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Robert BruceAnd the Community of the Realm of Scotland$

G W S Barrow

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748620227

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748620227.001.0001

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Experiments in Guardianship

Experiments in Guardianship

(p.119) Six Experiments in Guardianship
Robert Bruce

G.W.S. Barrow

Edinburgh University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the work of William Wallace and Andrew Murray (d. 1297) as Guardians of Scotland 1297-8. Starting with an examination of the titles they used, and noting that John Balliol, by 1297 in English custody, was still recognised as king, it goes on to look at Wallace's invasion of Northumberland 1297 and the election of William Lamberton as bishop of St Andrews late in that year. Lamberton was to help build up diplomatic contacts with Pope Boniface VIII. Edward I led an army into Scotland in 1298, defeating Wallace at Falkirk; the latter now stepped down as Guardian, while Robert Bruce (the future king) and John Comyn of Badenoch were elected Guardians in the latter half of 1298.

Keywords:   William Wallace, Guardians of Scotland, William Lamberton, Pope Boniface VIII, Edward I, Falkirk, Robert Bruce, John Comyn of Badenoch

Even for England as a whole, the battle of Stirling Bridge could hardly have come at a worse moment, but for the north it was an unmitigated disaster. The king was beyond the Channel, helping his ally Guy de Dampierre, count of Flanders, to conduct a futile campaign against Philip the Fair. For men in the south of England Scotland seemed very remote, and the plight of their fellow countrymen beyond the Tees touched them scarcely at all. Those who were involved in public affairs were still preoccupied with the great quarrel between the king and ‘the earls’ (Norfolk and Hereford) which threatened to grow into a second Montfortian revolution. If the southern English chose at this moment of national peril to indulge in the luxury of a constitutional quarrel about the royal prerogative, so much the better for the French and the Scots. For the next seven years the guiding principle of Scottish history was the assumption that the events of the summer of 1296 should be wiped off the slate. John was still king, the community of the realm was still intact, the Franco-Scottish alliance was still in force. All this is obscured by the habit of portraying Wallace as the democratic leader in a war of precocious proletarian nationalism. In fact, the Scots, far from being in advance of the age, were intensely conservative. Unless this is understood, the events of the period make no sense whatever. Time and again we see the Scots struggling, often desperately, to maintain or restore the old, lawful order of things. Wallace was no exception in this: indeed, in some respects he was more conservative than the greater magnates.

Wallace, for one thing, made no attempt to seize the government of Scotland or set himself up as an independent ruler. Not only (p.120) did he share the leadership with Andrew Murray until Murray's death in November,1 but his consistent aim was, as he said to Warenne's envoys at Stirling Bridge, the liberation of the kingdom. On 11 October, Murray and he, then at Haddington, sent a letter to the mayors and communes of Lübeck and Hamburg2 telling them that the kingdom of Scotland had been, by God's grace, recovered by battle from the power of the English, and that in consequence the ports of Scotland were once more open to German merchants. (No doubt this was only one of a number of similar letters to the North Sea communities whose trading activity was vitally important to the Scottish economy, especially if weapons and other munitions were to be bought abroad.) Even the English indictment against Wallace in 1305 seems to take care not to charge him with setting up a personal dictatorship.3 It stated with evident truth that he sent out writs equivalent to writs issued by the sovereign (superior) of Scotland. But for Wallace the sovereign of Scotland was King John. It is yet more significant that, like the Guardians of 1286–91, like Wishart and the rest in July 1297, and like the Guardians after him, Wallace was fully aware that in the absence or incapacity of the lawful king the actual rulers must be responsible to the community of the realm and must derive their authority from its consent. This was true no matter how defective the machinery for getting that consent had become.

Only four writs and charters issued by Wallace survive. They are well written, expertly composed documents, which prove, incidentally, that Wallace had clerks with him who knew something of the rules of the Scottish king's chancery.4 The most interesting feature of the documents is the formal style which Murray and Wallace, and later Wallace alone, adopted. The letter to Lübeck and Hamburg begins, ‘Andrew Murray and William Wallace, commanders of the army of the kingdom of Scotland, and the community of that realm …’ A month later, a letter of protection issued by them for Hexham Priory5 begins, ‘Andrew Murray and William Wallace, commanders of the army of the kingdom of Scotland, in the name of the famous prince the lord John, by God's grace illustrious king of Scotland, by consent of the community of that realm …’ Five months later Wallace issued a charter for Alexander Scrymgeour,6 using this style, ‘William Wallace, knight, Guardian of the kingdom (p.121) of Scotland and commander of its army, in the name of the famous prince the lord John, by God's grace illustrious king of Scotland, by consent of the community of that realm. …’ Of course, these are all that survive of what was doubtless a large number of documents issued by Murray and Wallace. Few as they are, they are enough to prove that Wallace regarded himself as ruling on behalf of King John, and based his authority on the collective assent of the community. Just as the Guardians of 1286–91, and the Guardians of 1298–1304, held parliaments and assemblies, so also the holding of ‘parliaments and assemblies’ is expressly stated to have been one of Wallace's crimes in the indictment of 1305.7 Just as the Guardians used a special seal of regency, so also did Murray and Wallace.

We know less about Wallace than we know about almost any of the great national figures of our history. Utterly fearless, violent but not lacking in compassion, possessed of a certain grim humour, Wallace impresses us most by his extraordinary singleness of mind and purpose. During the seven years of his active career he was never diverted from his aim of ridding Scotland of the English yoke. But he was not a revolutionary either in politics or as a soldier. Trevelyan has called him a ‘guerrilla chief of genius’,8 but in fact Wallace used guerrilla tactics only when he had no choice. As soon as possible he gathered large armies and fought pitched battles. At Stirling Bridge, with Murray at his side, he won; at Falkirk, on his own, he was badly defeated. It might have been better for Scotland if Wallace had really been a guerrillero. Ironically, it was not the middle-class Wallace but the aristocratic Bruce who possessed the genius for guerrilla warfare. The fact is surely that Wallace had the defects of his qualities, and one of these was lack of imagination.

The three main achievements of Wallace's regime were the invasion of Northumbria, the filling of the vacant see of St Andrews and the successful revival of the idea of guardianship. The retaliatory raid9 which Wallace carried out south of the border in October and November 1297 was a savage business, marked by ghastly atrocities which seem to have been due chiefly to the lack of discipline among the Scots. At first they plundered and slaughtered at will in Northumberland, making a lair for themselves in Rothbury Forest. Many of the people, including all the clergy, fled south of the Tyne to Saint Cuthbert's Land – County Durham, to use its more (p.122) modern name. The invaders then ravaged the country far and wide, from Cockermouth to Newcastle. The cry ‘The Scots are coming’, taken up from village to village, spread such panic that even in the palatinate men began to flee southwards. Yet Wallace, having no siege engines or experienced troops, had failed to capture any of the castles save Stirling.10 Edinburgh, Roxburgh, Berwick, Alnwick, Newcastle, Durham and Carlisle – all these garrisons defied him successfully. Baffled, and demoralized by snowstorms and frost, the Scots went back to their own country about the end of November. Guisborough's statement that they first handed over to the men of Galloway their share of the plunder is doubly significant.11 It underlines the stubbornly persistent separatism of Galloway, and it at once calls to mind the Scottish incursions into Northumbria under David I, when the Gallovidians were singled out as perpetrators of especially barbarous atrocities. A story which Guisborough tells about Wallace at Hexham also recalls the campaigns of King David, and shows us, in a brief but piercing shaft of light, both the character of the great champion of Scotland and the essential weakness of his position.12 Three of the Austin canons of Hexham Priory had plucked up courage and returned to the church. Some Scots demanded to be shown their treasures, and were told that their compatriots had already carried off everything. Wallace arrived, dismissed the intruders, and asked for mass to be celebrated. After the elevation of the Host, Wallace went out to lay down his arms. As the priest was washing his hands in readiness to take the bread and wine, the marauders returned and stole the chalice, cloths, altar ornaments and even the missal. When Wallace was told by the priest what had happened he gave orders that the thieves should be sought out and hanged, but his men made only a pretence of pursuit. ‘These men are bad characters,’ he said, ‘they cannot be brought to justice and punished.’ At the same time, he gave the priory a general letter of protection. The parallel and the contrast with King David's invasion 150 years earlier are noteworthy. In 1138 King David, in addition to giving Hexham Priory a written protection, stationed five of his officers there to see that the peace of the church was not violated.13 When the Galloway men came in search of plunder, two of them were executed on the spot and the rest fled in terror. Wallace might have defeated the English in pitched (p.123) battle, something the great King David had never achieved, but that did not make him king nor give his commands the stamp of royal authority.

