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Search for Wallace in The Scotch-Irish

Source Information: Hanna, Charles A. The Scotch-Irish: The Scot in North Britain, North Ireland, and North America Vol.1 New York, NY: G. P. Putnam, 1902.  



Do we speak of war, a thousand Scotch names rise above all the heroes:
Wallace at Stirling; Bruce,at Bannockburn; Wolfe's Scottish soldiers at the Heights of Abraham; Forbes at Fort Duquesne; Stark at Bennington; Campbell at King's Mountain; Scott at Lundy s Lane; Perry on Lake Erie; Grant at Appomattox. Were not Wellington and Napier Scotch?  
James I. was anxious to place a garrison there that would be able not only to shut the door, but to keep it shut, in the face of his French or Spanish enemies; and, accordingly, when an attempt was made at the Revolution to force the door, the garrison was there--the advanced outpost of English power--to shut it in the face of the planter's grandson, and so to save the liberties of England at the most critical moment in its history. One may see (as Hugh Miller did) in the indomitable firmness of the besieged at Deror the spirit of their ancestors under Wallace and Bruce, and recognize in the gallant exploits of the Enniskillen men under Gustavus Hamilton, routing two of the forces despatched to attack them, and compelling a third to retire, a repetition of the thrice-fought and thrice-won battle of Roslin ....


But in a great body of the people outside of New England the causes were deeper and of more ancient origin. Their enmity to England and the English government dated far back from the beginning of history. It was not unlike the feeling of the Roman Catholic Irish in America toward England at the present day. The Scots were the hereditary foes of the English kings. Their battles with the English had made of the Scottish Lowlands one vast armed camp and battle-field during the larger part of a period of five centuries after the year 1000.13 Their forbears were "Scots who had wi'
Wallace bled." They were children of the men who had fought the English at Stirling Bridge, at Bannockburn, and "on Flodden's dark field." Their fathers also had perished in countless numbers before the malignant fury of the Anglican Establishment. For worshipping God as their consciences dictated they had been hunted like wild beasts by the merciless dragoons of the bishops;


The two counties which have been most thoroughly transformed by this emigration are the two which are nearest Scotland, and were the first opened up for emigrants. These two have been completely altered in nationality and religion. They have become British, and in the main, certainly Scottish. Perhaps no better proof can be given than the family names of the inhabitants. Some years ago, a patient local antiquary took the voters' list of county Down "of those rated above L12 for poor-rates," and analyzed it carefully. There were 10,028 names on the list, and these fairly represented the whole proper names of the county. He found that the following names occurred oftenest, and arranged them in order of their frequency: Smith, Martin, M'Kie, Moore, Brown, Thompson, Patterson, Johnson, Stewart, Wilson, Graham, Campbell, Robinson, Bell, Hamilton, Morrow, Gibson, Boyd, Smith, Martin, M'Kie, Moore, Brown, Thompson, Patterson, Johnson, Stewart, Wilson, Graham, Campbell, Robinson, Bell, Hamilton, Morrow, Gibson, Boyd, Wallace, and Magee. Smith, Moore, Boyd, Johnson, M'Millan, Brown, Bell, Campbell, M'Neill, Crawford, M'Alister, Hunter, Macaulay, Robinson, Wallace, Millar, Kennedy, and Hill. Ayrshire "Muir," and that the Annandale "Johnstones" have been merged by the writer in the English "Johnsons." One other point is very striking--that the great Ulster name of O'Neill is wanting, and also the Antrim "Macdonnel." . . . Another strong proof of the Scottish blood of the Ulstermen may be found by taking the annual reports presented to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, held in June, 1887. Here are the names of the men, lay and clerical, who sign these reports, the names being taken as they occur: J. W. Whigham, Jackson Smith, Hamilton Magee, Thomas Armstrong, William Park, J. M. Rodgers, David Wilson, George Macfarland, Thomas Lyle, W. Rogers, J. B. Wylie, W. Young, E. F. Simpson, Alexander Turnbull, John Malcolm, John H. Orr. Probably the reports of our three Scottish churches taken together could not produce so large an average of Scottish surnames.-- The Scot in Ulster, Edinburgh, 1888, pp. 103-105.


