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Sir William Wallace
Chapter VII The Leadership of the Barons


THE victor of Falkirk was received in London with extravagant demonstrations of rejoicing. Little did the Fishmongers of the city, who were foremost in ostentation, know that Falkirk was a lucky accident, that the King and all his host had just previously been on the point of retirement, and that after the battle they had had to beat a decently expeditious retreat before the terrors of starvation. The north was solidly in the hands of the Scots. The south, apart from strongholds, was but nominally under the control of the English. The English, in fact, did little more than hold the mere ground they stood on. Nor was the spirit of the Scots broken.

On the contrary, Edward no sooner commenced to retire than the Scots swarmed after him over the Forth line. Within a fortnight of Falkirk, and only three days after Edward had received homages in Newcastle-under-Ayr, they were in Glasgow, before Edinburgh, and in Selkirk Forest. On August 9, Sir John de Kingston, the Constable of Edinburgh Castle, wrote a most suggestive despatch to the Lord Treasurer. 'The Earl of Buchan, the Bishop of St. Andrews, and other great earls and lords, who were on the other side of the Scots water, have come,' he says, 'to this side. To-day they are in Glasgow. They intend to go towards the borders, as is reported among them and their people who are in the Forest. They of the Forest,' adds Sir John, 'have surrendered themselves to the Scots.' Besides, another party had 'suddenly come before our Castle' of Edinburgh, and apparently had done some execution, for 'Sir Thomas d'Arderne was taken.' Edward's mighty expedition had, in fact, been no more than a huge foray.

This despatch of Kingston's is interesting also as casting strong suspicion on a famous soldier of those times, Sir Simon Fraser, whose loyalty to Edward since May 1297 had been conspicuous and valuable. Fraser had accompanied Edward to Flanders, and won golden opinions of the King, who had restored his lands in both countries and otherwise made much of him. At this time he was Warden of Selkirk Forest. He had written to Kingston to come to him 'on the day on which our enemies suddenly came before our Castle, and on which Sir Thomas d'Arderne was taken; wherefore,' Kingston warns the Lord Treasurer, 'I fear that he is not of such good faith as he ought to be,' and 'I beg of you and the rest of the King's Council to beware.' More than that:

'Whereas Sir Simon Fraser comes to you in such haste, let me inform you, Sire, that he has no need to be in such a great hurry, for there was not by any means such a great power of people who came into his jurisdiction but that they might have been stopped by the garrisons if Sir Simon had given them warning. And of this I warned him eight days before they came; and before they entered into the Forest, it was reported that there was a treaty between them and Sir Simon, and that they had a conference together, and ate and drank, and were on the best of terms. Wherefore, Sire, it were well that you should be very cautious as to the advice which he should give you.'

Fraser's view of the signs of the times, if not mistakenly represented by Kingston, would further show how slight was the English hold on Scotland.

During the remainder of the year, large quantities of provisions and war material were pressed forward to the castles south of Forth; each castle made a foray as it found opportunity; and occasionally combined forays were made, with special precautions, particularly into Selkirk Forest. One of the most important of these combined expeditions, devised at Berwick on December r, was to start about the middle of the month for Stirling, which was in want of supplies. Sir John de Kingston was head organiser, and horses were requisitioned as far south as Norham. In these arrangements, full confidence appears to be extended by the King to Sir Simon Fraser. It may also be noted that on November 19, Earl Patrick had been appointed Captain of the Forces and Castles on the East March of Scotland south of Forth.

The summonses for next year's expedition against Scotland were issued in good time. On September 26, the army was ordered to assemble at Carlisle on Whitsun eve. On December 12, orders were issued to various sheriffs and other officers in England to forward provisions to Berwick, and to the high officers of State in Ireland to forward provisions to Skinburness, in each case by the same date (June 6). Edward was in hot mood. He was determined to attack the malignant rebels next summer 'in great power,' and to annihilate them (in eorurn summum exterminium). The language of his writs is somewhat difficult to reconcile with laudation of his tenderness and sense of justice. The great expedition, however, did not start at Whitsunday, as Edward had proposed in the preceding September. Barons had proved recalcitrant; and the King's wrangles with them over further ratification of the great Charter had been kept up through the year, till Edward was compelled to yield to their demands.