It may nevertheless be a fact that Wallace could count on some aristocratic co-operation for his invasion of Northumberland, just as he certainly enjoyed it in the following year at the time of the battle of Falkirk. The anonymous chronicle composed at the East Anglian abbey of Bury St Edmunds, though written far from Scotland, seems to draw on a source of authentic information for events in the north. The Bury chronicler writes that the Scots invaded Northumberland in 1297 and laid it waste ‘under the leadership of a certain Maleis along with William Wallace’.14 Although Malise was not uncommon as a personal name in thirteenth-century Scotland, the chronicler's ‘Maleis’ seems most probably to refer to Malise III, earl of Strathearn, who had been a leader of the abortive Scottish raid on northern England in 1296. His father, also Earl Malise, had married one of the three coheiresses of Robert de Muschamp, lord of Wooler, so that the family of Strathearn had considerable interests in north Northumberland.15 If the otherwise mysterious ‘Maleis’ was really the earl of Strathearn the notion that Wallace's war was exclusively proletarian, already weakened by a dispassionate review of the evidence, would be fatally undermined. Moreover, it may have been on this occasion – rather than in March 1296, when there would hardly have been time – that Aymer, laird of Hadden, and Mary, widow of William Melville, raided the bishop of Durham's lands in Norhamshire, plundering and burning, ‘at the beginning of the Scottish war’.16

A telling sentence in the English indictment against Wallace charges him with urging the prelates, earls and barons who were on his side to ‘subject themselves to the lordship of the king of France and work with King Philip for the destruction of England’.17 The appointment of a new bishop of St Andrews in place of Fraser was to some extent bound up with the active revival of the Franco-Scottish alliance. The Scottish church (save for the outlying dioceses of Galloway and the Isles) formed a single province subject directly to the papacy. Consequently every new Scottish bishop had to have his election confirmed by the pope, and it was the usual practice in the thirteenth century for Scottish bishops to travel to the papal curia (p.124) for confirmation of their appointment and for their consecration, sometimes at the hands of the pope personally, but more often by one of the cardinal bishops. The new bishop of St Andrews – and for that matter any other new bishop of a Scottish diocese – would have to run the gauntlet of a long North Sea passage to France or the Low Countries, sailing through waters patrolled by English ships on the look-out for enemy craft. Historians have not done justice to the courage of the Scots and foreign seamen and their passengers who during the long war with England undertook these perilous voyages. Sending a bishop-elect to Rome was a risky affair, and the journey was much too valuable to be devoted solely to the formalities of consecration. The new bishop would have to earn his passage by diplomatic activity in every friendly foreign court, especially at the papal curia itself and at Paris.

As soon as the news of Bishop Fraser's death reached Scotland, the leading clergy of the cathedral church of St Andrews entrusted the jurisdiction of the diocese (which during a vacancy belonged to the cathedral chapter) to Master Nicholas Balmyle, whom they appointed as Official.18 Although this man keeps himself in the background of surviving historical record, we should be doing him no more than belated justice if we recognized that in these years he played a critically important part. It was of the utmost concern to the patriots that the majority they already commanded among the bishops at the start of the struggle with Edward I should be maintained and if possible increased. Glasgow and Dunkeld were already in good hands, but owing to the special pre-eminence of St Andrews in the Scottish church it was urgently necessary that Fraser's successor should be a vigorous patriot. The five chief clergy connected with the cathedral were the prior, John of Haddington, an auditor for Balliol in the competition for the throne; the archdeacon of St Andrews, John Fraser, presumably a kinsman of the late bishop; the archdeacon of Lothian, Master William Frere; the Official, Nicholas Balmyle, who, under the name Nicholas ‘of St Andrews’, had also been one of Balliol's auditors; and finally, Master William Comyn, the earl of Buchan's brother.19 He claimed a seat in the St Andrews chapter in virtue of his office as provost of the highly privileged chapel-royal of St Mary, the successor to the ancient community of célidé (‘culdees’) which had been attached to the (p.125) church of St Andrews in Celtic times.20 On 3 November 1297, while Wallace himself was in England but acting on his instructions, the St Andrews chapter elected as their new bishop the chancellor of Glasgow cathedral, Master William Lamberton.21 The English afterwards accused Wallace of forcing the chapter to carry out this election.22 On the contrary, we can be sure that the two archdeacons at least were eager to elect such a staunch upholder of the national cause as Lamberton, and that although he did not actually have a vote in the election Nicholas Balmyle used his doubtless considerable influence on the same side. It may well be true that Master William Comyn also, although he was denied a vote on technical grounds, supported Lamberton's election. Already, probably, his brother, the earl of Buchan, had come out openly on the patriotic side,23 and in the following year King Edward I gave Master William's valuable provostry to one of his own favoured clerks, presumably on the grounds that William was a ‘rebel’.24

At what date and by what means we know not, Lamberton travelled to Rome, where he was consecrated on 1 June 1298.25 He returned to France to join the other Scots magnates staying at the French court, among them the abbot of Melrose, Sir John de Soules and almost certainly Bishop Matthew Crambeth of Dunkeld.26 Within two months of Lamberton's consecration Wallace had been defeated at Falkirk, and before the bishop got back to Scotland in the summer of 1299 the outlook for the patriots seemed gloomy indeed. But Lamberton and his colleagues had scored one small yet important success. As early as June and July 1298 the French king and Pope Boniface VIII both wrote to Edward I urging him to release Balliol and to cease his attacks on Scotland.27 Now, a year later, at the very time that Lamberton and the others were waiting at Damme for a passage to Scotland, John Balliol was sent from Dover to Wissant and handed over by King Edward's officials to the bishop of Vicenza as representative of the pope.28 At the urging of Boniface, King Edward had released Balliol on condition that he was kept in papal custody at a residence belonging to the papacy.

The Scots consistently maintained that Balliol was still their lawful king and that his enforced abdication could not be valid in the law of Scotland. But as long as Balliol was captive in England any scheme for his restoration seemed hopeless. His surrender, (p.126) therefore, was a remarkable concession on Edward's part. But the pope went even further. The formal record of Balliol's transfer (18 July 1299) described him hopefully as ‘called king of Scotland’.29 On 27 and 28 June respectively the pope wrote to King Edward and to Archbishop Winchelsey of Canterbury condemning the English invasions of Scotland in the strongest terms, declaring that Scotland was subject to the papacy, and commanding that the dispute between Edward and the Scots should be laid before the pope for final judgement.30 The French king also was still taking a strongly pro-Scottish line. On 6 April 1299, he wrote from St Germainen-Laye to the patriot leaders in Scotland.31 He told them that he had received their new envoys, the abbot of Jedburgh (John Morel) and Sir John Wishart of the Carse, with warm friendship. He applauded the constancy and perfect loyalty hich they had displayed towards the illustrious king of Scotland (Balliol) and the vigour and courage of which they had given proof in defending their native land against unjust invasion. He commended to them the bishop of St Andrews, who would be able to tell them by word of mouth what plans he had in mind for implementing the Franco-Scottish alliance and the treaty of 1295, which (added the king) he had not forgotten. Apparently King Philip would not accept the proposal which Lamberton is said to have put to him that Charles of Valois should be sent to Scotland with an expeditionary force.32 But so far as diplomacy could achieve anything for their country's cause the bishop and his colleagues had done all they could, and when they ran the English blockade and won home safely in August 1299, they did not come empty-handed.

