 
December, 1312. M. Malmesburv, vita Ed. II., p. 145. 
,. $. Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1006. 

1312. ROBERT BRUCE. 251 

The English garrison of Dundee had been so hard 
pressed by the Scots, that William de Montfichet, the 
warden, entered into a treaty to surrender the place, 
and give up a number of Scottish prisoners, within a 
stipulated time. Edward was then at York, and hav- 
ing heard of this agreement, he sent peremptory orders 
to the warden to violate the truce, and, under the 
penalty of death to himself, and confiscation of his 
estates, to preserve the town by this flagrant act. 
Montfichet was also enjoined to warn the Scots, that 
if any of the English prisoners or hostages should be 
put to death, orders would be given for the immediate 
execution of all the Scottish prisoners in the hands of 
the English. In addition to this, the king addressed 
flattering letters to the several officers of the garrison 
of Dundee, and to the mayor, bailiffs, and community, 
thanking them for their good service, and exhorting 
them to persevere in the defence of the town. It is 
mortifying to find Sir David de Brechin, the king's 
nephew, who had signalized himself against his uncle 
in his days of distress, and, when afterwards made 
prisoner, had been pardoned and received into favour, 
again in the ranks of the enemy, and acting the part 
of an Anglicised Scot. He was now commanded to 
co-operate as joint- warden with Montfichet, and earnest 
orders were despatched for reinforcements of ships, 
provisions, and soldiers, to be sent from Newcastle and 

The heroic spirit of Bruce had now transfused itself 
into the peasantry of the country; and the king began 
to reap the fruits of this popular spirit, in the capture 
of the castle of Linlithgow, by a common labourer. 
His name was Binny, and being known to the garri- 

* Rotuli Scotia*, vol. i. p. 1UH. ',& March, 1311-12. 


son, and employed by them in leading hay into the 
fort, he communicated his design to a party of Scottish 
soldiers, whom he stationed in ambush near the gate. 
In his large wain he contrived to conceal eight armed 
men, covered with a load of hay, a servant drove the 
oxen, and Binny himself walked carelessly at his side. 
When the portcullis was raised, and the wain stood in 
the middle of the gateway, interposing a complete 
barrier to its descent,, the driver cut the ropes which 
harnessed the oxen; upon which signal the armed men 
suddenly leapt from the cart, the soldiers in ambush 
rushed in, and so complete was the surprise, that with 
little resistance, the garrison were put to the sword, 
and the place taken. Bruce amply rewarded the brave 
countryman, and ordered the castle and its strong out- 
works, constructed by Edward I., to be immediately 

Edward had committed the charge of the castle of 
Roxburgh, a post of the utmost importance, to a Burgun- 
dian knight, Gillemin de Fiennes. On Fasten's Even, 
immediately before Lent, when the soldiers and officers 
of the garrison were carelessly carousing, Sir James 
Douglas, with about sixty soldiers, favoured by a dark 
night, and concealed by black frocks thrown over their 
armour, cautiously approached the castle, creeping on 
their hands and feet through the trees which studded 
the park. They at last approached in this way so 
near, that they could overhear the talk of the senti- 
nels, one of whom observed them moving; and, de- 
ceived by the darkness, remarked to his fellow, that 
yonder oxen were late left out. Relieved by this for- 

* Lord Hailes, following Harbour, p. 196, and Ker, following Lord 
Hailes, place the capture of Linlithgow in the year 1311. Yet it appears, 
by the Rotuli Scotise, that the peel, or castle of Linlithgow, was in posses- 
sion of the English in February, 1312-13* 

1312. ROBERT BRUCE. 253 

tunate mistake, Douglas and his men continued their 
painful progress, and at length succeeded in reaching 
the foot of the walls, and fixing their ladders of rope, 
without being discovered. They could not, however, 
mount so quietly, but that the nearest watch on the 
outer wall overheard the noise, and ran to meet them. 
All was like to be lost ; but by this time the first Scots 
soldier had mounted the parapet, who instantly stabbed 
the sentry, and threw him over, before he had time to 
give the alarm. Another sentinel shared the fate of 
the first ; and so intent were the garrison upon their 
midnight sports, that the terrible cry of " Douglas ! 
Douglas !"" shouted into the great hall, was the first 
thing which broke off the revels. In a moment the 
scene was changed from mirth into a dreadful carnage ; 
but resistance soon became hopeless, and Douglas gave 
quarter. De Fiennes retreated to the great tower, and 
gallantly defended himself, till a deep wound in the 
face compelled him to surrender.* He retired to 
England, and died of his wounds soon after. Bruce 
immediately sent his brother Edward, who levelled 
the works, and reduced the rest of Teviotdale, with 
the exception of Jedburgh, which was still garrisoned 
by the English. 

At this time Randolph earl of Moray had strictly 
invested the castle of Edinburgh, which, for twenty 
years, had been in the possession of England, and was 
now commanded by Sir Piers de Luband, a Gascon 
knight, and a relative of Gaveston, the English king's 
favourite.-}* The garrison suspected the fidelity of this 
foreigner, and, having cast him into a dungeon, chose 
a constable of their own nation, who determined to 

* Barbour, pp. 202, 203. 

t Monachi Malmesburiensis Vita Edwardi II., p. 144. 

254 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1312-13. 

defend the place to the last extremity. Already had 
the Scots spent six weeks in the siege, when an English 
soldier, of the name of Frank, presented himself to 
Randolph, and informed him he could point out a 
place where he had himself often scaled the wall, and 
by which, he undertook to lead his men into the castle. 
This man, in his youth, when stationed in the castle, 
had become enamoured of a girl in the neighbourhood, 
and for the purpose of meeting her, had discovered a 
way up and down the perilous cliff, with which custom 
had rendered him familiar ; and Randolph, with thirty 
determined men, fully armed, placed themselves under 
his direction, and resolved to scale the castle at mid- 
night.* The surprise, however, was not nearly so 
complete as at Roxburgh, and the affair far more 
severely contested. Besides, Randolph had only half 
the number of men with Douglas, the access was far 
more difficult, and the night was so dark, that the task of 
climbing the rock became extremely dangerous. They 
persevered, nevertheless, and, on getting about half-way 
up, found a jutting crag, on which they sat down to take 
breath. The wall was now immediately above them ; 
and it happened that the check-watches, at this time, 
were making their round, and challenging the senti- 
nels, whilst Randolph and his soldiers could hear all 
that passed. At this critical moment, whether from 
accident, or that one of the watch had really perceived 
something moving on the rock, a soldier cast a stone 
down towards the spot where Randolph sat, and called 
out, " Away ! I see you well." But the Scots lay 
still, the watch moved on, and Randolph and his men 
waited till they had gone to some distance. They then 
got up, and clambering to the bottom of the wall, at a 

* Barbour, p. 205. 

1313. ROBERT BRUCE. 255 

place where it was only twelve feet in height, fixed the 
iron crochet of their rope-ladder on the crib-stone.* 
Frank was the first who mounted, then followed Sir 
Andrew Gray, next came Randolph himself, who was 
followed by the rest of the party. Before, however, 
all had got up, the sentinels, who had heard whispering 
and the clank of arms, attacked them, and shouted 
*' Treason !" They were soon, however, repulsed or 
slain ; and the Scots, by this time on the parapet, 
leapt down, and rushed on to the keep, or principal 
strength. The whole garrison was now in arms, and 
a desperate conflict ensued, in which the English greatly 
outnumbered their assailants. But panic and surprise 
deprived them of their accustomed bravery ; and, al- 
though the governor himself made a gallant defence, 
he was overpowered and slain, and his garrison imme- 
diately surrendered at discretion. Randolph liberated 
Sir Piers Luband from his dungeon, and the Gascon 
knight immediately entered the service of Bruce. The 
castle itself shared the fate of every fortress which fell 
into the hands of the Scottish king. It was instantly 
demolished, and rendered incapable of military occu- 
pation. If we consider the small number of men which 
he led, and the difficult circumstances in which the 
assault was made, we shall probably be inclined to agree 
with the faithful old historian, who characterizes this 
exploit of Randolph as one of the hardiest and most 
chivalrous which distinguished a chivalrous age.*)* 

These great successes so rapidly succeeding each 
other, and an invasion of Cumberland, which soon 

* Barbour, pp. 207, 208. 

+ Barbour, pp. 207, 212. In Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 259, it is said, on the 
authority of Scala Chronicon, that ttie foreigners to whom the Scottish 
castles were committed, would hazard nothing in their defence, an erron- 
eous assertion, and arising out of national mortification. 


after followed, made the English king tremble for the 
safety of Berwick, and induced him to remove the 
unfortunate Countess of Buchan from her imprison- 
ment there, to a place of more remote confinement. 
The conferences for a cessation of hostilities were again 
renewed, at the request of the French king; and 
Edward ostentatiously talked of granting a truce to 
his enemies in compliance with the wishes of Philip,* 
which, when it came to the point, his enemies would 
not grant to him. 

Soon after this the King of Scotland conducted, in 
person, a naval expedition against Man. To this island 
his bitter enemies, the Macdowalls, had retreated, after 
their expulsion from Galloway, their ancient princi- 
pality ; and the then Governor of Man appears to have 
been that same fierce chief, who had surprised Thomas 
and Alexander Bruce at Loch Ryan. Bruce landed 
his troops, encountered and routed the governor, 
stormed the castle of Russin, and completely subdued 
the island.'!' He then despatched some galleys to 
levy contributions in Ulster, and returned to Scotland, 
where he found that his gallant and impetuous brother 
Sir Edward Bruce, had made himself master of the 
town and castle of Dundee, for the preservation of 
which so many exertions had been made in a former 
year. After this success, Sir Edward laid siege to the 
castle of Stirling, nearly the last fortress of importance 
which now stood between Scotland and freedom. Its 
governor, Philip de Mowbray, after a long and suc- 
cessful defence, had begun to dread the failure of pro- 
visions in the garrison, and made overtures for a treaty, 

* Rymer, Feed. vol. iii. p. 411. 

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

1313-14. ROBERT BRUCE. 257 

in which he agreed to surrender the castle by the en- 
suing midsummer, if not relieved by an English army. 
This was evidently a truce involving conditions which 
ought on no account to have been accepted. Its 
necessary effect, if agreed to, was to check the ardour 
of the Scots in that career of success which was now 
rapidly leading to the complete deliverance of their 
country ; it gave the King of England a whole year 
to assemble the strength of his dominions ; and such 
were the chivalrous feelings of that age, as to agree- 
ments of this nature, that it compelled the King of 
Scotland to hazard the fortunes of his kingdom upon 
the issue of a battle, which he knew must be fought 
on his side with a great disparity of force. We need 
not wonder then, that Bruce was highly incensed, on 
hearing that, without consulting him, his brother had 
agreed to Mowbray's proposals. He disdained, how- 
ever, to imitate the conduct of Edward, who, in a 
former year, and in circumstances precisely similar, 
had infringed the treaty of Dundee ;* and keeping his 
word unbroken, he resolved, at all hazards, to meet 
the English on the, appointed day.f 

Edward, having obtained a partial reconciliation 
with his discontented barons, made immense prepara- 
tions for the succour of the fortress of Stirling. He 
summoned the whole military force of his kingdoms 
to meet him at Berwick on the 1 1th of June.J To this 
general muster ninety-three barons, comprehending the 
whole body of the great vassals of the crown, were 
commanded to repair with horse and arms, and their 
entire feudal service ; whilst the different counties in 

* Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. p. 108. t Barbour, pp. 216, 217. 

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

VOL. I. S 


England and Wales were ordered to raise a body of 
twenty-seven thousand foot soldiers; and although 
Hume, mistaking the evidence of the original record, 
has imagined that the numbers of this army have 
been exaggerated by Barbour, it is certain that the 
accumulated strength which the king commanded ex- 
ceeded a hundred thousand men, including a body of 
forty thousand cavalry, of which three* thousand 
were, both horse and man, in complete armour, 
and a force of fifty thousand archers. He now ap- 
pointed the Earl of Pembroke, a nobleman experienced, 
under his father, in the wars of Scotland, to be gover- 
nor of that country, and despatched him thither to 
make preparations for his own arrival. He ordered a 
fleet of twenty-three vessels to be assembled for the 
invasion of Scotland;* in addition to these, he directed 
letters to the mayor and authorities of the various sea- 
port towns, enjoining them to fit out an additional fleet 
of thirty ships ; and of this united armament, he ap- 
pointed John Sturmy and Peter Bard to have the 
command.-f- He directed letters to O'Connor prince 
of Connaught, and twenty-five other Irish native 
chiefs, requiring them to place themselves, with all 
the military force which they could collect, under the 
orders of Richard de Burgh earl of Ulster, and to join 
the army at the muster ; he made the same demand upon 
the English barons who possessed estates in Ireland. 
He requested the Bishop of Constance to send him a 
body of sixty mounted cross-bowmen. He took care 
that store of provisions for the troops, and forage for 
the cavalry, should be collected from all quarters ; he 

* Rotuli Scot!*, voLi. pp. 116, 119. 7 Ed. II., m. 8. 18th March, 1315-14. 
The writs are directed to twenty-three captains of vessels, of which the names 
are given. We have " the James, the Mary, the Blyth, the St Peter," &c. 

t Rotuli Scotia, voL i. p. 115. 12th March, 1313. 

1314. ROBERT BRUCE. 259 

placed his victualling department under strict organi- 
zation ; he appointed John of Argyle, who, probably, 
had no inconsiderable fleet of his own, to co-operate 
with the English armament, with the title of High 
Admiral of the western fleet of England;* and he 
took care that the army should be provided with all 
kinds of useful artisans smiths, carpenters, masons, 
armourers and supplied with waggons and cars for 
the transport of the tents, pavilions, and baggage, 
which so large a military array necessarily included. 
The various writs, and multifarious orders, connected 
with the summoning and organization of the army of 
England, which fought at Bannockburn, are still pre- 
served, and may be seen in their minutest details ; and 
they prove that it far exceeded, not only in numbers 
but in equipment, any army which was ever led by any 
former monarch against Scotland.-J- 

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

Meanwhile, Bruce, aware of the mighty force which 

* Rotuli Scotise, p. 121, m. 7, p. 129. 25th March, 1315-14. 
f Ibid. 7 Ed. II., vol. i. passim. 


was advancing against him, had not been idle. He 
appointed a general muster of his whole army in the 
Torwood, near Stirling,* and here he found, that the 
greatest force which could be collected, did not amount 
to forty thousand fightingmen; and that the small body 
of cavalry which he had, could not be expected to com- 
pete for a moment, either in the temper of their arms, or 
the strength of their horses, with the heavy cavalry of 
the English. He at once, therefore, resolved to fight 
on foot,-f- and to draw up his army in ground where 
cavalry could not act with effect, and where the Eng- 
lish, from their immense numbers, would be cramped 
and confined in their movements. For this purpose, 
he chose a field not far from Stirling, which was then 
called the New Park. It was studded and encumbered 
with trees, and the approach to it was protected by a 
morass, the passage of which would be dangerous to 
an enemy. J Bruce, having carefully examined the 
ground, determined that his right wing should rest 
on the rivulet called Bannock-burn, whose broken and 
wooded banks afforded him an excellent security 
against being outflanked. His front extended to a 
village called St Ninians ; and his left wing, which 
was unprotected by the nature of the ground, was ex- 
posed to the garrison of Stirling in the rear a dange- 
rous position, had not the terms of the treaty with the 
governor precluded attack from that quarter. But 
Bruce did not leave the defence of his left to this 
negative security ; for in a field hard by, so firm and 
level that it afforded favourable ground for cavalry, he 

* Barbonr, p. 221. 

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

J Barbour, pp. 223, 224. 

] 314. EGBERT BRUCE. 261 

caused many rows of parallel pits to be dug, a foot in 
breadth, and about three feet deep. In these pits he 
placed pointed stakes, with a number of sharp iron 
weapons, called in Scotland calthrops, and covered them 
carefully with sod, so that the ground, apparently 
level, was rendered impassable to horse.* It does not 
appear, however, that the English cavalry attempted 
to charge over this ground, although, in the subsequent 
dispersion of the army, many lost their lives in the 
pits and ditches.^ 

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

Soon after, word was brought that the English army 
had lain all night at Edinburgh. This was on Satur- 
day evening the twenty-second of June, and early in 
the morning of Sunday the soldiers heard mass. It 
was stated by the contemporary historians, that they 
confessed themselves with the solemnity of men who 
were resolved to die in that field, or to free their coun- 
try ; and as it was the vigil of St John, they took no 
dinner, but kept their fast on bread and water. Mean- 

* Barbour, p. 226, 1. 365. f Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 246. 


while the king, on Sunday, after hearing mass, rode 
out to examine the pits which had been made, and to 
see that his orders had been duly executed. Having 
satisfied himself, he returned, and commanded his 
soldiers to arm. This order was promptly obeyed; 
and all cheerfully arrayed themselves under their dif- 
ferent banners. Bruce then caused proclamation to be 
made, that all who did not feel fully resolved to win 
the field, or to die with honour, had at that moment 
free liberty to leave the army; but the soldiers raised 
a great shout, and answered with one accord, that they 
were determined to abide the enemy.* 

The baggage of the army was placed in a valley at 
some distance in the rear, and the sutlers and camp- 
followers, who amounted nearly to twenty thousand, 
were stationed beside it, and commanded to await the 
result of the battle. They were separated from the 
army by a small hill, which is yet called the Gilles, or 
Gillies 1 Hill. 

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

* Barbour, pp. 226, 227. 

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

1314. ROBERT BRUCE. 263 

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

Although this was not exactly the case, the rash 
character of Edward led him to commit' some errors 
in the disposal of his troops, which led to fatal con- 
sequences. He had hurried on to Scotland with such 
rapidity, that the horses were worn out with travel 
and want of food, and the men were not allowed the 
regular periods for halt and refreshment, so that his 
soldiers went into action under great disadvantage. 
Upon advancing from Falkirk, early in the morning, 
and when the English host was only two miles distant 
from the Scottish army, Edward despatched an ad- 
vanced party of eight hundred cavalry, led by Sir 
Robert Clifford, with orders to outflank the enemy, 
and to throw themselves into Stirling castle. Bruce 
had looked for this movement, and had commanded 
Randolph, his nephew, to be vigilant in repelling any 
such attempt.-f- Clifford, however, unobserved by 
Randolph, made a circuit by the low grounds to the 
aast and north of the church of St Ninians, and hav- 
ing thus avoided the front of the Scottish line, he was 
proceeding towards the castle, when he was detected 
by the piercing eye of Bruce, who rode hastily up to 
Randolph, and reproached him for his carelessness in 

* Barbour, p. 229. f Ibid. p. 228. 


having suffered the enemy to pass. " Oh, Randolph !" 
cried his master, " lightly have you thought of the 
charge committed to you ; a rose has fallen from your 
chaplet."* Stung by such words, the Earl of Moray, 
leaving the centre, at the head of a select body of 
infantry, hasted at all hazards to repair his error. As 
he advanced, Clifford's squadron wheeled round, and 
putting their spears in rest, charged him at full 
speed, but Randolph had formed his infantry in a 
square presenting a front on all sides, with the spears 
fixed before them;*^ and although he had only five 
hundred men, he awaited the shock of Clifford with 
with such firmness, that many of the English were 
unhorsed, and Sir William Daynecourt, an officer of 
note, who had been more forward in his attack than 
his companions, was slain. J Unable to make any im- 
pression upon Randolph's square by this first attack, 
the English proceeded more leisurely to surround him 
on all sides, and by a second furious and simultaneous 
charge on each front, endeavoured to break the line. 
But the light armour, the long spears, and the short 
knives and battle-axes of the Scottish foot, proved a 
match for the heavy-armed English cavalry, and a 
desperate conflict ensued, in which Randolph's little 
square, although it stood firm, seemed likely to be 
crushed to pieces by the heavy metal which was brought 
against it. All this passed in the sight of Bruce who 
was surrounded by his officers. At length Sir James 
Douglas earnestly requested to be allowed to go with 
a reinforcement to his relief. " You shall not stir a 
foot from your ground," said the king, " and let Ran- 
dolph extricate himself as best he can ; I will not alter 
my order of battle, and lose my advantage, whatever 

* Barbour, p. 231. f Ibid. p. 232. J Ibid. p. 234. 

1314 ROBERT BRUCE. 265 

may befall him." "My liege," answered Douglas, 
" I cannot stand by, and see Randolph perish, when 
I may bring him help ; so by your leave I must away 
to his succour." Bruce unwillingly consented, and 
Douglas immediately held his way towards Randolph.* 
By this time the King of England had brought up 
his main army, and ordered a halt, for the purpose of 
consulting with his leaders, whether it were expedient 
to join battle that same day, or take a night to refresh 
his troops. By some mistake, however, the centre of 
the English continued its march, not aware of this 
order, and on their approach to the New Park, Bruce 
rode forward alone to make some new arrangements, 
which were called for by the absence of Randolph, and 
to take a final view of the disposition of his army. 
He was at this time in front of his own line, meanly 
mounted on a hackney, but clad in full armour, with 
his battle-axe in his hand, and distinguished from his 
nobles by a small crown of gold surmounting his steel 
helmet. On the approach of the English vaward, led 
by the Earls of Gloucester and Hereford, Sir Henry 
de Boune, an English knight, who rode about a bow- 
shot in advance of his companions, recognised the 
king, and galloped forward to attack him. Boune was 
armed at all points, and excellently mounted on a 
heavy war-horse, so that the contest was most un- 
equal, and Bruce might have retired; but for a moment 
he forgot his duties as a general in his feelings as a 
knight, and, to the surprise of his soldiers, spurred his 
little hackney forward to his assailant. There was an 
interval of breathless suspense, but it lasted only a 
moment; for as the English knight came on in full 
career, the king parried the spear, and raising himself 

* Barbour, pp. 233, 234. 


in his stirrups as he passed, with one blow of his battle- 
axe laid him dead at his feet, by almost cleaving his 
head in two.* Upon this his soldiers raised a great 
shout, and advanced hardily upon the English centre, 
which retreated in confusion to the main army; and 
Bruce, afraid of disorder getting into his line of battle, 
called back his men from the pursuit, after they had 
slain a few of the English soldiers. When they 
had time to recollect themselves, the Scottish leaders 
earnestly remonstrated with the king for the rash 
manner in which he exposed himself; and Bruce, 
somewhat ashamed of the adventure, changed the sub- 
ject, and looking at the broken shaft which he held in 
his hand, with a smile replied, " He was sorry for the 
loss of his good battle-axe.""}- 

All this passed so quickly, that the contest between 
Randolph and Clifford was still undecided; but Dou- 
glas, as he drew near to his friend's rescue, perceived 
that the English had by this time begun to waver, 
and that disorder was rapidly getting into their ranks. 
Commanding his men, therefore, to halt, " Let us not," 
cried he, "diminish the glory of so redoubtable an 
encounter, by coming in at the end to share it. The 
brave men that fight yonder, without our help will 
goon discomfit the enemy.'* And the result was as 
Douglas had foreseen; for Randolph, who quickly 
perceived the same indications, began to press the 
English cavalry with repeated charges and increasing 
fury, so that they at length entirely broke, and fled in 
great disorder. The attempt to throw succours into 
the castle was thus completely defeated ; and Clifford, 
after losing many of his men, who were slain in the 
pursuit, rejoined the main body of the army with the 

* Barbour, pp. 235, 236. t Ibid. p. 237. 

1314. ROBERT BRUCE. 267 

scattered and dispirited remains of his squadron.* 
So steadily had the Scots kept their ranks, that Ran- 
dolph had sustained a very inconsiderable loss. 

From the result of these two attacks, and especially 
from the defeat of Clifford, Bruce drew a good augury, 
and cheerfully congratulated his soldiers on so fair a 
beginning. He observed to them, that they had de- 
feated the flower of the English cavalry, and had 
driven back the centre division of their great army ; 
and remarked, that the same circumstances which gave 
spirit and animation to their hopes, must communicate 
depression to the enemy .( As the day was far spent, 
he held a military council of his leaders, and requested 
their advice, whether, having now seen the numbers 
and strength of their opponents, it was expedient to 
hazard a battle, declaring himself ready to submit his 
individual opinion to the judgment of the majority. 
But the minds of the Scottish commanders were not 
in a retreating mood; and although aware of the great 
disparity of force, the English army being more than 
triple that of Bruce, they declared their unanimous 
desire to keep their position, and to fight on the mor- 
row. The king then told them that such was his own 
wish, and commanded them to have the whole army 
arrayed next morning by day-break, in the order and 
upon the ground already agreed on. He earnestly 
exhorted them to preserve the firmest order, each man 
under his own banner, and to receive the charge of the 
enemy with levelled spears, so that even the hindmost 
ranks of the English would feel the shock. He pointed 
out to them, that everything in the approaching battle, 
which was to determine whether Scotland was to be 
free or enslaved, depended on their own steady disci- 
Barbour, pp. 238, 239. t Ibid. pp. 240, 241. 


pline and deliberate valour. He conjured them not to 
allow a single soldier to quit his banner or break the 
array ; and, if they should be successful, by no means 
to begin to plunder or to make prisoners, as long as a 
single enemy remained on the field. He promised 
that the heirs of all who fell should receive their lands 
free, and without the accustomed feudal fine ; and he 
assured them, with a determined and cheerful coun- 
tenance, that if the orders he had now given were 
obeyed, they might confidently look forward to vic- 

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

On Monday, the 24th of June, at the first break of 
day, the Scottish king confessed, and along with his 
army heard mass. This solemn service was performed 
by Maurice, the Abbot of Inchaffray, upon an emi- 
nence in front of their line, and after its conclusion 
the soldiers took breakfast, and arranged themselves 

* Barbour, pp. 243, 244. f Thomas de la More, apud Camden, p. 594. 

1314. ROBERT BRUCE. 269 

under their different banners . They wore light armour, 
but of excellent temper. Their weapons were, a battle- 
axe slung at their side, and long spears, besides knives, 
or daggers, which the former affair of Randolph had 
proved to be highly effective in close combat. When 
the whole army was in array, they proceeded, with 
displayed banners, to make knights, as was the custom 
before a battle. Bruce conferred that honour upon 
Walter the young Steward of Scotland, Sir James 
Douglas, and many other brave men, in due order, 
and according to their rank.* 

By this time the van of the English army, composed 
of archers and lances, and led by the Earls of Gloucester 
and Hereford, approached within bowshot; and at a 
little distance behind, the remaining nine divisions, 
which, confined by the narrowness of the ground, were 
compressed into a close column of great and unwieldy 
dimensions.^ This vast body was conducted by the 
King of England in person, who had along with him 
a body-guard of five hundred chosen horse. He was 
attended by the Earl of Pembroke, Sir Ingram Umfra- 
ville, and Sir Giles de Argentine, a Knight of Rhodes, 
of great reputation. When Edward approached near 
enough, and observed the Scottish army drawn up on 
foot, and their firm array and determined countenance, 
he expressed much surprise, and turning to Umfraville, 
asked him, " If he thought these Scots would fight f 
Umfraville replied, that they assuredly would ; and he 
then advised Edward, instead of an open attack, to 
pretend to retreat behind his encampment, upon which 
he was confident, from his old experience in the Scot- 
tish wars, that the enemy would break their array, and 

Foedera, vol. iii. p. 441. Fordun a Goodal 

+ Walsingham, p. 
dal, vol. ii. p. 295. 


rush on without order or discipline, so that the Eng- 
lish army might easily attack and overwhelm them. 
Umfraville, an Anglicised Scottish baron, who had 
seen much service against Edward's father, and had 
only sworn fealty in 1305, spoke this from an intimate 
knowledge of his countrymen; but Edward fortunately 
disdained his counsel. At this moment the Abbot of 
Inchaffray, barefooted and holding a crucifix aloft in 
his hand, walked slowly along the Scottish line ; and 
as he passed, the whole army knelt down,* and prayed 
for a moment with the solemnity of men who felt it 
might be their last act of devotion. " See," cried 
Edward, " they are kneeling they ask mercy !" 
" They do, my liege," replied Umfraville, " but it is 
from God, not from us. Trust me, yon men will win 
the day, or die upon the field."'!' " Be it so, then," 
said Edward, and immediately commanded the charge 
to be sounded. The English van, led by Gloucester 
and Hereford, now spurred forward their horses, and 
at full gallop charged the right wing of the Scots, com- 
manded by Edward Bruce ; but a dispute between the 
two.English barons as to precedency, caused the charge, 
though rapid, to be broken and irregular. Gloucester, 
who had been irritated the day before by some galling 
remarks of the king, insisted on leading the van, a 
post which of right belonged to Hereford, as Constable 
of England. To this Hereford would not agree; and 
Gloucester, as they disputed, seeing the Scottish right 
advancing, sprung forward at the head of his own divi- 
sion, and, without being supported by the rest of the 
van, attacked the enemy, who received them with a 
shock, which caused the noise of the meeting of their 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 250. 

t Barbour, p. 250, and Chronicle of Lanercost, p. 225. 