One of the annalistic records ascribed to Rishanger states that Wallace, together with his brother—probably Sir Malcolm—the Earl of Athol, and many others, lay in hiding after Falkirk. That is to say, finding open opposition impossible, Wallace resumed his guerrilla tactics. No doubt ho-had separated himself from the-' untrustworthy nobles, and determined to maintain resistance as and- how his men and means would allow him.

In the early summer of 1299, Lamberton had gone to the court of France, probably at the instance of Wallace, to seek the aid of Philip. Edward got news of this, and between June io and August 20, he issued safe- conducts in favour of the masters of half a dozen vessels of Winchelsea and Rye, whom he had directed to keep a look-out and intercept the Bishop and his company, 'who have already come into Flanders, prepared to go into. Scotland.' The attempt was unsuccessful. Lamberton's mission, however, did not prove fruitful, at least directly. Through the good offices of the Pope, peace had been patched up between Edward and Philip; and indeed there were already in negotiation two royal marriages—one between Edward and Philip's half-sister Margaret, which was celebrated at Canterbury in the following October; and one between Prince Edward and Philip's infant daughter Isabella, who were betrothed on May 20, 1303, and married on January 25, 1308.

During Lamberton's absence, Wallace was no doubt actively engaged, though there remain no records to show clearly how or where. It may be that this is the occasion when John the Marshal, bailiff of the Earl of Lincoln in the barony of Renfrew, despatched to Edward an urgent request for aid. The Guardian of Scotland, with 300 men-at-arms and a multitude of foot, who had lurked in Galloway, he says, had entered Cunningham after the King's son, had taken his bailiffs, with other freeholders there, and had made a fine for their heads, and had totally rebelled against their late fealty. Unless he have immediate aid, he cannot defend the barony against so many Scots. To the same time evidently belong undated petitions to the King from the Abbot and convent of Sweetheart, and from the Abbey of Our Lady of Dundrennan, which show that the English power in Galloway was totally inadequate to stem the advances of the Scots. Was Wallace still 'the Guardian of Scotland'? Or does the incident belong to 1300 or 1301, the (local) 'Guardian' being Comyn?

It was probably Lamberton's report that determined Wallace to go to the Continent in person. In spite of occasional successes, it must have appeared to him all but hopeless to maintain any effective resistance to Edward in the divided state of the Scots counsels, unless some external aid could be procured, either directly in support of the Scots, or indirectly in restraint of Edward. On the failure of his envoy, he seems to have resolved to sheath his sword for a time, and to proceed to Paris, and, if need were, to Rome, in quest of support. There can indeed be no doubt that the inherent weakness of the situation had been pressing severely upon him ever since the battle of Falkirk; and it is likely enough that he had already provided himself with letters of safe- conduct. Was it at this time that he formally resigned the office of Guardian?

On August 19, 1299, there was a remarkable gathering of the Scots nobles at Peebles. An account of the proceedings is given in a letter of August 20, addressed to Edward by Sir Robert Hastings, the castellan of Roxburgh, from information obtained through a spy. The Scots had made a vigorous inroad on Selkirk Forest. The nobles present were 'the Bishop of St. Andrews, the Earls of Carrick, Buchan, . . . and Menteith, Sir John Comyn the younger, and the Steward of Scotland.' The council board was ringed with dissension. Sir David de Graham demanded Sir William Wallace's lands and goods, because 'he was going abroad without leave.' Sir Malcolm Wallace, however, the hero's brother, interposed objections; and presently 'the two knights gave each other the lie, and drew their knives.' This was but a prelude. Sir John Comyn took the Earl of Carrick, the future King, by the throat and the Earl of Buchan laid violent hands on the sacred person of the Bishop of St. Andrews.