The Scots had done better at diplomacy than in war. Stirling Bridge had caught King Edward off guard, and with winter coming on not much could be attempted before the summer of 1298. Warenne and Sir Robert Clifford, it is true, began a modest counterattack before Christmas. Clifford raided Annandale, where the local peasantry, after jeering at his cavalry with the usual shouts of ‘Tailed dogs!’, were trapped in a bog and suffered heavy casualties. But after burning ten townships the English withdrew.33 Over in the east Warenne achieved no more than the relief of Roxburgh and Berwick.34 In the middle of February a letter reached him in which Edward I announced that he was returning from Flanders directly (p.127) and telling him not to attempt a major campaign until Edward arrived to take charge personally.35 Most of the Welsh foot were sent home, and the Scots obtained five months' breathing space.

As far as we can tell, Wallace spent this time consolidating his position and training his troops. Our sources show how important the control of Lothian, Tweeddale and Teviotdale seemed to the Scots throughout these years and how, time and again, they placed their forces where they could most easily threaten the English-held castles of Stirling, Edinburgh, Roxburgh and Berwick. Here, the wild country of Selkirk Forest – Ettrick Forest is its rather smaller present-day successor – was enormously useful. Wallace had lurked there in 1297, and a year later the bowmen of the Forest, fine-looking men of great stature, formed a prominent corps in his army, fighting under James Stewart's brother, Sir John Stewart of Jedburgh.36 It is likely that in the spring and early summer of 1298 Wallace kept to the south of Scotland,37 though no doubt he recruited men from all parts of the country to meet the full-scale invasion which he knew could not be long delayed. Before 29 March, one of the foremost earls of Scotland (according to a reliable English contemporary) had bestowed on him the honour of knighthood.38 Militarily speaking he had won this at Stirling Bridge, but the important point was that the formal ceremony put Wallace, the younger son of a cadet branch of a not very prominent family, into the class of nobiles or gentilhommes, words which are scarcely translatable nowadays because in the late thirteenth century there was none of the later distinction between ‘gentlemen’ and ‘noblemen’.

The knighting of Wallace was no doubt connected with his election as Guardian, the date of which is unknown, though like the knighting it must have taken place before the end of March.39 The whole trend of events since 1286 made it virtually certain that the guardianship would be revived. It looked like being revived in 1297, not only by Bishop Wishart and his allies, but also by Murray and Wallace, who actually used a seal of guardianship. The special interest and problem of Wallace's election in 1298 is that he was sole Guardian and that he was obviously chosen because he had proved himself the military champion of his country. Between Murray's death in November and the battle of Falkirk in the following July, Wallace alone was in command. The great feudal magnates, far from (p.128) being, as Trevelyan believed, mainly on Edward I's side, were already mainly behind Wallace, but it is clear that if they joined fully in the common enterprise they had to submit to his commands. Edward I had taken to Flanders many of the distinguished Scots captured at Dunbar.40 There they had served against the French, but while the king was at Aardenburg, on his way home, they reverted to their natural allegiance, gave Edward the slip and, much to his annoyance, joined the French king.41 In effect, this can only mean that they joined Wallace. At home, the earl of Strathearn, Malise III, had been exceptionally busy with military activity during the winter of 1297–8. On 11 February 1298 he promised his vassal, Sir William Murray of Tullibardine, that the succour and aid in men-at-arms, horses and weapons which Sir William had rendered to the earl for the defence of the realm had been offered voluntarily, and was in addition to the ‘Scottish service’ which was all that Sir William strictly owed in respect of the lands he held of the earl.42

There may have been jealousy of Wallace among the nobles, there may have been jealousy between the Comyns on the one hand and the young earl of Carrick on the other. However, the important point is that in this crucial year a large body of Scottish lords, representing both the influential Comyn faction and the friends of Bruce, were committed to the struggle against England. It would be misleading, in other words, to exaggerate the difference between Wallace's war and the war fought by his successors down to 1304. In neither was there any real danger that the idea of the community of the realm would be lost. But, though many nobles were engaged in the struggle before Wallace's defeat, most of the community's natural leaders had for a time failed to give the lead or to inspire the trust which by inheritance it was their responsibility to give and inspire.

King Edward meant business in 1298. He made York the headquarters of government. The exchequer and common law courts were moved there and remained for six years. It was probably at this time that the king issued a proclamation (referred to in an inquest of 1312, but otherwise unrecorded) that all English persons (save, presumably, those on active military service) must leave Scotland.43 The army which Edward led into Scotland was formidable.44 Of (p.129)

Experiments in Guardianship

5. The Falkirk Campaign, 1298.

(p.130) some 2,000 horse, about half were recruited by ‘commissioners of array’ from those who owed knight-service but were fighting for pay. The rest were brought by the great earls, who were more firmly united behind the king in the summer of 1298 than they were to be again for many years. They would bear the cost of their own contingents. There were also about 12,000 foot soldiers, a total more impressive on paper than in fact, for 10,000 were Welsh – 2,000 from Snowdon alone – and their loyalty was uncertain.45 The shock of the Scottish rising had at last penetrated to English minds and had aroused powerful feelings of nationalism. To the king and the nobles in particular, the victory and high position of Wallace must have been especially galling. No words were too strong for vilification. Surviving written records, which are likely to be more restrained than popular speech, call him thief, robber, master of thieves, chief of brigands, man of blood, and so forth. In the English popular imagination, Wallace had become an ogre, a monstrous bogey who would skin an Englishman to make a baldric, force nuns to dance naked in front of him and, with a heartless jest, abandon his comrades like the ignoble coward they felt he ought to be.46 We may suspect that along with all the horror and hatred went a good deal of fascinated curiosity; but there is no hint of admiration, however grudging. We need not doubt that the whole of England prayed fervently for the victory of King Edward as he advanced to crush Wallace and make an end of the Scottish war.

The cavalry was ordered to assemble at Roxburgh on Wednesday, 25 June.47 Deliberately following in the footsteps of King Athelstan, Edward made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint John, patron saint of Beverley,48 and joined his army at the beginning of July. The Welshmen must have arrived at about the same time, coming across country from Carlisle. The whole army then advanced into Scotland by the road through Lauderdale,49 burning and laying waste the countryside but finding not a soul to tell them of the enemy's whereabouts. By 11 July they had reached Braid, two miles south of Edinburgh,50 and a week later they camped in the parish of Liston on a manor belonging to the Knights of the Temple, later called Hallyards.51 The Master of the English Templars, Sir Brian le Jay, had formerly been preceptor of the order in Scotland, and his (p.131) presence with the English host probably accounts for the choice of site. Moreover, adjacent to Temple Liston lay the lands of Kirkliston, belonging to the ‘rebel’ bishop of St Andrews, and a thorough plundering of that estate would neatly kill two birds with one stone. In truth, the army was badly short of food. Wheat transports due at Leith had been held up by contrary winds and when a few ships did arrive they unfortunately carried more wine than corn.52 At Temple Liston the king learned that Dirleton and two other castles of East Lothian were held by the Scots.53 He sent Bishop Bek to capture them. All the castles seemed formidable, and Dirleton was newly built. Bek had no siege engines and his men no food save peas and beans they picked in the fields. He sent Sir John Fitz Marmaduke to the king for fresh instructions. ‘Go back and tell the bishop that as bishop he is a man of Christian piety, but Christian piety has no place in what he is now doing. And as for you,’ the king added, clapping his hand upon Sir John, ‘you are a bloodthirsty man, I have often had to rebuke you for being too cruel. But now be off, use all your cruelty, and instead of rebuking you I shall praise you. Take care you don't see me until all three castles are burned.’ ‘My lord king, how shall I do what seems extremely difficult?’ ‘That you will know when you have done it, and you shall give me a pledge that you will do it.’ Sir John returned to Bishop Bek with this inexorable message, food ships suddenly arrived, and the heartened troops renewed the assault with such vigour that Dirleton surrendered in two days and the other two castles (one of which was probably Tantallon) were abandoned and burnt.54

Meanwhile the main body of the army faced starvation and many Welsh were already dying. Edward ordered wine to be given to them to cheer their spirits, an unwise move. The wretched Welshmen got very drunk and in a serious brawl with the English several priests were slain. At this the English knights charged the Welsh, killing eighty and putting the rest to flight. Next morning the king was told that the Welsh were threatening to go over to the Scots, but he was not impressed. Angry and unappeased, the Welshmen stayed at a distance, declaring that if they saw the Scots gaining the upper hand they would desert to them at once. It looked as though the whole ambitious and hopeful expedition would end in failure, and Edward decided to fall back on Edinburgh.