In this district are to be found the chief evidences in Scotland of the birth or residence of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Dumbartonshire is the reputed birthplace of St. Patrick, Ireland's teacher and patron saint. Elderslie, in Renfrewshire, is said to have been the birthplace of Scotland's national hero,
William Wallace. Robert Bruce also, son of Marjorie, Countess of Carrick and daughter of Nigel or Niall (who was himself the Celtic Earl of Carrick and grandson of Gilbert, son of Fergus, Lord of Galloway), was, according to popular belief, born at his mother's castle of Turnberry, in Ayrshire. The seat of the High Stewards of Scotland, ancestors of the royal family of the Stuarts, was in Renfrewshire. The paternal grandfather of William Ewart Gladstone was born in Lanarkshire. John Knox's father is said to have belonged to the Knox family of Renfrew-shire. Robert Burns was born in Ayrshire. The sect called the "Lollards," who were the earliest Protestant reformers in Scotland, appear first in Scottish history as coming from Kyle in Ayrshire, the same district which afterwards furnished a large part of the leaders and armies of the Reformation. The Covenanters and their armies of the seventeenth century were mainly from the same part of the kingdom. Glasgow, the greatest manufacturing city of Europe, is situated in the heart of this district.  


When David I., who married an English countess who had numerous vassals, ascended the throne in 1124, he is said to have been followed at successive periods, by no fewer than a thousand Anglo-Normans. During the reign of this monarch, Hugh de Morville, amongst others, came to Scotland, and, besides being appointed High Constable, was endowed with vast grants of land. He possessed the greater part of Cuninghame, and, under his auspices, a number of families, who afterwards rose to high feudal distinction, were settled in that district. The Loudoun family, who assumed the name of the lands as their patronymic, were Anglo-Normans. So were the progenitors of the Cuninghames. The Rosses were also vassals of Hugh de Morville. Godfrey de Ros acquired the lands of Stewarton from Richard de Morville. Stephen, the son of Richard, obtained lands in Cuninghame, which he called Stephen's-tun (Stephenston of the present day). The Lock-harts of Lanarkshire and Ayrshire are of Anglo-Norman descent. Simond, the son of Malcolm, who settled in Lanarkshire, held lands under the Stewart family in Kyle, which he called Syming-tun, now Symington. The Colvilles, who possessed Ochiltree for some time, were from England. The Mont-gomeries of Eaglesham, and subsequently of Eglintoun, were Norman, and vassals of Walter the High Steward, who obtained the greater part of Ren-frewshire. A brother of Walter is conjectured, upon good grounds, to have been the ancestor of the Boyds. The Stewarts were themselves Anglo-Nor-mans, as were also the Bruces of Annandale and Carrick. The
Wallaces of Kyle are supposed to have been of Norman descent [very improbable], from one Eimerus Galleius, whose name appears as a witness to the charter of the Abbey of Kelso, founded by David I. That the progenitors of the Hero of Scotland came from England is further held to be countenanced by the fact that there existed in London, in the thirteenth century, certain persons of the name of Waleis; but none of our historians or genealogists have been able to trace the slightest family connection between them; neither is it known at what period, if Norman or English, they settled in Scotland. The first of the name on record is Richard Walense, who witnesses a charter to the monks of Paisley, by Walter the High Steward, before the year 1174. The name came to be afterwards softened to Waleys or Wallace. In the absence of direct proof to the contrary, it is not unreasonable to conjecture that the Wallaces were native Scots. Some consider them to have been Welsh, apparently without reference to the fact that the Alcluydensians are often confounded in history by the terms British and Welsh. Long after the   
Alcluyd kingdom had been destroyed, the inhabitants -- the descendants of the Damnii--were known by the appellation of
Walenses. It is therefore probable that the ancestors of Wallace adopted the patronymic of Walense, in the same way that Inglis is known to have been assumed from English, or Fleming from the Flemings. This is strongly countenanced by the fact that the name of the family was originally Walens. The coincidence is at all events curious, and not without interest. The property of Richard Walens may have been called Richardtun, in accordance with the prevailing Saxon custom of the time--not because he was himself of English extraction. The Flemings, who were all foreigners, came to be so numerous in Scotland that they were privileged to be governed by their own laws. The list of lowland clans, amounting in all to thirty-nine, if it is authentic, which is very doubtful, as given in the recently published MS. of Bishop Leslie, who wrote during the reign of Queen Mary, shows that the greater number were of Saxon or Norman extraction. The following is the list: Armstrong, Barclay, Brodie, Bruce, Colquhoun, Comyn, Cuninghame, Cranstoun, Crawford, Douglas, Drummond, Dunbar, Dundas, Erskine, Forbes, Gordon, Graham, Hamilton, Hay, Home, Johnstone, Kerr, Lauder, Leslie, Lindsay, Maxwell, Montgomerie, Murray, Ogilvie, Oliphant, Ramsay, Rose, Ruthven, Scott, Seton, Sinclair, Urquhart, Wallace, Wemyss.