The question that generated so much heat was an election to the Guardianship. The physical encounters indicate clearly the division of parties: it was a struggle between the Comyn and the Bruce influence. Wallace himself, of course, had washed his hands clean of ambitious nobles, but his Bishop naturally stood by Bruce against Comyn. The Bruce party gained the day. The final agreement, as the letter correctly states, was, that the Bishop of St. Andrews, the Earl of Carrick, and Sir John Comyn should be Guardians of the realm, the Bishop having custody of the castles as principal. Sir Ingram de Umfraville, who had taken a conspicuous part in the inroad, was made Sheriff of Roxburgh, and Sir Robert de Keith Warden of Selkirk Forest, with 100 barbed horse and 1500 foot, besides the foresters, to make raids on the English march. Leaving a portion of their men with Umfraville, the lords departed the same day; the Earl of Carrick and Sir David de Brechin going to Annandale and Galloway, the Earl of Buchan and Comyn to the north of Forth, and the Steward and the Earl of Menteith to Clydesdale. The Bishop of St. Andrews was to stay in the meantime at Stobo. The election was obviously a mere arrangement between the parties, backed by their immediate henchmen; but that did not hinder them from speaking, in their official documents, in the name of the community of the realm.

Edward was as eager as ever to quell the perverse Scots. On September 18, he summoned a levy of 16,000 men to assemble at Newcastle-on-Tyne by November 24. He was still delayed, however, by his recalcitrant barons; and on November 16 he issued a fresh summons for his army to meet him at Berwick on December 13. Meantime the Scots Guardians, who were investing Stirling, had intimated to him on November 13 their willingness to cease hostilities on the basis of the proposals the King of France had made to him. Edward ignored their offer, however, and proceeded to Berwick, with the determination to raise the siege of Stirling. But at Berwick his magnates proved intractable; and he was compelled to abandon Stirling to its fate, and returned to London. The garrison of Stirling soon after surrendered, having suffered cruel privations.

Nor was Edward more successful at the other end of the border. During the summer immense supplies had been landed at Skinburness and stored at Carlisle, from which Lochmaben was largely furnished. Raids had been made into Galloway in force; yet the Scots had cut off convoys at the Solway. From Carlaverock Castle they had even seriously menaced Lochmaben. Sir Robert de Felton tells how Carlaverock 'has done and does great damage every day to the King's castle and people'; adding the gratifying intelligence that on the Sunday next after Michaelmas he had had the pleasure of adorning the great tower of Lochmaben with the head of the Carlaverock Constable, Sir Robert de Cunningham, a near relative of the Steward's. In December, Warenne, with some of the greatest English barons, conducted to the western march an expedition consisting (or intended to consist) of some 500 barbed horse (with 200 more, if they could be got), and over 8000 foot. But this enterprise also proved abortive. The Scots were yet to be subdued; and Edward, on December 29, issued summonses for next year's campaign, 'the army to muster at Carlisle on July 1. Rishanger's summary of the year is suggestive: 'Scotis perfidia notabilis.'