(p.132) A measure of official English anxiety is seen in the order of 19 July to the sheriffs of Northumberland, Cumberland and Westmorland to spy out the country for Scots raiders and light warning beacons on the hilltops if the enemy were sighted.55 For some weeks it seems that the English had lost all contact with the Scots and actually feared a counter-invasion by the West March. But at this moment Earl Patrick of Dunbar and Gilbert de Umfraville, earl of Angus, two Scottish earls56 who were (as they had always been) on the English side, brought to Edward a scout who gave him the welcome news that the enemy were only thirteen miles away, in the Wood of Callendar beside Falkirk. The news changed everything. Ordering his men to arm themselves, the king mounted and led the host westward along the road to Falkirk. That night they bivouacked just east of Linlithgow, on the Burgh Muir,57 each man with his horse beside him. They passed through the town at dawn. The king was slightly injured during the night when a careless groom let his horse tread on him, but he promptly mounted and quelled rumours that he was badly hurt. Not long after leaving Linlithgow they could see many lances lining the top of a hill. But the spearmen melted away as the English hurried towards them, and it was not till they had pushed further west and tents had been pitched to let the king and the bishop of Durham hear mass that they saw, in the clearer light of morning, the Scottish host making ready for battle. It was the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, Tuesday, 22 July. After a month of searching in an empty land on empty stomachs, the English had at last found the dragon they had come to slay in the lair which he had prepared for the encounter.

More than anything, the Scots feared the disciplined, experienced heavy cavalry of England and Gascony. They feared it with as good reason and in a sense for much the same reason as in 1939 an army of riflemen would have feared an army equipped with tanks. It was because of this fear that the Scots resistance had crumbled at Irvine in July 1297, and that two months later Murray and Wallace had stationed their spearmen on a steep hillside ringed by the Forth. It underlay the request to Philip the Fair to send the veteran Charles of Valois to Scotland with a body of knights.58 It was this same fear which explained Wallace's tactics at Falkirk. And the English were not only immensely superior in weight of cavalry. They had archers (p.133) from Sherwood and Wales and crossbowmen from Ponthieu and Guienne, whose killing power was much greater than that of the Scottish bowmen. Wallace had to convert his army into a human fortress and inspire it with enough steadiness to withstand a siege. In addition, he had taught his men to attack the cavalry at its weakest spot by killing the horses. Only four years earlier, at Maes Moydog, the English had proved that skilful use of cavalry interspersed with accurate crossbowmen could outfight an army of spearmen even though they were dense-packed and strongly placed.59 Wallace, no doubt, knew all about Maes Moydog, but given the necessity of a pitched battle he had no alternative save to do what the Welsh had done on that occasion but try to do it better. He built his fortress of spearmen ‘on hard ground on one side of a hill beside Falkirk’60 facing south-east. Behind him lay Callendar Wood, while in front ran the Westquarter Burn and its tributary coming down from Glen. Near their confluence there was evidently a boggy loch, lying immediately in front of the Scottish battle line. The left flank of Wallace's army, protected to some extent by the valley of the Westquarter Burn deepening away to the north-east, covered the high road to Falkirk and Stirling. His right flank may have been protected by woodland and more broken ground to the west. Why did Wallace not repeat his movements of 1297? His position now was not so strong as it had been on the Abbey Craig, yet it was not badly chosen for the kind of battle he wished to fight. He arranged his spearmen in four great schiltroms, ‘shield-rings’, which Guisborough describes most exactly. Each was a thickly packed circle of spearmen, standing or kneeling with their spears slanting obliquely outwards towards the circumference, a hedgehog, every one of whose spines was a long iron-tipped spear in the grip of a man fighting for the freedom of his country. The number of men in each schiltrom is not known; it may have been as much as one, it can hardly have been more than two, thousand. Round each schiltrom wooden stakes had been driven into the ground and roped together. In the spaces between the schiltroms Wallace placed the archers of the Forest under John Stewart. In the rear was the cavalry, contributed by the Comyns and the other earls who supported Wallace,61 and including no doubt many of the gentry who appear in the next few years fighting against the English. Whether Robert Bruce was with them we do not know. (p.134) It is virtually certain that James Stewart was one of the considerable body of knights present, most of whom fled the field, but a few of whom stayed to organize the infantry.62

Although the account of Falkirk in the Guisborough chronicle is by far the most detailed, we are not wholly dependent on it for knowledge of those who took part on the Scots side. Record preserved at Durham gives the names and property of some 40–60 freeholders of modest fortune in Coldinghamshire, on the coast north of Berwick, who were slain or wounded at the ‘discomfiture’ of Falkirk, or at all events were forfeited for taking part.63 On 25 September 1298 Edward I forfeited Robert de Ros of Wark, Alexander laird of Folkerton in Lanarkshire, Sir Geoffrey Moubray, John Stirling, Andrew Charteris of Amisfield, Sir William Hay of Lochwarret (now Borthwick), Andrew Murray and Sir William Ramsay of Dalhousie.64 In some cases the forfeiture was explicitly said to take effect on 22 July, the date of Falkirk, clearly implying participation in the battle by those forfeited.

King Edward, who could show humanity and common sense, proposed that the army should halt until men and horses had eaten, for neither had had a meal since nine o'clock the previous morning.65 But his commanders would have none of it. A halt was dangerous, for it seemed that only a small burn separated the armies. Roger Bigod, earl of Norfolk, Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford (the king's two adversaries of the year before), together with Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln, pressed forward with the vanguard not knowing of the loch which lay between them and the enemy. The obstacle forced them to swing westward and delayed their contact with the Scottish right. On the English right wing Bishop Bek had under him thirty-six ‘bannerets’ – senior commanders of cavalry – to lead the second brigade or ‘battle’. They of course turned east to skirt the loch. The bishop had difficulty in restraining his knights, who were eager to be the first to reach the enemy. Ralph Bassett, lord of Drayton, told him roundly, ‘It's not for you, bishop, to teach us knights how to fight when you ought to be busy saying mass. Go back and celebrate mass; we shall do all that needs to be done in the way of fighting.’ The two wings then made contact with the outer schiltroms. The Scottish horse, disgracefully, fled the field without striking a blow, but there is no need to put this down to treachery. (p.135) The fourteenth-century historian John Fordun felt obliged to do so because, in common with all Scots of his day, he had to show the Comyns in as black a light as possible.66 It is more likely that simple panic seized them, as at Dunbar and Irvine. Guisborough says explicitly that a few Scottish knights remained to command the schiltroms, and there is no need to doubt Fordun's statement that Macduff of Fife, indisputably a nobleman, was killed at Falkirk fighting at the head of the men of that earldom.67