1314. ROBERT BRUCE. 271 

spears to be heard a great way off, and threw many 
knights from their saddles, whose horses were stabbed 
and rendered furious by their wounds.* While the 
right wing was thus engaged, Randolph, who com- 
manded the centre division, advanced at a steady pace 
to meet the main body of the English, whom he con- 
fronted and attacked with great intrepidity, although 
the enemy outnumbered him by ten to one. His 
square, to use an expression of Harbour's, was soon 
surrounded and lost amidst the English, as if it had 
plunged into the sea; upon which Sir James Douglas 
and Walter the Steward brought up the left wing ; so 
that the whole line, composed of the three battles, was 
now engaged, and the battle raged with great fury.t 
The English cavalry attempting, by repeated charges, 
to break the line of the Scottish spearmen, and they 
standing firm in their array, and presenting on every 
side a serried front of steel, caused a shock and melee, 
which is not easily described; and the slaughter was 
increased, by the remembrance of many years of griev- 
ous injury and oppression, producing, on the part of 
the Scots, an exasperation of feeling, and an eager 
desire of revenge. At every successive charge, the 
English cavalry lost more men, and fell into greater 
confusion than before ; and this confusion was infinitely 
increased by the confined nature of the ground, and 
the immense mass of their army. The Scottish squares, 
on the other hand, were light and compact, though 
firm ; they moved easily, altered their front at pleasure, 
and suited themselves to every emergency of the battle. 
They were, however, dreadfully galled by the English 
bowmen ; and Bruce, dreading the effect of the con- 
stant and deadly showers of arrows, which fell like 

* Barbour, p. 251. t Ibid. pp. 252, 253. 


hail upon them, directed Sir Robert Keith, the mar- 
shal, to make a circuit, with the five hundred horse 
which were in the reserve, round the morass called 
Miltown Bog, and to charge the archers in flank. This 
movement was executed with great decision and rapi- 
dity; and such was its effect, that the whole body of 
the archers who had neither spears nor other weapons 
to defend themselves against cavalry, were in a short 
time overthrown and dispersed, without any prolonged 
attempt at resistance.* Part of them fled to the main 
army, and the rest did not again attempt to rally 
or make head during the continuance of the battle. 
Although such was the success of this judicious attack, 
the English still kept fighting with great determina- 
tion ; but they had already lost some of their bravest 
commanders, and Bruce could discern symptoms of 
exhaustion and impatience. He saw, too, that his own 
infantry were still fresh and well-breathed; and he 
assured his leaders that the attack, continued but for 
a short time, and pushed with vigour, must make the 
day their own. It was at this moment that he brought 
up his whole reserve, and the four battles of the Scots 
were now completely engaged in one line.-f* The Scot- 
tish archers, unlike the English, carried short battle- 
axes ; and with these, after they had exhausted their 
arrows, they rushed upon the enemy, and made great 
havoc. The Scottish commanders, too, the king, 
Edward Bruce, Douglas, Randolph, and the Steward, 
were fighting in the near presence of each other, and 
animated with a generous rivalry. At this time, Bar- 
bour, whose account of the battle is evidently taken 
from eye-witnesses, describes the field as exhibiting a 

* Barbour, pp. 255, 256. 

f Harbour, p. 258. Chron. of Lanercost, p. 225. 

1314. ROBERT BRUCE. 273 

terrific spectacle. " It was awful, 1 ' says he, " to hear 
the noise of these four battles fighting in a line, the 
clang of arms, the shouts of the knights as they raised 
their war-cry; to see the flight of the arrows, which 
maddened the horses, the alternate sinking and rising 
of the banners, and the ground slippery with gore, and 
covered with shreds of armour, broken spears, pennons, 
and rich scarfs, torn and soiled with blood and clay ; 
and to listen to the groans of the wounded and the 
dying." The wavering of the English lines was now 
discernible by the Scottish soldiers themselves, who 
shouted when they saw it, and calling out, " On them, 
on them they fail!" pressed forward with renewed 
vigour, gaining ground upon their enemy.* At this 
critical moment, there appeared over the little hill, 
which lay between the field and the baggage of the 
Scottish army, a large body of troops marching appa- 
rently in firm array towards the field. This spectacle, 
which was instantly believed to be a reinforcement 
proceeding to join the Scots, although it was nothing 
more than the sutlers and camp-boys hastening to see 
the battle, spread dismay amidst the ranks of the Eng- 
lish ; and King Robert, whose eye was everywhere, to 
perceive and take advantage of the slightest movement 
in his favour, put himself at the head of his reserve, 
and raising his ensenye, or war-cry, furiously pressed 
on the enemy.t It was this last charge, which was 
followed up by the advance of the whole line, that 
decided the day; the English, who hitherto, although 
wavering, had preserved their array, now broke into 
disjointed squadrons ; part began to quit the field, and 
no efforts of their leaders could restore order. The 
Earl of Gloucester, who was mounted on a spirited 

* Barbour, p. 259. t Ibid. p. 261. 



war-horse, which had lately been presented to him by 
the king,* in one of his attempts to rally his men, rode 
desperately upon the division of Edward Bruce ; he 
was instantly unhorsed, and fell pierced by numerous 
wounds of the Scottish lances. The flight now became 
general, and the slaughter great. The banners of 
twenty-seven barons were laid in the dust, and their 
masters slain. Amongst these were Sir Robert Clif- 
ford, a veteran and experienced commander, and Sir 
Edmund Mauley, the Seneschal of England. On see- 
ing the entire rout of his army, Edward reluctantly 
allowed the Earl of Pembroke to seize his bridle, and 
force him off the field, guarded by five hundred heavy- 
armed horse. Sir Giles de Argentine accompanied 
him a short way, till ho saw the king in safety. He 
then reined up, and bade him farewell. " It has never 
been my custom," said he, " to fly ; and here I must 
take my fortune." Saying this, he put spurs to his 
horse, and crying out, " An Argentine !" charged the 
squadron of Edward Bruce, and, like Gloucester, was 
soon borne down by the force of the Scottish spears, 
and cut to pieces. t Multitudes of the English were 
drowned when attempting to cross the river Forth. 
Many, in their flight, got entangled in the pits, which 
they seem to have avoided in their first attack, and 
were there suffocated or slain; others, who vainly 
endeavoured to pass the rugged banks of the Bannock- 
burn, were slain in that quarter; so completely was 
this little river heaped up with the dead bodies of men 
and horses, that the pursuers passed dry over the 

* Hutchinson's Hist, and Antiquities of the Palatinate of Durham, p. 
261. " The Bishop of Durham, Richard Kellow, had a short time before 
presented this war-horse, an animal of high price, along with one thousand 
marks to King Ed-ward." 

t Barbour, p. 263. 

1314). ROBERT BRUCE. 275 

mass as if it were a bridge. Thirty thousand of the 
English were left dead upon the field, and amongst 
these two hundred knights and seven hundred esquires. 
A large body of Welsh fled, under the command of 
Sir Maurice Berkclay, but the greater part of them 
were slain, or taken prisoners, before they reached 

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

* Barbour, pp. 266, 267. t Ibid. 


make a stand. But it is probable they believed Dou- 
glas to be the advance of the army.* Edward at last 
gained the castle of Dunbar, where he was hospitably 
received by the Earl of March, and from which he 
passed by sea to Berwick. In the meantime, Bruce 
sent a party to attack the fugitives who clustered round 
the rock of Stirling. These were immediately made 
prisoners, and having ascertained that no enemy re- 
mained, the king permitted his soldiers to pursue the 
fugitives, and give themselves up to plunder. The 
unfortunate stragglers were slaughtered by the pea- 
santry, as they were dispersed over the country ; and 
many of them, casting away their arms and accoutre- 
ments, hid themselves in the woods, or fled almost 
naked from the field.-f- Some idea of the extent and 
variety of the booty which was divided by the Scottish 
soldiers, may be formed from the circumstance men- 
tioned by an English historian, " That the chariots, 
waggons, and wheeled carriages, which were loaded 
with the baggage and military stores, would, if drawn 
up in a line, have extended for twenty leagues."}: 

These, along with numerous herds of cattle, and 
flocks of sheep and swine ; store of hay, corn and wine ; 
the vessels of gold and silver belonging to the king and 
his nobility ; the money-chests holding the treasure 
for the payment of the troops ; a large assemblage of 
splendid arms, rich wearing apparel, horse and tent 
furniture, from the royal wardrobe and private reposi- 
tories of the knights and noblemen who were in the 
field ; and a great booty in valuable horses, fell into 
the hands of the conquerors, and were distributed by 
Bruce amongst his soldiers with a generosity and im- 

* Henry Knighton, p. 2533. Walsingham, p. 105. 
t Monachi Malmesbur. p. 151. 

t Ibid. p. 147. 

1314. EGBERT BRUCE. 277 

partiality which rendered him highly popular. Besides 
all this, Edward had brought along with him many 
instruments of war, and machines employed in the 
besieging of towns, such as petronels, trebuchets, man- 
gonels, and battering rams, which, intended for the 
demolition of the Scottish eastles, now fell into the 
hands of Bruce, to be turned, in future wars, against 
England. The living booty, too, in the many pri- 
soners of rank who were taken, was great. Twenty- 
two barons and bannerets, and sixty knights, fell into 
the hands of the Scots. Considering the grievous 
injuries which he had personally sustained, the King 
of Scotland evinced a generous forbearance in the uses 
of his victory, which does him high honour : not only 
was there no unnecessary slaughter, no uncalled-for 
severity of retaliation, but, in their place, we find a 
high-toned courtesy, which has called forth the praises 
of his enemies.* The body of the young and noble 
Earl of Gloucester was reverently carried to a neigh- 
bouring church, and every holy rite duly observed. 
It was afterwards sent to England, along with the last 
remains of the brave Lord Clifford, to be interred with 
the honours due to their rank. The rest of the slain 
were reverently buried upon the field.^f- Early next 
morning, as the king examined the ground, Sir Mar- 
maduke de Twenge, who had lurked all night in the 
woods, presented himself to Bruce, and, kneeling down, 
delivered himself as his prisoner. Bruce kindly raised 
him, retained him in his company for some time, and 
then dismissed him, not only without ransom, but 
enriched with presents.^ 

It happened, that one Baston, a Carmelite friar, and 

* Job. de Trokelowe. p. 28. 

f Barbour, p. 273. J Ibid. p. 2G9. 


esteemed an excellent poet, had been commanded by 
Edward to accompany the army, that he might immor- 
talize the expected triumph of his master. He was 
taken ; and Bruce commanded him, as an appropriate 
ransom, to celebrate the victory of the Scots at Ban- 
nockburn a task which he has accomplished in a 
composition which still remains an extraordinary relic 
of the Leonine, or rhyming hexameters.* 

On the day after the battle, Mowbray, the English 
governor of Stirling, having delivered up that fortress, 
according to the terms of the truce, entered into the 
service of the King of Scotland ; and the Earl of 
Hereford, who had taken refuge in Bothwell castle, 
then in the hands of the English, capitulated, after 
a short siege, to Edward Bruce. This nobleman was 
exchanged for five illustrious prisoners, Bruce^s wife, 
his sister Christian, his daughter Marjory, Wishart 
the Bishop of Glasgow, now blind, and the young Earl 
of Mar, nephew to the king. John de Segrave, made 
prisoner at Bannockburn, was ransomed for five Scot- 
tish barons ; so that, in these exchanges, the English 
appear to have received nothing like an adequate value. 
The riches obtained by the plunder of the English, and 
the subsequent ransom paid for the multitude of pri- 
soners, must have been great. The exact amount 
cannot be easily estimated, but some idea of it may be 
formed from the tone of deep lamentation assumed by 
the Monk of Malmesbury. " O day of vengeance and 
of misfortune !" says he, " day of disgrace and perdi- 
tion ! unworthy to be included in the circle of the 
year, which tarnished the fame of England, and en- 
riched the Scots with the plunder of the precious stuffs 
of our nation, to the extent of two hundred thousand 

* Fordun a Goodal, p. 251. 

1314. ROBERT BRUCE. 279 

pounds. Alas ! of how many noble barons, and accom- 
plished knights, and high-spirited young soldiers, of 
what a store of excellent arms, and golden vessels, and 
costly vestments, did one short and miserable day 
deprive us !"* Two hundred thousand pounds of 
money in those times, amounts to about six hundred 
thousand pounds weight of silver, or nearly three 
millions of our present money. It is remarkable that 
Sir William Vipont, and Sir Walter Ross, the bosom 
friend of Edward Bruce, were the only persons of note 
who were slain on the side of the Scots, whose loss, 
even in common men, was small ; proving how effec- 
tually their squares had repelled the English cavalry. 

Such was the great battle of Bannockburn, inter- 
esting above all others which have been fought between 
the then rival nations, if we consider the issue which 
hung upon it; and glorious to Scotland, both in the 
determined courage with which it was disputed by the 
troops, the high military talents displayed by the king 
and his leaders, and the amazing disparity between the 
numbers of the combatants. Its consequences were 
in the highest degree important. It put an end for 
ever to all hopes upon the part of England of accom- 
plishing the conquest of her sister country. The plan, 
of which we can discern the foundations as far back as 
the reign of Alexander III., and for the furtherance 
of which the first Edward was content to throw away 
BO much of treasure and blood, was put down in the 
way in which all such schemes ought to be defeated 
by the strong hand of free-born men, who were deter- 
mined to remain so ; and the spirit of indignant resis- 
tance to foreign power, which had been awakened by 

* Moru Malmesburiensis, p. 152. 


Wallace, but crushed for a season by the dissensions 
of a jealous nobility, was concentrated by the master- 
spirit of Bruce, and found fully adequate to overwhelm 
the united military energies of a kingdom, far superior 
to Scotland in all that constituted military strength. 
Nor have the consequences of this victory been partial 
or confined. Their duration throughout succeeding 
centuries of Scottish history and Scottish liberty, down 
to the hour in which this is written, cannot be ques- 
tioned ; and without launching out into any inappro- 
priate field of historical speculation, we have only to 
think of the most obvious consequences which must 
have resulted from Scotland becoming a conquered 
province of England ; and if we wish for proof, to fix 
our eyes on the present condition of Ireland, in order 
to feel the reality of all that we owe to the victory at 
Bannockburn, and to the memory of such men as 
Bruce, Randolph, and Douglas. 

1314. ROBERT BRUCE. 281 




King of England. 

Kings of France. 


Edward II. 

Philip IV. 

Clement V. 

Lewis X. 

John XII. 

Philip V. 

Charles IV. 

A DEEP and general panic seized the English, after the 
disastrous defeat at Bannockburn. The weak and 
undecided character of the king infected his nobility, 
and the common soldiers having lost all confidence in 
their officers, became feeble and dispirited themselves. 
" A hundred English would not hesitate," says Wal- 
singham, " to fly from two or three Scottish soldiers, 
so grievously had their wonted courage deserted them."* 
Taking advantage of this dejection, the king, in the 
beginning of autumn,-f sent Douglas and Edward 
Bruce across the eastern marches, with an army 
which wasted Northumberland, and carried fire and 
sword through the principality of Durham, where 
they levied severe contributions. They next pushed 
forward into Yorkshire, and plundered Richmond, 
driving away a large body of cattle, and making many 

* Walsingham, p. 106. 

t It was before the 10th of August. Rotuli Scotia;, vol. i. p. 129. 


prisoners . On their way homeward, they burnt Appleby 
and Kirkwold, sacked and set fire to the villages in 
their route, and found the English so dispirited every- 
where, that their army reached Scotland, loaded with 
spoil, and unchallenged by an enemy.* Edward, in- 
dignant at their successes, issued his writs for the 
muster of a new army to be assembled from the differ- 
ent wapentachs of Yorkshire ; commanded ships to be 
commissioned and victualled for a second Scottish 
expedition ; and appointed the Earl of Pembroke to 
be governor of the country between Berwick and the 
river Trent, with the arduous charge of defending it 
against reiterated attacks, and, to use the words of 
the royal commission, " the burnings, slaughters, and 
inhuman and sacrilegious depredations of the Scots."^ 
These, however, were only parchment levies ; and 
before a single vessel was manned, or a single horse- 
man had put his foot in the stirrup, the indefatigable 
Bruce had sent a second army into England, which 
ravaged Redesdale and Tynedale, again marking their 
progress by the black ashes of the towns and villages, 
and compelling the miserable inhabitants of the border 
countries to surrender their whole wealth, and to pur- 
chase their lives with large sums of money.J From 
this they diverged in their destructive progress into 
Cumberland, and either from despair, or from inclina- 
tion, and a desire to plunder, many of the English 
borderers joined the invading army, and swore allegi- 
ance to the Scottish king. 

Alarmed at these visitations, and finding little pro- 
tection from the inactivity of Edward, and the dis- 

* Chron. Lanercost, p. 228. 

t Rotuli Scotise, vol. i. p. 129. 10th August, 1314. 

J Chron. Lanercost, p. 229. Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. pp. 152, 153. 

1314. ROBERT BRUCE 283 

union and intrigues of the nobility, the barons and 
clergy of the northern .parts of England assembled at 
York ; and having entered into a confederacy for the 
protection of their neighbourhood against the Scots, 
appointed four captains to command the forces of the 
country, and to adopt measures for the public safety. 
Edward immediately confirmed this nomination, and, 
for the pressing nature of the emergency, the measure 
was not impolitic ; but these border troops soon forgot 
their allegiance, and, upon the failure of their regular 
supplies from the king's exchequer, became little better 
than the Scots themselves, plundering the country, 
and subsisting themselves by every species of theft, 
robbery,* and murder. 

Robert wisely seized this period of distress and na- 
tional dejection, to make pacific overtures to Edward, 
and to assure him that, having secured the indepen- 
dence of his kingdom, there was nothing which he 
more anxiously desired, than a firm and lasting peace 
between the two nations. Negotiations soon after 
followed. Four Scottish ambassadors met with the 
commissioners of England, and various attempts were 
made for the establishment of a perpetual peace, or at 
least of a temporary truce between the rival countries ; 
but these entirely failed, owing, probably, to the high 
tone assumed by the Scottish envoys ; and the termi- 
nation of this destructive war appeared still more dis- 
tant than before.^ Towards the end of this year, the 

* Rotuli Scotias, vol. i. p. 137, 10th January, 1314. Walsingham, p. 110. 
Lord Hailes has stated, that Edward assembled a parliament at York in 
1314, and quotes the Feeders, vol. iii. pp. 491, 493, for his authority. This, 
I think, must be an error ; as these pages rather prove that no parliament 
was then assembled, nor is there any writ for a parliament in Rymer in 
this year at all. Walsingham, p. 106, says, indeed, that the king held a 
great council at York, immediately after his flight from Bannockburn. 

f Rotuli Scotias, vol. i. p. 131. Everwyk, I8th September, 1314. Sea 
also pp. 132, 133, 6th October, 1314. 


unfortunate John Baliol died in exile at his ancient 
patrimonial castle of Bailleul, in France, having lived 
to see the utter demolition of a power which had in- 
sulted and dethroned him. He had been suffered to 
retain a small property in England ; and his eldest son 
appears to have been living in that country, and under 
the protection of Edward, at the time of his father's 

In addition to the miseries of foreign war and intes- 
tine commotion, England was now visited with a 
grievous famine, which increased to an excessive degree 
the prices of provisions, and, combined with the de- 
structive inroads of the Scots, reduced the kingdom to 
a miserable condition. A parliament, which assembled 
at London in January, (1314-15,) endeavoured, with 
short-sighted policy, to provide some remedy in lower- 
ing the market price of the various necessaries of life ; 
and making it imperative upon the seller, either to 
dispose of his live stock at certain fixed rates, or to 
forfeit them to the crown t a measure which a subse- 
quent parliament found it necessary to repeal.]: The 
same assembly granted to the king a twentieth of their 
goods, upon the credit of which, he requested a loan 
from the abbots and priors of the various convents in 
his dominions, for the purpose of raising an army 
against the Scots. But the king's credit was too 
low, the clergy too cautious, and the barons of the 
crown too discontented, to give efficiency to this in- 
tended muster, and no army appeared. The famine, 
which had begun in England, now extended to Scot- 
land ; and as that country became dependent upon 

* Foedera, vol. iii. p. 506, 4th January, 1315. 

t Rotuli Parl. 8 Edw. II., n. 35, 86, quoted in Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 263. 

j Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 265. 

g Ibid. voL iii. p. 263. Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. p. 511. 

1314-15. ROBERT BRUCE. 285 

foreign importation, the merchants of England, Ire- 
land, and Wales, were rigorously interdicted from 
supplying it with grain, cattle, arms, or any other 
commodities. Small squadrons of ships were employed 
to cruise round the island, so as to intercept all foreign 
supplies ; and letters were directed to the Earl of 
Flanders, and to the Counts of Holland, Lunenburgh, 
and Brabant, requesting them to put a stop to all 
commercial intercourse between their dominions and 
Scotland a request with which these sagacious and 
wealthy little states peremptorily refused to comply.* 

In the spring, another Scottish army broke in upon 
Northumberland, again ravaged the principality of 
Durham, sacked the seaport of Hartlepool, and, after 
collecting their plunder, compelled the inhabitants to 
redeem their property and their freedom by a high 
tribute. Carrying their arms to the gates of York, 
they wasted the country with fire and sword, and re- 
duced the wretched English to the lowest extremity 
of poverty and despair.-f- Carlisle, Newcastle, and 
Berwick, defended by strong fortifications, and well 
garrisoned, were now the only cities of refuge where 
there was security for property ; and to these towns 
the peasantry flocked for protection, whilst the barons 
and nobility, instead of assembling their vassals to 
repel the common enemy, spent their time in idleness 
and jollity in the capital.J 

An important measure, relating to the succession of 
the crown, now occupied the attention of the Estates 
of Scotland, in a parliament held at Ayr, on the 26th 
of April. By a solemn act of settlement, it was deter- 

* Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. pp. 135, 136. Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. p. 770. 
Edward wrote also to the magistrates of Dam, Nieuport, Dunkirk, Ypre, 
and Mechlin, to the same import. Rotuli Scotiae, 12 Edw. II., m. 8. 

f Chronicle of Lanercost, pp. 230, 231. $ Walsingham, p. 107. 


mined, with the consent of the king, and of his daughter 
and presumptive heir, Marjory, that the crown, in the 
event of Bruce's death, without heirs male of his body, 
should descend to his brother, Edward Bruce, a man 
of tried valour, and much practised in war. It was 
moreover provided, with consent of the king, and of 
his brother Edward, that, failing Edward and his heirs 
male, Marjory should immediately succeed; and fail- 
ing her, the nearest heir lineally descended of the body 
of King Robert ; but under the express condition, that 
Marjory should not marry without the consent of her 
father, and failing him, of the majority of the Estates 
of Scotland. If it happened, that either the king, or 
his brother Edward, or Marjory his daughter, should 
die, leaving an heir male, who was a minor, in that 
event Thomas Randolph earl of Moray was constituted 
guardian of the heir, and of the kingdom, till the Estates 
considered the heir of a fit age to administer the go- 
vernment in his own person ; and in the event of the 
death of Marjory, without children, the same noble 
person was appointed to this office, if he chose to accept 
the burden, until the states and community, in their 
wisdom, determine the rightful succession to the crown.* 

Not long after this, the king bestowed his daughter 
Marjory in marriage upon Walter the hereditary High- 
steward of Scotland ; an important union, which gave 
heirs to the Scottish crown, and afterwards to the 
throne of the United Kingdoms.-f- 

An extraordinary episode in the history of the king- 
dom now claims our attention. Edward Bruce, the 
king's brother, a man of restless ambition, and un- 
daunted enterprise, fixed his eyes upon Ireland, at this 

* Fordnn a Goodal, vol. ii. pp. 256, 258. Robertson's Index, pp. 7, 8. 
f Stuart's History of the Stewarts, p. 18. 

1315. ROBERT BRUCE. 287 

time animated by a strong spirit of resistance against 
its English masters ; and having entered into a secret 
correspondence with its discontented chieftains, he 
conceived the bold idea of reducing that island by force 
of arms, and becoming its king.* A desire to harass 
England in a very vulnerable quarter, and a wish to 
afford employment, at a distance, to a temper which 
was so imperious at home,t that it began to threaten 
disturbance to the kingdom, induced the King of Scot- 
land to agree to a project replete with difficulty; and 
Edward Bruce, with six thousand men, landed at 
Carrickfergus, in the north of Ireland, on the 25th of 
May, 1315. He was accompanied by the Earl of 
Moray, Sir Philip Mowbray, Sir John Soulis, Sir 
Fergus of Ardrossan, and Ramsay of Ochterhouse. 
In a series of battles, which it would be foreign to the 
object of this history to enumerate, although they bear 
testimony to the excellent discipline of the Scottish 
knights and soldiers, Edward Bruce overran the pro- 
vinces of Down, Armagh, Louth, Meath, and Kildare; 
but was compelled by want, and the reduced numbers 
of his little army, to retreat into Ulster, and despatch 
the Earl of Moray for new succours into Scotland. 
He was soon after crowned King of Ireland, and imme- 
diately after his assumption of the regal dignity, laid 
siege to Carrickfergus. On being informed of the 
situation of his brother's affairs, King Robert in- 
trusted the government of the kingdom to his son- 
in-law the Steward, and Sir James Douglas. He 

* Barbour, p. 277. 

f Neither Lord Hailes nor any other Scottish historian take notice of 
the ambitious and factious character of Edward Bruce, although Fordun 
expressly says : " Iste Edwardus erat homo ferox, et magni cordis valde, 
nee voluit cohabitare fratri suo in pace, nisi dimidium regni solus habsret ; 
et hac de causa mota fuit guerra in Hibernia, ubi ut prscmittitur finivit 
vitam." Fordun a Hearne, p. 1009. 


then passed over to the assistance of the new king, 
with a considerable body of troops ; and, after their 
junction, the united armies, having reduced Carrick- 
fergus, pushed forward through the county Louth, 
to Slane, and invested Dublin ; but being compelled 
to raise the siege, they advanced into Kilkenny, 
wasted the country as far as Limerick, and after ex- 
periencing the extremities of famine, and defeating 
the enemy wherever they made head against them, 
terminated a glorious but fruitless expedition, by a re- 
treatintothe province of Ulster, in the spring of 131 7.* 
The king of Scotland now returned to his dominions, 
taking along with him the Earl of Moray, but having 
left the flower of his army to support his brother in 
the possession of Ulster. A miserable fate awaited 
these brave men. After a long period of inaction, in 
which neither the Irish annals nor our early Scottish 
historians afford any certain light, we find King 
Edward Bruce encamped at Tagher, near Dundalk, 
at the head of a force of two thousand men, exclusive 
of the native Irish, who were numerous, but badly 
armed and disciplined. Against him, Lord John 
Bermingham, along with John Maupas, Sir Miles 
Verdon, Sir Hugh Tripton, and other Anglo-Irish 
barons, led an army which was strong in cavalry, and 
outnumbered the Scots by nearly ten to one. Ed- 
ward, with his characteristic contempt of danger, and 
nothing daunted by the disparity of force, determined, 
against the advice of his oldest captains, to give the 
enemy battle. In the course of a three years' war, he 
had already engaged the Anglo-Irish forces eighteen 
times ; and although his success had led to no impor- 

* Fordun a Hearne, p. 1008. 

1315. ROBERT BRUCE. 289 

tant result, he had been uniformly victorious.* But 
his fiery career was now destined to be quenched, and 
his short-lived sovereignty to have an end. On the 
5th of October, 1318, the two armies joined battle, and 
the Scots were almost immediately discomfited.^ At 
the first onset, John Maupas slew King Edward 
Bruce, and was himself found slain, and stretched 
upon the body of his enemy. Sir John Soulis and 
Sir John Stewart also fell ; and the rout becoming 
general, the slaughter was great. A miserable rem- 
nant, however, escaping from the field, under John 
Thomson, the leader of the men of Carrick, made good 
their retreat to Carrickfergus, and from thence reached 
Scotland. Two thousand Scottish soldiers were left 
dead upon the spot, and amongst these some of Bruce's 
best captains.]; Thus ended an expedition which, if 
conducted by a spirit of more judicious and deliberate 
valour than distinguished its prime mover, might have 
produced the most serious annoyance to England. Un- 
mindful of the generous courtesy of Bruce's behaviour 
after the battle of Bannockburn, the English treated 
the body of the King of Ireland with studied indignity. 
It was quartered and distributed as a public spectacle 
over Ireland, and the head was presented to the Eng- 
lish king by Lord John Bermingham, who, as a reward 
for his victory, was created Earl of Louth. 

Having given a continuous sketch of this disastrous 
enterprise, which, from its commencement till the 
death of Edward, occupied a period of three years, we 
shall return to the affairs of Scotland, where the wise 
administration of King Robert brought security and 

* I have here followed the authority of Barbour, p. 317. 
t Barbour, p. 364. 

J Their names will be found in Trivet, contin. p. 29. 
Rymer, Fcedera, vol. iii. p. 7b'7. 
VOL. I. Q 


happiness to the people both at home and in their fo- 
reign relations. 

The ships which had transported Edward Bruce 
and his army to Ireland, were immediately sent home ; 
and the king undertook an expedition against the 
Western Isles, some of which had acknowledged his 
dominion ;* whilst others, under John of Argyle, the 
firm ally of England, had continued for a long time to 
harass and annoy the commerce of his kingdom. Al- 
though constantly occupied in a land war, during the 
course of which he had brought his army into a high 
state of discipline, Bruce had never been blind to the 
strength which he must acquire by having a fleet 
which could cope with the maritime power of his rival ; 
and from the complaints of the English monarch in 
the state papers of the times, we know, that on both 
sides of the island, the Scottish vessels, and those of 
their allies, kept the English coast towns in a state of 
constant alarm. -f- 

Their fleets seem to have been partly composed of 
privateers, as well Flemish as Scottish, which, under 
the protection of the king, roved about, and attacked 
the English merchantmen. Thus, during Edward 
Bruce's expedition, he met, when on the Irish coast, 
and surrounded with difficulties, with Thomas of 
Doune, a Scottish " seoumar," or freebooter, " of the 
se," who, with a small squadron of four ships, sailed 
up the river Ban, and extricated his countrymen from 
their J perilous situation. 

In his expedition to the Isles, Bruce was accompa- 

* Foedera, vol. iii. p. 238. 

f Rotuli Scot. vol. i. p. 151, date 6th November, 1315. 

J Barbour, book x. p. 288. In Leland, Collect, vol. i. p. 549, we find, 
in an extract from the Scala Chron., " One Cryne, a Fleming, an admiral, 
and great robber on' the se, and in high favour with Robert Bruce." 