In 1300 the vexatious English raids were repeated, with like results. In mid July Edward advanced from Carlisle and besieged Lochmaben, which had fallen into the hands of the Scots. Having taken Lochmaben, he moved on Carlaverock, which refused his demand of unconditional surrender; whereupon he raged 'like a lioness robbed of her whelps,' besieged the castle, and took it. He then marched into Galloway, Prince Edward and Warenne with him. Lochmaben and Carlaverock notwithstanding, he was in a very gloomy mood. The Bishop of Witherne and two knights came to treat for peace: he would do nothing. Again they approached him at the bridge of Dee: still he would do nothing. Then, at Kirkcudbright, the Earl of Buchan and Sir John Comyn treated with him for a day, and again for another day: all in vain. Their terms, it is said, were these: that Balliol should be restored and the succession vested in his son Edward (Sir John Comyn's wife was Balliol's daughter Marjory); and that the Scots nobles should have the right to redeem such of their lands as Edward had bestowed on Englishmen: otherwise they would defend themselves as long as they might. Edward was exceedingly angry, and repelled their demands. The Scots accordingly harassed his retreat. Some severe fighting took place; a Scots deserter is said to have led some 200 of the English into a trap, on pretence of enabling them to surprise the enemy; and though the Scots were at last defeated and fled 'like hares before harriers,' Edward was not comforted. Day by day he was eating out his heart because of his ill-success. His Welsh troops deserted. Many of his nobles even, seeing the futility of the enterprise, and writhing under lack of money and necessaries, requested leave to go home, and, on the King's refusal, they too deserted. In this emergency, baffled to know what to do against the accursed Scots (contra nefandarn genielli Scoiorun), he appealed to his friends for counsel. One noted the approach of winter; another recalled the punishment inflicted on the enemy; a third impressed the expediency of releasing at any rate some of his followers. The enterprise of the year was clearly over. But Edward, with stubborn tenacity, not to say wilfulness, would remain yet a while in Galloway. Then he would winter in Carlisle, and return to crush the perverse nation in the spring. And some of his earls stood by him in the dreary and futile delay. At last, on the interposition of Philip, a truce was ratified at Dumfries on October 30, to run from Hallowmas to Whitsunday. The expedition had proved an inglorious failure. Rishanger's summary of the year is this: 'Solicilus proper rebellionem Scotiae.'

On June 27, 1299, the Pope had issued a Bull to Edward, claiming Scotland as from ancient times and now a fief of the Holy See, and not now or ever a fief of the English King; ordering the instant release of the Bishop of Glasgow and other Scots ecclesiastics from English prisons; and demanding the surrender of the castles, and especially of the religious houses, in Scotland. The Bull was an abnormal time on the road: it seems to have taken the best part of a year to reach the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was instructed to deliver it into the King's own hand; and the Archbishop, whose adventures Burton details with grave humour, did not succeed in executing his commission till towards the end of August 1300. The barons took up the matter with clear decision; 104 of them, in parliament at Lincoln on February 12, 1301, firmly rejected the Pope's claim in the most absolute terms. Edward, in outward respect for his Holiness, again had the monasteries ransacked for information, sent to Oxford and Cambridge for doctors of the civil law, and set forth an elaborate statement of his case, concluding with the assertion of his absolute and indefeasible title to the realm of Scotland in property as well as in possession. The document is dated May 7, 1301. It is an extraordinary example of solemn diplomatic fooling, in reckless defiance and omission of essential facts. The answer of the Scots envoy, Baidred Bisset, partly followed the same lines, but dealt fatal blows to every substantial element of argument. Edward's only firm ground was conquest, and the conquest of Scotland was the one point in practical dispute.

In May the Scots and French envoys were to be in conference with Edward's commissioners at Canterbury, with a view to peace with Scotland. The reference was explicitly detailed :-

But early in April, Edward, to make sure of the event, warned his magnates in the north, 'on the expiry of the truce to be ready on the march to resist the attacks of the Scots, if necessary.' The expression is curiously defensive. However, on May 12, he had become satisfied of the necessity, and issued orders for a levy of some 12,000 men. His actual force on the expedition consisted of little more than half that number— about 6800, all on foot, except their officers and a few light horsemen or hobelars. On July 6-18, Edward was at Berwick; August 2-14, at Peebles; August 21 to September 4, at Glasgow; September 27 to October 27, mostly at Dunipace, also at Stirling; November i to January 3r, at Linlithgow, where he built a peel; and on February 19, he repassed the border into England. The main fact recorded by the chroniclers is the loss of horses through want of forage and the severity of the winter.