It was the charter and feudal tenure which gradually converted the native proprietary of Scotia into "lairds of that ilk," henceforth undistinguishable amongst the general feudal baronage. At the battle of the Standard, Earl Malise of Strathern was the champion of the anti-feudal combatants. Forty years later his grandson, Gilbert, was as thoroughly a feudal baron as the latest Norman settler, granting charters sealed with the device of a mounted knight in armor, and with a novelty yet more unusual, a shield emblazoned with arms. It is scarcely possible to doubt that a similar change was in progress in many other parts of the kingdom besides Strathern. Not only in Scotland, but throughout Europe the shifting patronymic marks the prevalence of the early benefice, when all who claimed a provision in right of their birth and descent were known by the name of their immediate ancestors, the vier anen giving the title to the birthright which was subsequently founded on the charter. It was not until the benefice became the feud, after the temporary and renewable provision became the inalienable and hereditary property, that it conferred a more or less permanent name upon its owner, all early surnames being invariably "of that ilk "-- the proprietor being named from his property. At the opening of the twelfth century, or at any rate at the close of the eleventh, the territorial surname was unknown throughout Scotland from the Pentland Firth to the Tweed; and the same might also be said of England. Very few names, indeed, of this description were brought into England by the followers of the Conqueror,--none certainly existed before their arrival,--and wherever a Norman name is found that does not occur in Domesday, it may be safely assumed that, however old its standing, it represents a later emigrant from the Continental duchy rather than one of the combatants at Hastings. The descendants of the latter generally adopted the names of those properties in England which they had won with the sword. Many a Norman name penetrated into Scotland, the majority territorial, whether derived from English or Norman fiefs, which would seem to place their arrival in the reigns of David and William. Others again settled in Scotland before they had acquired a name of this description, the race of Flahald assuming a name from their hereditary office of steward--for the son of Walter Fitz Alan was known as Alan Fitz Walter-- whilst the appellation of Masculus, la Male, attached to a family of great importance in early times, seems to have been perpetuated with the old broad pronunciation under the form of Maule. The race often gave the name; Fleming and Inglis would have appeared in the charters as Flandrensis and Anglicus; the first ancestor of the great border clan of Scot must have stood out amongst the Saxons of the Lothians as Scotus, the Gael; whilst the name of
Walensis, or le Waleys, given to the progenitors of Wallace, marks the forefathers of the great Scottish champion to have been Cumbro-Britons of Strathclyde. From the frequent occurrence of an addition, such as Flandrensis, to the name of the first recipient of a charter, it may be assumed, that in its absence, and where no district