1315. ROBERT BRUCE. 291 

nied by his son-in-law, the Steward of Scotland, and 
having sailed up the entrance of Loch Fine to Tarbet, 
he dragged his vessels upon a slide, composed of smooth 
planks of trees, laid parallel to each other, across the 
narrow neck of land which separates the lochs of East 
and West Tarbet. The distance was little more than 
an English mile ; and by this expedient Bruce not 
only saved the necessity of doubling the Mull of Ken- 
tire, to the small craft of those days often a fatal en- 
terprise, but availed himself of a superstitious belief 
then current amongst the Western islanders, that they 
should never be subdued till their invader sailed across 
the isthmus of Tarbet.* The presence of the king in 
the Western Isles was soon followed by the submis- 
sion of all the little pirate chiefs who had given him 
disturbance, and by the capture and imprisonment of 
John of Lorn, who, since his defeat at Cruachin Ben, 
had been constantly in the pay of Edward, with the 
proud title of Admiral of the Western fleet of Eng- 
land.-f- This island prince was first committed to 
Dumbarton castle, and afterwards shut up in the castle 
of Lochleven, where he died.]; After the termination 
of his peaceful maritime campaign, the king indulged 
himself and his friends in the diversion of the chase ; 
whilst, at home, his army, under Douglas, continued 
to insult and plunder the English Border counties. 
On his return from the Western Isles, Bruce under- 
took the siege of Carlisle ; but, after having assaulted 

* Barbour, p. 302. The fishermen constantly drag their boats across this 
neck of land. Tar-bat for trag-bat, or drag-boat. 

f Rotuli Scotiae, p. 121. This John of Lorn seems to be the same person 
as the John of Argyle, so frequently mentioned in the Rotuli. 

J Barbour, p. 303. 

Leland, Collect, vol. i. p. 24. Douglas -wasted Egremont, plundered 
St Bees' Priory, and destroyed two manors belonging to the prior. The 
work quoted by Leland is an anonymous MS. History of the Abbots of St 
Mary's, York, by a monk of the same religious house. 

292 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1315-16. 

it for ten days, he was compelled, by the strength of 
the works and the spirit of its townsmen and garrison, 
to draw off his troops. Berwick, too, was threatened 
from the side next the sea by the Scottish ships, which 
attempted to steal up the river unperceived by the 
enemy, but were discovered, and bravely repulsed.* 
Against these reiterated insults, Edward, unable from 
his extreme unpopularity to raise an army, contented 
himself with querulous complaints, and with some in- 
effectual advances towards a reconciliation^ which as 
yet was far distant. 

About this time, to the great joy of the King of 
Scotland and of the nation, the Princess Marjory bore 
a son, Robert, who was destined, after the death of 
David, his uncle, to succeed to the throne, and become 
the first of the royal house of Stewart ; but grief 
soon followed joy, for the young mother died almost 
immediately after child-birth,* 

Undaunted by the partial check which they had 
received before Carlisle and Berwick, the activity of 
the Scots gave the English perpetual employment. 
On one side they attacked Wales, apparently making 
descents from their ships upon the coast ; and Ed- 
ward, trembling for the security of his new principa- 
lity, countermanded the Welsh levies which were 
about to join his army, and enjoined them to remain 
at home ; but he accompanied this with an order to 
give hostages for their fidelity, naturally dreading the 
effect of the example of the Scots upon a nation, whose 

* Chron.Lanercost,pp.230,231,264. This was in the end of July, 1315. 

+ Rotuli Scotia;, 9 Ed. II., in. 6, p. 149. 

J Fordun a Goodal, book xii. c. 25. Hailes, vol. ii. p. 81. It is strange 
that Fordun himself does neither mention the birth of Robert the Second, 
nor the death of his mother. See Fordun a Hearne, p. 1008, 1009. 
Winton, too, says nothing of her death. 

1316. ROBERT BRUCE. 293 

fetters were yet new and galling.* On the other side, 
King Robert in person led his army, about midsum- 
mer, into Yorkshire, and wasted the country, without 
meeting an enemy, as far as Richmond. A timely 
tribute, collected by the neighbouring barons and gen- 
tlemen, saved this town from the flames ; but this 
merely altered the order of march into the West Rid- 
ing, which was cruelly sacked and spoiled for sixty 
miles round, after which the army returned with their 
booty and many prisoners. -f* Bruce then embarked for 
Ireland ; and soon after the English king, encouraged 
by his absence and that of Randolph, summoned his 
military vassals to meet him at Newcastle, and deter- 
mined to invade Scotland with great strength ; but 
the Earl of Lancaster, to whom the conduct of the 
enterprise was intrusted, and the barons of his party, 
having in vain waited at Newcastle for the king's 
arrival, returned home in displeasure ;J so that the 
original design of Edward broke down into several 
smaller invasions, in repelling which, the activity and 
military enterprise of Sir James Douglas and the 
Steward, not only kept up, but materially increased, 
the Scottish ascendency. In Douglas, the adventurous 
spirit of chivalry was finely united with the character 
of an experienced commander. At this time he held 
his quarters at Linthaughlee, near Jedburgh ; and 
having information that the Earl of Arundel, with Sir 
Thomas de Richemont, and an English force of ten 
thousand men, had crossed the Borders, he determined 
to attack him in a narrow pass, through which his line 
of march lay, and which was flanked on each side by a 

* Rymer, Feeders, vol. iii. p. 620. Botuli Scotise, vol. i. p. 159, 4th 
f Chron. Lanercost, p. 233. J Tyrrel, vol iii. p. 267. 

294 HISTORY OF SCOTLAND. 1316-17. 

wood. Having thickly twisted together the young 
birch trees on either side, so as to prevent escape,* he 
concealed his archers in a hollow way near the gorge 
of the pass, and when the English ranks were com- 
pressed by the narrowness of the road, and it was 
impossible for their cavalry to act with effect, he rushed 
upon them at the head of his horsemen, whilst the 
archers, suddenly discovering themselves, poured in a 
flight of arrows, so that the unwieldy mass was thrown 
into confusion, and took to flight. In the melee, 
Douglas slew Thomas de Richemont with his dagger ; 
and although, from his inferiority of force, he did not 
venture to pursue the enemy into the open country, 
yet they were compelled to retreat with great 

Soon after this, Edmund de Cailou, a knight of 
Gascony, whom Edward had appointed to be Gover- 
nor of Berwick, was encountered by Douglas, as the 
foreigner returned to England loaded with plunder, 
from an inroad into Teviotdale. Cailou was killed ; 
and, after the slaughter of many of the foreign mer- 
cenaries, the accumulated booty of the Merse and 
Teviotdale was recovered by the Scots. Exactly 
similar to that of Cailou, was the fate of Sir Ralph 
Neville. This baron, on hearing the high report of 
Douglas's prowess, from some of De Cailou's fugitive 
soldiers, openly boasted that he would fight with the 
Scottish knight, if he would come and show his banner 
before Berwick. Douglas, who deemed himself bound 
to accept the challenge, immediately marched into the 
neighbourhood of that town, and, within sight of the 
garrison, caused a party of his men to waste the 
country, and burn the villages. Neville instantly 

* Barbour, p. 324. f Ibid. p. 323. 

1317. ROBERT BRUCE. 295 

quitted Berwick with a strong body of men, and, en- 
camping upon a high ground, waited till the Scots 
should disperse to plunder ; but Douglas called in his 
detachment, and instantly marched against the enemy. 
After a desperate conflict, in which many were slain, 
Douglas, as was his custom, succeeded in bringing the 
leader to a personal encounter, and the superior 
strength and skill of the Scottish knight were again 
successful. Neville was slain, and his men utterly 
discomfited.* An old English chronicle ascribes this 
disaster to " the treason of the marchers ;" but it is 
difficult to discover in what the treason consisted. 
Many other soldiers of distinction were taken prisoners, 
and Douglas, without opposition, ravaged the country, 
drove away the cattle, left the towns and villages in 
flames, and returned to Scotland. So terrible did the 
exploits of this hardy warrior become upon the Borders, 
that Barbour, who lived in his time, informs us, the 
English mothers were accustomed to pacify their 
children by threatening them with the name of the 
" Black Douglas."f 

Repulsed with so much disgrace in these attempts 
by land, the English monarch fitted out a fleet, and 
invaded Scotland, sailing into the Firth of Forth, and 
landing his armament at Dunybirstle. The panic 
created by the English was so great r that the sheriff 
of the county had difficulty in assembling five hun- 
dred cavalry, and these, intimidated by the superior 
numbers of the enemy,, disgracefully took to flight. 
Fortunately, however, a spirited prelate, Sinclair 
bishop of Dunkeld, who had more in him of the war- 
rior than the ecclesiastic, received timely notice of this 

* Leland, Collect. voL i. p. 547. Barbour. p. 309. 
f Barbour. p. 310. 


desertion. Putting himself at the head of sixty of 
his servants, and with nothing clerical about him, 
except a linen frock, or rochet, cast over his armour, 
he threw himself on horseback, and succeeded in rally- 
ing the fugitives, telling their leaders that they were 
recreant knights, and deserved to have their gilt spurs 
hacked off. " Turn," said he, seizing a spear from 
the nearest soldier, " turn, for shame, and let all who 
love Scotland follow me!" With this he furiously 
charged the English, who were driven back to their 
ships with the loss of five hundred men, besides many 
who were drowned by the swamping of one of the 
vessels. On his return from Ireland, Bruce highly 
commended his spirit, declaring that Sinclair should 
be his own bishop ; and by the name of the King's 
Bishop this hardy prelate was long remembered in 

Unable to make any impression with temporal arms, 
the King of England next had recourse to the thunders 
of spiritual warfare; and in the servile character of 
Pope John the Twenty-second, he found a fit tool for 
his purpose. By a bull, issued from Avignon, in the 
beginning of 1317, the pope commanded the observ- 
ance of a truce between the hostile countries for two 
years ; but the style of this mandate evinced a decided 
partiality to England. Giving the title of King of 
England to Edward, he only designated Bruce as his 
beloved son, " carrying himself as King of Scotland ;"t 
and when he despatched two cardinals as his legates 
into Britain, for the purpose of publishing this truce 
upon the spot, they were privately empowered, in case 
of any opposition, to inflict upon the King of Scotland 
the highest spiritual censures. In the same secret man- 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 259. -f- Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. p. 594. 

1317. EGBERT BRUCE. 297 

ner, he furnished them with a bull, to be made public 
if circumstances so required, by which Robert Bruce 
and his brother Edward were declared excommunicated 
persons.* The pope also directed another bull against 
the order of Minorite Friars, who, by their discourses, 
had instigated the Irish to join the Scottish invaders, 
and rise in rebellion against the English government. 
These attempts to deprive him of his just rights, and 
to overawe him into peace, were met by a firm resist- 
ance on the part of Bruce ; who, placed in a trying 
and delicate situation, evinced, in his opposition to the 
papal interference, a remarkable union of unshaken 
courage, with sound judgment and good temper, con- 
triving to maintain the independence of his crown ; 
whilst, at the same time, he professed all due respect 
for the authority of his spiritual father, as head of the 

Charged with their important commissions, the 
cardinals arrived in England at the time when Lewis 
de Beaumont was about to be consecrated Bishop of 
Durham. Their first step was to despatch two nuncios, 
the Bishop of Corbeil and Master Aumery,^ who were 
intrusted with the delivery of the papal letters to the 
Scottish king, and with the bulls of excommunication. 
As Durham lay on their road, Master Aumery and 
his brother nuncio set out with the bishop elect, and 
a splendid suite of churchmen and barons, intending 
to be present at the inauguration. But it proved an 
ill-fated journey for these unfortunate envoys. The 
Borders at this time were in a wild and disorderly 
state. Many of the gentry and barons of England, 
as already noticed, had entered into armed associations 
for the defence of the marches, against the destructive 

* Dated 4th April, 1317. t Rymer, Feeders, vol. iii. p. 661. 


inroads of the Scots; but the habits of loose warfare, 
the extremities of famine, and the unpopularity of the 
king's person and government, had, in the course of 
years, transformed themselves and their soldiers into 
robbers who mercilessly ravaged the country.* Anxious 
in every way to increase the confusions which then 
distracted the English government, the King of Scot- 
land kept up an intelligence with these marauders ; 
and, on the present occasion, aware of the hostility 
which was meditated against him by the cardinals, and 
of their attachment to his enemy, it seems very pro- 
bable that he employed two leaders of these broken 
men, Gilbert de Middleton and Walter Selby, to inter- 
cept the nuncios, and make themselves masters of their 
letters and secret instructions. It is certain that, on 
the approach of the cavalcade to Rushy Ford, a large 
body of soldiers, headed by these lawless chiefs, rushed 
out from a wood near the road, and in a short time 
made the whole party prisoners ; seized and stript of 
their purple and scarlet apparel the unfortunate church- 
men ; rifled and carried off their luggage and horses ; 
but, without offering violence to their persons, dismissed 
them to prosecute their journey to Scotland. The 
bishop elect, and his brother Henry de Beaumont, were 
carried to Middleton's castle of Mitford; nor were 
they liberated from their dungeon till their plate, 
jewels, and the rich vestments of the cathedral, were 
sold to raise money for their ransom.-f- 

Meanwhile, the papal nuncios, in disconsolate plight, 
proceeded into Scotland, and arrived at court. Bruce 
received them courteously, and listened with attention 

* Walsingham, p. 107. 

t Tyrrel, Hist. vol. iii. p. 269. Hutchinson's History and Antiquities 
of Durham, p. 267. 1st Sept. 1317. 

1317. ROBERT BRUCE. 299 

to the message with which they were charged.* Hav- 
ing then consulted with those of his counsellors who 
were present, upon the proposals, he replied, that he 
earnestly desired a firm peace between the king- 
doms, to be procured by all honourable means ; but 
that as long as he was only addressed as Governor of 
Scotland, and his own title of king withheld from him, 
it was impossible for him, without convening his whole 
council, and the other barons of his realm, to admit 
the cardinal legates to an interview; nor was it pos- 
sible for him, before the Feast of St Michael, to 
summon any council for this purpose. " Among my 
subjects," said the king, " there are many bearing the 
name of Robert Bruce, who share, with the rest of my 
barons, in the government of the kingdom. These 
letters may possibly be addressed to them; and it is 
for this reason, that although I have permitted the 
papal letters, which advise a peace, to be read, as well 
as your open letters on the same subject, yet to these, 
as they refuse to me my title of king, I will give no 
answer, nor will I by any means suffer your sealed 
letters, which are not directed to the King of Scotland, 
to be opened in my presence." 

The nuncios upon this endeavoured to offer an 
apology for the omission, by observing, that it was 
not customary for our holy mother the church either 
to do or to say anything during the dependence of a 
controversy, which might prejudice the right of either 
of the parties. " If then," replied Bruce, " my spiri- 
tual father and my holy mother have professed them- 
selves unwilling to create a prejudice against my 
opponent, by giving to me the title of king, I am at 
a loss to determine why they have thought proper to 

* Rymer, vol. UL p. 662. 


prejudice my cause, by withdrawing that title from me 
during the dependence of the controversy. I am in 
possession of the kingdom. All my subjects call me 
king, and by that title do other kings and royal princes 
address me ; but I perceive that my spiritual parents 
assume an evident partiality amongst their sons. Had 
you," he continued, " presumed to present letters so 
addressed to other kings, you might have received an 
answer in a different style. But I reverence your 
authority, and entertain all due respect for the Holy 
See." The messengers now requested that the king 
would command a temporary cessation of hostilities. 
" To this," replied Bruce, " I can by no means con- 
sent, without the advice of my parliament, and espe- 
cially whilst the English are in the daily practice of 
spoiling the property of my subjects, and invading all 
parts of my realm." During this interview, the king 
expressed himself with great courtesy, professing all 
respect for his spiritual Father, and delivering his 
resolute answers with a mild and placid countenance.* 
The two nuncios, it seems, had taken along with them 
into the king's presence another papal messenger, who, 
having come some time before to inform the Scottish 
prelates of the coronation of the pope, had been refused 
admission into Scotland. For this person, who had 
now waited some months without being permitted to 
execute his mission, the messengers entreated the king's 
indulgence ; but Bruce, although the discarded envoy 
stood in the presence-chamber, took no notice of him, 
and changed the subject with an expression of coun- 
tenance, which at once imposed silence, and intimated 
a refusal. When the nuncios questioned the secretaries 

* These interesting particulars we learn from the original letter of the 
nuncios themselves. Rymer, Foadera, vol. iii. p. 662. 

1317. ROBERT BRUCE. 301 

of the king regarding the cause of this severity, they 
at once replied, that their master conceived that these 
letters had not been addressed to him, solely because 
the pope was unwilling to give him his royal titles. 
The Scottish councillors informed the nuncios, that 
if the letters had been addressed to the King of Scots, 
the negotiations for peace would have immediately 
commenced ; but that neither the king nor his advisers 
would hear of a treaty, so long as the royal title was 
withheld, seeing that they were convinced that this slight 
had been put upon their sovereign thro ugh the influence 
of England, and in contempt of the people of Scotland.* 
Repulsed by Bruce with so much firmness and dig- 
nity, the Bishop of Corbeil returned with haste to the 
cardinals. They had remained all this time at Durham, 
and anxious to fulfil their mission, they now deter- 
mined at all hazards to publish the papal truce in 
Scotland. For this purpose the papal bulls and instru- 
ments were intrusted to Adam Newton, the Father- 
Guardian of the Minorite Friars of Berwick, who was 
commanded to repair to the presence of Bruce, and to 
deliver the letters of his Holiness to the King of Scot- 
land, as well as to the Bishop of St Andrews, and the 
Scottish prelates. Newton accordingly set out for 
Scotland, but, anticipating no cordial reception, cau- 
tiously left the papal bulls and letters at Berwick, until 
he should be assured of a safe conduct. After a jour- 
ney of much hardship and peril, the friar found King 
Robert encamped with his army, in a wood near Old 
Cambus, a small town about twelve miles distant from 
Berwick, busily engaged in constructing warlike engines 
for the assault of that city, although it was now the 
middle of December. Having conferred with Lord 

* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. iii. p. 661. 


Alexander Seton, the seneschal of the king, and received 
a safe conduct, Newton returned for his papers and 
credentials to Berwick, and again repaired to Old 
Cambus. He was then informed by Seton, that Bruce 
would not admit him to a personal interview, but that 
he must deliver to him his letters, in order to their 
being inspected by the king, who was anxious to ascer- 
tain whether their contents were friendly or hostile. 
Newton obeyed, and Bruce observing that the letters 
and papal instruments were not addressed to him as 
King of Scotland, returned them to the friar with much 
contempt, declaring that he would on no account obey 
the bulls, so long as his royal titles were withheld, 
and that he was determined to make himself master of 
Berwick. The envoy then publicly declared, before 
the Scottish barons, and a great concourse of specta- 
tors, that a two years 1 truce was, by the authority of 
the pope, to be observed by the two kingdoms ; but his 
proclamation was treated with such open marks of 
insolence and contempt, that he began to tremble for 
the safety of his person, and earnestly implored them 
to permit him to pass forward into Scotland, to the 
presence of those prelates with whom he was com- 
manded to confer, or at least to have a safe conduct 
back again to Berwick. Both requests were denied 
him, and he was commanded, without delay, to make 
the best of his way out of the country. On his way 
to Berwick, the unfortunate monk was waylaid by four 
armed ruffians, robbed of his letters and papers, amongst 
which were the bulls excommunicating the King of 
Scotland, and after being stript to the skin, turned 
naked upon the road. " It is rumoured," says he, in 
an interesting letter addressed to the cardinals, con- 
taining the account of his mission, " that the Lord 

1317-18. ROBERT BRUCE. 303 

Robert, and his accomplices, who instigated this out- 
rage, are now in possession of the letters intrusted 
to me."* There can be little doubt that the rumour 
rested on a pretty good foundation. 

Throughout the whole of this negotiation, the pope 
was obviously in the interest of the King of England. 
Edward's intrigues at the Roman court, and the pen- 
sions which he bestowed on the cardinals, induced his 
Holiness to proclaim a truce, which, in the present 
state of English affairs, was much to be desired ; but 
Bruce, supported by his own clergy, and secure of the 
affections of his people, despised all papal interference, 
and. succeeded in maintaining the dignity and inde- 
pendence of his kingdom. 

Having rid himself of such troublesome opposition, 
the Scottish king determined to proceed with the siege 
of Berwick, a town which, as the key to England, was 
at this time fortified in the strongest manner. For- 
tunately for the Scots, Edward had committed its 
defence to a governor, whose severity, and strict adher- 
ence to discipline, had disgusted some of the burgesses ; 
and one of these, named Spalding,-f- who had married 
a Scotchwoman, was seduced from his allegiance, and 
determined, on the night when it was his turn to take 
his part in the watch rounds, to assist the enemy in 
an escalade. This purpose he communicated to the 
Marshal, and he carried the intelligence directly to 
Bruce himself, who was not slow in taking advantage 
of it. I Douglas and Randolph, along with March, 
were commanded to assemble with a chosen body of 
men at Duns Park in the evening ; and at nightfall, 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. pp. 683, 684. 

f- Hardynge in his Chronicle, p. 308, Ellis' edition, tells us, that Spalding, 
after betraying the town, went into Scotland, and was slain by the Scots. 
$ Barbour, p. 334. 


having left their horses at the rendezvous, they marched 
to Berwick; and, by the assistance of Spalding, fixed 
their ladders, and scaled the walls. Orders seem to 
have been given by Bruce, that they should not pro- 
ceed to storm the town, till reinforced by a stronger 
body ; but Douglas and Randolph found it impossible 
to restrain their men, who dispersed themselves through 
the streets, to slay and plunder, whilst, panic-struck 
with the night attack, the citizens escaped over the 
walls, or threw themselves into the castle. When day 
arrived, this disobedience of orders had nearly been 
fatal to the Scots; for Roger Horsley, the governor 
of the castle,* discovering that they were but a hand- 
ful of men, made a desperate sally, and all but recovered 
the city. Douglas, however, and Randolph, who were 
veterans in war, and dreaded such an event, had kept 
their own soldiers well together, and, assisted by a 
young knight, Sir William Keith of Galston, who 
greatly distinguished himself, they at last succeeded 
in driving the English back to the castle; thus hold- 
ing good their conquest of the town, till Bruce came 
up with the rest of his army, and effectually secured 
it. The presence of the king, with the men of Merse 
and Teviotdale, intimidated the garrison of the castle, 
which soon surrendered; and Bruce, with that gene- 
rous magnanimity which forms so fine a part of his 
character, disdaining to imitate the cruelty of Edward 
the First, readily gave quarter to all who were willing 

* Rotuli Scotia, vol. i. p. 175, 19th August. Lord Hailes, vol. ii. p. 78, 
seems to think it an error in Tyrrel, to imagine that there was a governor 
of the town, and a governor of the castle. But Tyrrel is in the right. Joha 
of Witham was governor or warden of the town, Rot. Scot. vol. i. p. 1 78, 
30th Sept. 1317 ; and Roger of Horsle, governor of the castle, Rotuli Scotiae, 
p. 175. Maitland, vol. i. p. 490, and Guthrie, vol. ii. p. 254, finding in 
Rymer, vol. iii. p. 516, that Maurice de Berkeley was governor of the town 
and castle of Berwick in 1315, erroneously imagine that he continued to be 
BO in 1318. 

13 J 8. EGBERT BRUCE. 305 

to accept it. For this we have the testimony of the 
English historians, Thomas de la More, and Adam 
Murimuth, although the pope, in his bull of excom- 
munication, represents him as having seized Berwick 
by treachery during a time of truce ; and charges him 
moreover, with having committed a great and cruel 
slaughter of the inhabitants. Both accusations are 
unfounded.* The truce was publicly disclaimed by 
the king, and the city was treated with uncommon 
lenity. It was at this time the chief commercial em- 
porium of England, and its plunder greatly enriched 
the Scottish army. There were also found in it great 
quantities of provisions and military stores, and Bruce, 
after having examined the fortifications, determined 
to make it an exception from his general rule of demo- 
lishing all fortresses recovered from the English.-f- In 
execution of this plan, he committed the keeping of 
both town and castle to his son-in-law, Walter the 
Steward; and aware that, from its importance, the 
English would soon attempt to recover it, he provided 
it with every sort of warlike engine then used in the 
defence of fortified places. Springalds and cranes, 
with huge machines for discharging iron darts, called 
balistce de turno, were stationed on the walls; a large 
body of archers, spearmen, and cross-bowmen, formed 
the garrison ; and the young Steward was assisted in 
his measures of defence by John Crab, a Fleming, 
famous for his skill in the rude engineering of the 
times. | Five hundred brave gentlemen, who quartered 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. pp. 708, 709. f Fordun a Goodal, p. 245. 

J Harbour, pp. 339, 340. Crab seems to have been a mercenary who 
engaged in the service of any -who would employ him. In 1313, Edward 
the Second complained of depredations committed by him on some English 
merchants, to his sovereign, Robert earl of Flanders. Fcedera, vol. iii. 
p. 403. In August, 1333, after Berwick fell into the hands of the English, 
Crab obtained a pardon, and entered into the service of England. 



the arms of the Steward, repaired to Berwick, to the 
support of their chief; and Bruce, having left it vic- 
tualled for a year, marched with his army into England, 
and ravaged and laid waste the country. He besieged 
and made himself master of the castles of Wark and 
Harbottle, surprised Mitford, and having penetrated 
into Yorkshire, burnt the towns of Northallerton, 
Boroughbridge, Scarborough, and Skipton in Craven. 
The plunder in these expeditions was great, and the 
number of the captives may be estimated from the 
expression of an ancient English chronicle, that the 
Scots returned into their own country, driving their 
prisoners like flocks of sheep before them.* 

Irritated at the contempt of their authority, the 
cardinal legates solemnly excommunicated Bruce-}- and 
his adherents ; whilst Edward, after an ineffectual 
attempt to conciliate his parliament and keep together 
his army, was compelled, by their violent animosities, 
to disband his troops, and allow the year to pass away 
in discontent and inactivity. Meanwhile, the death 
of King Edward Bruce in Ireland, and of Marjory, 
the king's daughter, who left an only son, Robert, 
afterwards king, rendered some new enactments ne- 
cessary regarding the succession to the throne. A 
parliament was accordingly assembled at Scone in 
December, in which the whole clergy and laity renewed 
their engagements of obedience to the king, and pro- 
mised to assist him faithfully, to the utmost of their 
power, in the preservation and defence of the rights 
and liberties of the kingdom, against all persons of 
whatever strength, power, and dignity, they may be; 
and any one who should attempt to violate this engage- 

* Chron. Lanercost, pp. 235, 236. 

J* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. iii. pp. 707, 711. 

1318. ROBERT BRUCE. 307 

ment and ordinance, was declared guilty of treason. It 
was next enacted, that, in the event of the king's death, 
without issue male, Robert Stewart, son of the Prin- 
cess Marjory and of Walter, the Lord High Steward 
of Scotland, should succeed to the crown ; and in the 
event of that succession taking place during the mino- 
rity of Robert Stewart, or of other heir of the king's 
body, it was appointed, that the office of tutor to the 
heir of the kingdom should belong to Thomas Ran- 
dolph earl of Moray, and failing him, to James lord 
Douglas ; but it was expressly provided, that such 
appointment should cease, whenever it appeared to the 
majority of the community of the kingdom that the 
heir is of fit age to administer the government in per- 
son. It was also declared, that since, in certain times 
past, some doubts had arisen regarding the succession 
of the kingdom of Scotland, the parliament thought 
proper to express their opinion, that this succession 
ought not to have been regulated, and henceforth 
should not be determined, by the rules of inferior fiefs 
and inheritances, but that the male heir nearest to the 
king, in the direct line of descent, should succeed to 
the crown ; and failing him, the nearest female in the 
direct line ; and failing the whole direct line, the nearest 
male heir in the collateral line respect being always 
had to the right of blood by which the last king reigned, 
which seemed agreeable to the imperial law.* 

This enactment having been unanimously agreed to, 
Randolph and Douglas came forward, and, after accept- 
ing the offices provisionally conferred upon them, swore, 
with their hands on the holy gospels and the relics of 
the saints, faithfully and diligently to discharge their 
duty, and to observe, and cause to be observed, the 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 290. 


laws and customs of Scotland. After this, the bishops, 
abbots, priors, and inferior clergy, the earls, barons, 
knights, freeholders, and the remanent members of the 
community of Scotland, in the same solemn manner 
took the same oath, and those of the highest rank 
affixed their seals to the instrument of succession.* 

Having settled this important matter, various other 
laws were passed, relative to the military power, and 
to the ecclesiastical and civil government of the king- 
dom. All men were required to array themselves for 
war. Every layman possessed of land, who had ten 
pounds worth of moveable property, was commanded 
to provide himself with an acton and a basnet, that is 
a leathern jacket, and a steel helmet, together with 
gloves of plate, and a sword and spear. Those who 
were not thus provided, were enjoined to have an iron 
jack, or back and breast-plate of iron, an iron head- 
piece, or Itnapiskay, with gloves of plate ; and every 
man possessing the value of a cow, was commanded 
to arm himself with a bow and a sheaf of twenty-four 
arrows, or with a spear.^ It was made imperative 
upon all sheriffs and lords to insist on the execution 
of this law ; and in case of disobedience, to cause the 
recusant to forfeit his moveable estate, half to the 
king, and half to his overlord, or superior. All per- 
sons, while on the road to the royal army, were com- 
manded to subsist at their own charges ; those who 
came from places near the rendezvous being commanded 
to bring carriages and provisions along with them, and 
those from remote parts to bring money ; and if, upon 
an offer of payment, such necessaries were refused, the 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. i. p. 291. 

+ Regiam Majestatem. Statutes of King Robert I. See Cartulary of 
Aberbrotbock, p. 283. M'Farlane Transcript. 

1318-19. ROBERT BRUCE. 309 

troops were authorised, at the sight of the magistrates 
or bailies of the district, to take what was withheld. 
All persons were strictly prohibited from supplying 
the enemy with armour or horses, bows and arrows, 
er any kind of weapons, or to give to the English 
assistance in any shape whatever, and this under the 
penalty of being guilty of a capital offence. All eccle- 
siastics were prohibited from transmitting to the papal 
court any sums of money for the purchase of bulls ; 
and all Scotsmen, who, although possessed of estates 
in their own country, chose to Beside in England, were 
prohibited from drawing any money out of Scotland, 
a clause apparently directed against David de Stra- 
bogie earl of Athole, who at this time stood high in 
the confidence of Edward the Second.* 

This weak monarch, when he found that Bruce 
could not be brought to terms by negotiation, or inti- 
midated by the papal thunders, determined once more 
to have recourse to arms ; and having assembled an 
army, he crossed the Tweed, and sat down before 
Berwick.-f- His first precaution was to secure his 
camp by lines of circumvallation, composed of high 
ramparts and deep trenches, so as to enable him to 
resist effectually any attempt of the Scots to raise the 
siege. He then strictly invested the town from the 
Tweed to the sea, and at the same time the English 
fleet entered the estuary of the river, so that the city 
was beleagured on all points. This was in the begin- 
ning of September; and from the strength of the army 
and the quality of the leaders much was expected.^ 

The first assault was made on the seventh of the 
month; it had been preceded by great preparations, 

* Begiam Majestatem. Stat. Robert L t Baifcour, p. 342. 