The campaign, in fact, was conducted at cross-purposes. The Scots avoided the English army, and practised guerrilla. In September Sir Robert de Tilliol, the castellan of Lochmaben, was in great straits, and thankful for a promise of relief. 'And we give you to understand as a certainty,' he writes to the King, 'that John de Soulis and the Earl of Buchan, with their power, are lying at Loudon; and Sir Simon Fraser at Stonehouse, and Sir Alexander de Abernethy and Sir Herbert de Morham.' If the King would only send a hundred armed horse, with a good leader, to-morrow at the latest! But'—and at this time Edward was probably in Glasgow—' be informed that all the country is rising because we have no troops to ride upon them.' On September 7, Sir John de Soulis and Sir Ingram de Umfraville,with over 7000 men, actually burnt Lochmaben and assaulted the peel, and next day they made another attempt. Sustaining some severe losses, however, they turned away towards Nithsdale and Galloway. 'They cause to return to them,' says Sir Robert, 'those persons who had come to the peace, and they are collecting greater force to come to our marches.' A few days later Sir Robert Hastings was on the outlook for this body of Scots about Roxburgh.

Again, on October 3, the Constable of Newcastle-on-Ayr wrote to the King that 'the Scots were in Carrick, before the Castle of Turnberry, with 400 men-at-arms, and within these eight days had wanted to attack Ayr Castle.' He accordingly begs for speedy succour, 'for the Scots are in such force that he and the other loyalists there cannot withstand them.' In February Newcastle-on-Ayr was besieged by the Scots, and the garrison 'could noways go out with safety, and lost some in their long stay.'

But in all these excursions and alarms there was nothing decisive. One cannot imagine that, with anything like 7000 men at his back, Wallace would have allowed Edward, with only a slightly larger and not so very much better armed force, to winter comfortably at Linlithgow. Edward, in any case, went bootless home. On January 26, at Linlithgow, on the interposition of the French King, he had ratified a truce with the Scots, to last till St. Andrew's Day (November 30), 1302. The year, according to Rishanger, had been ' Scotis suspiciosus Eurbidus inquietus.'

Edward himself clearly felt that nothing solid had been accomplished, and bent again to the task. He had only reached Morpeth on his return journey, when, on February 23, he expressed to a large number of his lords his wish to prepare—in case the truce worked no amendment in the Scots—for an expedition that should be vigorous and final. The high Irish officials, in particular, were directed to bestir themselves.

In 1302, Lamberton again paid an official visit to Philip, and brought back a letter with him dated April 6. Philip's letter is addressed to the Guardians, the magnates, 'and the whole community, his dear friends,' to whom he 'wishes health and hope of fortitude in adversity.' The Calendar summarises it thus:-

'He received with sincere affection their envoys, John, Abbot of Jeddwurth (Jedburgh), and John Wissard, Knight, and fully understands their letters and messages anxiously expressed by the envoys. Is moved to his very marrow by the evils brought on their country through hostile malignity. Praises them for their constancy to their King and their shining valour in defence of their native land against injustice, and urges them to persevere in the same course. Regarding the aid which they ask, he is not unmindful of the old league between their King, themselves, and him, and is carefully pondering ways and means of helping them. But, bearing in mind the dangers of the road, and dreading the risks which sometimes chance to letters, he has given his views by word of mouth to W[illiam], Bishop of St. Andrews, for whom he asks full credence.'

Philip would an if he could, at any rate in words; but his truce with Edward had been steadily renewed, and restrained his ardour in the cause of Scotland. He had already burnt the Pope's offensive Bull, however, and the great quarrel between these potentates was hot. Boniface accordingly had drawn towards Edward. On August 13 he had addressed Bulls to the Bishop of Glasgow (for whom he had doughtily taken Edward to task in 1299) and to the other Scots bishops, menacingly exhorting them to peaceful ways, and administering a special wigging to the shifty Wishart, whom he likened to 'a rock of offence and a stone of stumbling.' But Edward, his 'dearly-beloved son in Christ,' astutely temporised with his urgent representations in favour of a resumption of war with France. Still the Pope's anxious desire for Edward's favour relaxed the modicum of restraint he had exercised upon Edward's aggression on the Scots.