Not long afterwards, the peace of the newly established English dependency was disturbed by rumors of disorders in the west. It was said that one William Wallace, a native of the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde,3 had there slain the sheriff of Lanark, a high officer of the English crown. Having committed some offence for which he became an object of suspicion to the English authorities, according to the legendary accounts, the sheriff of Lanark attacked his place of abode and killed his wife or mistress. Wallace is said to have retaliated by killing the sheriff, and thus to have become an outlaw. Associating with himself some friends of kindred spirit, he soon gave the English authorities more abundant cause for believing him to be a man of desperate character. Having received numerous accessions to his little band of warriors, and aided by the presence and support of a brave knight named Sir William Douglas,
Wallace, in May, 1297, planned to capture the English High Justiciary, who was then holding his court at Scone (Perth). That official saved himself from being taken by a hurried departure from the country. Thereupon, a season of war and anarchy ensued in western Scotland. Armed bands ravaged the country, killing and. driving out the English officials; and, where there was show of success, storming and destroying their abodes. The insurrection seems to have arisen mainly in the western Lowlands, in that district comprising Galloway and Strathclyde, which had ever been the most turbulent and troublesome part of the kingdom south of the Highlands. Toward Galloway the most of the rebellious bands accordingly made their way. Many of the Scottish barons also 

William Wallace, however, his countrymen found the incarnation of all those noble and heroic traits apotheosized in the reputed character of the mythical Tell. Scorning submission to the English, resolutely determined to free his country from Edward's grasp, and perhaps lacking only the opportunity to mete out fitting punishment to those barons who had deserted their nation's cause, Wallace did not for a moment relax his efforts to make the revolution general, nor cease in his hostile operations against the invaders. Notwithstanding the defection of the barons, his army continued daily to increase in strength and numbers. He laid siege to the castle of Dundee. While there, he received intelligence of the English army's movement toward Stirling. Hastening with all his forces to the passage of the Forth, he there posted his troops on the north bank of the river and prepared to intercept the progress of the enemy. On September 12, 1297, the English approached, fifty thousand strong,6 and attempted to cross over on the long, narrow bridge which at that place spanned the channel. They were led by Hugh de Cressingham, King Edward's Treasurer for Scotland. A considerable body, consisting of about half the English force, soon passed the bridge, and then made ready to form on the other side. Wallace, awaiting this opportunity, instantly pounced down upon them with the Scots, cut off their communication with the other side, and at once charged on the divided body with all his forces. Taking them at such a disadvantage, his onslaught was irresistible and proved sufficient to carry the day. Cressingham was slain; his troops were mown down like blades of grass; and such as escaped death by the sword were pushed into the river and drowned. A panic seized the remainder of the English soldiers on the south bank of the river. They burned the bridge, abandoned their baggage, fled in terror to Berwick, hastened on into England, and Scotland was once more free.
This brilliant success was immediately followed by the surrender of Dundee Castle and the evacuation of Berwick; and then
Wallace led his victorious army into England and wasted all the country as far south as Newcastle.  

During the progress of these operations Edward had been absent in Flanders. Upon his return in the early part of the year 1298, having first vainly summoned the Scottish barons to meet him in a Parliament at York, he assembled an army and marched toward the Border. At this time, as we have seen,
Wallace had the active support of but a few of the Scottish noblemen, the great majority being deterred from taking up arms through fear of Edward or by reason of their jealousy of Wallace. Among his followers, however, were John Comyn of Badenoch, Sir John Stewart of Bon-kill, brother to the Steward, Sir John Graham of Abercorn, Macduff, the granduncle of the Earl of Fife, and young Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick. The leader last named guarded the castle of Ayr.
Edward first sent a fleet around through the Firth of Forth under the command of the Earl of Pembroke. A landing was made in Fife, where Wallace attacked and defeated the force in the battle of Black Ironside Forest, June 12, 1298. 

After the disastrous defeat at Falkirk, Wallace resigned his office as governor of Scotland, and in the summer of 1299, William Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrews, Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, and John Comyn of Badenoch, the younger, were chosen guardians of the kingdom in his place. Soon afterwards they besieged and took Stirling Castle. From this time on the name of
Wallace as a national leader disappears from the records of the councils and conflicts of Scotland.