J Barboor, p, 343. 


and mounds of earth had been erected against that 
part of the walls, where it was expected there would 
be the greatest facility in storming. Early in the 
morning of St Mary's Eve, the trumpets of the Eng- 
lish were heard, and the besiegers advanced in various 
bodies, well provided with scaling ladders, scaffolds, 
and defences, with hoes and pickaxes for mining, and 
under cover of squadrons of archers and slingers. The 
assault soon became general, and continued with vari- 
ous success till noon; at which time the English ships 
entered the river, and, sailing up as far as the tide 
permitted, made a bold attempt to carry the town, 
from the rigging of a vessel which they had prepared 
for the purpose. The topmasts of this vessel, and her 
boat, which was drawn up half-mast high, were manned 
with soldiers ; and to the bow of the boat was fitted a 
species of drawbridge, which was intended to be dropt 
upon the wall, and to afford a passage from the ship 
into the town. The walls themselves, which were not 
more than a spear's length in height, afforded little 
defence against these serious preparations; but the 
Scots, animated by that feeling of confidence, which a 
long train of success had inspired, and encouraged by 
the presence and example of the Steward, effectually 
repulsed the enemy on the land side, whilst the ship, 
which had struck upon a bank, was left dry by the 
ebbing of the tide; and being attacked by a party of 
the enemy, was soon seen blazing in the mouth of the 
river. Disheartened by this double failure, the be- 
siegers drew off their forces, and for the present, inter- 
mitted all attack.* But it was only to commence new 
preparations for a more desperate assault. In case of 
a second failure in their escalade, it was determined to 

* Barbour, pp. 345, 346. 

1319. ROBERT BRUCE. 311 

undermine the walls; and for this purpose, a huge 
machine was constructed, covered by a strong roofing 
of boards and hides, and holding within its bosom large 
bodies of armed soldiers and miners. From its shape 
and covering, this formidable engine was called a sow. 
To co-operate with the machine, moveable scaffolds, 
high enough to overtop the walls, and capable of re- 
ceiving parties of armed men, were erected for the 
attack; and undismayed at his first failure by sea, 
Edward commanded a number of ships to be fitted out 
similar to that vessel which had been burnt; but with 
this difference, that in addition to the armed boats, 
slung half-mast high, their top-castles were full 01 
archers, under whose incessant and deadly discharge 
it was expected that the assailants would drag the 
ships so near the walls, as to be able to fix their move- 
able bridges on the capstone.* Meanwhile the Scots 
were not idle. Under the direction of Crab, the Flem- 
ish engineer, they constructed two machines of great 
strength, similar to the Roman catapult, which moved 
on frames, fitted with wheels, and by which stones 
of a large size were propelled with steady aim and de- 
structive force. Springalds were stationed on the 
walls, which were smaller engines like the ancient 
balistse, and calculated for the projection of heavy 
darts, winged with copper; iron chains, with grappling 
hooks attached to them, and piles of fire-fagots, mixed 
with bundles of pitch and flax, bound into large masses, 
shaped like casks, were in readiness; and to second 
the ingenuity of Crab, an English engineer, who had 
been taken prisoner in the first assault, was compelled 
to assist in the defence. The young Steward assigned, 
as before, to each of his officers a certain post on 

* Barbour, pp. 351, 352. 


the walls, and put himself at the head of the reserve, 
with which he determined to watch, and, if neces- 
sary, to reinforce the various points. Having com- 
pleted these arrangements, he calmly awaited the attack 
of the English, which was made with great fury early 
in the morning of the 13th of September. To the 
sound of trumpet and war-horns, their various divisions 
moved resolutely forward; and, in spite of all dis- 
charges from the walls, succeeded infilling up the ditch, 
and fixing their ladders ; but after a conflict, which 
lasted from sunrise till noon, they found it impossible 
to overcome the gallantry of the Scots, and were beaten 
back on every quarter. At this moment the King of 
England ordered the sow to be advanced ; and the 
English, aware that if they allowed the Scottish en- 
gineers time to take a correct aim, a single stone from 
the catapult would be fatal, dragged it on with great 
eagerness. Twice was the aim taken, and twice it 
failed. The first stone flew over the machine, the 
second fell short of it ; the third, an immense mass, 
which passed through the air with a loud booming 
noise, Kit it directly in the middle with a dreadful 
crash, and shivered its strong roof-timbers into a 
thousand pieces. Such of the miners and soldiers who 
escaped death, rushed out from amongst the frag- 
ments ; and the Scots, raising a shout, cried out that 
the English sow had farrowed her pigs.* Crab, the 
engineer, immediately cast his chains and grappling 
hooks over the unwieldy machine, and having effec- 
tually prevented its removal, poured down burning 
fagots upon its broken timbers, and consumed it to 
ashes. Nor were the English more fortunate in their 
attack upon the side of the river. Their ships, indeed, 

* Barbour, p. 354. 

1319. ROBERT BRUCE. 313 

moved up towards the walls at flood-tide; but whether 
from the shallowness of the water, or the faint-heart- 
edness of their leaders, the attack entirely failed. 
One of the vessels which led the way, on coming 
within range of the catapult, was struck by a large 
stone, which damaged her, and killed and mangled 
some of the crew ; upon which the remaining ships, 
intimidated by the accident, drew off from the assault. 
A last effort of the besiegers, in which they endea- 
voured to set fire to St Mary's gate, was repulsed by 
the Steward in person ; and at nightfall, the English 
army, foiled on every side, and greatly disheartened, 
entirely withdrew from the assault.* 

The spirit with which the defence was carried on, 
may be estimated from the circumstance, that the 
women and boys in the town, during the hottest season 
of the assault, supplied the soldiers on the walls with 
bundles of arrows, and stones for the engines. 

Although twice beaten off, it was yet likely that the 
importance of gaining Berwick would have induced the 
King of England to attempt a third attack; but Bruce 
determined to raise the siege by making a diversion 
on a large scale, and directed Randolph and Douglas, 
at the head of an army of fifteen thousand men, to 
invade England. During the presence of her husband 
at the siege of Berwick, the Queen of England had 
taken up her quarters near York, and it was the plan 
of these two veteran warriors, by a rapid and sudden 
march through the heart of Yorkshire, to seize the 
person of the queen, and, with this precious captive 
in their hands, to dictate the terms of peace to her 

* Barbour, p. 357. 


husband.* Bruce, who, in addition to his talents in 
the field, had not neglected to avail himself in every 
way of Edward's unpopularity, appears to have esta- 
blished a secret correspondence, not only with the Earl 
of Lancaster, who was then along with his master 
before Berwick, but with others about the queen's 
person. -f* The plan had in consequence very nearly 
been successful ; but a Scottish prisoner, who fell into 
the hands of the English, gave warning of the medi- 
tated attack, and Randolph, on penetrating to York, 
found the prey escaped, and the court removed to a 
distance. Incensed at this disappointment, they ra- 
vaged the surrounding country with merciless execu- 
tion, marking their progress by the flames and smoke 
of towns and castles, and collecting much plunder. 

The military strength of the country was at this 
time before Berwick, and nothing remained but the 
forces of the church, and of the vassals who held lands 
by military service to the archiepiscopal see. These 
were hastily assembled by William de Melton, the 
Archbishop of York, assisted by the Bishop of Ely, J 
and a force of twenty thousand men, but of a motley 
description, proceeded to intercept the Scots. Multi- 
tudes of priests and monks, whose shaved crowns 
suited ill with the steel basnet large bodies of the 
feudal militia of the church, but hastily levied, and 
imperfectly disciplined the mayor of York, with his 
train-bands and armed burgesses, composed the army 
which the archbishop, emulous, perhaps, of the fame 
which had been acquired in the battle of the Standard, 
by his predecessor Thurstin, too rashly determined to 

* " Certe si capta fuisset tune Begina, credo quod pacem emisset sibi 
Scocia." M. Malmesbur. p. 192. 
f Walsingham, pp. Ill, 112. 
J Rotuli Scotias, vol. i. p. 202. 4th Sept. 13 Edw. II. 

1.319. ROBERT BRUCE. 315 

lead against the experienced soldiers of Randolph and 
Douglas. The result was what might have been ex- 
pected. The Scots were encamped at Mitton, near 
the small river Swale. Across the stream there was 
then a bridge, over which the English army defiled. 
Whilst thus occupied, some large stacks of hay were 
set on fire by the enemy,* and, under cover of a dense 
mass of smoke, a strong column of men threw them- 
selves between the English army and the bridge. As 
the smoke cleared away, they found themselves at- 
tacked with great fury both in front and rear, by the 
fatal long spear of the Scottish infantry ; and the army 
of the archbishop was in a few moments entirely broken 
and dispersed.*^ In an incredibly short time, four 
thousand were slain, and amongst these many priests, 
whose white surplices covered their armour. Great 
multitudes were drowned in attempting to recross the 
river, and it seems to have been fortunate for the 
English that the battle was fought in the evening, 
and that a September night soon closed upon the 
field ; for had it been a morning attack, it is probable 
that Randolph and Douglas would have put the whole 
army to the sword. Three hundred ecclesiastics fell 
in this battle ; from which circumstance, and in allu- 
sion to the prelates who led the troops, it was deno- 
minated, in the rude pleasantry of the times, " The 
Chapter of Mitton." When the news of the disaster 
reached the camp before Berwick, the troops began to 
murmur, and the Earl of Lancaster soon after, in a 
fit of disgust, deserted the leaguer with his whole 
followers, composing nearly a third part of the army.J 

* Hardynge's Chronicle, p. 309. 

+ J. de Trokelowe, p. 45. Hume's Douglas and Angus, vol. i. pp. 69, 70. 
Barbour, p. 350. 
J Barbour, p. 359. 


Edward immediately raised the siege, and made a 
spirited effort to intercept Douglas and Randolph on 
their return, and compel them to fight at a disadvan- 
tage ; but he had to deal with veteran soldiers, whose 
secret information was accurate, and who were inti- 
mately acquainted with the Border passes. While 
he attempted to intercept them by one road, they had 
already taken another, and leaving their route to be 
traced, as their advance had been, by the flames and 
smoke of villages and hamlets, they returned, without 
experiencing a check, into Scotland, loaded with booty, 
and confirmed in their feeling of military superiority. 
It may give some idea of the far-spreading devastation 
occasioned by this and similar inroads of the Scottish 
army, when it is stated, that in an authentic document 
in the Foedera Angliae, it appears that eighty-four 
towns and villages were burnt and pillaged by the 
army of Randolph and Douglas in this expedition. 
These, on account of the great losses sustained, are, 
by a royal letter addressed to the tax-gatherers of 
the West Riding of Yorkshire, exempted from all 
contribution ;* and in this list the private castles and 
hamlets which were destroyed in the same fiery inroad, 
do not appear to be included. 

Bruce could not fail to be particularly gratified by 
these successes. Berwick, not only the richest com- 
mercial town in England, but of extreme importance 
as a key to that country, remained in his hands, after 
a siege directed by the King of England in person ; 
and the young warrior, who had so bravely repulsed 
the enemy, was the Steward of Scotland, the husband 
of his only daughter, on whom the hopes and wishes 
of the nation mainly rested. The defeat upon the 

* Eymer, Foedera, vol. iii. pp. 801, 802. 

1319. ROBERT BRUCE. 317 

Swale was equally destructive and decisive, and it was 
followed up by another expedition of the restless and 
indefatigable Douglas, who, about All-Hallow tide of 
the same year, when the northern Borders had 
gathered in their harvest, broke into and burnt Gills- 
land and the surrounding country, ravaged Borough- 
on-Stanmore, and came sweeping home through West- 
moreland and Cumberland, driving his cattle and his 
prisoners before him, and cruelly adding to the mise- 
ries of the recent famine, by a total destruction of the 
agricultural produce, which had been laid up for the 

' It was a part of the character of Bruce, which 
marked his great abilities, that he knew as well when 
to make peace as to pursue war ; and that, after any 
success, he could select the moment best fitted for 
permanently securing to his kingdom the advantages, 
which, had he reduced his enemy to extremity, might 
have eluded his grasp. The natural consequence of a 
long series of defeats sustained by Edward, was an 
anxious desire upon his own part, and that of his par- 
liament, for a truce between the kingdoms ;} and as 
the Scots were satiated with victory, and, to use the 
words of an English historian, so enriched by the 
plunder of England that that country could scarcely 

* Hume's Douglas and Angus, vol. i. p. 70. 

+ "Walsingham, p. 112. " Igitur Rex, sentiens quotidie sua damna cumu- 
lari, de communi consilio in treugas jurat biennales, Scotis libenter has 
acceptantibus, non tamen quia jam fuerant bellis fatigati, sed quia fuerant 
Anglica praeda ditati." Lingard says nothing of the request of the parlia- 
ment, that Edward would enter into a truce with the Scots, but observes, 
that the first proposal for a negotiation came from Scotland, and that the 
demand for the regal title was waved by Bruce. The truce itself is not 
published in Rymer, so that there is no certain proof that Bruce waved the 
regal title ; and although, in the document in Rymer, vol. iii. p. 806, Ed- 
ward, in a letter to the pope, states, that Bruce made proposals for a truce, 
the evidence is not conclusive, as Edward, in his public papers, did not 
scruple to conceal his disasters, by assuming a tone of superiority, when his 
affairs were at the lowest ebb. 


afford them more, the Scottish king lent a ready ear to 
the representations of the English commissioners, and 
agreed to a truce for two years between the kingdoms, 
to commence from Christmas 1319. Conservators of 
the truce were appointed by England,* and, in the 
meantime, commissioners of both nations were directed 
to continue their conferences, with the hope of con- 
cluding a final peace. 

One great object of Bruce in consenting to a cessa- 
tion of hostilities, was his earnest desire to be recon- 
ciled to the Roman See a desire which apparently 
was far from its accomplishment ; for the pope, instead 
of acting as a peace-maker, seized this moment to 
reiterate his spiritual censures against the King of 
Scotland and his adherents, in a bull of great length, 
and unexampled rancour ;} and some time after the 
final settlement of the truce, the Archbishop of York, 
with the Bishops of London and Carlisle, were com- 
manded and the order is stated to have proceeded on 
information communicated by Edward to excommu- 
nicate Robert and his accomplices, on every Sabbath 
and festival-day throughout the year.| 

Convinced by this conduct, that their enemies had 
been busy in misrepresenting at the Roman court their 
causes of quarrel with England, the Scottish nobility 
assembled in parliament at Aberbrothock, and with 
consent of the king, the barons, freeholders, and whole 
community of Scotland, directed a letter or manifesto 
to the pope, in a strain different from that servility of 
address to which the spiritual sovereign had been ac- 

* This is said to be the first instance of the appointment of Conservators 
of truce for the Borders. Eidpath, Border Hist. p. 265. 

f Rymer, Fredera, vol. iii. p. 797. J Ibid. vol. iii. p. 810. 

April 6, 1320. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 277. 

1320. ROBERT BRUCE. 319 

After an exordium, in which they shortly allude to 
the then commonly believed traditions regarding the 
emigration of the Scots from Scythia, their residence 
in Spain, and subsequent conquest of the Pictish king- 
dom ; to their long line of a hundred and thirteen 
kings, (many of whom are undoubtedly fabulous ;) to 
their conversion to Christianity by St Andrew, and 
the privileges which they had enjoyed at the hands of 
their spiritual father, as the flock of the brother of 
St Peter, they describe, in the following energetic 
terms, the unjust aggression of Edward the First : 

" Under such free protection did we live, until Edward 
king of England, and father of the present monarch, 
covering his hostile designs under the specious disguise 
of friendship and alliance, made an invasion of our 
country at the moment when it was without a king, 
and attacked an honest and unsuspicious people, then 
but little experienced in war. The insults which this 
prince has heaped upon us, the slaughters and devas- 
tations which he has committed ; his imprisonments 
of prelates, his burning of monasteries, his spoliations 
and murder of priests, and the other enormities of 
which he has been guilty, can be rightly described, or 
even conceived, by none but an eye-witness. From 
these innumerable evils have we been freed, under the 
help of that God who woundeth and who maketh 
whole, by our most valiant prince and king, Lord 
Robert, who, like a second Maccabseus, or Joshua, 
hath cheerfully endured all labour and weariness, and 
exposed himself to every species of danger and priva- 
tion, that he might rescue from the hands of the enemy 
his ancient people and rightful inheritance, whom also 
Divine Providence, and the right of succession accord 
ing to those laws and customs, which we will maintain 


to the death, as well as the common consent of us all, 
have made our prince and king. To him are we bound, 
both by his own merit and by the law of the land, and 
to him, as the saviour of our people, and the guardian 
of our liberty, are we unanimously determined to ad- 
here ; but if he should desist from what he has begun, 
and should show an inclination to subject us or our 
kingdom to the King of England, or to his people, 
then we declare, that we will use our utmost effort to 
expel him from the throne, as our enemy, and the 
subverter of his own and of our right, and we will 
choose another king to rule over us, who will be able 
to defend us ; for as long as a hundred Scotsmen are 
left alive, we will never be subject to the dominion of 
England. It is not for glory, riches, or honour, that 
we fight, but for that liberty which no good man will 
consent to lose but with his life. 

" Wherefore, most reverend father, we humbly pray, 
and from our hearts beseech your Holiness to consider, 
that you are the vicegerent of Him with whom there 
is no respect of persons, Jews or Greeks, Scots or 
English ; and turning your paternal regard upon the 
tribulations brought upon us and the Church of God 
by the English, to admonish the King of England 
that he should be content with what he possesses, see- 
ing that England of old was enough for seven, or more 
kings, and not to disturb our peace in this small coun- 
try, lying on the utmost boundaries of the habitable 
earth, and whose inhabitants desire nothing but what 
is their own." 

The barons proceed to say, that they are willing to 
do everything for peace which may not compromise 
the freedom of their constitution and government ; 
and they exhort the pope to procure the peace of 

1320. ROBERT BRUCE. 321 

Christendom, in order to the removal of all impedi- 
ments in the way of a crusade against the infidels ; 
declaring the readiness with which both they and their 
king would undertake that sacred warfare, if the King 
of England would cease to disturb them. Their con- 
clusion is exceedingly spirited : 

" If," say they, " your Holiness do not sincerely 
believe these things, giving too implicit faith to the 
tales of the English, and on this ground shall not 
cease to favour them in their designs for our destruc- 
tion, be well assured that the Almighty will impute 
to you that loss of life, that destruction of human 
souls, and all those various calamities which our inex- 
tinguishable hatred against the English, and their 
warfare against us, must necessarily produce. Confi- 
dent that we now are, and shall ever, as in duty bound, 
remain obedient sons to you, as God's vicegerent, we 
commit the defence of our cause to that God, as the 
great King and Judge, placing our confidence in him, 
and in the firm hope that he will endow us with strength, 
and confound our enemies ; and may the Almighty 
long preserve your Holiness in health." 

This memorable letter is dated at Aberbrothock, on 
the 6th of April 1320, and it is signed by eight earls 
and thirty-one barons, amongst whom we find the great 
officers, the high-steward, the seneschal, the constable, 
and the marshal, with the barons, freeholders, and 
whole community of Scotland.* 

The effect of such a remonstrance, and the negotia- 
tions of Sir Edward Mabuisson and Sir Adam de 
Gordon, two special messengers, who were sent by 
Bruce to the papal court, induced his Holiness to delay 

* A fac-simile of this famous letter "was engraved by Anderson, in his 
Diplomata Scotiae, plate 51. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 275. 



for some time the reiterated publication of the papal 
processes, and earnestly to recommend a peace between 
the two countries. For this purpose, a meeting took 
place between certain Scottish and English commis- 
sioners, which was attended by two envoys from the 
King of France, who entreated to be allowed to act as 
a mediator, and by two nuncios from the pope. But 
Edward was not yet sufficiently humbled to consent 
to the conditions stipulated by his antagonist ; and 
Bruce was the less anxious to come to an agreement, 
as a dangerous civil insurrection, headed by the Earl 
of Lancaster, his secret friend and ally, had just broke 
out in England, and promised to give Edward full 
employment at home.* 

In the midst of these unsuccessful negotiations for 
peace, a conspiracy of an alarming and mysterious 
nature against the life of the King of Scots was dis- 
covered, by the confession of the Countess of Strathern, 
who was privy to the plot. William de Soulis, the 
seneschal, or high-butler of Scotland ; Sir David de 
Brechin, nephew to the king, an accomplished knight, 
who had signalized himself in the Holy War ; five 
other knights, Sir Gilbert de Malherbe, Sir John Logic, 
Sir Eustace de Maxwell, Sir Walter de Berklay, and 
Sir Patrick de Graham ; with three esquires, Richard 
Brown, Hameline de Troupe, and Eustace de Rattray, 
are the only persons whose names have come down to 
us as certainly implicated in the conspiracy. Of these, 
Sir David de Brechin, along with Malherbe, Logie, 
and Brown, suffered the punishment of treason.-f- The 
destruction of all record of their trial renders it difficult 

* Rymer's Foedera, vol. in. pp. 866, 884. Ridpath's Border History, 

267. Rymer, vol. iii. p. 924. 

t Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1010. 

1320. ROBERT BRUCE. 323 

to throw any light on the details of the plot ; but we 
have the evidence of a contemporary of high autho- 
rity, that the design of the conspirators was to slay 
the king, and place the crown on the head of Lord 
Soulis, a lineal descendant of the daughter of Alex- 
ander II. ; and who, as possessing such a claim, would 
have excluded both Bruce and Baliol, had the legiti- 
macy of his mother been unquestioned.* There is 
evidence in the records of the Tower, that both Soulis 
and Brechin had long tampered with England, and 
been rewarded for their services. In the case of Brechin, 
we find him enjoying special letters of protection from 
Edward. In addition to these he was pensioned in 
1312, was appointed English warden of the town and 
castle of Dundee, and employed in secret communica- 
tions, having for their object the destruction of his 
uncle's power in Scotland, and the triumph of the 
English arms over his native country. It is certain 
that he was a prisoner of war in Scotland in the year 
1315,-f- having probably been taken in arms at the 
battle of Bannockburn. In the five years of glory and 
success which followed, and in the repeated expeditions 
of Randolph and Douglas, we do not once meet with 
his name ; and now, after having been received into 
favour, he became connected with, or at least connived 
at, a conspiracy, which involved the death of the king. 
Such a delinquent is little entitled to our sympathy. 
There was not a single favourable circumstance in his 
case ; but he was young and brave, he had fought 
against the infidels, and the people who knew not of 
his secret treasons, could not see him suffer without 

* Barbour.p. 380, 1. 385. 

t Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. p. 311. Rotuli Scotiae. 5 Edw. II., m. 3. Ibid. 
8 Edw. II., m. 7. dorso. 


pity and regret.* Soulis, who, with a retinue of three 
hundred and sixty esquires, had been seized at Ber- 
wick, was imprisoned in Dumbarton, where he soon 
after died ; and Maxwell, Berklay, Graham, Troupe, 
and Rattray, were tried and acquitted. The parlia- 
ment in which these trials and condemnations took 
place, was held at Scone in the beginning of August, 
1320, and long remembered in Scotland under the 
name of the Black Parliament. -j- 

A brief gleam of success now cheered the prospects 
of Edward, and encouraged him to continue the war 
with Scotland. The Earl of Lancaster, who, along 
with the Earl of Hereford and other English barons, 
had entered into a treaty of alliance with Bruce, and 
concerted an invasion of England, to be conducted by 
the King of Scotland in person,! was defeated and 
taken prisoner by Sir Andrew Hartcla and Sir Simon 
Ward, near Pontefract ; his army was totally routed, 
and he himself soon after executed for treason. 

In the battle the Earl of Hereford was slain, others 
of the discontented nobility shared the fate of Lan- 
caster, and the dangerous faction which had for so 
many years been a thorn in the side of the king, was 
entirely broken and put down. Exulting at this suc- 
cess, Edward determined to collect an army which 
should at once enable him to put an end to the war, 
and in a tone of premature triumph, wrote to the pope, 

* Barbour, pp. 381, 382. 

"t Hailes, trusting perhaps to Bower in his additions to Fordun, p. 174, 
who was ignorant of Brechin's connexion with Edward, laments over 
Brechin, and creates an impression in the reader's mind, that Bruce was 
unnecessarily rigorous, and might have pardoned him ; yet, it seems to me, 
his case, instead of being favourable, was peculiarly aggravated. Brace's 
generous nature had passed over manifold attempts by Brechin against the 
liberty of his country : in the conspiracy of Soulis, any extension of mercy 
would have been weak, if not criminal. 

J Foedera, vol. iii. pp. 938, 939. 

1321-2. ROBERT BRUCE. 325 

" requesting him to give himself no farther trouble 
about a truce with the Scots, as he had determined to 
establish a peace by force of arms."* In furtherance 
of this resolution, he proceeded to issue his writs for 
the attendance of his military vassals ; but so ill were 
these obeyed, that four months were lost before the 
force assembled ; and in this interval the Scots, with 
their usual strength and fury, broke into England, led 
by the king in person, wasted with fire and sword the 
six northern counties, which had scarcely drawn breath 
from a visitation of the same kind by Randolph, and 
returned to Scotland, loaded with booty, consisting of 
herds of sheep and oxen, quantities of gold and silver, 
ecclesiastical plate and ornaments, jewels, and table 
equipage, which they piled in waggons, and drove off 
at their pleasure.-f- Meanwhile Edward continued his 
preparations, which, although dilatory, were on a great 
scale. | A supply of lancemen and cross-bowmen was 
demanded from his foreign subjects of Aquitaine, along 
with a due proportion of wheat, and a thousand tuns 
of wine for the use of his army ; every village and 
hamlet in England was commanded to furnish one 
foot-soldier fully armed, and the larger towns and cities 
were taxed proportionally to their size and importance. 
A parliament held at York, in the end of July, granted 
large subsidies from the nobles and the clergy, the 
cities, towns, and burghs ; a fleet of transports, with 
provisions, was sent round to enter the Forth ; and 
an offensive squadron, under the command of Sir John 
Leybourn, was fitted out for the attack of the west 
coast and the islands. All things being ready, Edward 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. p. 944. 

f- Knighton, p. 2542. Hume's History of House of Douglas and Angus, 
vol. i. p. 72. 
J Rymer, Fredera, vol. iii. pp. 930, 952, 955, 962. 


invaded Scotland at the head of an army of a hundred 
thousand men ;* but the result of the expedition was 
lamentably disproportionate to the magnitude of his 
promises and his preparations ; and manifested, in a 
striking manner, the superior talents and policy of 

No longer bound, as at Bannockburn, by the rash 
engagement of his brother to risk his kingdom upon 
the fate of a battle, which he must have fought with a 
greatly disproportionate force, the king determined to 
make the numbers of the English army the cause of 
their ruin : to starve them in an enemy's country, 
and then to fall upon them when, enfeebled by want, 
they could offer little resistance. Accordingly, on 
advancing to Edinburgh, the English found themselves 
marching through a desert, where neither enemy could 
be seen, nor provisions of any kind collected. The 
cattle and the sheep, the stores of corn and victuals, 
and the valuable effects of every kind, throughout the 
districts of the Merse, Teviotdale, and the Lothians, 
had entirely disappeared ; the warlike population, 
which were expected to debate the advance of the army, 
had retired under the command of the King of Scot- 
land to Culross, on the north side of the Firth of 
Forth ; and Edward having in vain waited for supplies 
by his fleet, which contrary winds prevented entering 
the Firth, was compelled by famine to give orders for 
a retreat.-}- The moment the English began their 
march homewards, the Scots commenced the fatal 
partisan warfare in which Douglas and Randolph were 
such adepts ; hung upon their rear, cut off the strag- 
glers, and were ready to improve every advantage. 
An advanced party of three hundred strong, were put 

* In the month of August, 1328. f Barbour, p. 370. 

1322. ROBERT BRUCE. 327 

to the sword by Douglas at Melrose ; but the main 
army, coming up, plundered and destroyed this ancient 
monastery, spoiled the high altar of its holiest vessels, 
sacrilegiously casting out the consecrated host, and 
cruelly murdering the prior, and some feeble monks, 
who, from affection or bodily infirmity, had refused to 
fly.* Turning off by Dryburgh, the disappointed 
invaders left this monastery in flames, and hastening 
through Teviotdale, were overjoyed once more to find 
themselves surrounded by the plenty and comfort of 
their own country. Yet here a new calamity awaited 
them ; for the scarcity and famine of an unsuccessful 
invasion induced the soldiers to give themselves up to 
unlimited indulgence ; and they were soon attacked by 
a mortal dysentery, which rapidly carried off immense 
numbers, and put a finishing stroke to this unhappy 
expedition, by the loss of sixteen thousand men.^ 

But Edward was destined to experience still more 
unhappy reverses. Having collected the scattered re- 
mains of his army, and strengthened it by fresh levies, 
he encamped at Biland Abbey, near Malton, in York- 
shire ; and when there, was met by the intelligence 
that King Robert, having sat down before Norham 
castle with a powerful force, after some time fruitlessly 
spent in the siege, had been compelled to retire. 
Scarce, however, had this good news arrived, when the 
advanced parties of the Scottish army were descried ; 
and the English had only time to secure a strong 
position on the ridge of a hill, before the king was seen 
marching through the plain with his whole forces, and 
it became manifest that he meant to attack the Eng- 

* Fordun a Hearne, p. 1011. 

f Knighton, p. 2542. Barbour, pp. 373, 374. Fordun a Hearne, 
p. 1012. 


lish. This, however, from the nature of the ground, 
was no easy matter. Their soldiers were drawn up 
along the ridge of a rugged and steep declivity, assail- 
able only by a single narrow pass, which led to Biland 
Abbey. This pass, Sir James Douglas, with a chosen 
body of men, undertook to force ; and as he advanced 
his banner, and the pennons of his knights and squires 
were marshalling and waving round him, Randolph, 
his friend and brother in arms, with four squires, came 
up, and joined the enterprise as a volunteer. The 
Scottish soldiers attacked the enemy with the utmost 
resolution, but they were received with equal bravery 
by Sir Thomas Ughtred* and Sir Ralph Cobham, 
who fought in advance of the column which defended 
the pass, and encouraged their men to a desperate 
resistance. Meanwhile, stones and other missiles were 
poured down upon the Scots from the high ground ; 
and this double attack, with the narrowness of the 
pass, caused the battle to be exceeding obstinate and 
bloody. Bruce, whose eye intently watched every 
circumstance, determined now to repeat the manoeuvre, 
by which, many years before, he entirely defeated the 
army of the Lord of Lorn, when it occupied ground 
similar to the present position of the English. He 
commanded the men of Argyle and the Isles to climb 
the rocky ridge, at some distance from the pass, and 
to attack and turn the flank of the force which held 
the summit. These orders the mountaineers, trained 
in their own countrv to this species of warfare, found 

* Ker, in his History of Bruce, vol. ii. p. 284, following Pinkerton, 
makes the name Enchter. The reading in Barbour, as restored by Dr 
Jamieson, is Thomas Ochtre. It is evidently the same name, and in all 
probability the same person, as Thomas de uchtred, mentioned in vol. iii. 
p. 963, of the Foedera, as the keeper of the castle and honour of Pickering, 
and described as being of the county of York. 