In April, Bruce appears to have gone over to Edward again. On the 28th Edward writes of 'his liege Robert de Brus, Earl of Carrick,' and of special favour he restores to Bruce's tenants their lands in England lately taken for their rebellion, and grants to Patrick de Trumpe the younger and his aunt Matilda de Carrick, two of such tenants, certain lands in the manor of Levington in Cumberland, to which they had fallen heirs.

The campaign of 1302 was entrusted by Edward to Sir John de Segrave. On September 29, Segrave was ordered to execute with all haste a foray, lately arranged with Sir Ralph de Manton, by Stirling and Kirkintilloch. On January 20, Edward sent to his aid Sir Ralph Fitz William, having heard from Segrave and others 'that for certain the Scots rebels, in increased force, have broken into the lands there in his possession, occupied certain castles and towns, and perpetrated other excesses; and, unless checked, they may break into England as usual.' He was destined soon to hear worse news. Segrave's army, marching in three divisions, was suddenly attacked by Comyn and Fraser, who made a forced night march from Biggar, and came upon the first division at daybreak of February 24 in the neighbourhood of Roslin. The division was totally defeated, and Segrave himself was seriously wounded and captured. The second division coming up, shared the fate of the first. The third division, who had meanwhile been at their devotions, succeeded (according to the English accounts) in repulsing the Scots 'in great measure,' and in recovering some of the prisoners. The Scots chroniclers make a big affair of it and report the English as worsted in all three encounters. In any case, it was the main body of the English army that was surprised and routed, and it must have been a fight of considerable magnitude. Sir Ralph de Manton, the Cofferer or Paymaster, was among the slain.

Rishanger attributes the rising of the Scots to the action of Wallace, who had been appointed their leader and captain; but there is probably some confusion in this, and stronger authority is needed to induce belief in any association of Wallace with the movements of Comyn. Rishanger sums up the year as 'Sco (is odibilis, detestabilis, et invisus.'

In the meantime, seven envoys from Scotland were in Paris with the object of gaining effective aid from Philip. They were William Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews; Matthew Crambeth, Bishop of Dunkeld; the Earl of Buchan; the Steward; Sir John de Soulis; Sir Ingram de Umfraville; and Sir William de Balliol. They appear, as Hailes judges, 'to have been the dupes of the policy of the French court.' On May 25 they report to Sir John Comyn the conclusion of a final peace between France and England (May 20), the Scots being excluded. That very significant omission, they urge, should not alarm their friends in Scotland. For Philip will at once despatch envoys to Edward to draw him back from war on the Scots, and to procure a truce, pending a personal conference of the Kings, when a peace favourable to the Scots will be concluded, if not previously effected by the envoys. Philip had positively assured them on this point. The real reason for the exclusion of the Scots is simply this, that their case will be more easily settled between the two Kings when these are united in friendship and affinity; Prince Edward and the Princess Isabella being now betrothed. They are urged by Philip to remain so as to carry back a good result of their errand—not, of course, to keep them out of the field against Edward. The fame of the late conflict has spread over the whole world; let them, therefore, in case of Edward's refusal of a truce, for the Lord's sake, not despair, but act with resolution. As Hailes remarks, the letter 'exhibits a characteristical portrait of fortitude and credulity.' Edward ratified his treaty with France on June (?July) io, at St. Johnston!