All now turned on the steadiness of the Scots peasantry and their capacity for exhausting the repeated cavalry rushes. It must have seemed now or never, and before the battle Wallace, addressing the schiltroms, had summed up the desperateness of the hour in a homely quip, half serious and wholly memorable: ‘I have brought you into the ring: now see if you can dance.68 They did their best. We have a list of 110 English horses killed at Falkirk and that can hardly be the full reckoning.69 But the English knights rode first at the bowmen, and from their leader Sir John Stewart downwards they were killed almost to a man. After this the schiltroms, though still unbroken, were isolated. The Welsh archers and foreign crossbowmen got to work, pouring in a deadly rain of arrows and bolts, and heavy casualties were inflicted by lobbing stones from slings. Gradually the gaps in the dense outer circles of spearmen grew too wide to be filled by their comrades in the centre. In each schiltrom the outer ranks fell back on the men behind. Choosing their moment, the troops of mail-clad knights charged in an irresistible mass, overwhelming the Scots by the sheer weight of their impetus. The battle, hard fought, long-drawn out, became a slaughter, many hundreds, perhaps thousands of Scots being killed and an unknown number drowned, presumably in the loch below the battlefield. King Edward's army lost only two men of high rank: Brother Brian le Jay, the Master of the English Templars, who chased some Scots into a bog and was surrounded, and Brother John of Sawtry, the Huntingdonshire knight who had succeeded Jay as Master of the Scottish Templars.70

William Wallace and the other Scots magnates escaped to ‘castles and woods’ – no doubt at first into the great Wood of Tor, which stretched between Falkirk and Stirling.71 If Robert Bruce was on the field he must have ridden straight to Carrick, for by the end of (p.136) August when Edward I reached Ayr he found the town evacuated and the castle burned down on Bruce's orders, so that they would be of no use to the English.72 Bruce himself may have hidden in the Carrick hills or gone north, for despite the outcome of the battle the Scots remained in control of the country beyond the Tay and even between Tay and Forth the English had achieved nothing more than burning the towns of St Andrews and Perth.73 In the extreme south, most remarkably, Jedburgh Castle was held against Edward till October, and the English king was forced to turn aside from his southward journey to supervise the siege.74

Like Stirling Bridge, Falkirk was not a decisive battle. But in several ways it marked a turning point in the Anglo-Scottish war. Not for another sixteen years did the Scots attempt a full-scale pitched battle against the English. Furthermore, Falkirk meant the end of one experiment in guardianship and the start of another. However unfair it might be to judge a general by one defeat, Wallace could not expect to be given a second chance. He had no hereditary position as one of the natural leaders of the community, and must stand or fall on his military reputation. It seems to have been his own conservatism which led him to offer battle at all, instead of scorching the country and harassing the invaders. He gave up the guardianship, whether voluntarily or under compulsion is immaterial. Finally, though this is not a conclusion that can be proved by documentary evidence, there is little doubt that the psychological effect of Falkirk was tremendous. Just as Stirling Bridge had been a different kind of war from Dunbar, so at Falkirk the war entered yet again into a fresh phase, much grimmer than before, in which the Scots had their backs to the wall and knew it. There can hardly have been many parts of the country where there were not families who mourned a father, son or husband slain in that battle. The bloody slaughter of Falkirk must have made an indelible impression on the Scottish mind and, far from discouraging the Scots, done more to stiffen the will to resist than any amount of appeals to old history, encouragement from popes and kings of France, or efforts to restore Toom Tabard to the throne of Scotland. And the nobles, the feudal magnates who are supposed not have to been true to Scotland and to have been mainly on the side of Edward I, at once put themselves at the head of a five-year struggle to frustrate his (p.137) ambitions. In this they were at first remarkably successful, and in any case, whether in success or in failure, they were certainly not half-hearted. There is, moreover, good evidence that King Edward, lacking the hindsight of modern historians, failed to realize that the Scots landowning class was on his side. In September 1298, after he had reached Carlisle, the king made grants of estates ‘forfeited’ by an appreciable number of Scottish lairds. The earl of Warwick, Guy de Beauchamp and Robert de Touny were among the magnates who benefited.75 A St Albans writer says that the king proposed to distribute Scotland among his followers who, if single, were to marry only English women.76

The disaster of Falkirk forced the community of the realm to fall back once more on collective leadership. At some date between July and December 1298, Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick, and John Comyn, the younger of Badenoch, were elected joint Guardians, an uneasy marriage perhaps, yet proof of the Scots determination that the guardianship should survive.77 Militarily the situation was grim but not hopeless. Famine and the restlessness of the English magnates compelled Edward I to leave Scotland in October, having taken the elder Bruce's castle of Lochmaben, hitherto held by the Scots.78 He issued a summons to the host to reassemble on 6 June 1299, but for various reasons no campaign was possible that summer, and the king was not in Scotland again till July 1300. From 1298 to 1303 Scotland can scarcely be said to have been under English occupation save in the south-east, where the English-held castles were much thicker on the ground than elsewhere and the country in between much easier to overawe. The Scots more than held their own in these years, yet it was to become increasingly clear that the old practice of joint or multiple guardianship would prove a failure. Apart from the transfer of Balliol to papal custody in 1299, the most hopeful features of the period were the effort, largely successful it seems, to get the normal machinery of government going again, and the ability of the patriots to keep and even extend their control over the leadership of the Scottish church.

As far as central government was concerned, there was no break of any consequence in the guardianship between Wallace's election and the surrender of John Comyn in 1304. The Guardians recognised the legal validity of acts done by their predecessors. Bruce, (p.138) for example, confirmed to Alexander Scrymgeour the constableship of Dundee ‘as he held it by the grant of Sir William Wallace before I received the guardianship’.79 All the Guardians ruled in the name of King John and associated with their rule the authority of the community. With William Wallace's style as commander and Guardian we may compare the style used by Bruce and Comyn, which we can reconstruct from the address of Philip IV's letter of 6 April 1299: ‘Robert Bruce, earl of Carrick, and John Comyn the son, Guardians of the kingdom of Scotland in the name of the famous prince, the illustrious King John, together with the bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons and other magnates and the whole community of the realm.’80 We know a few of the places where government documents were issued. Govan, Torwood and Inchaffray81 may have a rustic look compared with the famous burghs and castles frequented by Alexander III, but there are also acts issued from Rutherglen, Stirling, Scone and St Andrews.82 The justiciar of Scotland north of Forth (John Comyn, earl of Buchan) could still hold his court at Aberdeen in February 1300,83 and in that year also we hear of two parliaments, called at properly appointed terms.84 As for local government, the scanty surviving record gives us casual glimpses of sheriffs of Aberdeen, Forfar, Stirling, Lanark and even Roxburgh.85 No doubt wherever the Scots had control of a sheriffdom, and sometimes where they had not, they would appoint a sheriff. There must also have been a more or less regular collection of revenues, however much depleted. Whenever the English won any Scottish territory they were able to use an established revenuecollecting and accounting system, and it would follow that the Scots likewise must have been able to keep this system in operation.86

Local government and military needs must often have gone hand in hand. The Guardians made use of, or were forced to pay attention to, local influence and local interests. We can see a clear illustration of this in the siege of Stirling, the biggest task undertaken by the Scots after they recovered from the Falkirk débaclâ. Among the prominent landowning families of Stirlingshire were the Malherbes. One branch of this family was more commonly called Morham, from the East Lothian village which they also owned.87 The Malherbe-Morhams held lands in the Carron valley, from Stenhouse up to Dunipace, Garth and Castlerankine88 In this period there were two (p.139) prominent Morhams, a father, Thomas, and a son, Herbert. The elder was with Edward at Falkirk, his son on the Scottish side. Young Herbert Morham commanded the force besieging Stirling Castle in 1299,89 a task which did not prevent him from ambushing King Edward's relative, Joan de Clare, dowager countess of Fife, as she was travelling from Stirling to Edinburgh with no better protection than an English safe-conduct.90 Morham carried her off to his brother Thomas's house at Castlerankine and tried, without success, to force her to marry him.91 In a document of this period Herbert Morham's kinsman Gilbert Malherbe, lord of Slamannan and Livilands, appears as sheriff of Stirling.92 We can be fairly certain that he already held the office in 1299, for when towards the close of the year the English garrison of Stirling was at last starved into submission it was to Gilbert Malherbe, ‘Scotsman’, that the English constable, John Sampson, handed over the castle.93 But if it was convenient to employ local potentates it was also true that such men might rate their local interests higher than the common enterprise. The Scots leaders committed Stirling Castle to the Perthshire knight Sir William Oliphant (Olifard), thereby provoking resentment among the Malherbes.94 At all events, after the Scots generally had made peace with Edward I in 1304 it was to Gilbert Malherbe that the goods and chattels of Sir William Oliphant, who still held out, were assigned.95 Afterwards Malherbe seems to have recovered the sheriffdom of Stirling from Edward II, but later still he was reconciled with Bruce, only to be forfeited and executed for his part in the Soules treason-plot of 1320.96 Trying to keep pace with every shift of power could be a perilous occupation.