1322. ROBERT BRUCE. 329 

no difficulty in obeying ;* and the enemy were driven 
from the heights with great slaughter, whilst Douglas 
and Randolph carried the pass, and made way for the 
main body of the Scottish army. 

So rapid had been the succession of these events, 
that the English king, confident in the strength of 
his position, could scarcely trust his eyes, when he 
saw his army entirely routed, and flying in all direc- 
tions ; himself compelled to abandon his camp equi- 
page, baggage, and treasure, and to consult his safety 
by a precipitate flight, pursued by the young Steward 
of Scotland, at the head of five hundred horse. It was 
with difficulty he escaped to Bridlington, having lost 
the privy seal in the confusion of the day.-f* This was 
the second time during this weak and inglorious reign, 
that the privy seal of England had been lost amid the 
precipitancy of the king's flight from the face of his 
enemies . First, in the disastrous flight from Bannock- 
burn, and now in the equally rapid decampment from 
the Abbey of Biland.| In this battle John of Bre- 
tagne earl of Richmond, Henry de Sully grand butler 
of France, and many other prisoners of note, fell into 
the hands of the enemy. Richmond was treated by the 
king with unusual severity, commanded into strict 
confinement, and only liberated after a long captivity, 
and at the expense of an enormous ransom. The cause 
of this is said to have been the terms of slight and 
opprobrium with which he had been heard to express 
himself against Bruce. To Sully and other French 
knights, who had been taken at the same time, the 
king demeaned himself with that chivalrous and 
polished courtesy for which he was so distinguished ; 

* Barbour, p. 376. + Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. p. 977. 

J Leland, Collect, vol. i. p. 250. Barbour, p. 378. 


assuring them that he was well aware they had been 
present in the battle, not from personal enmity to him, 
but from the honourable ambition that good knights, 
in a strange land, must ever have, to show their prow- 
ess ; wherefore he entreated them, as well for their own 
sake, as out of compliment to his friend, the King of 
France, to remain at head-quarters. They did so 
accordingly; and after some time, on setting out for 
France, were dismissed, not only free of ransom, but 
enriched with presents.* After this decisive defeat, 
the Scots plundered the whole country to the north 
of the Humber, and extended their ravages to Bever- 
ley, laying waste the East Riding with fire and sword, 
and levying from the towns and monasteries, which 
were rich enough to pay for their escape from plunder, 
large sums of redemption money.-f- The clergy and 
inhabitants of Beverley purchased their safety at the 
rate of four hundred pounds, being six thousand pounds 
of our present money. Loaded with booty, driving 
large herds of cattle before them, and rich in multi- 
tudes of captives, both of low and high degree, the 
Scottish army at length returned to their own country. J 
The councils of the King of England continued 
after this to be weakened by dissension and treachery 
amongst his nobility. Hartcla, who, for his good ser- 
vice in the destruction of the Lancastrian faction, had 
been created Earl of Carlisle, soon after, imitating the 

* Barbour, p. 379. t Ker's Bruce, vol. ii. p. 287. 

J Dr Lingard (vol. iii. p. 442,) following the authority of John de 
Trokelowe, p. 64, has represented the battle of Biland Abbey as a skirmish, 
in which, after Edward had disbanded his army, Bruce surprised the Eng- 
lish king, and the knights and suite who were with him. It appears to me, 
that the accounts of Barbour, Fordun, and of Lord Hailes, lead to a very 
different conclusion. In Dr Lingard's narrative, the determined resistance 
made by the English army, the storming of their encampment, the strong 
ground in which it was placed, and, indeed, the circumstance that there was 
an army at all with the King, is omitted. 

1322-3. ROBERT BRUCE. 331 

example of Lancaster, entered into a correspondence 
with Bruce,* and organized an extensive confederacy 
amongst the northern barons, which had for its object, 
not only to conclude a truce with the Scots, indepen- 
dent of any communication with the king, but to 
maintain Robert Bruce and his heirs in the right and 
possession of the entire kingdom of Scotland. On the 
discovery of the plot, he suffered the death of a traitor, 
after being degraded from his new honours, and having 
his gilt spurs hacked off his heels. "j* Henry de Beau- 
mont, one of the king's councillors, was soon after this 
disgraced, and committed to the custody of the mar- 
shal, on refusing to give his advice in terms of insolence 
and audacity ;J so that Edward, unsupported by an 
army, disgraced by personal flight, and betrayed by 
some of his most confidential nobility, whilst his king- 
dom had been incalculably weakened by a long and 
disastrous war, began to wish seriously for a cessation 
of hostilities. Nor was Bruce unwilling to entertain 
pacific overtures. He repelled, indeed, with becoming 
dignity, a weak attempt to refuse to acknowledge him 
as the principal leader and party in the truce, and 
insisted on his recognition as chief of his Scottish sub- 
jects ; but he consented, by the mediation of his friend, 
Henry de Sully, to a thirteen-years 1 truce. This 
truce, however, he ratified under the style and title of 
King of Scotland, and this ratification Edward agreed 
to accept; || thus virtually acknowledging the royal 
title which he affected to deny. But although desir- 
ous of peace, the conduct of the English monarch at 

* Leland, Collect, vol. i. p. 466. 

f Ker's Hist, of Bruce, p. 289, vol. ii. Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. p. 999. 

J Rymer, Fcedera, vol. iii. p. 1021. 

Hailes' Annals, vol. ii. p. 108. Rymer, Foedera, vol. ii. p. 1003. 

|| Rymer, Foedera, vol. iii. p. 1031. 


this time was marked by dissimulation and bad faith. 
While apparently anxious for a truce, he employed 
his ambassadors at the papal court to irritate the Holy 
Father against Bruce, and to fan the dissensions be- 
tween them; he summoned an array of the whole 
military service of England during the negotiations ; 
and he recalled Edward Baliol, the son of the late 
King of Scots, from his castle in Normandy, to reside 
at the English court,* with the design, as afterwards 
appeared, of employing him to excite disturbances in 
Scotland. To counteract these intrigues of England, 
Bruce despatched his nephew, Randolph, to the papal 
court ; and the result of his negotiations was in a high 
degree favourable to Scotland. Flattered by the judi- 
cious declarations of his master's devotion to the Holy 
See; soothed by the expression of his anxiety for a 
peace with England, and an entire reconciliation with 
the church ; and delighted with the ardour with which 
Bruce declared himself ready to repair in person to the 
Holy War, the pontiff consented, under the influence 
of these feelings, to remove all cause of quarrel, by 
addressing a bull to Bruce, with the title of king.-f* 
It has been justly observed, that the conduct of this 
delicate negotiation presents Randolph to us in the 
new character of a consummate politician. J Against 
this unexpected conduct of the Holy See, Edward 
entered a spirited remonstrance, complaining, with 
great show of reason, that although the pope main- 
tained that Bruce's claim could not be strengthened, 
nor that of the King of England impaired, by his 
bestowing on his adversary the title of king, yet the 
subjects of both kingdoms would naturally conclude 

* Foedera, vol. iv. p. 62. + Rymer, Foedera, vol. iv. p. 29. 

J Hailes, vol. ii. 4to, p. 113. 

1323-4. ROBERT BRUCE. 333 

that his Holiness intended to acknowledge the right 
where he had given the title;* and he reminded him, 
that it was against an established maxim of papal 
policy, that any alteration in the condition of the 
parties should be made during the continuance of the 
truce. At the same time, Randolph, previous to his 
return, repaired to the court of France, and there 
renewed the ancient league between that kingdom and 

During these negotiations with the papal court, a 
son was born to King Robert at Dunfermline,J who, 
after a long minority, succeeded his father, under the 
title of David the Second. It was an event of great 
joy to the country ; and the court poets of the day 
foretold that, like his illustrious father, the royal 
infant would prove a man strong in arms, " who would 
hold his warlike revels amid the gardens of England; 11 
a compliment, unfortunately, not destined to be pro- 
phetic^ Meanwhile, the conferences for a lasting 
peace between the two kingdoms proceeded ; but the 
demands made by the Scottish commissioners were 
considered too degrading to be accepted by England, 
even in her present feeble and disordered state. The 
discussions were tedious and complicated, but their 
particulars do not appear in the state papers of the 
time. If we may believe an ancient English historian, || 
it was insisted, that all demand of feudal superiority 
was for ever to be renounced by England ; the fatal 
stone of Scone, as well as certain manors in England, 
belonging to the King of Scots, which had been seized 

* Rymer, Fcedera, vol. iv. p. 46. ) Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 279. 
J On 5th March, 1323. Fordun a Goodal, book xiii. chap. v. 
" Iste, maim fortis, Anglorum ludet in hortis." Fordua a Goodal. 
vol. ii. p. 280. 

|| Mon. Malmesburiensis, p. 230. 


by Edward the First, were to be delivered to their 
rightful owner. A marriage between the royal blood 
of England and Scotland was to guarantee a lasting 
peace between the two kingdoms ; and, finally, the 
whole of the north of England, as far as to the gates 
of York, was to be ceded to Scotland. This last 
demand, if really made, must have proceeded from an 
intention upon the part of the Scots to break off all 
serious negotiation. As soon, indeed, as Bruce became 
assured of the disingenuous conduct of Edward, in 
continuing his machinations at the papal court, for the 
purpose of preventing the promised grant of absolution 
to him and to his people, it was natural that all thoughts 
of a cordial reconciliation should cease, more especially 
as the intrigues of England appear in this instance to 
have been successful.* 

For some years after this, the quiet current of 
national prosperity in Scotland, occasioned by the 
steady influence of good government, presents few sub- 
jects for the historian. Bruce's administration appears 
to have increased in strength and popularity ; and the 
royal household, which had been lately gladdened by 
the birth of a young prince, was now cheered by an 
important bridal. Christian Bruce, the king's sister, 
and widow of the unfortunate Christopher Seton, 
espoused a tried and hardy soldier, Sir Andrew Moray 
of Bothwell, afterwards regent of the kingdom . Moray 
had been bred to war by Wallace ; and it was a wise 
part of the policy of Bruce, to attach to himself the 
bravest soldiers by matrimonial alliances. The joy of 
the country, however, at these happy events, was not 
long after overclouded by the death of Walter, the 
High Steward of Scotland, and son-in-law to the king. 

* Fcedera, vol. iv. p. 176. 

1326. ROBERT BRUCE. 335 

He seems to have been deeply and deservedly lamented. 
When only a stripling in war, he had done good ser- 
vice at Bannockburn, and afterwards increased the 
promise of his fame by his successful defence of Ber- 
wick against the King of England in person.* 

A treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, between 
France and Scotland, was concluded at Corbeil by 
Randolph, in which it was agreed to make common 
cause in all future wars between England and either 
of the contracting parties ; with the reservation, how- 
ever, upon the part of Robert, that so long as the truce 
continued, he should be free from the effects of such 
an engagement.-f- Soon after this, a parliament was 
held at Cambuskenneth, wherein the clergy, earls, 
barons, and all the nobility of Scotland, with the peo- 
ple there assembled, took the oaths of fealty and 
homage to David, the king's son, and his issue ; whom 
failing, to Robert Stewart, now orphan son of Walter 
the Steward, and the Princess Marjory, the king's 
daughter. It is important to notice, that this is the 
earliest parliament in which we have certain intima- 
tion of the appearance of the representatives of the 
cities and burghs, as forming a third estate in the great 
national council. The same parliament, in consequence 
of the lands and revenues of the crown having suffered 
extreme defalcation during the protracted war with 
England, granted to the king a tenth of the rents of 
all the lay-lands in the kingdom, to be estimated 
according to the valuation which was followed during 
the reign of Alexander the Third.J 

A sudden revolution, conducted by Isabella, the 

* Barbour p. 386. He died at Bathgate, and was buried at Paisley, 
t KIT'S History of Bruce, vol. ii. p. 343. Acts of the Parl. of Scotland, 
vol. vi. p. 564. 
J Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1014. 


profligate Queen of England, and her paramour Morti- 
mer, terminated soon after this in the deposition of 
Edward the Second, and the assumption of the royal 
dignity by his son, the great Edward the Third, now 
entering his fourteenth year.* Although the avowed 
intentions of the English regency, who acted as coun- 
cil to the king, were pacific, yet their real conduct was 
insidious and hostile. To Bruce it was even insulting; 
for, although they ratified the truce in the name of 
the young king, and appointed commissioners to renew 
the negotiations for peace, yet their instructions em- 
powered them to treat with the messengers of the 
noblemen and great men of Scotland, without the 
slightest mention of the name of the king, who, under 
such a provocation, soon manifested a disposition to 
renew the war. He had been disgusted by the re- 
peated instances of bad faith on the part of the English 
government ; and, taking advantage of the minority 
of the king, and the civil dissensions \vhich had greatly 
weakened the country, he assembled a formidable army 
on the Borders, and declared his resolution of disre- 
garding a truce which had been broken by one of the 
parties, and of instantly invading England, unless pre- 
vented by a speedy and advantageous peace. Against 
these warlike preparations the English ministry adopted 
decisive measures. The whole military array of Eng- 
land was summoned to meet the king at Newcastle on 
the 18th of May ; and the Duke of Norfolk, Marshal 
of England, and uncle to young Edward, was com- 
manded to superintend the muster. To Carlisle, the 
key of the kingdom on the other side, were sent two 
brave officers, Robert Ufford and John Mowbray, with 
a reinforcement to Lord Anthony Lucy, the governor. 

* Tyrrel's Hist, of England, vol. iii. p. 325. 

1327. ROBERT BRUCE. 337 

The naval force of the southern ports was ordered to 
be at Skinburness, near the Mouth of the Tees. Two 
fleets, one named the Eastern and the other the Wes- 
tern Fleet of England, were directed to be employed 
against the Scots. The men living on the borders, 
and in the northern shires, received orders to join the 
army with all speed, marching day and night, and to 
send their women and children for shelter to distant 
places, or castles ;* and those who were too old to fight 
were obliged to find a substitute. Anxious to give 
spirit to the soldiers, and to watch the designs of the 
enemy, the young king and the rest of the royal family 
came to York, accompanied by John of Hainault, with a 
fine body of heavy-armed Flemish horse; and Hainault 
was not long after joined by John of Quatremars, at 
the head of another reinforcement of foreign cavalry ,*f* 
Confident in those warlike preparations, the negotia- 
tions for the attainment of peace soon became cold and 
embarrassed; and from the terms proposed by the Eng- 
lish commissioners, it was evident that they, as well as 
Bruce, had resolved upon the prosecution of the war. 

Accordingly, soon after this, a defiance was brought 
to the youthful monarch from the King of Scotland; 
and the herald was commanded to inform him and his 
nobles, that the Scots were preparing to invade his 
kingdom with fire and sword. Bruce himself was 
about this time attacked by a mortal sickness, brought 
on by that excessive fatigue, and constant exposure to 
the inclemency of the seasons, which he had endured 
in his early wars.} The extreme weakness occasioned 
by this, rendered it impossible for him to take the field 

* Rotuli Scotiae, vol. i. p. 208. Hailes, vol. ii. p. 117. Barbour, p. 388, 
t Rotuli Scotise, vol. i. pp. 210, 213. 
J Ker's Bruce, vol. ii. p. 357. 

VOL. I. 3 


in person; but Randolph and Douglas, his two ablest 
captains, put themselves at the head of an army of ten 
thousand men, and passing the Tyne near Carlisle, 
soon showed, that although the king was not present, 
the skill, enterprise, and unshaken courage which he 
had inspired, continued to animate his soldiers.* This 
is one of the last great military expeditions of this 
reign; and as it places in a strong and interesting light 
the species of warfare by which Bruce was enabled to 
reconquer and consolidate his kingdom, as contrasted 
with the gigantic efforts employed against him, we 
shall make no apology for a somewhat minute detail 
of its operations. Froissart, too, one of the most de- 
lightful and graphic of the old historians, appears now 
in the field, and throws over the picture the tints of 
his rich feudal painting. 

Accounts soon reached the English king, that the 
Scots had broken into the northern counties; and in- 
stant orders were given for the host to arrange them- 
selves under their respective banners, and advance 
against the enemy, on the road to Durham. The 
English army, according to Froissart, consisted of 
sixty-two thousand men, of which eight thousand were 
knights and squires, armed both man and horse in 
steel, and excellently mounted; fifteen thousand lighter- 
armed cavalry, who rode hackneys; and fifteen thou- 
sand infantry : to these were added twenty-four thousand 
archers. -f The army was divided into three columns, 
or battles, all of infantry, each battle having two wings 
of heavy-armed cavalry of five hundred men. 

* Barbour, p. 387. Froissart, vol. i. p. 19, by Lord Berners, makes the 
Scottish army fourteen thousand strong. Barbour says, " of gud men" 
there were ten thousand. The camp-followers who came for plunder, and 
the hobilers, or light-armed horse, may make up the disparity. 

f Froissart, chap. xxxv. Buchon's Chroniques Franchises, vol. L p. 80. 
Barnes's Hist, of Edward III., p. 9. 

1327. ROBERT BRUCE. 339 

Against this great host, admirable in its discipline 
and equipment, the Scots had to oppose a very inferior 
force. It consisted of three thousand knights and 
squires, armed cap-a-pie, and mounted on strong good 
horses, and twenty thousand light-armed cavalry, ex- 
cellently adapted for skirmishing, owing to their having 
along with them no impediments of luggage, or carts 
and wagons, and their being mounted on hardy little 
hackneys, which were able to go through their work 
in the most barren country, where other horses would 
die of want. " These Scottishmen," says Froissart, 
" are exceeding hardy, through their constant wearing 
of arms, and experience in war. When they enter 
England, they will, in a single day and night, march 
four-and-twenty miles, taking with them neither bread 
nor wine ; for such is their sobriety, that they are well 
content with flesh half sodden, and for their drink 
with the river water. To them pots and pans are 
superfluities. They are sure to find cattle enough in 
the countries they break into, and they can boil or 
seeth them in their own skins ; so that a little bag of 
oatmeal, trussed behind their saddle, and an iron plate, 
or girdle, on which they bake their crakenel, or biscuit, 
and which is fixed between the saddle and the crupper, 
is their whole purveyance for the field. 1 ' It requires 
little discernment to see, that a force of this descrip- 
tion was admirably adapted for warfare in mountainous 
and desert countries; and that a regular army, how- 
ever excellently equipped, being impeded by luggage, 
wagons, and camp-followers, could have little chance 
against it. So accordingly the event soon showed. 

Advancing from York, the English army learnt no 
tidings of the Scots until they entered Northumber- 
land, when the smoke that rose from the villages and 


hamlets, which they had burnt in their progress, too 
plainly indicated their wasting line of march.* Although 
the Marshal of England had been stationed at New- 
castle with a large body of troops, and the Earl of 
Hereford and Sir John Mowbray commanded at Car- 
lisle with a strong garrison, the Scottish army had 
crossed the Tyne with such silence and rapidity, that 
the blazing villages of Northumberland were the first 
messengers which informed their enemies of their ap- 
proach. From morning to night did the English for 
two days pursue these melancholy beacons, without 
being able to get a sight of their enemy, although they 
burnt and laid waste the country within five miles of 
their main army. But the English appear to have 
been little acquainted with the country, and obliged 
to march with great slowness and precaution through 
the woods, marshes, and mountainous passes with 
which it was intersected; whilst the Scots, veterans 
in this species of warfare, and intimately familiar with 
the seat of the war, drove every living thing from before 
their enemies, wasted the forage, burnt the granaries, 
and surrounded their army with a blackened and smok- 
ing desert, through which they passed without a sight 
of their destroyers. 

After a vain pursuit of three days, through desert 
and rugged paths, the English army, exhausted with 
toil, hunger, and watching, determined to direct their 
march again to the Tyne, and, having crossed that 
river, to await the return of the Scots, and cut off their 
retreat into their own country. This object they 
accomplished towards nightfall with great difficulty, 
and the army was kept under arms, each man lying 
beside his horse with the reins in his hands, ready to 

* Froissart, vol. i. pp. 19, 20. 

1327- ROBERT BRUCE. 341 

mount at a moment's warning, with the vain hope that 
the daylight would show them their enemy, who, they 
conjectured, would return by the same ford which they 
had crossed in their advance. Meanwhile, this great 
host began to experience all those bitter sufferings 
which the Scottish mode of warfare was so surely cal- 
culated to bring upon them.* The rain poured down 
and swelled the river, so that its passage became peri- 
lous ; their carriages and wagons, containing the wine 
and provisions, had been, by orders of the leaders, left 
behind ; and each soldier had carried, strapped behind 
his saddle, a single loaf of bread, which the rain and 
the sweat from the horse, had rendered uneatable ; the 
horses themselves had tasted nothing for a day and 
night; and the soldiers experienced the greatest diffi- 
culty in sheltering themselves from the weather, by 
cutting down the green branches, and making them- 
selves lodges, whilst the horses supported themselves 
by cropping the leaves. There was much suffering 
also from the want of light and fire, as the green wood 
would not burn, and only a few of the greater barons 
had brought torches with them; so that the army lay 
on the cold ground under a heavy rain, ignorant, from 
the darkness, of the situation which they occupied, and 
obliged to keep upon the alert, lest they should be sur- 
prised by the enemy. In this plight the morning 
found them, when they discovered from the country- 
people that their encampment was about fourteen 
leagues from Newcastle, and eleven from Carlisle, but 
could hearno tidings of the Scots.-f- It was determined, 
however, to await their return; and for eight days 

* Barnes's Edward III., p. 10. 

f Froissart, vol. i. pp. 20, 21, 22. The true distance is forty-two milei 
from Newcastle, and thirty-three from Carlisle. 


they lay upon the bank of the Tyne, in the vain idea 
of cutting off the retreat of the enemy, while the rain 
continued to pour down in torrents, and their suffer- 
ings and privations to increase every hour, so that 
murmurs and upbraidings began to arise amongst the 
soldiers ; and the leaders, alarmed by the symptoms of 
mutiny, determined to repass the river, and again 
march in search of the enemy. 

Having accomplished this, proclamation was made 
through the host, that the king would honour with 
knighthood, and a grant of land, any soldier who would 
lead him to where he could cope on dry ground with 
the Scots ;* and sixteen knights and squires rode off 
on the adventure, which was quickly accomplished; for 
one of them, Thomas de Rokeby, was soon after taken 
prisoner by the advanced guards of the Scots, and 
carried before Douglas and Randolph. These leaders, 
confident in the strength of the position which they 
occupied, sent the squire back to his companions, with 
orders to lead the English army to the spot where 
they were encamped, adding, that Edward could not 
be more anxious to see them than they were to be 
confronted with him and his barons. Rokeby, who 
found the king with his army at Blanchland, on the 
river Derwent, informed them of his success ; and next 
morning, the army, drawn up in order of battle, hav- 
ing marched, under the guidance of Rokeby, through 
Weardale, about mid-day came in sight of the Scots, 
strongly encamped on the slope of a hill, at the foot 
of which ran the rapid river Wear.-f- The flanks of 
the position were defended by rocks, which it was 
impossible to turn, and which overhung the river so 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. iv. p. 312. 

t Barnes's Edward III., p. 12. Froissart, vol. i. p. 93. 

1327. ROBERT BRUCE. 343 

as to command its passage ; whilst the stream itself, 
full of huge stones, and swoln by the late rains, could 
not be passed without the greatest risk. Having 
halted and reconnoitred the position of the Scots, the 
English leaders considered it to be impregnable, and, 
in the chivalrous spirit of the times, heralds were sent 
with the proposal, that the two armies should draw up 
on the plain, renounce the advantages of ground, and 
decide the battle in a fair field. The Scottish leaders 
were too well experienced in war to be moved by this 
bravado. " It is known," said they, in reply to the 
defiance, " to the king and barons of England, that we 
are here in their kingdom, and have burnt and wasted 
the country. If displeased therewith, let them come 
and chastise us if they choose, for here we mean to 
remain as long as we please."* 

On the first sight of the strength of the Scottish 
position, the English leaders had given orders for the 
whole host to be drawn up on foot, in three great co- 
lumns or battles, having commanded the knights and 
men-at-arms to lay aside their spurs, and join the 
ranks of the infantry. In this order the army conti- 
nued for three days, vainly endeavouring, bymanoauvres 
and bravadoes, to compel the Scottish leaders to leave 
their strong ground, and accept their challenge. Every 
night the soldiers lay upon their arms, resting on the 
bare rocky ground ; and as they had no means of 
tying or picketing their horses, the cavalry were com- 

* Froissart, vol. i. p. 23. Hume erroneously describes Douglas as eagerly 
advising to risk a battle, and Moray dissuading him from it. He has also 
confounded this expedition with a subsequent inroad of Bruce into England, 
describing the attack upon Norham as having taken place previously to the 
encampment on the Wear. But the campaign of Randolph and Douglas, 
and the encampment at Stanhope Park, took place on 5th August, 1327. 
The siege of Norham did not commence till September. Hume's Hist. 
voL UL p. 245. 


pelled to snatch a brief interval of sleep with their 
reins in their hand, and harness on their back, desti- 
tute of litter or forage, and without fuel to make fires 
for their comfort and refreshment. On the other 
hand, they had the mortification to be near enough 
to see and hear the merriment of the Scottish camp ; 
to observe that their enemies retired nightly to their 
huts, after duly stationing their watches ; to see the 
whole hill blazing with the fires, round which they 
were cooking their victuals ; and to listen to the 
winding of the horns, with which the leaders called in 
the stragglers and pillaging parties. 

Although irritated and mortified with all this, the 
English absurdly determined to remain where they 
were. They had learnt from some prisoners, taken 
in skirmishing, that their enemies had neither bread 
nor wine; and to use the words of Froissart, it was 
the " intention of the English to holde the Scots there 
in manner as besieged, thinking to have famished 
them." But a few hours sufficed to show the folly of 
such a design. The third night had left the two armies 
as usual in sight of each other, the Scottish fires blaz- 
ing, their horns resounding through the hills, and their 
opponents lying under arms. In the morning, the 
English, instead of the gleam of arms, and the waving 
of the pennons of an encamped army, saw nothing be- 
fore them but a bare hill side.* Their enemies, fami- 
liar with every part of this wild country, having found 
out a stronger position, had secretly decamped, and 
were soon discovered by the scouts in a wood called 
Stanhope Park, situated on a hill, at nearly the same 
distance from the river Wear as their first encamp- 

* Froissart, vol. i. p. 25. f Harbour, pp. 394, 395. 

1327. ROBERT BRUCE. 345 

This ground had equal advantages, in commanding 
the river, with their first position ; and it was not only 
more difficult of access and of attack, but enabled them, 
under cover of the wood, to conceal their operations. 
Thus completely out-manoeuvred, and made aware on 
how frail a basis had been rested their project for starv- 
ing out their enemy, the English army marched down 
the side of the Wear, and encamped on a hill fronting 
the Scots, and having the river still interposed between 
them. Fatigued and disheartened by their sufferings 
and reverses, they became remiss in their discipline; 
and a daring night attack of Douglas had nearly put 
an end to the campaign, by the death or captivity of 
the young monarch of England.* This leader, having 
discovered a ford at a considerable distance from both 
encampments, passed the river at midnight with five 
hundred horse; with these he gained unperceived the 
rear of the English camp, and contrived to deceive the 
outposts by assuming the manner of an English officer 
going his rounds, and calling out, " Ha, St George ! 
no watch !" He thus passed the barriers, and whilst 
one part of his men made an attack on a different 
quarter, Douglas and his party fell so fiercely and 
suddenly upon the enemy, that three hundred were 
slain in a few minutes ; still pressing on, and putting 
spurs to his horse, he penetrated to the royal tent, cut 
the tent-ropes, and would have carried off the young 
monarch, but for the resistance of the royal household. 
The king^s chaplain bravely defended his master, and 
was slain ; others followed his example, and shared his 
fate ; but the interval thus gained gave Edward time 
to escape, and roused the whole army, so that Douglas 
found it necessary to retreat. Blowing his horn, he 

* Barnes's Edward III., p. 14. Froissart, vol. i. p. 24. Barbour, p. 397. 


charged through the thickening mass of his enemies, 
and, with inconsiderable loss, rejoined his friends. 
Disappointed of his prey, this veteran leader, on being 
asked by Randolph what speed they had made, replied, 
" They had drawn blood, but that was all. 1 '* 

Provisions now began to fail in the Scottish camp, 
which had hitherto been plentifully supplied, and the 
two Scottish commanders consulted together what was 
best to be done. Randolph recommended the hazard- 
ing a battle; but Douglas, who, with all his keenness 
for fighting, was a great calculator of means, insisted 
that the disparity of force was too great, and proposed 
a retreat, which, from the nature of the ground, was 
nearly as dangerous as a battle. Behind the Scottish 
camp was stretched a large morass, which was deemed 
impassable for cavalry, and which had effectually 
prevented any attack in their rear. In the front was 
the river Wear, the passage guarded by the English 
army, which outnumbered the Scots by forty thousand 
men; and on each flank were steep and precipitous 
banks. To have attempted to break up their camp, 
and retreat in the day-time, in the face of so superior 
an enemy, must have been certain ruin. The Scottish 
leaders, accordingly, on the evening which they had 
chosen for their departure, lighted up their camp fires, 
and kept up a great noise of horns and shouting, as 
they had been wont to do. Meanwhile they had pre- 
pared a number of hurdles, made of wands or boughs, 
tightly wattled together, and had packed up in the 
smallest compass their most valuable booty. At mid- 
night they drew off from their encampment, leaving 
their fires burning, and having dismounted on reach- 
ing the morass, they threw down the hurdles upon the 

* Barbour, p. 399. 