On April 9, Edward ordered a levy of 9500 men in England, and about the same time summoned Bruce to bring i000 foot from Carrick and Galloway, and Sir Richard Siward to bring 300 from Nithsdale. On May 16 the King was at Roxburgh, where he remained to the end of the month. He marched north by Edinburgh and Linlithgow, and stayed at Perth, with occasional excursions, from June 10 to the end of July. By Brechin and Aberdeen, he passed on to Banff Cullen, and Elgin, and rested at Kinloss in Moray from September 13 to October 4. On November 6 he was back at Dunfermline, where he remained till March 4, 1303-4.

Edward's progress through Scotland met with no opposition; except at Brechin, where Sir Thomas de Maule maintained a heroic resistance, till he was killed on the castle wall. Hemingburgh says the advance of the army was marked by burning and devastation. Burton, however, thinks such violence was inconsistent with Edward's policy, which then led him to avoid exasperating the people. 'Had there been much wanton cruelty or destruction,' he says, 'it would have left its mark somewhere in contemporary documents.' The inference is hardly a safe one, in any case. There does exist, however, another significant record—an order of Edward's, dated Dunfermline, November 18, 1303, directing his Chancellor to issue a pardon in favour of Warin Martyn. Martyn, it is recited, had very often been leader of the Welshmen in the King's army in Scotland, and had represented that these men, in coming and going, had perpetrated murders, robberies, arsons, and other felonies, under his leadership, and that he could not altogether do justice on them. He had therefore supplicated a pardon, fearing that these deeds might subsequently be brought up against him. It is not readily credible that Edward could keep a tight hand on his soldiery, any more than Comyn or Wallace— or Warm Martyn. And then there is the burning of Dunfermline Abbey.

For several weeks negotiations for a peace were carried on between Edward and Comyn, and at length a peace was settled at Strathord on February 9. The terms were remarkably easy for the Scots, possibly because Edward was in a benignant mood, much more probably because he felt that the coming siege of Stirling Castle would absorb his undivided attention. The one prorninent Scot that did not submit was Sir William Wallace. The terms of peace will be more conveniently noted in the next chapter, in connection with the striking basis laid down by Edward for their eventual mitigation.

It was in March 1303-4, on Edward's departure, that 'Dunfermline saw its Abbey red with flames.' The burning of this magnificent house has been variously characterised as 'atrocious,' 'barbarous,' 'unscrupulous and vindictive,' and so forth. A Westminster chronicler appears to hold undisputed the bad eminence of attempting to justify the deed. The Abbey, he explains, was spacious enough to lodge at one and the same time conveniently three mighty kings and their retinues. But there was an accursed taint on the place. Its size had rendered it suitable for the Scots nobles to hold their meetings there; and there they had devised machinations against the English King; and thence, in time of war, they issued as from ambush, to harry and murder the English. What then? The King's army, therefore, perceiving that the temple of the Lord was not a church, but a den of robbers, a thorn as it were in the eye of the English nation, fired the buildings. The church and a few cells for monks—this was all that remained of the venerable and magnificent Abbey capable of receiving three mighty kings together.

But there was another thorn in the eye of Edward, and that was the Castle of Stirling. On April i, he commanded the Earls of Strathearn, Menteith, and Lennox to see to it that none of their people should go to the castle to buy or sell provisions or merchandise, to carry any victuals to the garrison, or indeed to hold any communication with them. On April 6, engines were shipped from Edinburgh; on the same day, engines and materials were despatched from Berwick; on April 16, Sir John Botetourte is directed to aid Bruce in forwarding 'the frame of the great engine of Inverkip,' which Bruce had just reported as unmanageable; and on April 21, Sir Robert de Leyburne, Constable of Inver- kip Castle, gets a wigging and is ordered 'to arrest at Glasgow all the iron and great stones of the engines there, and forward them to Stirling, without any manner of excuse or delay,' for by the inaction in these parts 'the siege is greatly delayed.' On April 12, the King had ordered the Prince of Wales 'to procure and take as much lead as you can about the town of St. John of Perth and Dunblane, and elsewhere, as from the churches and from other places where you can find it, provided always that the churches be not uncovered over the altars.' In the first half of April, Edward had spent several days before the walls, and on April 22 he definitely opened the siege.