After Edward had again conquered the greater part of the kingdom, he assembled a Parliament at St. Andrews which pronounced sentence of outlawry against Scotland's hero, and a price was set upon his head.
Wallace was afterwards betrayed to the English, in 1303, by a false friend, Sir John, son of Walter Stewart, Earl of Mentieth. Having been arraigned at Westminster as a traitor to Edward and a destroyer of the lives and property of many of the English king's subjects, he was sentenced to death, August 23, 1305, and immediately executed under circumstances of the most barbaric and revolting cruelty.

Wallace's torture added one more item, and that a very heavy one, to the list of Scottish grievances against the English. No doubt it had a full and lasting effect in arousing the national spirit for that supreme contest with the invaders which almost immediately followed. Thus even by his death Wallace served the cause of his country in a degree by no means the least.
his government was little more than a nominal one. The nobles were bound to furnish the king with an agreed number of soldiers in case of war, but their own jurisdiction over the rights and liberties of their vassals and followers was well-nigh supreme. Indeed, this authority continued, though in a more restricted degree, for nearly two centuries after the War of Independence; and it was not until the time of the later Stuarts that the power of the nobles was appreciably lessened. The career of
Wallace, however, and the success of his volunteer armies is the first recorded instance we have of any great national assertion on the part of the people themselves, aside from the personal wars of their hereditary masters. 

The period of
Wallace and Bruce also marks the close in Scotland of the Feudal Era, which had been inaugurated by David and his successors somewhat more than a century before. The plan of campaigning necessarily carried on by the Scots in their contests with the vastly superior forces of Edward's armored knights was probably the inception in Great Britain of our modern system of warfare, wherein more attention is paid to ensuring the intelligence and efficiency of the individual soldier in the ranks, together with his proper arming, than to the construction of massive fortifications or the glorification of knightly valor. 

The Chronicon de Lanercost, one of the most interesting of the northern chronicles, was probably written by a Minorite friar of the convent at Carlisle. It covers the period from 1201 to 1346, being a contemporary account of events during the time of
Wallace and Bruce, and is considered one of the most valuable records of border history (Bannatyne Club, 1839). 

The Scalacronica of Sir Thomas Gray of Heton. This is a chronicle of England and Scotland from 1066 to 1362. The author's father was an esquire under the Sheriff of Lanark at the time of his encounter with
William Wallace; and the son has preserved an account of that affair. The book is especially useful for the period of the Scottish wars with England.  