1327. ROBERT BRUCE. 347 

softer places of the bog, and thus passed over the 
water-runs in safety, taking care to remove the hurdles 
so as to prevent pursuit by the enemy.* 

It happened that, the day before, a Scottish knight 
had fallen into the hands of the English during a skir- 
mish ; and being strictly questioned, he informed the 
king that the soldiers had received orders to hold 
themselves in readiness to follow the banner of Dou- 
glas in the evening. Anticipating from this informa- 
tion another night attack, the whole army drew up on 
foot, in three divisions, in order of battle ; and having 
given their horses in charge to the servants who .re- 
mained in the camp-huts, lay all night under arms, 
expecting to be assaulted every moment. Night, how- 
ever, passed away without any alarm; and a little 
before daylight, two of the enemy's trumpeters were 
taken, who reported that the Scottish army had de- 
camped at midnight, and were already advanced five 
miles on their way homewards. An instantaneous 
pursuit might still have placed the retreating army in 
circumstances of great jeopardy ; but the success of 
Douglas's night attack had made the English over 
cautious, and they continued under arms till broad 
daylight, suspecting some stratagem or ambush. At 
last, when, after a little time, nothing was seen, some 
scouts were sent across the river, who returned with 
the intelligence that the Scots had made good their 
retreat, and that their camp was entirely evacuated. 

The deserted encampment was then visited by their 
mortified opponents, and presenteda singular spectacle. 
In it were found five hundred slaughtered cattle, and 
more than three hundred caldrons, or kettles, which 
were made of skins of cattle with the hair on, suspended 

* Barbour, p. 402. Froissart, vol. i. p. 25. 


on stakes, and full of meat and water, ready for boil- 
ing ; with about a thousand spit-racks, with meat on 
them; and about ten thousand pairs of old shoes, 
commonly called brogues in Scotland, and made of raw 
hides, with the hair on the outer side. The only liv- 
ing things found in the camp were five poor English- 
men, stript naked and tied to trees. Three of these 
unfortunate men had their legs broken: a piece of 
savage cruelty, which, if committed with their know- 
ledge, throws a deep stain upon Douglas and Randolph. 

On witnessing this, it is said that the young king, 
grievously disappointed at the mortifying result of an 
expedition commenced with such high hopes, and 
involving such mighty preparations, could not refrain 
from tears. In the meantime, the Scottish army, with 
safety and expedition, regained their own country in 
health and spirits, and enriched with the plunder of a 
three-weeks 1 raid in England. Very different was the 
condition of the army of Edward. The noble band of 
foreign cavalry, consisting of knights and meu-at- 
arms from Hainault, Flanders, and Brabant, com- 
manded by John of Hainault, were reduced, by the 
privation and fatigue of a mode of warfare with which 
they were little acquainted, to a state of much wretch- 
edness.* On reaching York, their horses had all died, 
or become unserviceable ; and the rest of the English 
cavalry were in an almost equal state of exhaustion 
and disorganization. 

The disastrous termination of this campaign very 
naturally inspired the English government with a 
desire of peace ; and although the blame connected 
with the retreat of the Scots, was attempted to be 
thrown upon the treachery of Mortimer, and a pro- 

* Foedera, vol. iv. p. 304. 

1327. ROBERT BRUCE. 349 

clamation, issued from Stanhope Park, ridiculously 
described their enemies as having stolen away in the 
night, like vanquished men,* the truth could not be 
concealed from the nation ; and every one felt that the 
military talents of Douglas and Randolph, and the 
patient discipline of the Scottish soldiers, rendered 
them infinitely superior to any English force which 
could be brought against them. The exhaustion of 
the English treasury, and the jealousy and heart- 
burnings between Mortimer and the principal nobility, 
rendered it exceedingly improbable that a continuance 
of the war would lead to any better success ; and these 
desires for peace were not a little strengthened by the 
sudden appearance of the King of Scotland in person, 
who broke into England by the eastern borders at the 
head of an army, including every person in Scotland 
able to bear arms.*!' Bruce himself sat down before 
Norham, with a part of his force ; a second division 
was commanded to waste Northumberland; and a third 
under Douglas and Randolph, laid siege to Alnwick 
castle ; but before hostilities had proceeded to any 
length, commissioners from England were in the camp 
of the Scottish king, with a proposal for the marriage 
of Joanna, the Princess of England and sister to the 
king, to David, the only son of the King of Scots. 

It was required by the king, as the preliminary basis 
on which all future negotiation was to proceed, that 
Edward should renounce for ever all claim of feudal 
superiority which he and his predecessors had pre- 
tended to possess over the kingdom of Scotland. To 
agree to this concession, appears to have been beyond 
the powers of the commissioners ; and a parliament was 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. iv. p. 301. Hailes, vol. ii. p. 123. 
f Harbour, p. 404. 


summoned for this purpose, a truce in the meantime 
having been agreed upon, during the continuance of 
the negotiations.* 

At length, on the 1st of March, 1327-8, the English 
parliament assembled at York ; and this important 
preliminary, which had cost so great an expense of 
blood and treasure to both kingdoms, during a terrible 
war of twenty years, was finally and satisfactorily 
adjusted. Robert was acknowledged as King of Scot- 
land, and Scotland itself recognised for ever as a free 
and independent kingdom. 

It was declared by Edward, in the solemn words of 
the instrument of renunciation, "that whereas we, 
and others of our predecessors, Kings of England, have 
endeavoured to obtain a right of dominion and superi- 
ority over the kingdom of Scotland, and have thereby 
been the cause of long and grievous wars between the 
two kingdoms ; we, therefore, considering the numer- 
ous slaughters, sins, and bloodshed, the destruction of 
churches, and other evils brought upon the inhabitants 
of both kingdoms by such wars, and the many advan- 
tages which would accrue to the subjects of both realms, 
if, by the establishment of a firm and perpetual peace, 
they were secured against all rebellious designs, have, 
by the assent of the prelates, barons, and commons of 
our kingdom, in parliament assembled, granted, and 
hereby do grant, for us, and our heirs and successors 
whatsoever, that the kingdom of Scotland shall remain 
for ever to the magnificent Prince and Lord, Robert, 
by the grace of God, the illustrious King of Scots, our 
ally and dear friend, and to his heirs and successors, 
free, entire, and unmolested, separated from the king- 

* The truce was to last from 23d Nov. tUl the 22d March. 1328. Rymer, 
vol. iv. p. 326. 

1327-8. ROBERT BRUCE. 351 

dom of England by its respective marches, as in the 
time of Alexander, King of Scotland, of good memory, 
lately deceased, without any subjection, servitude, 
claim, or demand whatsoever. And we hereby re- 
nounce and convey to the said King of Scotland, his 
heirs and successors, whatever right we, or our ances- 
tors in times past, have laid claim to in any way over 
the kingdom of Scotland. And by these same presents, 
we renounce and declare void, for ourselves, and our 
heirs and successors, all obligations, agreements, or 
treaties whatsoever, touching the subjection of the 
kingdom of Scotland, and the inhabitants thereof, 
entered into between our predecessors and any of the 
kings thereof, or their subjects, whether clergy or 
laity. And if there shall anywhere be found any 
letters, charters, muniments, or public instruments, 
which shall have been framed touching the said obli- 
gations, agreements, or compacts, we declare that they 
shall be null and void, and of no effect whatsoever. 
And in order to the fulfilment of these premises, and 
to the faithful observation thereof, in all time coming, 
we have given full power and special authority to our 
faithful and well-beloved cousin, Henry de Percy, and 
to William le Zouche of Ashby, to take oath upon our 
soul, for the performance of the same. In testimony 
whereof, we have given these our letters-patent, at 
York, on the 1st of March, and in the second year of 
our reign. By the king himself, and his council in 

This important preliminary having been amicably 

* There are three copies of this important deed known to our historians. 
One in Rymer, vol. iv. p. 337, taken from a transcript in the Chronicle of 
Lanercost, another in Groodal's edition of Fordun, and a third in a public 
instrument of Henry Wardlaw, bishop of St Andrews, copied by this pre- 
late, 17th March, 1415. It is from this last, as publishedby Goodal, (For- 
dun, vol. ii. p. 289,) that I have taken the translation. 


settled, the English and Scottish commissioners did not 
find it difficult to come to an arrangement upon the final 
treaty. Accordingly, peace with England was concluded 
at Edinburgh, on the 17th of March, 1327-8,* and 
confirmed on the part of the English government, in a 
parliament held at Northampton, on the 4th of May, 
1328. It was stipulated, that there should be a 
perpetual peace between the two kingdoms, for confir- 
mation of which, a marriage should take place between 
David, eldest son and heir of the King of Scotland, 
and Joanna, sister to the King of England. In the 
event of Joanna^ death before marriage, the King of 
England engaged to provide a suitable match for David 
from his nearest in blood ; and in the event of David^s 
death previous to the marriage, the King of England, 
his heirs and successors, are to be permitted to marry 
the next heir to the throne of Scotland, either to 
Joanna, if allowable by the laws of the Church, or to 
some other princess of the blood-royal of England. 
The two kings, with their heirs and successors, engaged 
to be good friends and faithful allies in assisting each 
other, always saving to the King of Scots the ancient 
alliance between him and the King of France ; and in 
the event of a rebellion against England in the king- 
dom of Ireland, or against Scotland in Man, Skye, or 
the other islands, the two kings mutually agreed not 
to abet or assist their rebel subjects. -All writings, 

* Carte, in an unsuccessful attempt to prove that this treaty did not 
receive the ratification of parliament, observes " If the parliament at York 
had assented to the treaty, why was that of Northampton summoned to 
warrant it by their assent and approbation ?" The answer is obvious. The 
parliament at York, on the 1st of March, agreed to the renunciation of the 
claim of superiority, but the remaining articles of the treaty were yet 
unsettled. These were finally adjusted by the commissioners at Edinburgh, 
on the 17th of March ; and a parliament was summoned at Northampton, 
which gave its final approbation on the 4th of May. All this is very clear; 
yet Lingard echoes the scepticism of Carte. 

1328. ROBERT BRUCE. 353 

obligations, instruments, or other muniments, relative 
to the subjection which the kings of England had 
attempted to establish over the people and land of 
Scotland, and which are annulled by the letters- 
patent of the King of England, as well as all other 
instruments and charters respecting the freedom of 
Scotland, as soon as they are found, were to be deliv- 
ered up to the King of Scots ; and the King of Eng- 
land expressly engaged to give his assistance, in order 
that the processes of excommunication against Robert 
and his subjects, which had been carried through at 
the Court of Rome, and elsewhere, should be recalled 
and annulled. It was besides agreed on the part of 
the king, the prelates, and the nobles of Scotland, that 
the sum of twenty thousand pounds sterling should, 
within three years, be paid, at three separate terms ; 
and in the event of failure, the parties were to submit 
themselves to the jurisdiction of the papal chamber. 
It was finally covenanted, that the laws and regulations 
of the marches were to be punctually adhered to by 
both monarchs ; and although omitted in the treaty, 
it was stipulated in a separate instrument, that the 
stone upon which the Kings of Scotland were wont to 
sit at their coronation, and which had been carried away 
by Edward the First, should be restored to the Scots.* 

* Hailes, vol. ii. p. 127. The original duplicate of this treaty, -which 
was unknown to Lord Hailes, was discovered after the publication of his 
History, and is now preserved amongst the archives in the General Register 
House in Edinburgh, with the seals of the three lay plenipotentiaries still 
pretty entire. Robertson's Index, p. 101. The original is in French, and 
has been printed in Ker's History of Bruce, vol. ii. p. 526. Lingard, vol. iv. 
p. 9, following Lord Hailes, falls into the error of supposing that no copy 
of this treaty had been preserved by any writer, and doubts whether it was 
ever ratified by a full parliament. On what ground this doubt is founded, 
unless on the erroneous idea that no copy of the treaty could be discovered, 
it is difficult to imagine. He remarks in a note, that a parliament was 
held at Northampton in April. It was at this parliament that the treaty of 
Northampton was agreed to. "Donne a Northampton, le quart jour le 

VOL. I. 2 A 


There can be no doubt that this treaty was highly 
unpopular in England. The peace was termed igno- 
minious, and the marriage a base alliance; the treaty 
itself, in the framing of which the queen and Mortimer 
had a principal share,* although undoubtedly ratified 
in parliament, was not generally promulgated, and 
does not appear amongst the national records and 
muniments of the time; and when the renunciation of 
the superiority over Scotland, and the restoration of 
the fatal stone, came to be publicly known, the popu- 
lace in London rose in a riotous manner, and would 
not suffer that venerable emblem of the conquest of 
Edward the' First to be removed.-f- Yet although it 
wounded the national pride, the peace, considering the 
exhausted state of England, the extreme youth of the 
king, the impoverishment of the exchequer by a long 
war, and the great superiority of such military leaders 
as Bruce, Randolph, and Douglas, to any English 
commanders who could be opposed to them, was a ne- 
cessary and prudent measure, imperiously dictated by 
the circumstances of the times. 

To Bruce, on the other hand, the peace was in every 
respect a glorious one ; but it was wise and seasonable 
as well as glorious. Robert anxiously desired to settle 
his kingdom in tranquillity. Although not to be called 
an old man, the hardships of war had broken a consti- 
tution naturally of great strength, and had brought on 
a premature old age, attended with a deep-seated and 
incurable disease, thought to be of the nature of leprosy. 

May, Ian de nostre regne secont." What are we to think, then, of his 
concluding observation " but no important business was done on account 
of the absence of the principal members " ? 

* Edward's mother got a grant of 10,000 marks for herself. Foedera, 
vol. iv. p. 410. 

+ Chronicle of Lanercost, p. 261. See Rymer, vol. iv. p. 454. Rotul. 
Claus. 4 Edward III., m. 16. dcrso. 

1328. ROBERT BRUCE. 355 

Upon his single life hung the prosperity of his king- 
dom, and the interests of his family. His daughter, 
the only child of his first marriage, was dead. Dur- 
ing the negotiations for the treaty of Northampton, 
Elizabeth, his second wife, had followed her to the 
grave;* his gallant brothers, partly on the scaffold, 
and partly on the field, had died without issue ; his 
only son was an infant, and his grandson a boy of ten 
years old, who had lost both his parents. In these 
circumstances, peace was a signal blessing to the nation, 
and a joyful relief to himself. The complete indepen- 
dence of Scotland, for which the people of that land 
had obstinately sustained a war of thirty-two years' 
duration, was at last amply acknowledged, and estab- 
lished on the firmest basis; and England, with her 
powerful fleets, and superb armies, her proud nobility, 
and her wealthy exchequer, was, by superior courage 
and military talent, compelled to renounce for ever her 
schemes of unjust aggression, In the conduct of this 
war, and in its glorious termination, Bruce stood alone, 
and shared the glory with no one. He had raised the 
spirit of his people to an ascendency over their enemies, 
which is acknowledged by the English historians them- 
selves ; and in all the great military transactions of 
the war, we can discern the presence of his inventive 
and presiding genius. He was indeed nobly assisted 
by Douglas and Randolph; but it was he .that had 
first marked their military talents, and it was under 
his eye that they had grown up into that maturity of 
excellence, which found nothing that could cope with 
them in the martial nobility of England. Having thus 
accomplished the great object of his life, and warned, 
by intimations which could not be mistaken, that a 

* She died 7th Nov. 1327. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 288. 


mortal disease had fixed upon him, the king retired to 
his palace at Cardross, on the eastern shore of the 
Clyde. His amusements, in the intervals of disease, 
were kingly, and his charities extensive. He built 
ships, and recreated himself by sailing; he devoted 
himself to architecture and gardening, improving his 
palace and orchard; he kept a lion for his diversion, 
and, when his health permitted, delighted in hawking ; 
he entertained his nobility in a style of rude and abun- 
dant hospitality, and the poor received regular supplies 
by the king's order.* 

Meanwhile the Princess Joanna of England, then 
in her seventh year, accompanied by the Queen Do- 
wager, the Earl of Mortimer, the Bishop of Lincoln, 
High Chancellor of England, and attended by a splen- 
did retinue, began her journey to Scotland. At Ber- 
wick she was received by David, her young bridegroom, 
then only five years of age. Randolph and Sir James 
Douglas, whom King Robert, detained by his increas- 
ing illness, had sent as his representatives, accom- 
panied the prince ; and the marriage was celebrated 
at Berwick with great joy and magnificence.-f- The 
attendants of the princess brought along with them, 
to be delivered in terms of the treaty of Northampton, 
the Ragman Roll containing the names of all those 
Scotsmen who had been compelled to pay homage to 
Edward the First, as well as other important records 
and muniments, J which that monarch had carried with 
him from Scotland. Bruce was able to receive his son 
and his youthful consort with a warm and affectionate 
welcome at Edinburgh ; but, finding his disease in- 

* Chamberlain's Accounts, vol. i. pp. 38, 39, 40, 41, 46. 
f* Fordun a Hearne, vol. iv. p. 1016. Barbour, p. 407. 
I Carte, vol. ii. p. 397. 

1329. ROBERT BRUCE. 357 

creasing upon him, he returned immediately to his 
rural seclusion at Cardross, where he died on the 7th 
June, 1 329, at the age of fifty-five. Some time before 
his death, an interesting scene took place, which I shall 
give in the beautiful and affecting narrative of Froissart. 
" In the meantime," says that historian, " it hap- 
pened that King Robert of Scotland was right sore 
aged and feeble, for he was grievously oppressed with 
the great sickness, so that there was no way with him 
but death ; and when he felt that his end drew near, 
he sent for such barons and lords of his realm as he 
most trusted, and very affectionately entreated and 
commanded them, on their fealty, that they should 
faithfully keep his kingdom for David his son, and when 
this prince came of age, that they should obey him, and 
place the crown on his head. After which, he called 
to him the brave and gentle knight Sir James Douglas, 
and said, before the rest of the courtiers, ' Sir James, 
my dear friend, none knows better than you how great 
labour and suffering I have undergone in my day, for 
the maintenance of the rights of this kingdom ; and 
when I was hardest beset, I made a vow, which it now 
grieves me deeply that I have not accomplished : 
I vowed to God, that if I should live to see an end of 
my wars, and be enabled to govern this realm in peace 
and security, I would then set out in person, and carry 
on war against the enemies of my Lord and Saviour, 
to the best of my power. Never has my heart ceased 
to bend to this point ; but our Lord has not consented 
thereto ; for I have had my hands full in my days, 
and now, at the last, I am seized with this grievous 
sickness, so that, as you all see, I have nothing to do 
but to die. And since my body cannot go thither, 
and accomplish that which my heart hath so much 


desired, I have resolved to send my heart there, in 
place of mj body, to fulfil my vow ; and now, since 
in all my realm I know not any knight more hardy 
than yourself, or more thoroughly furnished with all 
knightly qualities for the accomplishment of the vow : 
in place of myself, therefore, I entreat thee, my dear 
and tried friend, that for the love you bear to me, you 
will undertake this voyage, and acquit my soul of its 
debt to my Saviour ; for I hold this opinion of your 
truth and nobleness, that whatever you undertake, I 
am persuaded you will successfully accomplish ; and 
thus shall I die in peace, provided that you do all that 
I shall tell you. I will, then, that as soon as I am 
dead, you take the heart out of my body, and cause it 
to be embalmed, and take as much of my treasure as 
seems to you sufficient for the expenses of your jour- 
ney, both for you and your companions ; and that you 
carry my heart along with you, and deposit it in the 
Holy Sepulchre of our Lord, since this poor body 
cannot go thither. And it is my command, that you 
do use that royal state and maintenance in your jour- 
ney, both for yourself and your companions, that into 
whatever lands or cities you may come, all may know 
that you have in charge, to bear beyond seas, the 
heart of King Robert of Scotland.' 

" At these words, all who stood by began to weep ; 
and when Sir James himself was able to reply, he said, 
' Ah ! most gentle and noble king, a thousand times 
do I thank you for the great honour you have done 
me, in making me the depositary and bearer of so great 
and precious a treasure. Most faithfully and willingly, 
to the best of my power, shall I obey your commands, 
albeit I would have you believe, that I think myself 
but little worthy to achieve so high an enterprise.' 

1329. ROBERT BRUCE. 359 

' All ! gentle knight,' said the king, * I heartily thank 
you, provided you promise to do my bidding on the 
word of a true and loyal knight.' ' Assuredly, my 
liege, I do promise so,' replied Douglas, ' by the faith 
which I owe to God, and to the order of knighthood.' 
' Now praise be to God,' said the king, 'for I shall 
die in peace, since I am assured that the best and most 
valiant knight of my kingdom has promised to achieve 
for me that which I myself could never accomplish.' 
And not long after, this noble king departed this 
life.' 1 * 

At this, or some other interview, shortly before his 
death, Bruce delivered to the Scottish barons his last 
advice regarding the best mode of conducting the war 
against England. They concentrate, in a small com- 
pass, the wisdom and experience which he had gained 
during the whole course of his protracted but glorious 
war ; and it is perhaps not too much to say, that there 
is no instance in their subsequent history, in which 
the Scots have sustained any signal defeat, where it 
cannot be traced to a departure from some of the 
directions of what is affectionately called the " Good 
King Robert's Testament." His injunctions were, 
that the Scots in their wars ought always to fight on 
foot ; that, instead of walls and garrisons, they should 
use the mountains, the morasses, and the woods ; 
having for arms the bow, the spear, and the battle- 
axe ; driving their herds into the narrow glens, and 
fortifying them there, whilst they laid waste the plain 
country by fire, and compelled the enemy to evacuate 
it. " Let your scouts and watches," he concluded, 
" be vociferating through the night, keeping the 

* Froissart, vol. i. pp. 28, 29. Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 300. 


enemy in perpetual alarm ; and, worn out with 
famine, fatigue, and apprehension, they will retreat 
as certainly as if routed in battle." Bruce did not 
require to add, that then was the time for the Scots 
to commence their attacks, and to put in practice that 
species of warfare which he had taught them to use 
with such fatal effect.* Indeed, these are the prin- 
ciples of war which will in every age be adopted by 
mountaineers in defence of their country ; and nearly 
five hundred years after this, when a regular Russian 
army invaded Persia, we find Aga Mohammed Khan 
speaking to his prime-ministeralmost in the very words 
of Bruce. " Their shot shall never reach me, but they 
shall possess no country beyond its range ; they shall 
not know sleep ; and let them march where they choose, 
I will surround them with a desert."*}- 

Bruce undoubtedly belongs to that race of heroic 
men, regarding whom we are anxious to learn even 
the commonest particulars. But living at so remote 
a period, the lighter shades and touches which confer 
individuality, are lost in the distance. We only see, 
through the mists which time has cast around it, a 
figure of colossal proportion, " walking amid his 
shadowy peers ;" and it is deeply to be regretted that 
the ancient chroniclers, whose pencil might have 
brought him before us as fresh and true as when he 
lived, have disdained to notice many minute circum- 
stances, with which we now seek in vain to become 
acquainted ; yet some faint idea of his person may be 
gathered from the few scattered touches preserved by 

* See the original leonine verses, with an old Scots translation, taken 
from Beanie's Fordun, vol. iv. p. 1002, in Notes and Illustrations, letters 
BB. In the translation in the text of the word " securis," I have adopted 
the suggestion of Mr Ridpath, in his Border History, p. 290. 

t Sketches in Persia, vol. ii. p. 210. 

1 329. ROBERT BRUCE. 361 

these authors, and the greater outlines of his character 
are too strongly marked to escape us. 

In his figure, the king was tall and well-shaped. 
Before broken down by illness, and in the prime of life, 
he stood nearly six feet high ; his hair curled closely 
and shortly round his neck, which possessed that 
breadth and thickness that belong to men of great 
strength ; he was broad-shouldered and open-chested, 
and the proportion of his limbs combined power with 
lightness and activity. These qualities were increased 
not only by his constant occupation in war, but by his 
fondness for the chase and all manly amusements. It 
is not known whether he was dark or faircomplexioned; 
but his forehead was low, his cheek-bones strong and 
prominent, and the general expression of his counte- 
nance open and cheerful, although he was maimed by 
a wound which had injured his lower jaw. His man- 
ners were dignified and engaging; after battle, nothing 
could be pleasanter or more courteous; and it is infi- 
nitely to his honour, that in a savage age, and smarting 
under injuries which attacked him in his kindest and 
tenderest relations, he never abused a victory, but 
conquered often as effectually by his generosity and 
kindness, as by his great military talents. We know, 
however, from his interview with the papal legates, 
that when he chose to express displeasure, his look was 
stern and kingly, and at once imposed silence and 
ensured obedience. He excelled in all the exercises of 
chivalry, to such a degree, indeed, that the English 
themselves did not scruple to account him the third 
best knight in Europe.* His memory was stored 
with the romances of the period, in which he took 
great delight. Their hair-breadth ""scapes and perilous 

* Fordun a Goodal, vol. ii. p. 295. 


adventures were sometimes scarcely more wonderful 
than his own; and he had early imbibed from such 
works an appetite for individual enterprise and glory, 
which, had it not been checked by a stronger passion, 
the love of liberty, might have led him into fatal mis- 
takes: it is quite conceivable, that Bruce, instead of 
a great king, might, like Richard the First, have be- 
come only a kingly knight-errant. 

But from this error he was saved by the love of his 
country, directed by an admirable judgment, an un- 
shaken perseverance, and a vein of strong good sense. 
It is here, although some may think it the homeliest, 
that we are to find assuredly the brightest part of the 
character of the king. It is these qualities which are 
especially conspicuous in his long war for the liberty 
of Scotland. They enabled him to follow out his plans 
through many a tedious year with undeviating energy ; 
to bear reverses, to calculate his means, to wait for his 
opportunities, and to concentrate his whole strength 
upon one great point, till it was gained and secured to 
his country for ever. Brilliant military talent and 
consummate bravery have often been found amongst 
men, and proved far more of a curse than a blessing; 
but rarely indeed shall we discover them united to so 
excellent a judgment, controlled by such perfect disin- 
terestedness, and employed for so sacred an end. There 
is but one instance on record where he seems to have 
thought more of himself than of his people,* and even 
this, though rash, was heroic. 

By his first wife, Isabella, the daughter of Donald, 
tenth Earl of Mar, he had one daughter, Marjory. 
She married Walter, the hereditary High Steward of 
Scotland, and bore to him one son, Robert Stewart, 

* See supra, p. 265-6. 

1329. ROBERT BRUCE. 363 

afterwards king, under the title of Robert the Second. 
By his second wife, Elizabeth, the daughter of Richard 
de Burgh earl of Ulster, he had one son, David, who 
succeeded him; and two daughters, Elizabeth and 

Immediately after the king's death, his heart was 
taken out, as he had himself directed. He was then 
buried with great state and solemnity under the pave- 
ment of the choir, in the Abbey Church of Dunferm- 
line, and over the grave was raised a rich marble 
monument, which was made at Paris.* Centuries 
passed on, the ancient church, with the marble monu- 
ment, fell into ruins, and a more modern building was 
erected on the same site. This, in our own days, gave 
way to time ; and in clearing the foundations for a 
third church, the workmen laid open a tomb which 
proved to be that of Robert the Bruce. The lead 
coating in which the body was found enclosed, was 
twisted round the head into the shape of a rude crown. 
A rich cloth of gold, but much decayed, was thrown 
over it ; and, on examining the skeleton, it was found 
that the breast-bone had been sawn asunder, to get at 
the heart.^ 

There remained, therefore, no doubt, that after the 
lapse of almost five hundred years, his countrymen 
were permitted, with a mixture of delight and awe, to 
behold the very bones of their great deliverer. 

* Chamberlain Accounts, vol. i. p. 101. 

+ See an interesting Report of the discovery of the Tomb, and the rein- 
terment of the body of Robert Bruce, drawn up by Sir Henry Jardine, in 
the second volume of the Transactions of the Antiquarian Society of Scot- 
land, part ii. p. 435. 



LETTER A, page 6. 

