By Rosalind Mitchison

ISBN-10: 0203316975

ISBN-13: 9780203316979

ISBN-10: 0415278805

ISBN-13: 9780415278805

A fantastic quantity for somebody short of a brisk assessment of North Britain from the yr dot to the 20 th century.

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But they could not cope with a renewed attack by Edward. In 1298 at Falkirk, Edward showed that English knights and Welsh archers, properly deployed, could defeat and slaughter the half-trained peasants fighting with spears in their great but unmanoeuvrable unit, the schiltrom or spear ring. Wallace was undeniably the stuff of which heroes are made. He was unselfish and unyielding. But he had not the royal authority of kingship. Nor had later Guardians. Efforts were made to get an effective committee of Guardians, but the men did not work well together.

Edward, on the other hand, who had outmanoeuvred and defeated the de Montforts at Evesham when he was twenty-six, had been on a crusade, and campaigned in Wales, knew his business well and now in 1296 approached war with a combination of efficient organization and inventive flair. He took Berwick easily, slaughtered the townsmen, defeated the feudal army of Scotland in a pitched battle outside Dunbar, and then, riding this way and that for several months across lowland Scotland, showed that he was master.

The English bureaucracy provided men for the king to use in Scottish positions. The Scottish records and regalia, and most important of all, the Stone of Destiny, on which Scottish kings were enthroned, went south as symbols of conquest. The result of this was, of course, another revolt. Not under a king this time, for there was none, and with little leadership from the magnates, many of whom were being held as hostages, but from a lower stratum. It was William Wallace, a young man and younger son of a knightly family in Clydesdale, who sparked it off by killing an English sheriff of Lanark.

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A History of Scotland by Rosalind Mitchison

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