The Book of the Brus, by John Barbour. The author was born about 1316, and died March 13, 1395, some twenty years after the completion of his book. This work also is in metrical form, but, notwithstanding, it is a most useful contribution to historical literature, and a chief source for the details of the Scottish War of Independence, and of the life of Scotland's greatest warrior and king. It is the great national epic of the country, and occupies a similar place in the literature of Scotland to the Odyssey in that of Greece; although perhaps never so popular with the people as the legendary narrative of the achievements of
Wallace, which appeared about a century later. Bar-bour's very full and spirited description of the battle of Bannockburn, by which independence was won, is followed closely by later historians in giving the details of that event.The Acts and Deeds of Wallace was the production of a writer who goes by the name of Henry the Minstrel, or Blind Harry. His work consists of a rhyming and fabulous account of the achievements of Scotland's national hero. The full name of the author is unknown. He is supposed to have been a wandering minstrel who, about 1460, set down in writing a connected series of the rhyming doggerel verses which he had been accustomed to sing from house to house. Being written about a century and a half after Wallace's death, the work no doubt embodied all the accumulated traditions and embellishments of the period in which it appeared.
His Achievements, written by Blind Harry, has been long a popular book in Scotland. It would be lost labour to search for the age, name, and condition of an author who either knew not history, or who meant to falsify it. (See M'Kenzie, Lives of Scots Writers, vol. i., p. 422.) A few examples may serve to prove the spirit of this romancer. He always speaks of Aymer de Valloins, Earl of Pembroke, as a false Scottish knight. He mentions Sir Richard Lundin as one of
Wallace's coadjutors at the battle of Stirling, whereas he was of the opposite party, and indeed was, to all appearance, the only man of true judgment in the whole English army. B. vi., c. 4, he says that one Sir Hugh, sister's son of Edward L, went, in the disguise of a herald, to Wallace's camp, was detected, and instantly beheaded; that Wallace surprised Edward's army at Biggar, and with his own hand slew the Earl of Kent; that many thousands of the English fell in the engagement, particularly the second son of the King of England, his brother Sir Hugh, and his two nephews--Hailes, Annals of Scotland, vol. i., p. 269.
ander de Lindesay, Sir Richard de Lundin, and Sir William Douglas. Robert Wisheart, Bishop of Glasgow, negotiated the treaty. Wallace ascribed the conduct of Wisheart to traitorous pusillanimity. In the first heat of resentment, he flew to the Bishop's house, pillaged its effects, and led his family captive.
The story, however, is not inconsistent with probability. I cannot say so much for the famous story of the barns of Ayr. It is asserted that
Wallace, accompanied by Sir John Graham, Sir John Mentieth, and Alexander Scrymgeour, Constable of Dundee, went into the west of Scotland to chastise the men of Galloway, who had espoused the party of the Comyns and the English; that, on the 28th August, 1298, they set fire to some granaries in the neighhour-hood of Ayr, and burnt the English cantoned in them (A. Blair, p. 5; J. Major, fol. 70). This relation is liable to much suspicion. 1. Sir John Graham could have no share in the enterprise, for he was killed at Falkirk 22d July, I298. 2. Comyn the younger, of Badenoch, was the only man of the name of Comyn who had any interest in Galloway, and he was at that time of Wallace's party. 3. It is not probable that Wallace would have undertaken such an enterprise immediately after the discomfiture at Folkirk. I believe that this story took its rise from the pillaging of the English quarters about the time of the treaty of Irvine in 1297, which, as being an incident of little consequence, I omitted in the course of this history. (See W. Hemingford, t. i., p. 123.)--Hailes, Annals of Scotland, vol. i., p. 280. 

"It would be tedious and unprofitable to recite all that has been said on this subject by our own writers from Fordun to Abercrombie: How
Wallace, Stewart, and Comyn quarreled on the punctilio of leading the van of an army which stood on the defensive; how Stewart compared Wallace to "an owl with borrowed feathers"; how the Scottish commanders, busied in this frivolous altercation, had no leisure to form their army: how Comyn traitorousIy withdrew 10,000 men; how Wallace, from resentment, followed his example; how, by such disastrous incidents, the Scottish army was enfeebled, and Stewart and his party abandoned to destruction. Our histories abound in trash of this kind: there is scarcely one of our writers who has not produced an invective against Comyn, or an apology for Wallace, or a lamentation over the deserted Stewart. What dissensions may have prevailed among the Scottish commanders, it is impossible to know. It appears not to me that their dissensions had any influence on their conduct in the day of battle. The truth seems to be this: The English cavalry greatly exceeded the Scottish in numbers, were infinitely better equipped, and more adroit: the Scottish cavalry were intimidated, and fled. Had they remained on the field, they might have preserved their honour; but they never could have turned the chance of that day. It was natural, however, for such of the infantry as survived the engagement, to impute their disaster to the defection of the cavalry. National pride would ascribe their flight to treachery rather than to pusillanimity. It is not improbable that Comyn commanded the cavalry; hence a report may have been spread that Comyn betrayed his country; this report has been embellished by each successive relator. When men are seized with a panic, their commander must from necessity, or will from prudence, accompany them in their flight. Earl Warrenne fled with his army, from Stirling to Berwick; yet Edward I. did not punish him as a traitor or a coward. 