DR LINGARD, in his History of England, vol. iii. p. 119, observes, 
that "the Scottish king consented to an arrangement, by which, 
although he eluded the express recognition of feudal dependence, he 
seems to have conceded to Henry the whole substance of his demand." 
And the same acute historian has remarked, in the same volume, 
" that when the Scottish king received a grant of land in Tynedale 
and at Penrith, and consented to perform a new homage for these 
possessions, the question as to the homage demanded for Scotland 
was left undecided." I much question the accuracy of these state- 
ments ; and if the reader will take the trouble to turn to the first 
volume of the Fcsdera, pages 374 and 428, he will at once perceive 
the ground of my dissent. The legitimate inference to be drawn 
from the documents in Rymer, is, that the question as to any homage 
due by Alexander the Second for his kingdom of Scotland, was 
decided against Henry in 1237, and that the English king acquiesced 
in the decision ; for it will be observed, the homage then paid was 
for his new acquisition,* and there is no reservation of the claim of 
homage for Scotland. Again it appears, that this decision was vir- 
tually enforced and repeated in the charter granted by Alexander in 
1244. Henry's demand had evidently been, that Alexander should 
perform homage to him for his kingdom of Scotland. Alexander, who 
at that time held lands in England, was reported, says Mathew Paris, 
to have " answered bitterly, that he never did, and never would, hold 
a particle of land in Scotland under Henry," f but he at the same 

* Rymer, Foedera, vol. i. p. 376. 

t Math. Paris, pp. 562, 568 ; and Hailes, vol. i. p. 184. 


time was ready to take the oaths to Henry as his liege lord. This 
surely cannot be called " a concession to Henry of the whole substance 
of his demand." The charter by Alexander the Second to Henry the 
Third, alluded to in the text, is as follows : 

" Alexander, Dei gratia, Rex Scotiso, omnibus Christi fidelibus hoc 
scriptum visuris vel audituris, salutem : 

" Ad vestram volumus pervenire notitiain, nos pro nobis et hscredi- 
bus nostris concessisse, et fideliter promisisse, charissimo et ligio 
Domino nostro Henrico Tertio, Dei gratia, Regi Anglise illustri, 
Domino Hybernise, Duel Normannise et Aquitaniae, et Comiti Ande- 
gavise, et ejus haeredibus, quod in perpetuum bonam fidem ei 
servabimus pariter et amorem: 

" Et quod nunquam aliquod foedus inibimus per nos, vel per aliquos 
alios, ex parte nostra, cum inimicis Domini Regis Anglise, vel hseredum 
suorum, ad bellum procurandum vel faciendum, unde damnum eis, vel 
Regnis suis Anglias et Hybernise, aut cseteris terris suis, eveniat, vel 
possit aliquatenus evenire, nisi nos injuste gravent : 

" Stantibus in suo robore conventionibus inter nos et dictum 
Dominum Regem Angliao initis ultimo apud Eboracum, in prsesentia 
Domini Ottonis, tituli Sancti Nicholai in Carcere Tulliano, Diaconi 
Cardinalis, tune Apostolicse Sedis Legati in Anglia ; et salvis conven- 
tionibus factis super matrimonio contrahendo inter filium nostrum et 
filiam dicti Domini Regis Anglise : 

" Et, ut hsec nostra concessio et promissio, pro nobis et haeredibus 
nostris, perpetuae firmitatis robur obtineant, fecimus jurare in animam 
nostram Alanum Ostiarium, Henricum de Bailloil, David de Lindesie, 
Willielmum Giffard, quod omnia prsedicta, bona fide, firmiter, et 
fideliter observabimus. 

" Et similiter jurare fecimus renerabiles patres David, Willielmum, 
Galfridum, et Clementem, Sancti Andrese, Glasconensem, Dunkelden- 
sem, et Dunblanensem, Episcopos. 

" Et praeterea fideles nostros, Patricium Comitem de Dumbar, 
Malcolmum Comitem de Fife, Malisium Comitem de Stratherne, 
Walterum Cumin de Meneteth, Willielmum Comitem de Mar, Alexan- 
drum Comitem de Buchan, David de Hastingia Comitem Athorl, 
Robertum de Bruis, Alanum Ostiarum, Henricum de Bailloil, 
Rogerum de Mumbri, Laurentium de Abrinthia, Richardum Cumin, 
David de Lindesie, Richardum Siward, Willielmum de Lindesia, 
Walterum de Moravia, Willielmum Giffard, Nicolaum de Sully, Wil- 
lielmum de Veteri Ponte, Willielmum de Bevire, Aleumum de Mesue, 
David de Graham, et Stephanum de Smingham, quod, si nos, vel 
hscredes nostri, contra concessionein et promissionem prsedictam, quod 
absit, venerimus, ipsi, et hxredes eorum, nobis, et hseredibus uostris. 


nullum, contra concessionem et promissionem prsedictam,auxilium vel 
concilium impendent, aut ab aliis pro posse suo impendi permittent. 

" Imo bona fide laborabunt erga nos et haeredes nostros, ipsi et 
haeredes eorum, quod omnia praadicta a nobis et hseredibus nostris, 
necnon ab ipsis et eorum haeredibus, firmiter et fideliter observentur 
in perpetuum. 

" In cujus rei testimonium, tarn nos, quam praedicti prselati, Comites 
et Barones nostri, praesens scriptum sigillorum nostrorum appositione 

"Testibus Praelatis, Comitibus, et Baronibus superius nominatis, 
anno Regni nostri, &c. 

" Ista signa apposita fuerunt incontinenti, scilicet Rtgis Scotice 
Alexandri, Willielmi de Bevire, Wittielmi de Veteri Ponte, Willielmi 
de Lindesai, Stephani de Smingham. 

" Aliorum sigilla apposita fuerunt posted. Et ipsum scriptum Ptgi 
Anglorum transmissum, ad natale Domini proximo sequens,per Domi- 
num Priorem de Thinemua" 

LETTER B, page 10. 

Rymer, Foedera, page 326, new edit. " We find that the Earl of 
Hereford, William de Fortibus earl of Albemarle, and R. Walerand, 
seneschal, accompanied Gloucester and Maunsell. The Scottish barons, 
with whom they are directed to co-operate against the party of the 
Comyns, and who are proscribed as rebels, are Patricius Comes de 
Dunbar, Males Comes Straern, Nigellus Comes de Karrike, Robertus 
de Brus, Alexander Seneschallus Scotise, Alanus Hostiarius, David de 
Lindes, Willielmus de Brethun, Walterus de Murrenya, Robertus de 
Mesneres,Hugo Giffard, Walterus le Seneschal, Johannes de Crawford, 
Hugo de Crauford, and Willielmus Kalebraz." 

LETTER C, page 15. 

Lord Hailes calls this assertion of the Comyns, that the king was 
in the hands of excommunicated persons, a hypocritical pretence. He 
forgot that, although in the nineteenth century, we can despise the 
terrors of a sentence of excommunication, the Scottish barons could 
not treat it as lightly in the thirteenth ; and that at this dark period 
the victims of such a sentence were regarded with universal horror. 
He adds, that when the same faction accused the queen of having 
excited her father "to invade Scotland, and extirpate the nation," 
they were circulating a slander which was basely devised to operate 
on the two great passions of the vulgar fear and national pride. 
VOL. I. 2B 


The words, "invade Scotland, and extirpate the nation," are" marked 
as if they were a quotation from Mathew Paris. But, according to 
this author, p. 821, what the Comyns asserted was not that the young 
queen had advised her father to invade Scotland and extirpate the 
nation, but that " she had incited her father, the King of England, 
to come against them with an army in a hostile manner, and make a 
miserable havoc :" a charge strictly founded on fact. 

LETTEK D, page 15. 

I subjoin the treaty between the party of the Comyns, and Llewellyn 
prince of Wales, taken from Rymer, vol. i. p. 653. The page in the 
text' refers to the new edition of the Foedera, at present in the course 
of publication. 

Littera continens quod Scdti et Wallenses non facient pacem cum Rege 
AnglicB sine mutuo consensu et assensu. 

u Omnibus sanctse Matris Ecclesias filiis, hoc scriptum visuris vel 
audituris, Walt. Cumin Comes de Meneth. Alex. Cumyn Comes de 
Buchan Justic. Scotise, Willielmus Comes de Mar, Willielmus Comes 
de Ros, Joannes Comyn Justiciar. Galwedise, Aimeris de Makeswel, 
Camerarius Scotise, Fresekums de Moravia, Hug. et Walter, de 
Berkeleya fratres, Bernardus de Mohane, Riginaldus Cheyn, David 
Lochor, Johannes Dundemor, Willielmus de Erch, Ector de Barrit. 
et eorum amici prsesentes et alligati universi, salutem : 

** Noverint nos, anno Gratise millesimo ducentesimo quinquagesimo 
octavo, decimo octavo die mensis Martii, de communi nostrum con- 
sensu et assensu, cum Domino Lewelino filio Griffini, Principe Wallise, 
et David filio Griffini fratre suo, Vcino Grufud fil. Maduc Domino de 
Bromfeld, Maredud fil. Ris, Maredud filio Ovenir, Reso Jumori, 
Oweyn filio Maredud, Madant filio Wenwywym, Maredud Seis 
Lewelin, Vechan Owem, Mared filio Leweliner Domino de Methem, 
Owen filio Gruffud, Madant Parvo, Owen filio Bledyn, Howell filio 
Maredud, Elisse et Grufud filio Jornith, Gorone filio Edvenet ; Jornith 
Grugman, Eumay Vechan, Tudar filio Mad, Enmaun filio Karaduc, 
Jornith filio Maredud, David filio Enviayn, Jenev Chich Roys filio 
Ednevet, et eorum amicis et alligatis, hanc fecisse conventionem 
mutuae confoederationis et amicitise ; videlicet : 

" Quod, sine communi consensu et assensu prsefatorum Principis et 
Magnatum, de csetero nullam pacem, aut formam pacis, treugam aut 
formam treugse, faciemus cum Domino Rege Anglise, aut aliquo 
Magnate Regni Angliae, aut Regni Scotite, qui tempore confectionifl 


praesentis scripti, praefatis Principi, et Magnatibus, et terris suis, et 
nobis contrarii extiterint et rebelles, nisi illi ad omnem hanc eandem 
considerationem pariter nobiscum teneantur. 

" Nos etiam contra praefatos Principem et Magnates nullam poten- 
tiam, utpote exercitum equitum aut peditum, exire permittemus de 
Scotia ; nee in aliquo contra ipsos praefato Regi Angliae succursum 
prrestabimus aut favorem ; immo eisdem Principi et Magnatibus, et 
terraa suae, fideliter auxsiliantes erimus et consulentes. 

* Et, si contingat quod cum Domino Rege Anglise, aut quocunque 
viro, prsefatis Principi, et Magnatibus, aut nobis, jam adversante, per 
Domini nostri Regis Scotise prseceptum, pacem aut treugam inire 
compellamur ; nos in bona fide, quantum poterimus et sciemus, ad 
prsefatorum Principis, et Magnatum suorum, et terrse suae commodum 
et honorem hoc fieri procurabimus cum effectu. 

* Nequaquam de voluntate nostra, nisi per praefati Domini nostri 
districtam compulsionem hoc mandatum fuerit et prseceptum, in 
aliquo contra prsesentem confoederationem faciemus ; immo Dominum 
nostrum, pro hac eadem confcederatione nobiscum facienda et obser- 
vanda, quantum poterimus, inducemus. 

" Mercatoribus etiam Wallise, cum ad partes Scotise cum suis 
negotiationibus venire valeant, licentiam veniendi, et prout melius 
poterunt negotiationes suas vendendi, pacem etiam et protectionem 
nostram salvo et secure morandi, et sine quacumque vexatione, cum 
eis placuerit, recedendi, concedimus ex affectu. 

** Mercatoribus etiam Scotiae ad partes Wallise, de licentia nostra, 
cum suis venire nogotiationibus persuadebimus ex corde. 

"Ad praedicta omnia et singula, in fide praedicti Domini Regis 
Scotiae fideliter, integre, et illsese, et sine fraude et dolo, et in bona 
fide observanda, unusquisque nostrum in manu Gwyd. de Bangr. 
Nuncii praefatorum Principis et Magnatum, fidem suam praestitit, 
et, tactis sacrosanctis Evangeliis, corporale sacramentum. 

"In cujus rei testimonium huic scripto, per modum Cyrographi 
confecto, et penes prsefatos Principem et Magnates remanenti, quilibet 
nostrum sigillum suum fecit apponi. 

"Praedicti vero Princeps et Magnates in manu Alani Yrewyn, 
Nuncii nostri, siiniliter prsestitis fide sua, et tactis sacrosanctis Evan- 
geliis, juramento, consimili scripto hujus confoederationis et amicitise, 
penes nos remanenti, in testimonium, singula sigilla sua apposuerunt." 

LETTEB E, page 62. 

The letter of the "Community of Scotland, directed to Edward the 
First, from Brigham," is important and curious. It contains the 



names of the bishops, earls, abbots, priors, and barons of Scotland, as 
they stood in 1289. I subjoin it from the Fcedera, vol. ii. p. 471. 

" Litera Communitatis Scot ice, per quam consulunt Regi Anglice quod 
Matrimonium fiat inter Primogenitum suum et Natam Regis Nor- 
wegian, Hceredem Scotice; et etiamper quam petunt quod Rex Anglice, 
conceded eis Petitionem suam, quam petituri aunt per Nuncios suos, 
in Parliamento ipsius Regis 

" A Tres noble Prince Sire Edward, par la grace de Deu, Roy de 
Engletere, Seygnur de Yrlaund, et Duk de Aquitain. 

Guillame e Robert, par meme cele 
grace, de Seint Andrew et de 
Glasgu Eresques. 

Maheu, Etesque de Dunkeldin, 
Archebaud, Evesk de Moref, 
Henry, Eveske de Abirdene, 
Guillame, Etesque de Dunblain, 
Marc, Evesque de Man, 
Henry, Exesque de Gamcay, 
Guittam, Evesque de Brechin, 
Alayn, Evesque de Catenes, 
Robert, Evesque de Ros, et 
Laurence, Ewsque de Ergayihil. 


Maliz de Stratherne, 
Patrick de Dunbar, 
Johan Comyn de Buchan, 
Dovenald de Mar, 
Gilbert de Hunfraumll de Anegos, 
Johan de Asteles, 
Gauter de Meneteth, 
Roberd de Brus de Carrik, 
GuUlam de Ros, 
Maucolom de Lorenaus. 
GuUlam de Sotherland, et 

Johan de Catenes. 

De Kelquou, 
De Meuros, 
De Dunfermlin, 
De Aberbrothok, 
De la Seinte Croyt, 
De Cambuskinel, 
De Kupre, 
De Driburg, 
De Neubotil, 
De Passelay, 
De Jedeworth, 
De Londors, 
De Balmorinauch, 
De Glenluce, 
De Kilwynnin, 
De IncheafraUf 
De Culros, 
De Dundraynan, 
De DarwonguiU, 
De Kirilos, 
De Deer, 

De Ylecolurikile, et 
De Tungeland. 


De Seint Andrew, 
De Coldingliam, et 
De Leamaha.gu, 



De Pluscardin, 
De Beaulou, 
De Huricard, 
De Wytherne, 
De Rustinoth, 
De May, 
De Cononby, 
De Blantir. 

Roberd de Brus, Seygnur de Val 

de Anaunt, 
Guillam de Moref, 
Guillame de Soulys, 
Alisaundre de Ergayl, 
Alisaundre de Bayliol, de K avers, 
Geffray de Moubray, 
Nichol de Graham, 
Nichol de Lugir, 
Ingeram de Battiol, 
Richard Siward, 
Herbert de Macswett, 
David le Mariscal, 
Ingeram de Gynes, 
Thomas Randolf, 
Guillame Comyn, Seygnur de 

Simon Fraser, 
Renaud le Chen le Pere, 
Renaud le Chen le Fitz, 
Andreu de Moref, 

Johannes de Soviet, 

Nichol de la Haye, 

Guillam de la Haye, 

Roberd de Cambron, 

Guittam de Seincler, 

Patrik de Grame, 

Johannes de Estriteliny 

Johannes de Kalentir, 

Johan de Malevile, 

Johan le Seneschal, 

Johan die Glenesk, 

Alisaundre de Bonkytt, 

Bertram de Cardenes, 

Doxenald left Can, 

Magnus de Fetherith, 

Roberd le Flemying, 

Guillam de Moref, de Drumter- 


David de Betune, 
Guillame de Duglas, 
Alisaundre de Lyndeseye, 
Alisaundre de Meneteth, 
Alisaundre de Meners, 
Guillam de Muhaut, 
Thomas de SomerviU, 
Johan de Inchemartin, 
Johan de Vans, 
Johan de Moref, 
Maucolom de Ferendrauch, et 
Johan de Camiauch. 

" Du Realme de Escoce saluz, et totes honors. 

" Pour la vostre bone fame, et pur la droyture ke vous fetes si com- 
munement a tut, et pur le bon veysinage et le grant profit, que le 
Reaume de Escoce a resceu de vous, et voustre Pere, et de voua 
Auncestres, du tens cea en arere. 

" Sumes nus mut leez et joyus de accones noveles, que mult de gent 
parlent, ke le Apostoyll deust aver otree et fet dispensacion, ke 
Mariage se puist fere entre mun Sire Edward, vostre Fitz, et Dame 
Margarete Reyne de Escoce, nostres treschere Dame, non ostant pro- 
cheynette de Saunk ; et prium vostre hautesee ke vous plese certejier 
nous de ceste chose. 


" Kar, si la dispensation graunte, vous seit grante, nus des here, 
ke le mariage de eus face, otreom e nostre accord ; et nostre assent 
ydouom ; et ke vous facet a nus les choses, que nos messages, que nous 
enverrom a voustre Parlement, YOUS mustrunt de par nus, que ren- 
ablcs serrunt. 

" Et, si ele seit a purchacer, nus, pur les grant biens e profit, que 
purrunt de coe avenir al'un e le autre Reaume, mettrom volenters 
conseyl, ensemblement ovesque vous, coment ele seit purchace. 

"E, pur ceste chose, e autres, ke tuchent 1'estat du Reaume de 
Escoce, Sur queux nous aurom mester de aver seurte de vous ; nous, 
avauntdyt Gardeyns, Evesques, Countes, Abbes, Priurs, e Barons, 
enveroms a vous, a Londres, a voustre Parlement de Pasch prochein 
avenir, de bone gent du Reaume de Escoce, pur nus et pur eus, et pur 
tote la Commune de Escoce. 

" Et, en tesmonage des avauntdites choses, nous, Gardeyns du 
Reaume, Prelats, Countes, e Barones avauntdit, en nom de vous, et 
de tote la Commune, le Seel Comun, que nus usom en Escoce, en nom 
de nostre Dame avauntdyte, auvom fet mettre a ceste lettre. 

" Done a Briggeham, le Vendredy procheyn a pres la Feste Seiut 
Gregorie, le an le nostre Seygnur, 1289." 

LETTER F, page 103. 

Lord Hailes is at a loss to settle the exact chronology of this sur- 
render by Baliol, but Prynne enables us to do this with considerable 
accuracy. The scroll of the resignation was prepared at Kincardine 
on the 2d July. The penance took place in the churchyard at 
Strathkathro on the 7th of the same month ;* and the deed recording 
it is of the same date : after which, on the 10th July, at the castle of 
Brechin, in the presence of Edward himself, Baliol made his final 
resignation, and a second instrument was drawn up exactly in the 
same terms as the scroll prepared at Kincardine. Bower, in his 
additions to Fordun, is evidently in an error, when he states that 
Baliol underwent his penance and made his resignation at Montrose. 
Prynne, Edw. I., pp. 647, 650, 651. Baldred Bisset, the Scottish 
envoy at Rome, who was sent there to confute the claims of Edward 
to the superiority over Scotland, may perhaps have founded his 
accusation, that Edward had forged the instrument of Baliol's resig- 
nation, upon this discrepancy in the dates. 

* I find in Mr Chambers's agreeable work, entitled " The Picture of Scot- 
land," vol. ii. p. 255, that the tradition of the country affirms the penance of 
Baliol to have been performed at Strathkathro. 


LETTER G, page 105. 

A Diary of the Expedition of Edward in the year 1296, preserved 
in the Cottonian Collection, gives the following account of his progress. 
It is chiefly valuable from its fixing dates and places, being extremely 
meagre in detail. It is written in old French, and is probably nearly 
coeval with the events it describes. The corruption of the Scottish 
names in it is very great. It is about to be published in a valuable 
Miscellany edited by the Bannatyne Club.* 

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. 

Rokesburgh, Monday, May 7, where Edward remained fourteen days. 
Jedworth, May 23. 
Wyel, Thursday, May 24th; Friday, 25th, to Castleton; Sunday, 

27th, again to Wyel. 
Jedworth, Monday, May 28. 
Rokesburgh, 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. 
Kinclevin, 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 till the 10th. 
Kincardine in the Mearns, Wednesday, July 11. 
Bervie, Thursday, July 12. 

* The Antiquarian Society of London, however, have anticipated the 
Bannatyne Club ; for I find the Diary printed, with a learned preface by 
Sir Harris Nicolas, in the volume of their Transactions which has lately 
appeared. A coincidence of this kind shows that there is a valuable spirit 
of research at work in both countries. 


Dunn Castle, Friday, July 13. 

Aberdeen, Saturday, July 14. 

Kinkell, Friday, July 20. 

Fyvie, Saturday, July 21. 

Banff, Sunday, July 22. 

Invercullen, Monday, July 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, 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 Andrews, Saturday, August 11. 

Markinch, Sunday, August 12. 

Dunfennline, 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. 

LETTER H, page 124. 

Lord Hailes observes, p. 253, vol. i., that "Buchanan, following 
Blind Harry, reports that the bridge broke down by means of a 
stratagem of Wallace." Buchanan, however, expressly says, that 
the " bridge broke down either by the artifice of the carpenter who 
had loosened the beams, as our historians assert, or from the weight 
of the English horse, foot, and machinery." 

LETTER I, page 143. 

Hemingford, vol. i. p. 165, says, these compact bodies were in a 
circular form " qui quidem circuli Schiltronis vocabantur." Schil- 


tron seems to denote nothing more than a compact body of men. It 
is thus used by Barbour in his poem of The Bruce, where he describes 
the battle of Bannockburn 

" For Scotsmen that them hard essayed, 
That then were in a scliiltrum all.'.' 

Walsingham, p. 75, affirms, that Wallace fortified the front of his 
position with long stakes driven into the ground, and tied together 
with ropes, so as to form a hedge. I find no mention of this in 
Hemingford ; nor in Fordun, Winton, or Trivet. Walsingham's 
account is vague, and unlike truth. He tells us, that Edward first 
commanded the attack to be made by the Welsh, and that they refused ; 
upon which a certain knight addressed the king in two monkish 
rhyming verses, in Latin. Hemingford's narrative, on the other 
hand, which I have chiefly followed, is strikingly circumstantial and 
interesting. He describes the battle of Stirling, as if he had the 
particulars from eye-witnesses ; and Lord Hailes conjectures, that 
this account of the battle of Falkirk was taken from the lips of some 
who had been present. 

LETTER K, page 146. 

Trivet, p. 313, says, these two religious knights were slain in the 
beginning of the battle ; but I prefer the authority of Hemingford, 
p. 165, and Langtoft, p. 305-6. Lord Hailes, following Mathew of 
Westminster, p. 431, says that Bryan de Jaye was Master of the 
Knights Templars in England; but it is certain, from the Rotuli 
Scotise,29 Edward I. mm. 12. 11., that he was Master of that Order 
in Scotland. We there find, " Brianus de Jaye, Preceptor Militise 
Templi in Scotia." 

There is a long note in Hailes upon the battle of Falkirk, Annals, 
vol. i. p. 262. Its object is to prove, that every account of the battle 
of Falkirk which has been given by Scottish historians, from Fordun 
to Abercromby, is full of misrepresentation, and, on this subject, the 
English historians are alone to be trusted. In these misrepresenta- 
tions of the Scottish historians, he includes the assertion, " that there 
were disputes between Wallace and the Scottish nobles ; that some 
of these nobles were guilty of treachery in abandoning the public 
cause ; and that, on the first onset, the Scottish cavalry withdrew, 
without striking a blow." 

That there was treachery among the Scottish nobles, is, however, 
satisfactorily proved by Hemingford, an English historian. That the 


Scottish horse fled without striking a blow, " absque ullo gladii ictu," 
when the battle had just begun, is asserted by the same writer, 
Hemingford ; yet, singular to say, this does not appear to Hailes to 
be anything like treachery. The Scottish cavalry were a body of a 
thousand armed horse, amongst whom were the flower of the Scottish 
knights and barons : are we to believe that these, from mere timidity, 
fled, before a lance was put in rest, and upon the first look of the 
English ? But the note is also strikingly inconsistent with this 
author's own statement at p. 254, where, in giving an account of the 
feelings of the Scottish barons with regard to Wallace, he asserts, 
that "his elevation wounded their pride ; his great services reproached 
their inactivity in the public cause ;" that it was the language of the 
nobility, "We will not have this man to rule over us;" and that 
"the spirit of distrust inflamed the passions and perplexed the 
counsels of the nation." This was the picture given by this historian, 
of the sentiments of the Scottish nobles on 29th March, 1298. Yet, 
when the Scottish historians observe, that at the battle of Falkirk, 
only four months after this, the Scottish nobility were weakened by 
dissensions, and their army enfeebled by envy of Wallace, the account 
is deemed wholly incredible.* 

LETTER L, page 147. 

Wherfor the Kyng, upon the Maudelyn day, 
At Fowkyrke fought with Scottes in great array. 
Where Scottes fled and forty thousand slaine ; 
And into Fifies he went, and brent it clene, 
And Andrew's toune he wasted then full plaine ; 
Blackmanshyre and Menteth, as men mene, 
And on the ford of Tippour, with host I wene, 
Bothvile, Glasgowe, and to the toune of Are, 
And so to Lanarke, Lochmaban, and Annand there. 

Hardynge's Chronicle, 8vo, London, 1543, fol. clxv. 

LETTER M, page 154. 

The negotiations between Philip and Edward, in 1297, on the point 
of including the kingdom of Scotland under the truce and pacification 
entered into at Tournay, were unknown to Lord Hailes, as the docu- 
ment which contains so full and explicit an account of them was not 

* See Mr Aikman's Translation of Buchanan's History, (pages 410, 
413, and 416,) for some remarks on Lord Hailes' accounts of the battles of 
Falkirk and Roslin, and his apology for Menteith. 


published at the time he wrote his history. They throw an important 
light on the conduct of Comyn, and the higher Scottish nobility, who 
refused to join Wallace in his resistance to Edward ; as they prove, 
that one motive for their refusal might be, the hope that Philip's 
representations would induce Edward to include them and their 
country in the articles of truce, and in the subsequent treaty of 
peace, of which these articles were understood to be the basis. Even 
so late as the battle of Falkirk, July 22, 1298, Comyn, who drew off 
his vassals, and took no part in the day, might have indulged some 
hope that Philip's mediation, and the representations of the pope, 
would succeed in restoring peace to Scotland, and thus save his own 
lands, and the estates of the Scottish nobles. For Edward did not 
give his final answer, by which he totally excluded Scotland, and all 
its subjects, from the articles of truce and pacification, till the 19th 
August, 1298, (Rymer, vol. i. new edit. p. 898,) when he was in camp 
at Edinburgh. At the same time, although these negotiations give 
some explanation of the motives which might have influenced the 
nobles of Scotland in refusing to act with Wallace, they afford no 
excuse for their weak and selfish conduct. 

LETTER N, page 170. 

This account of the battle of Roslin is taken from the English 
historians, Hemingford, Trivet, and Langtoft, and from our two most 
valuable and authentic Scottish historians, Winton and Fordun. 
Lord Hailes, who generally follows the English historians, has given 
a description of the battle in the shape of a critical note. He appears 
not to have consulted, when he composed his text, the curious and 
minute account given by Langtoft, vol. ii. p. 319, although he after- 
wards quotes him in the corrections and additions. So far from 
attempting to throw any veil over the events of the day, Langtoft is 
open and candid as to the entire defeat of the English. The same 
historian has fallen into a mistake, when he states the fact, in 
saying that Segrave, instead of falling back, rashly advanced and 
attacked the Scots. Segrave was surprised and attacked in his 
encampment by the Scots ; and so complete was the surprise, that his 
son and brother were taken in bed. As to the ridiculous story of Sir 
Robert Neville miraculously retrieving the day, and the invulnerable 
qualities conferred on those present at mass, it is a monkish tale, 
utterly unworthy of belief, as Langtoft informs us that Neville was 
slain. There is some inconsistency in the manner in which this 
historian has recounted the battle of Roslin. He was aware, he tells 
us, that the English historians, whom he follows, gave a partial 


account ; yet this account he incorporates into his text. He has 
brought no well-grounded argument against the narrative of Winton 
and Fordun, which is supported by the English historian, Langtoft ; 
yet he insinuates that the Scottish historians may have exaggerated 
the successes of the Scottish army at Roslin ; and with this affectation 
of superiority to national prejudice, he quietly passes them over. 
Tyrrel, vol. iii. p. 153, says, quoting Walsingham and the Chron. 
Abingdonense, that Wallace headed the Scots in this battle ; but I 
find no authority in the Scottish writers for such an assertion. 

LETTER 0, page 174. 

The fortalice at Lochindorb is thus described by Mr Lewis Grant, 
in his Account of the Parish of Cromdale : "A thick wall of mason 
work, twenty feet high even at this period, and supposed to have 
been much higher, surrounds an acre of land within the loch, with 
watch-towers at every corner, all entire. The entrance to this place 
is a gate built of freestone, which has a grandeur in it easier felt than 
expressed. Several vestiges of houses are found within the walls, 
besides those of a church, which, without difficulty, can still be traced 
in the ruins. Great rafts, or planks of oak, by the beating of the 
waters against the old walls, occasionally make their appearance. 
Tradition says, and some credit is due to the report, that the parti- 
cular account of this building was lost in the days of King Edward 
the First of England." Haa the worthy clergyman who wrote this, 
studied the history of Scotland in Fordun, infinitely the most valuable 
of all our historians, he would there have found that Edward, " in 
propria persona ad Lochindorb pervenit, et ibidem aliquamdiu moram 
faciens, paries boreales ad pacem cepit." It is very delightful to 
find tradition thus throwing its shadowy reflection upon history, and 
history its clear and certain light upon tradition. 

LETTER P, page 174. 

Kildrummie, of which there are still considerable remains, will be 
found described in Stat. Account, vol. xviii. p. 416. Edward's pro- 
gress, as ascertained by dates and authentic instruments in Rymer 
and Prynne, was as follows : 

Newcastle, 7th May. Prynne, p. 1016. 
Morpeth, 9th May. Prynne, pp. 1015, 1016. 
Rokesburgh, 21st May. Prynne, p. 1017. 
Edinburgh, 4th June. 


Linlithgow, 6th June. Rymer, yol. ii. old edit. p. 931. 

Perth, 10th June. Rymer, vol. ii. p. 934. 

Clackmannan, 12th June. 

Perth again, 28th June. Prynne, p. 1016. 

Same town, 10th July. Prynne, p. 1009. 

Kincardine, 17th August. Prynne, p. 1012. 

Aberdeen, 24th August. 