Co-operation between Bruce and Comyn had begun to break down by August 1299, soon after William Lamberton's return from France. The bishop arrived just in time to join the Scots leaders in a full-scale raid south of the Forth.97 They went first to Glasgow and from there up into the Forest,98 at whose north-western corner they would find a good base in the bishop of Glasgow's large manor of Stobo. Many of the greatest magnates joined in the raid. Besides Lamberton and the two Guardians there were the earls of Buchan and Menteith, probably the earl of Atholl also,99 James the Stewart, Sir Ingram de Umfraville, Sir William Balliol, Sir David Graham (Sir Patrick's son), Sir David of Brechin and Sir Robert Keith, (p.140) the Marischal. William Wallace was conspicuously absent, but his brother Sir Malcolm Wallace was there in Bruce's following.100 They first planned to attack Roxburgh, but changed their minds when they learned how strongly the town was defended and how an attack would involve them in very heavy casualties – a striking illustration of the effect Falkirk had had upon Scottish strategy. Instead, Umfraville and Keith were ordered to stay in the Forest with a hundred barded horse and 1,500 foot, not counting the men of the Forest. There was a justifiable hope of winning over the most influential of the local lords, Simon Fraser of Oliver Castle, whose forebears had been sheriffs of Tweeddale, on and off, since the twelfth century. Fraser had been with the English since 1296. For a long time he dissembled his intentions, but it is virtually certain that the Scottish incursion into the Forest was made easier by the fact that Fraser was already inclined to come over to the patriotic side. The English constable of Edinburgh advised King Edward to beware of Fraser, who, so he had heard, in a parley with the Scots leaders, had eaten and drunk with them so that they had all been friends together.101

The Scots were powerful enough at this time to bring about an exchange of prisoners, and, with the help of Margaret, lady of Penicuik, and her son Hugh, to raid as far as the outskirts of Edinburgh.102 Nevertheless, cracks had begun to show openly in the leaders' unity. Most of our knowledge of the raid into the Forest comes from a report sent to Edward on 20 August by the English constable of Roxburgh, Robert Hastang. Hastang had a spy – one of the lesser folk – among the Scots army, and in addition to his useful military information, he had some startling news to tell of a council which the Scots magnates held at Peebles on 19 August.103

At the council Sir David Graham demanded the lands and goods of Sir William Wallace because he was leaving the kingdom without the leave or approval of the Guardians. And Sir Malcolm, Sir William's brother, answered that neither his lands nor his goods should be given away, for they were protected by the peace in which Wallace had left the kingdom, since he was leaving to work for the good of the kingdom. At this, the two knights gave the lie to each other and drew their daggers. And since Sir David Graham was of Sir John (p.141) Comyn's following and Sir Malcolm Wallace of the earl of Carrick's following, it was reported to the earl of Buchan and John Comyn that a fight had broken out without their knowing it; and John Comyn leaped at the earl of Carrick and seized him by the throat, and the earl of Buchan turned on the bishop of St Andrews, declaring that treason and lesemajestie were being plotted. Eventually the Stewart and others came between them and quietened them. At that moment a letter was brought from beyond the Firth of Forth, telling how Sir Alexander Comyn and Lachlan were burning and devastating the district they were in, attacking the people of Scotland [la nacion Descoce]. So it was ordained then that the bishop of St Andrews should have all the castles in his hands as principal captain, and the earl of Carrick and John Comyn be with him as joint-guardians of the kingdom. And that same Wednesday, after the letter had been read, they all left Peebles.

The report shows us only one small eruption of rivalries which smouldered deep down below the surface. It would be hard to drive the northerners, the Balliol men par excellence, in the same harness as the south-westerners, Bruce and the Stewart among them, the group to which the Wallaces naturally belonged. The sinister report from the north concerned men of the Comyn faction. Alexander Comyn was the earl of Buchan's brother. Lachlan was Lachlan Macruarie, the west highland captain of galloglasses, who in 1297, in alliance with Alexander Macdougall, his son Duncan and Comyn of Badenoch, had been burning and devastating the lands and men of Edward I's friend Alexander Macdonald of Islay.104 As yet, Lamberton was a neutral, moderating figure, supporting no faction but fighting only for the community of the realm and for the liberty of ‘la nacion Descoce’, to use the phrase of Hastang's spy. The bishop's career had linked him to Wishart, Glasgow, the south-west; but by family origins and now through his great bishopric, he belonged to the old Scotia north of Forth and Tay. As a result of the quarrel at Peebles and the bad news from the north, the ranks had been closed. For a little longer Bruce and Comyn would work together. Once again, the community had one bishop, one earl and one baron to rule them on behalf of their absent king. But surely there was something prophetic in the manner in which (p.142) the Forest gathering broke up? While Bishop Lamberton remained at Stobo, the other great lords rode off towards their own homes. The two Comyns returned to the country beyond the Forth, Bruce and the Gallovidians headed for Annandale and Galloway – partly in order to attack the English-held castle of Lochmaben – while James Stewart and the earl of Menteith went back to Clydesdale.


(1.) As shown by letters issued on 7 November, Chron. Guisb., 306, although Murray might by then have been dead without Wallace's knowledge. An inquest of 1300 (Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1178) says that Andrew Murray was killed at Stirling against the king (of England), but probably he was mortally wounded in the battle and died some two months later. His posthumous son, the future Guardian, was not born till Whitsun, 1298.

(2.) Stevenson, Wallace Docs., 159 (with facsimile as frontispiece); also in K. HÖhlbaum, Hansisches Urkundenbuch, Bd. i (Halle, 1876), no. 1251 (422). This letter survived the Second World War and is preserved in the archives of Lübeck.

(3.) Stevenson, Wallace Docs., 191–2.

(4.) This is shown by the uniformity of the style used, by the traditional address of the only surviving charter, omnibus probis hominibus, and by the formulae and phraseology of the documents, which conform closely (making allowance for the unprecedented situation) with productions of the chapel during the later thirteenth century.

(5.) Chron. Guisb., 306.

(p.446) (6.) Anderson, Diplomata, Pl. XLIII. This original is also lost, so that we now possess no original document issued by Wallace save the Lübeck letter.

(7.) Stevenson, Wallace Docs., 191. The Lübeck letter from Murray and Wallace was exhibited at the Glasgow Exhibition of 1911. It bore two seals, presumably of Murray and Wallace in their official capacity. Only the upper seal (Wallace's?) has survived, with the royal arms of Scotland on the obverse, and on the reverse a personal device, evidently a bow and arrow; compare de Soules's seal of guardianship (Stevenson and Wood, Seals, 25 and no. 22).

(8.) History of England (3rd edn, London, 1945), 218.

(9.) Chron. Guisb., 303–7; Chron. Lanercost, 190–1; and see p. 93below. For the raid on England, see C. J. McNamee, ‘William Wallace's invasion of northern England in 1297’, Northern History, xxvi (1990), 40–58.