"The tale of Comyn's treachery, and
Wallace's ill-timed resentment, may have gained credit, because it is a pretty tale, and not improbable in itself. But it amazes me that the story of the congress of Bruce and Wallace, after the battle of Falkirk, should have gained credit. I lay aside the full evidence which we now possess, 'that Bruce was not, at that time, of the English party, nor present at the battle.' For it must be admitted that our historians knew nothing of those circumstances which demonstrate the impossibility of the congress. But the wonder is, that men of sound judgment should not have seen the absurdity of a long conversation between the commander of a flying army and one of the leaders of a victorious army. When Fordun told the story, he placed 'a narrow but inaccessible glen' between the speakers. Later historians have substituted the river Garron in the place of the inaccessible glen, and they make Bruce and Wallace talk across the river like two young declaimers from the pulpits in a school of rhetoric."--Hailes, Annals of Scotland, vol. i., pp. 286-288. 

it would certainly be a mistake to consider it a mere fabricated romance of a peasant minstrel. It is much more than that. It is the garner into which has been gathered all that harvest of popular legend about
Wallace which had been ripcuing for nearly two centuries. We do not suppose that the author was at all scrupulous in his treatment of traditions, or that he shrank from contributing his quota to the general sum of patriotic fiction. Everywhere in the work there is evidence of more than poetical license; but we are convinced that in the main it recites and re-echoes the "gests" that had enraptured and amazed successive generations of his countrymen. This, we have seen, was the opinion of the learned and critical Major, in whose boyhood Blind Harry wrote; but no criticism can possibly determine to what extent its "gests" are genuine deeds, or where its history ends and mythology begins. Its outrageous perversions of public and ascertained facts throw a cloud of suspicion over every incident and circumstance in the poem, even when they are of such a nature as not to forbid belief.--J. M. Ross, Scottish History and Literature, p. 76.


THE same year [1296]
William Wallace lifted up his head from his den--as it were--and slew the English sheriff of Lanark, a doughty and powerful man, in the town of Lanark. From that time, therefore, there flocked to him all who were in bitterness of spirit, and weighed down beneath the burden of bondage under the unbearable domination of English despotism; and he became their leader. He was wondrously brave and bold, of goodly mien, and boundless liberality; and, though, among the earls and lords of the kingdom, he was looked upon as low born, yet his fathers rejoiced in the honour of knighthood. His elder brother, also was girded with the knightly belt, and inherited a landed estate which was large enough for his station, and which he bequeathed, as a holding, to his descendants. So Wallace overthrew the English on all sides; and gaining strength daily, he, in a short time, by force, and by dint of his prowess, brought all the magnates of Scotland under his sway, whether they would or not. Such of the magnates, moreover, as did not thankfully obey his commands, he took and browbeat, and handed over to custody, until they should utterly submit to his good pleasure. And when all had thus been subdued, he manfully betook himself to the storming of the castles and fortified towns in which the English ruled; for he aimed at quickly and thoroughly freeing his country and overthrowing the enemy. 

In the year 1297 the fame of
William Wallace was spread all abroad, and, at length, reached the ears of the king of England; for the loss brought upon his people was crying out. As the king, however, was intent upon many troublesome matters elsewhere, he sent his treasurer, named Hugh of Cres-singham, with a large force to repress this William's boldness, and to bring the kingdom of Scotland under his sway. When, therefore, he heard of this man's arrival, the aforesaid William, then busy besieging the English who were in Dundee Castle, straightway intrusted the care and charge of the siege of the castle to the burgesses of that town on pain of loss of life and limb, and with his army marched on, with all haste, towards Strivelyn [Stirling] to meet this Hugh. A battle was then fought, on the 11th of September near Strivelyn, at the bridge over the Forth. Hugh of Cressingham was killed, and all his army put to flight; some of them were slain with the sword, others taken, others drowned in the waters. But, through God, they were all overcome; and the aforesaid William gained a happy victory, with no little praise. Of the nobles, on his sided the noble Andrew of Moray alone, the father of Andrew, fell wounded.