Banff, 4th September. Prynne, p. 1021. 

Kinloss, in Moray, 20th September. 

Kildrummie, 8th October. Prynne, p. 1017. 

Kinloss again, 10th October. 

Dundee, 20th October. Prynne, p. 1015. 

Cambuskynel, 1st November. Prynne, p. 1022. 

Kinross, 10th November. 

Dunfermline, llth December. 

LETTER Q,, page 176. 

Lord Hailes observes, vol. i. p. 276, that " the Scots fondly imagined 
that Edward would attempt to force the passage, as the impetuous 
Cressingham had attempted in circumstances not dissimilar ; but," 
lie adds, " the prudence of Edward frustrated their expectation ; 
having discovered a ford at some distance, he passed the river at the 
head of his whole cavalry." This is quite erroneous ; and Trivet, 
p. 337, whom he quotes on the margin as his authority, says some- 
thing very different. He tells us, that Edward did intend to pass the 
fixer by the bridge, which, on his arrival, he found had been already 
destroyed by the Scots, that all passage thereby might be cut off. 
Baulked in his expectation, " Edward pitched his tents and prepared 
for dinner, when John Comyn approached on the opposite bank with 
the whole power of the Scots ; upon whose appearance the English 
army, seizing their arms, mounted their horses, and with these the 
king himself, entering the river, found, by the direction of the Lord, 
a ford for himself and his soldiers." Edward, therefore, whose 
prudence Lord Hailes commends, because he did not imitate the 
impetuous Cressingham, had actually intended to follow his example, 
and pass the river by the bridge ; and the Scots, whom he represents 
as fondly imagining he would do so, evidently entertained no such 
idea, because they burnt the bridge to prevent him from passing the 

LETTER R, page 178. 

Much as I respect the ability of Dr Lingard, I cannot altogether 
acquit him of prejudice ia his narrative of Scottish affairs. Speaking, 


p. 328, TO!, iii., of the conditions offered by Edward to Comyn, the 
Bishop of Glasgow, Sir Simon Fraser, and the rest, he adds, " When 
the rest of his countrymen made their peace with England, his (that 
is, Wallace's) interests were not forgotten. It was agreed, that he 
also might put himself on the pleasure and grace of the king, if he 
thought proper ;" and he adds this note " Et quant a Monsieur 
Guilliam de Galeys est accorde" qu'il se mette en la volunte, et en la 
grace notre le Seigneur le Roi, si lui semhle que bon soit." Lord 
Hailes " thinks it doubtful, whether the words ' si lui semble ' refer 
to Wallace or the king ; but they evidently refer to Wallace. The 
offer is made in the same manner to the Bishop of Glasgow, the Steward, 
&c. 'si lour semble que bon soit.'" By these expressions of the 
historian, the reader might be led to believe, that Edward's conduct 
to his Scottish rebels was not ungenerous or harsh ; and that to 
Wallace, the same, or nearly the same, terms were offered as to the 
rest of his countrymen. This is the impression made by the words, 
" it was agreed that he also" and by the observation, " the offer is 
made in the same manner." But it is proved by a state paper pub- 
lished in Prynne's Edward the First, pp. 1119, 1120, that to Comyn, 
the Bishop of Glasgow, Sir Simon Fraser, and the rest, Edward 
expressly stipulated, " that their life and limbs should be safe that 
they should not suffer punishment or lose their estates and that the 
ransom they should pay, and the fines to be levied on them for their 
misdemeanors, should be referred by them to the good pleasure of 
the king." This last condition related only to Comyn, and those who 
surrendered themselves along with him. Wishart the Bishop of 
Glasgow, Sir Simon Fraser, James the Steward of Scotland, John 
Soulis, and a few others, were promised security for life and limb, 
freedom from imprisonment, and that they should not lose their 
lands ; but, according to their degrees of guilt in Edward's mind, a 
fine of more or less extent, and a banishment for a longer or shorter 
time, was inflicted on them ; which conditions they were to accept, 
no doubt, " if to them seemed proper;" " si lour semble que bon soit." 
And what, by the same authentic deed, was promised to Wallace ? 
The terms were, an unconditional surrender of himself to the will and 
mercy of tlie king, terms which every man knows were almost equiva- 
lent to a declaration, that he was doomed to be executed the moment 
he was taken ; and yet Dr Lingard gravely tells us, " Wallace's 
interests were not forgotten." Had he turned to Langtoft, p. 324, 
he would have found, that Wallace did, like the rest, propose to 
surrender himself, on the assurance of safety in life, limbs, and 
estate ; but that Edward cursed him by the fiend for a traitor, and 
set a price of three hundred marks on his head. This was an 


attention to his interests with which, we may presume, he would 
willingly have dispensed. 

LETTER S, page 184. 

The best, and evidently the most authentic, accounts of this 
memorable siege, are to be found in Langtoft's Chronicle, in Heming- 
ford, Trivet, and Walsingham. Math. Westminster, in his turgid 
work, entitled the Flowers of History, has given us a lengthy narra- 
tive, interwoven with speeches of his own composition, which he 
puts into the mouth of Edward. The last scene of the surrender of 
Olifant is in King Cambyses' vein ; but there is a great want of 
keeping in Mathew's composition. Edward, on receiving the sup- 
pliants, and hearing their appeal to his mercy, tells them, it is his 
pleasure that they should be hanged and quartered ; after which he 
bursts into tears. The names of the leaders in this defence of Stir- 
ling are preserved in Rymer. They are the following : 

Domini Willielmus Olyfard, Domini Andreas Wychard, 

Willielmus de Dupplyn, Godefridus le Botiller, 

milites, Johannes le Naper, 

Fergus de Ardrossan, Willielmus le Scherere, 

Robinus de Ardrossan, Hugo le Botiller, 

frater ejus, Joannes de Kulgas, 

Willielmus de Ramseya, Willielmus de Anant, 

Hugo de Ramseya, Robertus de Ranfru, 

Radulfus de Haleburton, Walterus Taylleu, 

Thomas de Knellhulle, Simon Larmerer, 

Thomas Lellay, Frater Willielmus de Keth ordinis 
Patricius de Polleworche, Sancti Dominici Pradicatorum, 

Hugo Olyfard, Frater Petrus de Edereston de 

Walterus Olyfard, domo de Kelsou ordinis Sancti 

Willielmus Gyffard, Benedicti. 
Alanus de Vypont, 

Rymer, Fcedera, new edit. p. 966. The capitulation is dated 
July 24, 1304. 

LETTER T, page 186. 

The fact, that Wallace's four quarters were sent to different parts 
of Scotland and England, is mentioned by most ancient historians ; 
but I find the notice of the towns to which they were sent in 
the MS. Chron. of Lanercost a valuable historical relic, preserved 
in the library of the British Museum, (Cotton Library, Claudian, 


D. vii. Art. 13,)* some extracts from which were communicated by 
Mr Ellis to Dr Jamieson. See Preliminary Remarks to Wallace, 
p. 12. This is the passage "Captus fuit Willelmus Waleis per 
unum Scottum, scilicet per Dominum Johannem de Mentiphe, et 
usque London ad Regem adductus, et adjudicatum fuit quod trahe- 
retur, et suspenderetur, et decollaretur, et membratim divideretur, 
et quod viscera ejus comburerentur, quod factum est ; et suspensum 
est caput ejus super pontem London, armus autem dexter super 
pontem Novi Castri super Tynam, et armus sinister apud Berwicum, 
pes autem dexter apud villain Sancti Johannis, et pes sinister apud 
Aberdene." Fol. 211. See also " Illustrations of Scottish History," 
p. 54, edited by Joseph Stevenson, Esq., a valuable work presented 
to the Maitland Club, by Mr Steven of Polmadie. 

LETTER U, page 188. 

Lord Hailes was fond of displaying his ingenuity in whitewashing 
dubious characters ; and his note upon Sir John Menteith is an instance 
of this. He represents the fact, that his friend Menteith betrayed 
Wallace to the English, as founded upon popular tradition, and the 
romance of Blind Harry, Wallace's rhyming biographer ; whom, he 
adds, every historian copies, but none but Sir Robert Sibbald ventures 
to quote ; and, in his Corrections and Additions, he observes, that 
" his Apology for Menteith has been received with wonderful dis- 
approbation by many readers, because it contradicts vulgar traditions, 
and that most respectable authority, Blind Harry." 

In reply to this it may be observed, that the fact of Wallace being 
betrayed and taken by Sir John Menteith is corroborated by a mass 
of ancient historical authority, both from English and Scottish writers, 
superior to what perhaps could be brought for most other events in 
our history ; and that as these writers lived long before Blind Harry, 
he may have copied from them, but it is impossible they could have 
copied from him. I shall shortly give the English and Scottish autho- 
rities for the fact, and leave the reader to make his own inferences. 

We have already seen, from the last note, that the Chronicle of 
Lanercost Priory, a valuable MS. of the thirteenth century, preserved 
in the British Museum, Claudian D. vii. 13, and now printed by the 
Maitland Club, has this passage : " Captus fuit Willelmus Waleis 
per unum Scottum, scilicet per Dominum Johannem de Mentiplie, et 
usque London ad Regem adductus, et adjudicatum fuit quod trahere- 
tur, et suspenderetur, et decollaretur."-)" We cannot be surprised 

* Since printed by the Maitland Club, and one of their most valuable 
f Chronicle of Lanercost, p. 203. 


that Lord Hailes should have been ignorant of this passage, as ha 
tells us, Annals, vol. ii., p. 316, he had not been able to discover where 
the MS. Chronicle of Lanercost was preserved. 

The next piece of evidence, of Menteith's having seized Wallace, is 
contained in Leland's extract from an ancient MS. chronicle, which 
Hailes has elsewhere quoted. I mean the Scala Chronicle, preserved 
in Corpus Christi Library, Cambridge.* In Leland's Collect, vol. i., 
p. 541, we have this passage from the Chronicle : " Wylliam Waleys 
was taken of the Counte of Menteth about Glaskow, and sent to King 
Edward, and after was hangid, drawn, and quarterid, at London." 
This is Leland's translation of the passage, which in all probability is 
much more full and satisfactory in the original. Yet it is quite 
satisfactory as to Menteith's guilt. 

The next English authority is Langtoft's Chronicle, which Hailes 
has himself quoted in his Notes and Corrections, vol. ii. p. 346. It is 
curious, and, as to Menteith's guilt, perfectly conclusive : 

Sir Jon of Menetest sewed "William so nehi, 

He took him when he wend lest, on nyght his leman bi ; 

That was thorght treson of Jak Schort his man ;. 

He was the encheson, that Sir Jon so him nam. P. 329. 

We learn from this, that Sir John Menteith prevailed upon Wallace's 
servant, Jack Short, to betray his master ; and came, under cover of 
night, and seized him in bed, " his leman by," and when he had no 
suspicion of what was to happen. How Hailes, after quoting this 
passage, which was written more than two centuries before Blind 
Harry, should have represented this poor minstrel as the only original 
authority for the guilt of Menteith, is indeed difficult to determine. 

Fordun, who must have been born in the earlier part of the reign 
of Robert the First, received materials for his history from Wardlaw 
bishop of Glasgow. This prelate died in 1386. Say that Fordun 
concluded his history in 1376, ten years before Wardlaw's death, it 
will follow that it was ninety-four years before the poem of Blind 
Harry, the date of whose poem is somewhere about 1470. Let us 
hear how he speaks of the death of Wallace : 

" Anno Domini M.CCCV., Willelmus Wallace per Johannem de 
Menteth fraudulenter et prodicionaliter capitur, Regi Angliae traditur, 
Londoniis demembratur." Vol. iv. p. 996. 

Winton, against whose credit as a historical authority Hailes could 
not possibly have objected, finished his chronicle in 1418, fifty- two 

* Since this printed by the Maitland Club. The passage will be found, 
p. 126. 

VOL. L 2 


years before Blind Harry's poem was written. Yet Wiufon thus 
speaks of the capture of Wallace, vol. ii. p. 13*) . 

" A thousand thre hundyr and the fyft yere 
Efter the byrth of our Lord dere, 
Schyre Jon of Mentetli in tha dayis 
Tuk in Glasco Willame Walays." 

And the chapter where this is mentioned is entitled 

Quhen Jhon of Menteth in his dayis, 
Dissawit gud Willame Walays. 

Bower, the continuator of Fordun, and who possessed his manu- 
scripts, was born in 1385, and is generally believed to have published 
his continuation about 1447, sixty-two years before Blind Harry's 
poem. He preserves, however, the very words of his master, Fordun, 
as to the guilt of Menteith, and afterwards refers to him in some 
additions of his own, as the acknowledged traitor who had seized 
Wallace. Vol. ii. pp. 229, 243. 

With these authors Fordun, Winton, and Bower Lord Hailes 
was intimately acquainted. He has, indeed, quoted the last of them, 
Bower, on the margin. He must have known that they were dead 
before the author of the Metrical Romance of Wallace was born. 
Annals, vol. i. p. 281. And yet he labours to persuade the reader 
that the tale of Wallace's capture by Menteith rests on the single and 
respectable authority of Blind Harry ! He has also remarked, that 
he has yet to learn that Menteith had ever any intercourse or friend- 
ship and familiarity with Wallace. Whether there was any friendship 
or familiarity between Menteith and Wallace is not easily discovered, 
and is of little consequence ; yet that Menteith acted in concert with 
Wallace, and must therefore have had intercourse with him, is proved 
by the following passage from Bower, preserved in the Relationes 
Arnaldi Blair : " In hoc ipso anno (1298) viz. 28 die mensis Augusti, 
Dominus Wallas Scotiae custos, cum Johanne Grahame, et Johanne 
de Menteith, militibus necnon, Alexandro Scrymgeour, Constabulario 
villse de Dundee et vexillario Scotise, cum quinquagentis militibus 
armatis, rebelles Gallovidienses punierunt, qui Regis Anglisa et 
Cuminorum partibus sine aliquo jure steterunt."* 

Having given these authorities, all of them prior to Blind Harry, 

* Dr Jamieson, in his Notes on Wallace, p. 403, has ably combatriw ;he 
scepticism of Hailes as to Menteith. The above passage is quoted from the 
Relationes Arnaldi Blair, and seems to have been a part of Bower's additions 
to Fordun. 


it is unnecessary to give the testimony of the more modern writers. 
The ancient writers prove inconte stably, that Sir John de Menteith, 
a Scottish baron, who had served along with and under Wallace 
against the English, deserted his country, swore homage to Edward, 
and employed a servant of Wallace to betray his master into his 
hands ; that he seized him in bed, and delivered him to Edward, by 
whom he was instantly tried, condemned, and hanged. Yet all these 
circumstances are omitted by Lord Hailes, who appears surprised 
that vulgar tradition should continue from century to century to 
execrate the memory of such a man. 

Dr Lingard, in his History of England, vol. iii., pp. 328, 329, 
has attempted to diminish the reputation of Wallace. He remarks, 
that he suspects he owes his celebrity as much to his execution 
as to his exploits ; that of all the Scottish chieftains who deserved 
and experienced the enmity of Edward, he alone perished on the 
gallows ; and that on this account his fate monopolised the 
sympathy of his countrymen, who revered him as the martyr of their 
independence ; he represents the accounts of his strength, gallantry, 
and patriotic efforts, as given by Scottish writers who lived a century 
or two after his death, and who therefore were of no credible authority ; 
and he concludes with an eulogy on the clemency of Edward, who 
did not forget the interests of Wallace when the rest of his countrymen 
made their peace with England. These observations will not bear 
examination ; for, first, it is a mistake to say, that of all the Scottish 
chieftains who deserved Edward's enmity, Wallace was the only one 
who perished on the gallows. Sir Nigel Bruce, Sir Christopher Seton, 
John Seton, the Earl of Athole, Sir Simon Fraser, Sir Herbert de 
Morham, Thomas Boys, Sir David Inchmartin,* Sir John de Somer- 
ville, Sir Thomas and Sir Alexander Bruce, both brothers of the king, 
and Sir Reginald Crawfurd, were all hanged by Edward's orders in 
the course of the year 1306, within a year of the execution of Wallace. 
So utterly untenable is the ground on which Dr Lingard has founded 
his conjecture, that Wallace owes his celebrity " to his execution." 

His next remark is equally unfortunate. The writers who have 
given us an account of the exploits of Wallace did not live, as he 
imagines, a century or two after his death. John de Fordun, whom 
the historian, in his note on p. 328, includes amongst these writers, was 
born, as we have said, early in the reign of King Robert Bruce. He 
certainly received materials for his history from Bishop Wardlaw, 
who died in 1386. If we suppose that he began his history thirty 
years before, and that he was thirty years old when he commenced 

* See supra, 213 to 222 inclusive. 


writing, this will give us 1326 for the year of his birth. So that 
Fordun was born twenty-one years after Wallace's execution. Even 
in the most favourable possible way in which the calculation can be 
taken, Fordun wrote his history only eighty-one years after Wallace's 
execution ; and taking fifty as the average life, it will follow he 
was born only thirty-one years after that event. Winton finished his 
history in 1418. He was born probably not more than fifty or sixty 
years after Wallace's death, and might have received his information 
from old men who had known him. 

As to Dr Lingard's praise of the clemency of Edward towards 
Wallace, the unsubstantial grounds on which it is founded have been 
already noticed ;* but I cannot help remarking, that this historian's 
whole account of Wallace does little justice to this great man. He 
begins, by throwing a doubt over his early history. " Historians 
conjecture," he says, " that Wallace was born at Paisley, and they 
assert that his hostility to the English originated more in the necessity 
of self-preservation than the love of his country. He had committed 
a murder, and fled from the pursuit of justice to the woods." Such 
may be the vague assertion of the English historians ; but Bower, 
an excellent authority, intimates a contrary opinion. He asserts 
that Wallace's hostility to the English arose from his despair at 
beholding the oppression of his relations and countrymen, and the 
servitude and misery to which they were subjected. Fordun a 
Goodal, vol. ii. p. 169. 

He next observes, that after the surprise of Ormesby the Justiciary, 
by Wallace and Douglas, other independent chieftains arose indifferent 
counties, who massacred the English, and compelled their own coun- 
trymen to fight under their standards. These other independent 
chieftains are unknown to the contemporary historians, English or 
Scottish. But they do not appear upon the stage without a use. On 
the contrary, they first multiply, like Falstaff's men in buckram, 
" into numerous parties," and then act a principal part in the next 
sentence ; for the historian goes on to observe, " that the origin and 
progress of these numerous parties had been viewed with secret 
satisfaction by the Steward of Scotland and Wishart the Bishop of 
Glasgow, who determined to collect them into one body, and to give 
their efforts one common direction. Declaring themselves the assertors 
of Scottish independence, they invited the different leaders to rally 
around them ; and the summons was obeyed by Wallace and Douglas, 
by Sir Alexander Lindsay, Sir Andrew Moray, and Sir Richard 
Lundy." Vol. iii. p. 305. This last sentence has not, as far as I can 

* Page 381, note R. 


discover, a shadow of historical authority to support it. The numerous 
independent parties and chieftains who rose in different counties ; the 
secret satisfaction with which they were contemplated by the Bishop 
of Glasgow and the High Steward ; their determination to collect 
them into one body, and to give them one common direction ; their 
declaring themselves the assertors of Scottish independence ; their 
summons to the different leaders to rally round them, and the prompt 
obedience of this summons by Wallace, Douglas, and the rest are 
not facts, but the vivid imaginations of the historian : and the impres- 
sion they leave on the mind of the reader appears to me to be one 
totally different from the truth. The Steward and the Bishop of 
Glasgow are the patriot chiefs under whom Douglas, and Wallace, 
and many other independent chieftains, consent to act for the recovery 
of Scottish freedom, and Wallace sinks down into the humble partisan, 
whose talents are directed by their superior authority and wisdom. 
Now, the fact was just the reverse of this. The Steward and Wishart, 
encouraged by the successes of Wallace and Douglas, joined their 
party, and acted along with them in their attempt to free Scotland ; 
but neither Fordun nor Winton nor Bower, give us the slightest ground 
to think that they acted a principal part, or anything like a principal 
part, in organizing the first rising against Edward. On the contrary, 
these historians, along with Trivet and Walsingham, Tyrrel and 
Carte, ascribe the rising to Wallace alone, whose early success first 
caused him to be joined by Douglas, and afterwards by the Bishop 
and the Steward, along with Lindsay, Moray, and Lundy. Indeed, 
instead of playing the part ascribed to them by Dr Lingard, the 
patriotism of the Steward and the Bishop was of that lukewarm and 
short-lived kind which little deserves the name. It did not outlive 
eight weeks, and they seized the first opportunity to desert Wallace 
and the cause of freedom. The attack upon Ormesby the Justiciary 
took place some time in May 1297 ; and on the 9th of July of the 
same year did Bishop Wishart negotiate the treaty of Irvine, by 
which he and the other Scottish barons, with the single exception of 
Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray of Bothwell, submitted to Edward. 
The historian's other hero, the High Steward, who is brought in to 
divide the glory with Wallace, was actually in the English service at 
the battle of Stirling ; and although he secretly favoured the Scottish 
cause, he did not openly join with his countrymen till he saw the 
entire destruction of Surrey's army. I may remark, in concluding 
this note, that the idea of an attack upon Wallace, and an eulogy of 
the clemency of Edward, was perhaps suggested by Carte, vol. ii. p. 
290 ; but his clumsy and absurd argument is discarded, and a more 
ingenious hypothesis is substituted in its place. On reading over 


Hemingford again, I find one expression which may perhaps have 
had some weight with Dr Lingard. This historian says, speaking of 
Bruce, p. 120, that he joined the Bishop of Glasgow and the Steward, 
" qui tocius mali fabricatores exstiterant." Yet this is inconsistent 
with his own account in p. 118, and is not corroborated, as far as I 
know, by any other historian. The reader will find some additional 
remarks in vindication of Menteith in my friend Mr Napier's excellent 
Life of his great ancestor, the Inventor of the Logarithms, p. 527-534. 

LETTER V, page 203. 

A MS. in the Cottonian, Vitell. A xx, entitled " Historia Angliae 
a Bruto ad ann. 1348," has this passage: "Anno 1306, Kal. Feb. 
Robertus de Brus ad regnum Scotiae aspirans, nobilem virum, J. de 
Comyn, quod sae proditioni noluit assentire, in Ecclesia fratrum 
minorum de Dumfres interfecit ; et in festo annuntiationis Virginis, 
gloriose in Ecclesia Canonicorum regularium de Scone, per Comi- 
tissam de Bohan, se fecit in regem Scotiae solemniter coronari. Nam 
germanus predicte comitisse, cui hoc officium jure hereditario com- 
petebat, tune absens in Anglia morabatur. Hanc Comitissam eodem 
anno Angli ceperunt, et in quadam domuncula lignea super murum 
Castri Berwyki posuerunt, ut earn possent conspicere transeuntes." 
The original order of Edward for the imprisonment of the Countess 
of Buchan is to be found in Rymer, Fcedera, vol. ii. p. 1014. Lord 
Hailes treats the tale of the Countess of Buchan's criminal passion 
for Bruce with ridicule. If, however, we admit the fact, that the 
Countess of Buchan, whose brother was in the English interest, and 
whose husband, according to Hemingford, vol. i. p. 221, was so 
enraged that he sought to kill her for her treason, did, alone and 
unaccompanied, repair to Scone, and there crown Bruce, it seems to 
give some countenance to the story of her entertaining a passion for 
the king. The circumstance that nothing of this second coronation 
is to be found in the Scottish historians, Barbour, Winton, or Fordun, 
rather confirms than weakens the suspicion. 

LETTER W, page 213. 

"Hanc autem Comitissam eodem anno ab Anglicis captam cum 
quidam perimere voluissent, non permisit rex, sed in domuncula 
quadam lignea super murum Castri Berewici posita est, ut possent 
earn transeuntes conspicere." Trivet, p. 342. Lord Hailes, vol. ii. 
p. 10, has given an elaborate note, to prove the impossibility of there 
being any truth in Math. Westminster's assertion, p. 455, " that the 
countess was in open day suspended at Berwick in a stone and iron 
chamber, formed like a crown, as a gaze to all passengers." He 


quotes the order preserved in the Fcedera, vol. ii. p. 1014, and then 
observes, that it is inconsistent with the story related by Math. 
Westminster. I confess that I can see no such inconsistency ; on the 
contrary, the one seems completely to corroborate the other. The 
place of confinement, as described in the express words of Edward, 
is " to be a cage constructed in one of the turrets of the castle of Ber- 
wick, latticed with wood, cross-barred, and secured with iron, in 
which the Chamberlain of Scotland, or his deputy, shall put the 
Countess of Buchan." Lord Hailes observes, that " to those who 
have no notion of any cage but one for a parrot, or a squirrel, hung 
out at a window, he despairs of rendering this mandate intelligible." 
I know not what called forth this querulous remark ; but any one 
who has observed the turrets of the ancient Scottish castles, which 
hung like cages, on the outside of the walls, and within one of which 
the countess's cage was to be constructed, will be at no loss to under- 
stand the tyrannical directions of Edward, and the passage of Mathew 
Westminster. It is worthy of observation, that, in his text, Lord 
Hailes has wholly omitted to notice the severity of Edward the First 
to the Countess of Buchan, simply stating, that she was committed 
to close confinement in England, and characterizing Edward's orders 
as being ridiculously minute. Dr Lingard, vol. iii. p. 377, softens 
the severity of Edward by a supposition, which appears to me to be 
inconsistent with the tone and spirit of Edward's order. 

LETTER X, page 215. 

We know by the evidence of a remission under the Great Seal, 
communicated by Mr Thomson, the Deputy-Clerk Register, to Dr 
Jamieson, that the delivery of Sir Christopher Seton to the English 
was imputed to Sir Gilbert de Carrick, but, upon investigation, not 
altogether justly, " minus juste ut verius intelleximus ;" and the same 
remission proves, that the castle of Lochdon was, by the same knight, 
Sir Gilbert de Carrick, delivered into the hands of the English. Mr 
Thomson considers the remission as showing for certain that Sir 
Christopher had taken refuge in the castle of Lochdon, of which Sir 
Gilbert de Carrick was hereditary keeper ; but this is rather a strong 
inference than a certainty. The conjecture of the Statistical Account, 
vol. xi. No. 4, Parish of Urr, in favour of the castle of Loch Urr, 
seems to be supported by pretty plausible evidence. 

LETTER Y, page 218. 

Dr Lingard observes that some of them were murderers. I know 
not on what authority he uses the plural "some of them." Sir 
Christopher de Seton, indeed, is represented by Hemingford, p. 219, 


as having slain Comyn's brother, Sir Robert ; and Trivet, p. 345, 
points to the same thing in the sentence, "usque Dumfries ubi 
quendam militem de parte Regis occiderat ;" but the historians, 
Barbour and Fordun, say nothing of it ; and I suspect that all that 
can be proved against Seton, is the being present with Robert Bruce 
when he stabbed Comyn. Indeed, one MS. of Trivet says, that Seton 
was condemned on account of a murder committed in a church with 
his consent. See Trivet, p.. 345, and the various readings at the 
bottom. As to the others, I am not aware of a single act of murder 
which can be brought against them, on the authority either of English 
or of Scottish historians. The fealty sworn to Edward was extorted 
from them either by fetters, imprisonment, confiscation, or the fear of 

LETTER Z, page 241. 

Lord Hailes has been misled by Rymer, who has erroneously 
placed a deed entitled " Gilbertus Comes Gloucestrie Capitaneus pro 
Expeditione Scotise," on the 3d December, 1309, instead of 1308. 
He conjectures that the siege was raised. We may, perhaps, infer 
the contrary, from the orders issued by Edward, on the 12th of May, 
1309, to most parts of England, and to Ireland also, to provide corn, 
malt, peas, beans, and wine, for his various castles in Scotland, and 
in the enumeration of these, Rutherglen is not included. The castles 
mentioned are, Berwick, Roxburgh, Stirling, Edinburgh, Banff, 
Perth, Dundee, Dumfries, Caerlaverock, and Ayr. Rotuli Scotiae, 
m. x. p. 63. Forfar is also mentioned, in a document dated 3d 
December, 1308, as being at the time in possession of the English. 

LETTERS AA, page 257. 

Hume has mistaken the numbers of the English army who fought 
at Bannockburn, and has been corrected by Hailes, vol. i. p. 41. Dr 
Lingard has remarked, that it is impossible to ascertain the exact 
numoers of Edward's army. He says the most powerful earls did 
not attend ; but he has omitted the fact, that although they did not 
come in person, they sent their knights to lead their vassals into the_ 
field, and perform their wonted services. We may infer from the 
mention, in the English historians, of the absence of the Earls of 
Warwick, Surrey, Arundel, and Lancaster, that if any of the other 
barons or counties had neglected to send their powers, they would 
have noted the circumstance. The number given by Tyrrel, vol. iii. 
p. 260, is a hundred thousand men ; and it is probable that this is 
rather under than above the fact. 


LETTERS BB, page 360. 
The leonine verses, called Bruce's testament, are as follows : 

" Scotica sit guerra pedites, mons, mossica terra: 
Silvse pro muris sint, arcus et hasta, securis. 
Per loca stricta greges munientur. Plana per ignes 
Sic inflammentur, ut ab hostibus evacuentur. 
Insidise vigiles sint, noctu vociferantes. 
Sic male turbati redient velut ense fugati 
Hostes pro certo ; Sic Rege docente Roberto." 

I add the Scottish version from Hearne : 

" On fut suld be all Scottis weire, 
Be hyll and moss thaimself to weire, 
Lat wod for wallis be; bow, and spier, 
And battle-axe, their fechting gear.* 
That ennymeis do thaim na dreire, 
In strait placis gar keip all stoire, 
And birnen the planen land thaim befoire, 
Thanan sail they pass away in haist 
Quhen that thai find nathing bot waist ; 
With wylles and wakenen of the nychf. 
And mekil noyse maid on hycht; 
Thanen shall thai turnen with gret affrai 
As thai were chasit with swerd away. 
This is the counsall and intent 
Of gud King Robert's testament." 

* In the translation of " securia," I have adopted Ridpath'a conjecture. Border 
History, p. 290. 






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