(10.) Cal. Docs. Scot., iv, no. 1835. Sir Richard Waldegrave, constable of Stirling in 1297, together with most of the garrison, was slain at Stirling Bridge. The castle was entrusted by Warenne to William Fitz Warin and Marmaduke Tweng, who were joined by William de Ros, brother of Robert de Ros of Wark, who had joined the Scots. They were soon forced to surrender from want of provisions. Wallace spared Ros's life because of his brother, but imprisoned him in irons in Dumbarton Castle; Wallace also spared the lives of Tweng and Fitz Warin.

(11.) Chron. Guisb., 307.

(12.) Ibid., 305–6.

(13.) John of Hexham, in Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia (ed. Arnold, Rolls Series), ii, 290; and cf. Chron. Stephen etc., ii, 153.

(14.) V. H. Galbraith, in EHR, lviii, 67 and n. 7, 68; and The Chronicle of Bury St Edmunds, 1212–1301, ed. Antonia Gransden (Oxford, 1964), 142.

(15.) Chron. Guisb., 273; W. P. Hedley, Northumberland Families, i (1968), 38–9; Scots Peerage, viii, 246–7.

(16.) Ancient Petitions relating to Northumberland, ed. C. M. Fraser (Surtees Soc., 1966), 22.

(17.) Stevenson, Wallace Docs., 191.

(18.) Chron. Bower, i, 362.

(19.) For him, see Stevenson, Documents, no. 512; Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, nos. 778, 1017, 1574, 1822.

(20.) Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae medii aevi, ed. D. E. R. Watt and A. L. Murray (Edinburgh, 2003), 484.

(21.) Dowden, Bishops, 21.

(22.) Palgrave, Docs. Hist. Scot., 332, 339.

(23.) Chron. Guisb., 297, says that when the earl was sent to pacify the north (July 1297) ‘at first he pretended to repress rebellion, but in the end changed sides and became a thorn in our flesh’. Rotuli Scotiae, i, 50b, shows that on 26 September 1297, the regency in London still believed that the earl was loyal, but as they held the same belief with regard to the Stewart and the earl of Lennox, who joined Wallace openly on 11 September, this is no evidence that Buchan was on the English side as late as this date. Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 963, orders the king's bailiff of Tynedale to resume into his own hands the lands of John Comyn (the elder) of Badenoch, November-December 1297.

(24.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1017. Stevenson, Documents, no. 512, suggests that, in May 1298, William Comyn was not opposed to the election of Lamberton as such, but only to his own exclusion from participation in the election.

(25.) Theiner, Monumenta, no. 362; Dowden, Bishops, 21–2.

(26.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1071, shows that it was reported in England in July 1299 that the bishop of St Andrews, the abbots of Jedburgh and Melrose, and Sir John de Soules were waiting for a passage to Scotland at Damme, by Bruges. Soules was in France in ‘February 1298’, possibly meaning 1299, SHR, xxvii, 139. In April 1299 King Philip had received as envoys from the Guardians in Scotland the abbot of Jedburgh and Sir John Wishart, Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, 535 (for the correct dating, see Barron, Scottish War of Independence, 132).

(27.) Chron. Rishanger, 185; Foedera, i, 897.

(28.) Stevenson, Documents, ii, no. 574; Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, nos. 1079, 1080.

(29.) Stevenson, Documents, ii, 382–3.

(30.) Chron. Picts-Scots, 126; Stones, Relations, no. 28; Stevenson, Documents, ii, no. 569.

(31.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, 535 (see above, n. 26).

(32.) Stevenson, Wallace Docs., 145.

(33.) Chron. Guisb., 307–8.

(34.) Ibid., 314.

(35.) Ibid., 315.

(36.) Ibid., 328.

(37.) Wallace spent some time early in 1298 besieging Roxburgh, Chron. Rishanger, 184; his charter to Alexander Scrimgeour, 29 March 1298, was issued at Torphichen.

(38.) Ibid., 384; the earl is not named, but his description as de illa natione praecipuus suggests a prominent earl such as Strathearn, Carrick or Lennox. For reasons given below, n. 41, it could hardly have been Atholl or Menteith.

(39.) Anderson, Diplomata, Pl. XLIII.

(40.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, nos. 937, 939, 940, 942, 944, 948, 950, 952, 953.

(41.) N. Trivet, Annales (ed. T. Hog), 371; Chron. Rishanger, 185. Edward I was still at Ghent on 25 February, and at Sluys, on the point of embarking for England, on 12 March, Cal. Chancery Warrants, i, 90–1. Aardenburg, between Ghent and Sluys, was then a town of some importance (Annales Gandenses, ed. H. Johnstone, passim). We may put the date of the Scottish ‘defection’ about 9 March (Gascon Calendar of 1322, p.39). Langtoft names the leaders of the party, who he says went to Paris to plead for King Philip's aid against the English, as the earls of Atholl and Menteith, and John Comyn the younger of Badenoch, the future Guardian, Stevenson, Wallace Docs., 72–3. Most of the Scots in Flanders were in the ‘meinie’ or following of one or other of these great men. Langtoft says that they were rebuffed by Philip IV, quickly took ship for Scotland, and reached home without being intercepted. In Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, 253, Edward I refers in a letter to Philip IV to the Scots who were in his service (in Flanders) and who had deserted him.

(42.) Moray Registrum, 470. The earl's wartime activity began with the raid on northern Cumberland in March 1296 and, as we have seen (above, p. 000), may have involved participation with Wallace in the raid of September-November 1297.

(43.) Yorkshire Inquisitions, ii, ed. W. Brown (1898), 1–2; Cal. Inquis. Misc., i, no. 1090. This inquisition has been wrongly filed under 5 Edward I instead of 5 Edward II (i.e. 29 March 1312).

(44.) J. E. Morris, The Welsh Wars of Edward I (Oxford, 1901), 286–92, 313–14, gives details of the Falkirk army. Apropos his statement, ibid., 314, that new evidence divides the cavalry into four brigades, it may be noted that Bartholomew Cotton, Historia Anglicana (ed. Luard, Rolls Series), 343–4, also gives four brigades.

(45.) For the Irish contingent, insignificant despite Chron. Guisb., 324, see J. J. Lydon, ‘Irish levies in the Scottish Wars, 1296–1302’, The Irish Sword, v, 207–8.

(46.) Chron. Lanercost, 190; Flores Historiarum (Rolls Series), iii, 123, 321; Chron. Rishanger,185–6.

(47.) Ibid., 186; Parl. Writs, i, 314b-15b, writs of summons for Welsh foot to reach Carlisle, and for English foot to reach Roxburgh, on Wednesday, 25 June. Parl. Writs, 316, alters summons for cavalry to gather on 23 June; and there is also a summons for cavalry on 25 June.

(48.) Chron. Guisb., 324. King Edward took the banner of St John of Beverley with him on the campaign, Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1177.

(49.) Cal. Chancery Warrants, i, 94–5, shows the king at Lauder, 9 July, Fala and Dalhousie, 10 July. This route became by far the commonest to be used by large forces invading Scotland from the south.

(50.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 908.

(51.) Chron. Guisb., 324; Chron. Rishanger, 186; A. Macdonald, Place-Names of West Lothian, 39. Edward I's nephew, Thomas earl of Lancaster, dated a letter of safeconduct at Temple Liston on 16 July: Univ. of London Library, MS Fuller 35/2.

(52.) Chron. Guisb., 325.

(53.) Ibid., 324.

(54.) Ibid., 324–5. There seems to be no record of Tantallon before the fourteenth century, though the name is ancient.

(55.) PRO, E.159/71, rot. 118V.

(56.) Chron. Guisb., 326. Umfraville was of course an Englishman, lord of Prudhoe, Redesdale and Coquetdale.