In the immensity of war material that had been laboriously brought up, there were at least thirteen powerful engines, capable of throwing weights of 100, 200, and 300 lbs. - besides the 'War-wolf,' a novel machine, which apparently was not quite ready for action. The garrison appear to have improvised some machines of offence; for both Rishanger and Hemingburgh record that they killed many of the besiegers with their engines. Edward entered into the conduct of operations with the old fire of younger times. One day, as he was riding about and directing his men, he was shot with an arrow or quarrel, which stuck in his armour, but did not wound him. In Homeric fashion, he loudly menaced the shooter with a good hanging.

Towards the end of June, the English appear to have been hard pressed for forage. The King's horses, according to one correspondent, 'have nothing to eat but grass'; there is 'the utmost need of oats and beans.' And in another letter of the same date, the same writer urges the addressee—probably Sir Richard de Bremesgrave—' to send all the King's stores he can find in Berwick, in haste by day and night, to Stirling, for they can find nothing in these parts.' At the same time Edward was still summoning from England cross-bowmen and carpenters.

The garrison made a spirited and resolute defence. Every day Edward had the dykes filled with branches of trees and logs of wood; and every day the garrison fired them. Then he filled up the dykes with stones and earth, and pushed the scaling machines up to the walls. Thereupon the garrison, who were in desperate straits from hunger, offered to capitulate on terms of life and limb. Edward, however, insisted on absolute submission. At last, on July 20, 1304, the garrison surrendered at discretion. They are said to have numbered 140; but, besides the gallant Constable, Sir William Oliphant, there are only 25 others, including two friars, mentioned in the instrument attesting the surrender. Before evacuation, a strange ceremony took place, partly for scientific experiment, partly to amuse the English ladies. The King ordered that none of his people should enter the castle till it should be struck with the 'War-wolf'; those within might defend themselves from the said 'Wolf' as best they could! Oliphant, who had been captured in Dunbar Castle, and kept in prison in Devizes Castle till September 8, 1297, was now sent back to England and lodged in the Tower of London. The rest of the garrison were distributed to various English castles. Edward returned to England towards the end of August.

The four years' warfare of the barons—we may say, of Comyn—had not advanced the cause of independence. Still it had deferred submission. Bruce, apparently influenced by some trumpery matter of property in England, possibly galled by friction with Comyn, had again bent the knee to Edward early in 1302. Lamberton had confined himself to diplomacy and administration; Comyn had practically the whole direction of military affairs. Both had exerted themselves creditably; but both of them submitted to Edward in 1304. They displayed neither brilliance nor endurance. They lacked the qualities of leaders in the forlorn state of the kingdom.

From the autumn of 1299 to 1303-4, no definite share in the desultory warfare can be assigned confidently to Wallace. If the movement that culminated in the victory of Roslin in 1302 may be ascribed to him, on the authority of Rishanger, yet it would be rash to believe that he was on the field of battle. It may, rather, be taken as certain that he did not act in concert with Comyn. Nor is it easy to suppose that Wallace was in Scotland in 1301 and 1301-2, when Edward was allowed to stay comfortably some three months in Linlithgow with a very small force—a force little stronger than Comyn's officers had about the same time in the south-west. It may be that such points indicate the exhaustion of the country as much as the incapacity of the generals: Langtoft says Cornyn and his men (1303-4) 'have nothing to fry, or drink, or eat, nor power remaining wherewith to manage war.' One can only fall back on the conviction that Wallace could have used the available materials to far greater advantage; and that, in the circumstances, he had at any rate been doing his best for his country. The surrender of Comyn in 1304 again brought him to the front as the one Scots leader that stood immovably against the invader, resolute to live or to die a free man.


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