The same year, William Wallace, with his army, wintered in England, from Hallowmas to Christmas; and after having burnt up the whole land of Allerdale, and carried off some plunder, he and his men went back safe and sound. The same year, moreover, on the 20th of August, all the English--regular and beneficed clergy, as well as laymen--were, by this same William, again cast out from the kingdom of Scotland. And the same year, William of Lamberton was chosen bishop of Saint Andrews

In the year 1298, the aforesaid king of England, taking it ill that he and his should be put to so much loss and driven to such straits by
William Wallace, gathered together a large army, and, having with him, in his company, some of the nobles of Scotland to help him, invaded Scotland. He was met by the aforesaid William, with the rest of the magnates of that kingdom; and a desperate battle was fought near Falkirk, on the 22nd of July. William was put to flight, not without serious loss both to the lords and to the common people of the Scottish nation. For, on account of the ill-will, begotten of the spring of envy, which the Comyns had conceived towards the said William, they, with their accomplices, forsook the field, and escaped unhurt. On learning their spiteful deed, the aforesaid William, wishing to save himself and his, hastened to flee by another road. But alas! through the pride and burning envy of both, the noble Estates [communitas] of Scotland lay wretchedly overthrown throughout hill and dale, mountain and plain. Among these, of the nobles, John Stewart, with his Brendans; Macduff, of Fife; and the inhabitants thereof, were utterly cut off. But it is commonly said that Robert of Bruce,--who was afterwards king of Scotland, but then fought on the side of the king of England--was the means of bringing about this victory. For, while the Scots stood invincible in their ranks, and could not be broken by either force or stratagem, this Robert of Bruce went with one line, under Anthony of Bek, by a long road round a hill, and attacked the Scots in the rear; and thus these, who had stood invincible and impenetrable in front, were craftily overcome in the rear. And it is remarkable that we seldom, if ever, read of the Scots being overcome by the English, unless through the envy of lords, or the treachery and deceit of the natives, taking them over to the other side.

But after the aforesaid victory, which was vouchsafed to the enemy through the treachery of Scots, the aforesaid William Wallace, perceiving, by these and other strong proofs, the glaring wickedness of the Comyns and their abettors, chose rather to serve with the crowd, than to be set over them, to their ruin, and the grievous wasting of the people. So, not long after the battle of Falkirk, at the water of Forth, he, of his own accord, resigned the office and charge which he held, of guardian. 

The same year, after the whole Estates of Scotland had made their submission to the king of England, John Comyn, then guardian, and all the magnates but
William Wallace, little by little, one after another, made their submission unto him; and all their castles and towns--except Strivelyn [Stirling] Castle, and the warden thereof--were surrendered unto him. That year, the king kept Lent at Saint Andrews, where he called together all the great men of the kingdom, and held his parliament; and he made such decrees as he would, according to the state of the country--which, as he thought, had been gotten and won for him and his successors forever--as well as about the dwellers therein. 

Just after Easter, in the year 1304, that same king besieged Strivelyn [Stirling] Castle for three months without a break. For this siege, he commanded all the lead of the refectory of Saint Andrews to be pulled down, and had it taken away for the use of his engines. At last, the aforesaid castle was surrendered and delivered unto him on certain conditions, drawn up in writing, and sealed with his seal. But when he had got the castle, the king belied his troth, and broke through the conditions: for William Oliphant, the warden thereof, he threw bound into prison in London, and kept him a long time in thrall. The same year, when both great and small in the kingdom of Scotland (except
William Wallace alone) had made their submission unto him; when the surrendered castles and fortified towns which had formerly been broken down and knocked to pieces, had been all rebuilt, and he had appointed wardens of his own therein; and after all and sundry of Scottish birth had tendered him homage, the king, with the Prince of Wales, and his whole army, returned to England. He left, however, the chief warden as his lieutenant, to amend and control the lawlessness of all the rest, both Scots and English. He did not show his face in Scotland after this. 

In the year 1305,
William Wallace was craftily and treacherously taken by John of Menteith, who handed him over to the king of England; and he was, in London, torn limb from limb, and, as a reproach to the Scots, his limbs were hung on towers in sundry places throughout England and Scotland.

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