(57.) Ibid., 326; in mora citra Linlyscoch.

(58.) Stevenson, Wallace Docs., 145.

(59.) Morris, Welsh Wars, 256–8; J. G. Edwards, EHR, xxxix, 1–12; ibid., xlvi, 262–5.

(60.) Chron. Guisb., 327. The foresta de Selkyrke, ibid., 326, is either a slip for foresta de Falkirk, i.e., Callendar Wood, or simply a mistake. There is remarkably complete agreement among contemporary or nearly contemporary record and chronicle sources that the battle of Falkirk was in fact fought at or beside Falkirk (‘this side of Falkirk’, i.e., east, Scalacronica, 125). One of the earliest references to the battle by name calls it bellum varie capelle, i.e. the battle of Falkirk (SHR, v, 24, a record of 1354 supplied with misleading commentary by John Edwards). Cf. also Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, nos.1007,1011.

(61.) No doubt the earls of Atholl and Menteith, who had come home from Flanders earlier in the year, together with the Stewart, the earls of Buchan, Strathearn, Lennox and Carrick and Comyn the younger of Badenoch, were the principal nobles contributing to the Scottish army (cf. Chron. Rishanger, 414).

(62.) Chron. Guisb., 328. Stevenson, Documents, ii, no. 529, shows Edward I granting away property forfeited by James ‘late’ Stewart of Scotland, on 31 August 1298.

(63.) G. W. S. Barrow, ‘Lothian in the first War of Independence’, SHR, lv (1976), 155–7.

(64.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1009; BL, MS Add.28024, fo.180; Register and Records of Holm Cultram, ed. F. Grainger and W. G. Collingwood (Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Soc., Record Series, 7, 1929), 60 (misdated 1292). Megget was among Hay's forfeited lands; for the Hays at Megget cf. Origines Parochiales, i,223; Melrose Liber, no.264. Others known to have been forfeited at this time include Nicholas de Soules, David of Brechin, Neil Cockburn, John Marischal, John of St Michael, Roger of Ale Moor, Alexander Lindsay, Agnes de Vescy, Thomas Randolph, Herbert Maxwell, Richard of Glen, Patrick the Archer, Gilbert Macculloch(?), Robert of Moffat, Gilbert ‘Mackinoluagh’, Cuthbert MacGilwini and his son, Alexander Fraser and John of Luss. Cf. G. W. S. Barrow, ‘The aftermath of war: Scotland and England in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries’, Trans. Roy. Hist. Soc.,5th ser., xxviii (1978),116–19.

(p.449) (65.) Chron. Guisb., 327. The account in the text is chiefly based on this source, which gives much the fullest account evidently composed by an eyewitness or from information supplied by one.

(66.) Chron. Fordun, i, 330.

(67.) Ibid., i, 330.

(68.) Chron. Rishanger, 187, gives what is probably one of the earliest and most authentic reports of this remark: ‘I have browghte zowe to the ryng, hoppe zef ze kunne’. There seems no reason to doubt either that Wallace spoke, or that the greater part of his force at Falkirk would understand, the Middle English speech which developed into Scots.

(69.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, nos. 1007, 1011.

(70.) Chron. Rishanger, 188; Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, 147, 202; for Jay see SHR, v, 23–4.

(71.) Chron. Rishanger, 387; cf. Bartholomew Cotton, Historia Anglicana, 344.

(72.) Chron. Guisb., 328.

(73.) Ibid., 328 (severely damaging Scone Abbey, Scone Liber, no. 124). Chron. Guisb. shows that Edward wished to proceed to Galloway but was deterred by shortage of food; Cotton, Historia Anglicana, says that many Scots with their forces gathered in Galloway; Bruce was well placed to lead this rallying of forces, which, presumably, had had no hand in the battle of Falkirk.

(74.) Stevenson, Documents, ii, 413–14.

(75.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1009; BL, MS Add.28024, fo.180.

(76.) Chron. Rishanger, 388.

(77.) NAS, Dudhope Muniments, Box 40, bdle I, no. 311.

(78.) Chron. Rishanger, 188. Cal. Docs. Scot., iv, Appendix 1, no. 7, suggests strongly that Lochmaben Castle was in the younger Bruce's hands in May 1298.

(79.) NAS, Dudhope Muniments, Box 40, bdle I, no. 311.

(80.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, 535.

(81.) NAS, Dudhope Muniments, Box, 40, bdle I, no. 311; APS, i, 454; Hist. MSS. Comm., 5th Report Appendix 612.

(82.) Sir Walter Scott, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (ed. T. Henderson, Edinburgh, 1931), 616; Hist. MSS. Comm., 5th Rep., App. 612; Kelso Liber, no. 397.

(83.) Arbroath Liber, i, no. 231.

(84.) SHR, xxiv, 325.

(85.) Arbroath Liber, i, no. 231; Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, 439; Laing Chrs., no. 18; Kelso Liber, no. 193; Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1978. It is noteworthy that the sheriff of Lanark in 1301, Walter Logan, was out with Bruce in 1306. Apparently Logan was a tenant and vassal of Bruce, Cal. Docs. Scot., iv, 387–8.

(86.) See, e.g., the reasonably orderly accounts rendered for the years 1302–4, Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no.1608, implying the existence of an established revenuesystem.

(87.) Newbattle Registrum, passim, contains several documents from which the descent of the Malherbe-Morham family may be traced, and refers to the property in the Carron valley which they inherited from the Colvilles.

(88.) Ibid., nos. 216–19; Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1066.

(89.) Ibid., no. 1949 (p. 519).

(90.) Ibid., no. 1066.

(91.) Ibid., nos. 1066 and 1108.

(92.) Laing Chrs., no. 18.

(93.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1949.

(94.) Flores Historiarum, iii, 113. It is not certain that Olifard was the first commander appointed by the Scots after they recaptured Stirling.

(95.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1517.

(96.) Ibid., iii, 433, seems to show that in 1311–12 Gilbert Malherbe, though not then sheriff of Stirling, had held the office recently. For his subsequent career, cf. Reg. Mag. Sig, i, Appendix 2, no.516; Chron. Fordun, i,348; Barbour, Bruce, 338.

(97.) Stevenson, Documents, ii, no. 527, a letter written by Sir John Kingston, commander of Edinburgh Castle, dated 9 August. The year must be 1299, as noted by F. M. Powicke, The Thirteenth Century, 696, n.1. Kingston's news was that the earl of Buchan, the bishop of St Andrews and the earls and magnates of Scotland were taking part personally in the raid.

(98.) Stevenson, Documents, ii, no. 527.

(99.) PRO, c.47/22/8 (calendared somewhat misleadingly by Bain, Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1978; there is a facsimile in Nat. MSS. Scot., Pt. II, no. 8). In this document, partly illegible, the list of earls runs ‘le counte de Carrik’ le counte de Boghan le counte [ ]le le counte de Menethet Atholl was the only earldom for which the thirteenth-century form might end in the letters ‘le’.

(100.) PRO, C.47/22/8. Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1978, omits this significant fact.

(101.) Stevenson, Documents, ii, no. 527.

(102.) Cal. Docs. Scot., ii, no. 1978; Stevenson, Documents, ii, no. 527.

(103.) See above, n. 99. For Wallace's visit to France, see below, pp. 144–5.

(104.) Stevenson, Documents, ii, no. 445. The ‘Laclan’ or ‘Lohlan’ ‘Macrogri’ of this memorandum, and his brother Roderick, are the Rolandus filius Alani and his brother Roderick of the preceding document, ibid., no. 444, and also the ‘sons of Roderick’ of ibid., no. 615. Lachlan and Roderick were sons of Alan, son of Roderick (son of Reginald son of Somerled); hence they were ‘Macalans’, but also, by line, ‘Macruar-ies’. The name Macruarie has usually been given to the family here. For Lachlan's career, see Barrow, Kingdom, 381–2, and Memoranda de Parliamento, 191.